When you imagine Honolulu, you think of leis, sunshine, and the beach. My boyfriend and I think of our last trip when we think of the best malasadas anywhere.
We are food lovers, and I prefer any sweet treat I can get my hands on.
I fell in love with the malasadas’ crunchy outside, fluffy and chewy inside, and endless creamy filling options. Hawaiian tradition and spirit are perfectly captured in these baked goods.
That’s why we explored the best malasadas we could find on our last trip. We tasted fun flavors like Lilikoi, ube, coconut, and guava. We had original malasadas rolled in cinnamon sugar, coffee, and Li Hing.
We ate so much that we became experts on this delicious local treat.
Accordingly, I’ve created a list of the best malasadas in Honolulu based on freshness, dough texture, filling amount and quality, and overall taste.
So make sure you spoil yourself with these best-of-the-best options.
#1. Liliha Bakery – Best Malasadas Since the 50s
Once you try the malasadas in this bakery, it will be clear why they have been working since the 1950s. This is a landmark bakery visited for homemade malasadas by locals and tourists. This place is where you will get the freshest baked goods.
The outside of the bakery looks like an old-time dinner. The inside is modern, clean, and smells delicious. We made a trip in the morning. I was surprised by the beautiful display of baked goods and a large selection of malasadas.
We grabbed way too much food for each kind of malasadas on display. They were all fresh, crispy, and chewy. Each one smelled terrific and had a delicate flavor combination. My favorite was the coconut cream-filled one with powdered sugar on top. The Lilikoi one was also fantastic. The flavor inside was stronger than in the other shops, dripping with filling.
My boyfriend liked the Azuki malasadas. It was my first attempt, and it was perfect. The Azuki bean paste has a wonderful texture, and the powdered sugar makes it perfectly sweet. Overall there were no misses in this bakery. The flavors were unique, and the filling was the best.
This bakery has the best malasadas in Honolulu because:
- Everything is extraordinarily fresh and smells wonderfully sweet.
- There is a large selection of original and traditional malasadas.
- The filling is savory (tastes natural), and there is a lot of it in each donut.
- The dough is slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Each bite is delicious.
Address: 580 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817
#2. Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery – Best Made from Scratch and Homemade Goods
The exterior and interior of this bakery would make you think it was ordinary. But in contrast, this is a fantastic bakeshop with innovative goods created from scratch. They make delicious malasadas and are my second choice.
We ordered ahead of time and just came in for pickup. We ordered a full pipe (12 pieces) coated in different sugars (Classic, Cocoa, Coffee, Lihing, and Cinnamon). The malasadas here are all original recipes and do not have any filling. I could smell the delicious and sweet baked goods long before I entered the shop.
All the flavors were delicious. The texture is the finest you will find on the island. They have a slightly crunchy exterior and a soft and delicate inside. Cinnamon and coffee were my favorites. Both tastes were earthy but mild. The Li hing was unusual but also very tasty and tangy.
Because the malasadas are not filled, they can keep fresh for days (so buy more). Unfortunately, our box lasted for only 24 hours.
Eat some of the best original malasadas ever at Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery because:
- They only make the original without filling, so the dough is high quality and has a flawless texture.
- The malasadas keep pretty well, so you can order more and keep them fresh for several days.
- They have fun sugar topping options like Cocoa, Coffee, Li Hing, and Cinnamon.
- You can pre-order and pick up your order, making it fresh.
Address: 3632 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
#3. Leonard’s Bakery Malasadas Truck – Best Truck for Malasadas on the Island
Leonard’s Bakery is famous in Honolulu. Since 1953, they have been making malasadas. Thank god they decided to expand, and we got several great food trucks. They are convenient for those who can’t get to the bakery in Kapahulu. You can find them at Waikele Shopping Center, Pearl Ridge Shopping Center, Windward Mall, and Koko Marina Shopping Center. You can also order ahead.
We just stopped by, and it wasn’t crowded. Everything smelled so yummy, and the servers were pleasant and smiling. We ordered two of everything and got (custard, chocolate, coconut, macadamia nuts, guava, and ube). We chose plain sugar, but they also have cinnamon and Li Hing.
The dough was fresh and soft and crispy on the outside. Despite the generous filling, the flavors don’t taste artificial. They are sweet and creamy. The sugar on the outside is also lovely. Just the right amount.
I enjoyed the coconut and guava flavors. They were tropical and tasted like real fruit. The macadamia nuts were also really interesting and something new. The nutty flavor is creamy and delicious. We ate way too much!
Don’t miss out on visiting Leonard’s Bakery Malasadas Truck because:
- It is usually less crowded than the bakery.
- The malasadas are freshly made and delicious.
- There are lots of flavor combinations and toppings to experiment with.
- They have a long tradition and lots of experience making this treat perfectly.
Address: 7190 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96825
Malasadas might have arrived in Hawaii from Portugal, but the bakers of Hawaii have upgraded this baked good to perfection and made it their own.
Honolulu has some of the best malasadas in Hawaii, and there are endless options.
For the original malasadas without filling you must try Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery.
For fun pick-and-choose options, visit one of Leonard’s Bakery Malasadas Trucks.
Or you can check out my favorites at Liliha Bakery.
Wherever you visit, you will wish you had bought more malasadas to take with you.
So enjoy and try them all.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Why are malasadas popular in Hawaii?
This treat was brought to the islands a long time ago by migrant workers. You can compare it to a donut with fluffy egg dough on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Each one is filled with a cream of different tastes, the most popular being Lilikoi, chocolate, vanilla, and fruit flavors like guava. On the outside, they are glazed or covered in powdered sugar. They have become a traditional treat in Hawaii because they are easy to make and delicious. Many top-notch bakeries, such as Leonard’s Bakery and Liliha Bakery in Honolulu, have made them famous.
How is a malasadas different from a donut?
The malasadas are different from donuts because they use powdered milk and have an egg base in the dough. They also don’t have a hole in the middle of the dough and are traditionally filled with different creams. Unlike donuts, they are usually filled with tropical and fruit flavors, including apricot, guava, blueberries, and Lilikoi. Some of the most delicious and unique malasadas can be found in Honolulu’s famous Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery.
Are malasadas Hawaiian or Portuguese?
It is thought that the Azores workers brought this dish to Hawaii long ago. So in that way, they can be considered Portuguese. However, as with most food cultures, the Hawaiian people have made their malasadas unique and authentic, making them Hawaiian. They did this by incorporating unique glazes and fillings for the doughy treat. Check out some authentic Hawaiian masalas at Leonard’s Bakery and Liliha Bakery in Honolulu.
Last Updated on February 5, 2023 by Brigitte