Malasadas or Guyanese pancakes are deep fried yeast dough balls drizzled in syrup. Think of a donut hole, but instead of dusting it in sugar, it is drizzled in syrup. It is traditionally made the day before Ash Wednesday, called pancake day by Catholic Guyanese. This day is also called Shrove or Fat Tuesday around the world and many people make some version of pancakes on this day.
When I was growing up in Guyana my next door neighbors were Catholics and made these pancakes every year on shrove Tuesday. The mom, Aunty Dawn, always passed a few malasadas over the fence for us to enjoy. The first time I had it, I said it tasted like a sweet pholourie. Click here to check out my pholourie recipe. But they are totally different.
Guyanese pancakes are our version of Portuguese Malasadas, a deep fried yeast dough that is sometimes stuffed with cream. You can learn more about malasadas here.
- All Purpose Flour
- Brown Sugar
- Evaporated Milk
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Bloom the yeast by dissolving a tablespoon of sugar into ¼ cup of warm water, then add the yeast. Let sit until the yeast is nice and frothy
Step 2: Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy
Step 3: Combine the bloomed yeast, eggs and melted butter and continue to whisk.
Fold the sifted flour and salt into the wet ingredients to form a thick batter.
- Flour - For my gluten free friends, this recipe works really well with a 1:1 substitution for the All Purpose flour with All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
- Milk - If you are dairy free, you can replace the milk with evaporated coconut milk
- Sugar - substitute the sugar with coconut sugar for a refined sugar free version of the recipe
- Eggs: I have not tried this with egg substitutes so I am not sure what the results would be.
Whisking the eggs: I used an electric whisk to get the fluffiest eggs. You can do this with a hand whisk or by putting your eggs in the stand mixer.
Scooping the batter: Using a cookie scoop is an easy way to scoop and drop the batter. First, using cooking spray, spray the cookie scoop before scooping up the first set of batter. This will make it easier for the batter to release from the scoop. Alternatively you can also use two dinner spoons. One to scoop the batter and the other one to scrape the batter into the dough.
Malasadas (Guyanese pancakes) are best enjoyed while freshly made and hot. You may store any leftover pancakes at room temperature for a day or two and then moved into the refrigerator. Please note that when refrigerated they may dry out.
Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour and no more that 1 and ½ hours. If it rests longer than that it may overproof and have a very yeasty taste. You may let the batter rest in a warm over. Warm up the oven for 5 minutes at 200 °F and then turn it off. Then cover the batter and place it in the oven for an hour. The method results in a perfectly light and fluffy batter.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Printable Recipe Card
Malasadas (Guyanese Pancake)
- 1 tablespoon Demerara Sugar (may use brown sugar or sugar in the raw)
- ¼ Cup Warm Water (110 *F)
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dry Active Yeast
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 tablespoon Melted Butter
- ½ Cup Evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (Optional)
- 2 Cups Flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 Cups Oil suitable for frying
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Water
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 inches lemon peel/zest (optional)
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
- Bloom the yeast by dissolving the sugar in the warm water, then adding the yeast and mix to combine. Cover and let rest until the yeast blooms and has a frothy top of at least an inch thick
- Add your eggs to a large enough bowl to allow the batter to proof and double in size. Then whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. If using a stand mixer, whisk on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Then add the melted butter and evaporated milk. Continue to whisk for another minute
- Add the bloomed yeast and vanilla extract (if using) to the eggs, then gently whisk to combine
- Sieve the flour and salt into the wet ingredients, then using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the flour into the wet ingredients until fully combined
- Cover the batter and place it in a warm, dark place to proof for an hour or until it doubles in size
Make the Syrup
- While the dough is resting, make the syrup by combining all of the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then allow it to come up to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes or until it thickens and looks like pancake syrup. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Strain to remove the cinnamon sticks and the lemon zest
Cook the Malasadas (Guyanese Pancakes)
- When ready to cook, pour the oil into a pan deep enough so that there is at least 3 inches of oil in the pan. Heat the oil on medium heat until it is really hot but not smoking about 300 °F
- Using a cookie scoop, or two dinner spoons, scoop and drop batter into the hot oil. Cook each dough ball for a minute, then flip and continue to cook for an additional minute for even cooking. The aim is to get an evenly golden brown pancake ball. Work in batches to not over crowd the pan.
- Remove from the oil, then rest on a few paper towel sheets. Repeat until all of the malasadas are cooked.
- Pour the syrup over the malasdas and serve warm
- The oil should be hot enough that it takes a minute for the dough to get brown. If it gets brown immediately, the oil is too hot and the pancakes will be raw on the inside.
- If the oil is too cold the pancakes will be soggy. I recommend using a thermometer if you have one. Or testing one malasadas before adding in a full batch.
Giselle DaMota says
Hi Althea, You mentioned Evaporated Milk in your ingredient list in the body of this post, but it isn't in the instructions, or on the recipe card. Is it safe to assume it isn't needed, or am I missing a part of the recipe?
Juanita M says
I notice this too but I poured enough to have a thicker consistency of pancake.