Pumpkin Doughnuts with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling

Filled sugar covered doughnuts in paper bag. Pumpkin, leaves, and cinnamon sticks in background.

We mean it when we say, pumpkin spiced everything! It’s everywhere you turn your head during this time of year.  You can’t get away from it, so you might as well embrace it 😉 Embrace it we did, this week!

These doughnuts were inspired by a popular doughnut that can be found back in my home state Hawai’i. Malasadas are a Portuguese doughnut. It’s a light and fluffy dough, deep fried until golden brown then rolled in sugar. The famous Malasadas of Hawai’i or most well known are Leonards. I grew up on the Big Island though, and our Malasadas only came from Tex Drive In. They only have one location in Honokaa, a small little town about an hour outside of my hometown Hilo. We would stop at Tex Drive in and get malasadas in a paper bag to eat for the remaining time  on our drives to the other side of the island. Good times.

I’m not calling these malasadas quite yet (perhaps with a little more experimenting they will become malasadas). Malasadas in my mind are like biting into light puffy dough balls. These are a bit more dense than what I would consider a malasada. Still good as all heck though! I did base the recipe off of this rad local girl here. Like a lot of “dough” recipes it takes time to rise and proof. Make some coffee, read a book, do some laundry then reward yourself with these pumpkin spiced dream balls. Just don’t let the time frame deter you from making these, you won’t regret it.

Pumpkin Doughnuts with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Bringing you another childhood favorite, and Hawai’i favorite really. These malasada like doughnuts hit the fall vibe spot. Depending on the size you make them small or regular you could feed a good sized crowed.


  • 1 Packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tbsp Butter melted
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground cloves
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • Oil for frying


  • 1 Package cream cheese room temp
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Fluff


  1. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup add your yeast, (warm) water, and sugar. Set aside and allow to bloom (foamy).
  2. In your mixing bowl with paddle attachment. Add eggs and pumpkin puree. Mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Add milk, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix well until combined.
  4. In another bowl combine remaining ingredients, flour and spices.
  5. On slow mix, incorporate your flour mixture into your pumpkin puree mixture until combined and smooth.
  6. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm dark area for about 1 hr. It will double in size. I heated my oven up to 100 degrees before starting, then turned it off once it preheated.
  7. Once your dough has risen, form equal balls and flatten into discs. Or you could roll out your dough to1/2” thickness and cut with a 2” round cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet. Cover with a towel.
  8. Let rise for another 2 hrs.
  9. Heat up a pan or pot of oil on medium high heat. A trick I love to test the heat is sticking a toothpick or chopstick in the oil. If bubbles start foaming around them, you are ready to go.
  10. Fry on both sides until golden brown usually 3-5 min on a side.
  11. Remove from oil, and place on a rack. Once it has slightly cooled, roll in sugar to coat. I put sugar in a doubled small paper bag and had some shaking fun.


  1. In a mixing bowl add softened cream cheese, sugar and fluff.

  2. Mix until light and fluffy.

  3. Place into piping bag, and fill your doughnuts!!

This filling- guyyyssss, you could use in a lot more ways than this recipe. I’m thinking a frosting, oh the possibilities.

Traditional Malasadas are not filled. However you can find them either way now days. Since this recipe was inspired by Malasadas I did both filled and non filled. If you don’t want to deal with filling these delicious sugary goodness, you could always use the filling as a dipping sauce instead.

I hope you enjoy a little piece of the season through this recipe, get a little messy while eating it. Have the kids help roll out the dough, or roll these dough balls in sugar. Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring joy into our heart.

Happy Snacking,


CategoriesBreakfast Dessert