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Leonard's Bakery (Oahu)

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Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu is where you go for malasadas, a popular Hawaii dessert. Malasadas are golden on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and super onolicious. Here's everything you need to know about visiting Leonard's Bakery.

Hot dough, fried golden, rolled in sugar. Made to order! Meet Leonard's malasadas.

What Is Leonard's Bakery 

Leonard's Bakery is one of the most famous bakeries in Hawaii. They are known for malasadas (which is Hawaii's version of a doughnut...except malasadas are way tastier than doughnuts ^_^).

Leonard's has been around since 1952 and is still a family-run business. They are located on Kapahulu Avenue, just a 5-minute drive from Waikiki. Locals and tourists love this place, it is a Hawaii treasure.

What To Get At Leonard's Bakery 

Malasadas!

Leonard's is a full bakery offering everything from custard pies to pao doce (sweet bread) and Portuguese sausage buns. Don't get distracted. Stay focused on one section of the menu: malasadas.

Two Types of Malasadas

There are two types of malasadas, and you should try them both...

Malasadas (not stuffed with a filling)

Malasadas without a filling is the classic. The dough is simply fried and rolled in lots of sugar. There are three sugar options:

  1. Original (Plain Sugar): The traditional malasadas. Just plain white sugar. You need to try this before trying the other flavors.
  2. Cinnamon-Sugar: A fun spin on the on the original.
  3. Li Hing Mui-Sugar: Here's a full post about li hing mui. Here they mix li hing mui with sugar, and the malasada has this tart-sweet note to it. 

Malasada Puffs (stuffed with a filling)

Malasadas stuffed with a filling are considered "modern." These are more of a novelty, though still very delicious. Be careful when you eat...the pudding-esque filling can ooze out fast. Malasada Puffs come in multiple flavors:

  1. Custard - Think vanilla pudding.
  2. Dobash - This one is chocolate! We have these cakes in Hawaii called "Dobash Cakes," they're like light, chocolate sponge cakes with a chocolate pudding filling. This one is my favorite of the Malasada Puffs.
  3. Haupia - Remember this post about haupia? Here they make haupia really soft and light, then use it to fill the malasada.
  4. Macadamia - With macadamia nuts.
  5. Guava - Good pick if you want a lighter, fruity flavor. 
  6. Flavor of the Month - always changing, always fun. Past flavors include: lilikoi (passion fruit), pumpkin, banana, pinapple, and mango.

If I could only pick one malasada? It would be the plain sugar. Can't beat the original ^_^

Best Time To Go 

Leonard's Bakery gets crazy packed on the weekends (Fridays included). The lines are out the door (and you'll be standing out in the sun/heat because the line forms outside).

I like going on a random weekday (Monday, Tuesday) between 4-7pm when people are usually taking an afternoon nap or at dinner :). It's also less hot/sunny during those hours so you can sit and enjoy your malasada right outside the store.

How To Order

Three parts:

  1. Get in line. First, someone will take your order and give you a receipt/ticket. If it's your first time I like to get six malasadas (one each of: original, cinnamon-sugar, li hing mui-sugar, dobash-filled, custard-filled, and haupia-filled).
  2. Then you proceed to the register and pay the amount on your receipt/ticket.
  3. Then hover around and wait for them to call your order number. The malasadas are fried to order so this can take a bit of time if it's really busy.

Where To Eat

Malasadas are best hot and fresh. I try to eat malasadas within a few minutes of purchasing them. They have a few benches outside the store, and if you're lucky enough to score a seat, sit and eat! 

In Hawaii, we often bring big boxes of malasadas to family gatherings/parties, so you won't get them super hot in those cases. But as long as you eat malasadas the day of, then it's still pretty great. 

If you want to save malasadas for next day, store overnight in the fridge and reheat them in the toaster oven. 

Locations: Original Store and Trucks

The main store on Kapahulu Street. This is their flagship location with lines out the door.

Leonard's also has multiple trucks aka the Malasadamobile. Malasadamobiles are parked at Waikele Shopping Center, Pearlridge Shopping Center, and Koko Marina Shopping Center.  The Malasadamobile satisfies in a pinch, but you should visit the original store for the full experience.

Leonard's Bakery: Insider Tips

  • Leonard's Bakery is located near Ono Seafood and Waiola Shave Ice. You can visit all three places in one go! Poke and rice lunch at Ono Seafood, malasadas at Leonard's Bakery, and then cool off with shave ice at Waiola Shave Ice
  • Go during off hours (I prefer Monday or Tuesday between 4-7pm). It's not so comfortable  waiting in a long line under the burning sun and then eating malasadas (which are hot, sweet, and fried) when you're all sweaty 🙂
  • Parking situation is tight. During off-hours, you can get a spot no problem. But during busy times...good luck. There's street parking nearby and you can take a chance in the Safeway lot across the street (but make it fast because they might tow). 
  • Malasadas are made to order. No matter what time you visit, you'll always get a "fresh" malasada hot from the fryer.

Leonard's Bakery: Info

  • Leonard's Bakery | 933 Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 | 808-737-5591 leonardshawaii.com
  • Price: Malasadas are $1.30 each, Malasada Puffs are $1.65 each
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday (5:30am-10pm), Friday-Saturday (5:30am-11pm)
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Mahalo for Reading!

Kathy Chan

Wednesday 9th of October 2019

Hi Brent!

Totally agree. It's a world of difference between a hot/fresh malasada and room temperature one. So happy you like Pipeline! I'm always go Leonard's or Pipeline for my cravings...sometimes even both ahaha. They're so different but I think they're both great. Pipeline post coming up soon :)

So curious the place your cousin went to... Could it have been Agnes Portuguese Bake Shop? Agnes was THE Kailua spot before it closed.

- Kathy

Brent

Wednesday 9th of October 2019

Not a Leonard's story - but a few trips back a distant cousin got us a giant box of malasadas from an unknown (to me anyway) place in Kailua. AFTER eating a giant breakfast at Cinnamon's. Suffice it to say I could not even manage a bite at the time.

We took them home and tried them a few hours later and found them to be no longer good, in our opinion. We generally don't think they're much good beyond a few hours. We took them to the stream feeding the Ala Wai and fed them to the fish.

On the flip side - Pipeline is the kind we can bring home to California, I think. We got an extra freebie from them for giving a wrong order initially, and I shoved it in my backpack for plane enjoyment. Ate it around 7-8 hours later, still fantastic!