Filozes – Portuguese Donuts for #SundaySupper

A little birdie told me that today’s #SundaySupper was all about Portuguese food.  Now what kind of Portagee would I be if I didn’t hop on this and toss in my own recipe?  Well, not my recipe, but rather my Great Grandmother Emelia’s recipe for Filozes (pron: FAY lo shez)

Filozes are a yeast donut from the Azore Islands, West of Portugal.  They are in no way fancy pants.  There’s no pretty ring to make…you just grab some dough, drop it in the fat and get fryin’!  

I can remember being a young girl standing on a stool in my Great Grandma’s kitchen while she fried up filozes for me when I came to visit.  She also made sure to have a new box of Count Chocula, but that’s a whole other blog post.  

After they were cool enough for my little hands to touch, I would roll them in cinnamon and sugar.  She always managed to have a little mini donut mixed in there somewhere that I could pop in my mouth.  It’s a wonderful memory.

Until tonight, I had never made filozes myself.  Only dreamed of fond memories in my great grandmas kitchen.  I didn’t even have the recipe.  So, I rang up my 92 year old grandmother and asked if she still had it and within a few minutes of small talk about the weather, she was asking if I had my pen handy.  

I was shocked to learn that my very own grandmother, the queen of all things yeast, had never tried her hand at filozes before.  How could this be?  She warned that they were “hard to make” and “finicky”.  After 5 or 10 minutes more of small talk, I thanked her for sharing the recipe with me and hit the kitchen.  

This recipe differs a bit from the way my great grandma made them.  The luxury of Kitchenaid mixers definitely is a time saver…and a bicep saver.  

The first bite…..was a rush of memories back to that kitchen in Ferndale, CA

The crystal platter was a gift to my grandparents on their wedding day!

Filozes – Portuguese Donuts for #SundaySupper

Yield: Makes 2 dozen

Filozes – Portuguese Donuts for #SundaySupper

Yeasty free form donuts from my great grandmother who originated from the Azore Islands of Portugal.


  • 1 cup scalded whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 packets active yeast
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • Topping:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon


  1. In a medium bowl add the milk, sugar, water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until frothy. Add the yeast mixture, salt and melted butter and mix to combine. Add the sifted flour all at once and beat well to incorporate.
  3. Remove the bowl and cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Using a rubber spatula, drag along the edge of the dough and allow to rise for another 20 minutes.
  4. Prepare a dutch oven or deep fryer by adding 2 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees. Grab pieces of the dough and drop into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and then flip over. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and dip the warm donuts to coat. Eat immediately.

  • Amy
    April 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    My avo used to make filhos and everyone loved them. Ever since he passed we have tried to copy his recipe and they never turn out the same. Trying to find some like his, although he did not use yeast everyone else seems to. May need to try this one day.

  • Nancy
    November 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    My mother use to make these when I was a kid, around Easter. My brothers wife has made them for us. Love them, and would love my kids to make the to.

  • Rebekah Murphy (@bekahmurphy)
    May 13, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Just stumbled across this recipe. Growing up in the New Bedford, MA area, we always called these ‘malassadas.’ Apparently, that name is rather specific to Sao Miguel and mainland Portugal and the other islands call them filhos/filozes.

  • Lindsay
    March 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’m going to definitely try these out this weekend! My mother’s family is also from Ferndale, CA – small world. She was a Gomes.

  • Simone Rodrigues
    October 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hi! I´m from Portugal and the correct name is FILHÓS or FILHOSES (plural).

    • FarmgirlGourmet
      October 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      My grandmother from the Azores spells it Filozes. I imagine there must be different spellings for different regions. Thanks for the info.

  • Ron Shipman
    August 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    What great stories. My Avoa landed on Rhode Island 100 yrs ago on Aug 13th after a very rough and lengthy voyage from Sao Jorge. As a young boy in the 60’s at Vo va’s house I would eat filozes until I popped always warm and fresh probably 10,000 calories. Lol I finally found a recipe. Thank you thank you thankyou

    • Bill Boyd
      February 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      My grandfather also landed on Aug. 13th in Rhode Island. Last name is Vasconcellos. Whole family came over from Graciosa (via Angra). Any connection?

  • Jess
    April 27, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Where does the butter go? I didnt see it anywhere.

    • FarmgirlGourmet
      April 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Hi Jess – sorry for taking so long to respond, I was away from technology! Thanks for catching the missing butter, I have updated the recipe. I appreciate the note letting me know it was MIA. 🙂 ~Heather

  • Rosemarie Ormonde
    April 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    i am a first generation Portuguese whose parents were from the Azores. One side from the island of
    Terceira and the other from the island of Fial.
    My kids love these and couldn’t wait for Fat tuesday when their grandma Ormonde would have a housefull to enjoy. We had an assembly line so it wouldn’t be so much work. These were memoiries of our heritage and a fun way to have family gahterings

    • FarmgirlGourmet
      April 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Rosemarie – we used to do the assembly line at my Great Grandmothers house too!! I was always the cinnamon sugar station. 🙂 Such great memories…thanks for sharing yours with me.

    • Mary Ramos
      August 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Rosemarie, My Dad was from Terceira and I have cousins named Ormonde, wonder if we are related

  • Kathy Cambra
    April 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    This post makes me very happy! We have Filozes ever year on Fat Tuesday and New Years Eve because that’s when my grandma used to make them for us. My job was the sugar shaker. Now I do the frying and am passing on the tradition to my nieces. They love eating them and helping out. I even had these at my rehearsal dinner for my wedding. My cousin surprised me with them. Very sweet of her. Thanks for bringing back such great memories!

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