Fried Pumpkin Cakes (Filhoses de Abóbora)

Filhoses de Abóbora are Portuguese Fried Pumpkin Cakes, it doesn’t get much better than that. These are one of my favorite desserts in all of Portuguese cuisine. They are a lot like malassadas, the most popular version of Portuguese fried dough, but with a unique pumpkin flavored twist. The combination of the sweet crunchy fried dough with a pumpkin scent and flavor, coated in sugar and cinnamon, makes for an unbelievable dessert. They are actually quite simple and easy to make, so go ahead and try these wonderful fried pumpkin treats for yourself.

6 lbs. pumpkin (you can use butternut squash as well)
3 cups water
1/4 cup rum
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups oil for frying
2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons sugar

1) De-skin and de-seed the pumpkin (or squash).

2) In a saucepan cook the pumpkin with the water and salt.

3) Once the pumpkin is soft and tender, remove the pumpkin and let it strain most of its liquid. If you have a cheese cloth it is best for straining the liquid. If not use a regular strainer. This should take 3-4 hours.

4) In a blender, add the pumpkin, rum, and sugar and blend it until it is a smooth and even consistency.

5) Once done, pour it into a bowl and add the flour and mix it in well.

6) Use a tablespoon and begin to knead the dough into balls for frying. If the dough does not have a strong enough consistency, add some more flour and knead it in accordingly.

7) Pour a one inch layer of oil into a frying pan and begin frying the balls. Usually it takes about 1-2 minutes on both sides until they are golden brown.

8) Fry them individually until they are golden brown, then set aside on paper towels to dry.

9) Once they are all done and fried, cover the fried cakes with sugar and cinnamon.

10) Serve.


  1. Debbie

    Do you have a successful recipe for “Cataplana”?

  2. Kimberly Bishop

    My dad used to make these all the time when I was little. I’m pretty sure he didn’t cook a pumpkin when he made his. Would canned pumpkin work? – not the pumpkin pie of course.

    • Pbicudo1

      You can use both squash and pumpkin. I think canned pumpkin might be a bit too dense to get the right texture, and the fried cakes would certainly be fresh, which is what makes this such a great treat. But who knows it might work! Basically frying anything always ends up well, so try it out for yourself and see how it ends up!

    • Beth

      I used canned pumpkin all the time. They come out delicious. I don’t add the rum just as delicious

  3. Do you have recipe for pudim de feijao?

  4. isabel

    what is abobora gilla called in English, and is it sold in usa.

  5. Isabelle Bernhardt

    after you Cook a 6 pound pumpkin how much cups that will be?
    Just in case I want use the canned kind I don’t know how much …….can you please give me a measure?
    Thank you

  6. Rosemary Martino

    If you do use canned pumpkin how much do you use?? One large can or how many onces or cups??

  7. These look great, and I had just bought a pumpkin. I will give them a try, thanks for this.

  8. Ana

    Try using carrots instead of pumpkin, it’s even better!

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