As an award-winning donut maker, I’d kinda be a piece of garbage if I didn’t turn you on to Cekodok Pisang. These easy-to-make banana donuts have everything you love about banana bread, but perfectly moist and cakey inside and just a tiny bit crisp around the edges.
They are also known in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei as Kuih Kodok, and Jemput Jemput Pisang. Cekodok means “round balls” and Pisang is the Malay word for banana. Unlike light batter fried donuts (pisang goreng) which should be made with barely ripe bananas, these little rounds of joy are the perfect way to use up slightly overripe bananas. My recipe includes a hint of clove and cinnamon. Why? Because that makes these taste legendary!
Unlike my apple cider donuts (which have been featured in the New York Times) and my apple fritters, these are wayyyyyy less finicky and don’t require any special donut-making equipment to pull off with finesse. They make the perfect accompaniment to a steaming hot mug of bandrek, the mildly spiced pandan, and lemongrass tea that makes me want to snuggle up and read books all day.
Gather your ingredients, heat up your oil, and not long after it’s hot you will be ready to savor the magic of Cekodok Pisang! For real, these are that fast to whip up!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
✊Vegan AF: Like all of my dessert recipes, these donuts are 100% plant-based. No eggs or milk can be found here. Scared about that? My donuts have crushed the competition against non-vegan donuts at numerous events, and you are being trained to make ‘em by someone who has made donuts on the Food Network. So, just chill with your expectations that the fact they are vegan is a problem!
🥸 Fool-proof method: With step-by-step photos and clear instructions that are a piece of cake (or donut!), even first-time bakers with two left hands can master these banana donuts. I have also taught some great cooking classes on donut making, and even specifically cake donut making, that you can check out.
🍌 Banana Bliss: I’m gonna be honest, I DON’T LIKE overripe bananas. There. I said it. I really prefer my bananas when they are JUST no longer green, and that's what I use to make things like Kem Chuoi. However, if they get too ripe, this recipe is the perfect way to use ‘em up! The overripe bananas lend natural sweetness and moisture, making these donuts soft and perfect.
✅ Tested and Approved Worldwide: I don’t just make these recipes up while I’m in the bathtub and publish them from my waterproof palm pilot… No, mam. After tweaking and perfecting the recipe, I have also shared it with a giant group of recipe testers of all skill levels worldwide. And the results are in - people LOVE these little banana fritters!
🍩 Notable ingredients and substitutions
Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka)
This natural sweetener hailing from Malaysia adds a unique caramel-like flavor to savory dishes like tahu goreng, and is the absolute star of the show in desserts like ondeh ondeh and kuih ketayap. If you can’t find palm sugar, you can substitute it with brown sugar or coconut sugar for a similar depth of flavor.
Overripe Bananas (Pisang Matang)
Overripe bananas are easier to mash and add more moisture to the batter than underripe ones. If you don’t have any bananas, then just make a different dessert like lemon elderflower pound cake, or che ba mau, ya big goof!
Cloves and Cinnamon
Not everyone uses spices in their jemput pisang, but I wouldn’t skip them for the world. These spices bring warmth and subtle nuance to the donuts. Cloves offer a slightly peppery, earthy note, while cinnamon adds a sweet, woody aroma which is why I top off my Vietnamese Banh Flan with it. If you’re not a fan of cloves, you can omit them or replace them with a pinch of nutmeg. Cinnamon can be substituted with ground cardamom for a unique vibe.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
🍫Chocolatey: For a decadent twist, fold a handful of vegan chocolate chips into the batter before frying. The melted chocolate will create a luscious contrast to the banana goodness. Just ensure the chips are dairy-free so the donuts are vegan. There’s something about melted chocolate. I mean, it’s probably why I can’t get enough martabak manis in my life…
🥜Nutty Crunch: Add some texture by tossing chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans into the batter. This is like fried banana bread, so think of things you would like in that. Maybe crushed toasted almonds? Go nuts with your choice of nuts! Chopped dates?
📖 How to fry perfect cekodok pisang
Nail these little banana donuts on your first shot by following these step-by-step instructions with important tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Banana Mash (it is NOT a graveyard smash):
Smash ripe bananas in a bowl until smooth. You can do it by hand, or use a fork, or potato masher. If you want to make the whole batter using a stand mixer, just use the paddle attachment to mash the bananas first.
Mix It Up:
Stir in the all-purpose flour, palm sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, and fine salt, creating a thick rough batter.
Heat the Oil:
In a dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot, warm your choice of canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil over medium heat. If you’re using a thermometer or deep fryer, aim for 350-355°F (177-179°C).
Spoon and Fry:
With two spoons - one to scoop and the other to shape - carefully drop the batter into the hot oil, forming neat balls. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, so plan on frying this recipe in a couple of small batches.
Golden Brown Magic:
Fry for approximately 3 minutes until your Cekodok Pisang turns golden-brown.
Drain and Cool:
Lift the fried fritters out of the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and place them onto a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip away.
Palm Sugar Syrup (optional):
If desired, boil palm sugar, vanilla, and water together to make a syrup for drizzling onto the banana donuts.
Serve ‘em up hot: If you can, serve them warm with or without the syrup. Otherwise cake donuts like this last much better than yeasted donuts. Just store them at room temperature for up to two days.
Enjoy these fried banana balls as a dessert to your favey Malay or Indonesian dishes. Enjoy some after a bowl of mee rebus, or Sayur Lodeh with Lontong, Sambal Goreng Tempeh topped with sambal dabu dabu, or Urap Sayur served over one of Indonesia's classic rice dishes: Nasi Kunyit, Nasi Minyak, or Nasi Uduk Betawi.
Want to put a whole southeast Asian dessert spread together?
Serve these donuts with Bubur Cha Cha from Singapore, taro pudding from Vietnam, tupig from the Philippines, or Biji Salak from Indonesia. The options are endless, making Cekodok Pisang a versatile treat suitable for any occasion.
- Banana Bliss: Start with ripe to overripe bananas for the best flavor and texture. They should be soft and easy to mash, enhancing the natural sweetness of your Cekodok Pisang.
- Use a pot with high sides: Yes, you could make these in a frying pan, but using something with higher sides will help reduce the mess on your stovetop from splattering oil. Or, if you have one, you can use a countertop deep fryer for this project.
- Oil Temperature Matters: Maintain the right frying temperature (350-355°F; 177-179°C)) to achieve a perfect golden-brown color and slightly crispy exterior. Use a frying thermometer if possible.
- Spoon with Care: When dropping batter into the oil, use two spoons - one to scoop and the other to shape and drop the balls of batter into the hot oil. This technique ensures your Banana Donuts form neat, round balls, creating a visually appealing and evenly cooked result.
- Safety first: Take care when working with hot oil and don’t drop the batter from far above the height of the surface, and it will not splash.
Overripe bananas work best, as they are sweeter and easier to mash, but ripe bananas can be used with slightly adjusted sweetness. If you want to use plantains, just use the almost-completely black on the outside “maduros”.
What’s the best oil for frying?
You can use canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil, depending on your preference and availability. I avoid palm oil because environmentally sensitively produced palm oil is very hard to get.
Certainly! You can substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend to make this recipe gluten-free. It actually works amazingly well with a measure for measure GF flour mix!
These unfortunately don’t work well in an air fryer. It’s because the batter is loose and in a regular fryer, being dropped into hot oil immediately balls them up and causes them to cook perfectly. In an air fryer, they tend to spread too much and just don’t look attractive when made that way.
Storage: Store your Cekodok Pisang in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Don’t refrigerate them, or they will become stiffer and more bready.
🔥 Stovetop Reheating: To recapture that delightful crispness, reheat on a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side until they’re warmed through. No oil is needed and they’ll crisp up beautifully.
🍌 Microwave Reheating: For a quick fix, place the cekodok pisang on a microwave-safe plate and heat in 15-second intervals until they’re warm and ready to enjoy. Be cautious not to overheat to maintain their texture.
✌️A few other treats that go great with these are:
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Cekodok Pisang (Malaysian Kuih Kodok Banana Donuts)
- Mash the overripe bananas in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Gradually add all-purpose flour, palm sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix until you have a thick batter.
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat; you can use canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil. If you have a frying thermometer or are using a deep fryer, heat the oil to 350-355°F (177-179°C).
- When the oil is hot, carefully spoon portions of the batter into the oil. Use two spoons, one to scoop up the batter, and the other to push the batter into the hot oil. That way, your batter will form neat balls.
- Fry for about 3 minutes until the cekodok pisang turn golden-brown.
- Remove the fried fritters from the oil and place them on a wire rack to drain excess oil.
- If desired, bring palm sugar, vanilla, and water up to a boil over a medium flame to make a syrup for drizzling onto the banana donuts.