Baking Blog

Aloha, Delicious: Hawaiian Rolls Recipe

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Hawaiian bread rolls”? Is the first thought of a commercial food, a bag of puffy, sweet rolls, sold at the supermarket? 

Well, it’s time to shift your thinking, because this Hawaiian rolls recipe yields feathery-light rolls that are completely homemade, and completely delicious. 

How to make Hawaiian bread rolls

Photos via CakeSpy

Gently sweetened with pineapple juice and brown sugar, these egg-enriched rolls have substance in spite of their light texture, with a rich, full flavor. Once you try one of these rolls fresh and warm from the oven, you might have difficulty ever going back to the commercially produced variety.

While the two rising periods called for in this recipe require some ahead-of-time planning to make these rolls, they’re very easy to make, and they keep well for several days, or up to a month in the freezer. 

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Hawaiian bread rolls

Hawaiian rolls recipe

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 16 rolls

For the sponge

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water 

For the dough

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk; reserve the egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step 1:

Prepare the "sponge." In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of the sponge ingredients. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Sponge
Step 2:

Add the pineapple juice, butter, brown sugar, eggs and yolk, and vanilla, mixing until combined.

Wet ingredients
Step 3:

In a separate bow, sift together the remaining flour, starch, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the liquid ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.

Step 4:

Begin to mix the ingredients using the paddle attachment. The mixture will start out quite sticky. Once the ingredients have come together, continue to mix and knead until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic. You can continue with the paddle attachment or switch to the dough hook.

Author's note: I do not have a dough hook so I used the paddle attachment for 5 minutes to knead, pausing and scraping the dough that might have stuck to the bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment a few times during the process. 

Dough
Step 5:

Lift the dough out of the bowl for a moment. Lightly grease the bottom of the mixing bowl, form the dough into a ball, and place it back in the bowl. Cover, and let rise until puffy, about 2 hours.

Ball of dough

Step 6:

Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Gently, deflate the dough. Divide it into 16 equal pieces, by dividing in half, then in halves again, until you have 16 equal pieces.

Equal portions

Step 7:

Form each piece into a smooth ball, with the seam, if any, facing down. Space the buns in the pan (two rows of 5, and one of 6). 

Hawaiian bread rolls
Step 8:

Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the pan for 1 hour, until it's nicely puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Risen Hawaiian rolls
Step 9:

Mix the reserved egg white with about 1 tablespoon of water, and brush over the tops of the rolls. This will give them a shiny finish.

Brush with egg white
Step 10:

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden on top. 

Just baked Hawaiian bread rolls
Step 11:

Remove the rolls from the oven, and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for several minutes, then remove from the pan to serve warm. 

Hawaiian bread roll with bite taken out

Store leftovers, wrapped, at room temperature for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. 

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14 Comments

Carol Le Strange

These look delicious. Can they be made using a bread machine, or by hand, without the mixer?
thanks fro posting.

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

Hi carol, I don’t have a bread maker so I cannot attest to that but yes, you can make them by hand. The mixing times may differ slightly, but you can look for visual cues for when the dough is ready, etc.

Reply
Olive Alleyne

I am happy to receive the Receipt for the buns, thry look delicious I will try
them, in the week, I hope the come out as they look here in the picture.

Thank you.

Reply
carla

I make these to use as slider buns. You can absolutely do this on the dough setting in your bread machine. I mix the sponge in the dough machine pan..then just toss the rest of the ingredients on top when the sponge is ready. When the machine has completed the dough cycle, shape, bake and enjoy. I live in Denver, so no additional rising time is needed here…the machine cycle is perfect.

Reply
Margie Savoie

Thank you so much for letting me know this can be done in bread machine (mixing & kneading). Have you tried baking a loaf instead of buns in machine? Wonder how much to separate out? Cook o. Light white setting?

Reply
Margie Savoie

Thank you so much for letting me know this can be done in bread machine (mixing & kneading). Have you tried baking a loaf instead of buns in machine? Wonder how much to separate out? Cook on light white setting?

Reply
Kathy

Can you tell me what kind of yeast to use?

Reply
Pamela G

I don’t know if they’re trying to put down the supermarket Hawaiian rolls by calling them the puffy, sweet rolls from the supermarket but I have yet to come across any living breathing organism that doesn’t LOVE those rolls. They are YUMMY! Personally, if this homemade version is anywhere close to as good as the commercial ones I’ll be happy. I just wish I had a gluten free recipe for these very rolls. They’re one of the things I just ache for when I’m in the grocery store and I can’t have.

Reply
charlotte

I used 2 3/4 c of flour and the dough was so sticky I couldn’t even divide most of it was on my hands, so I had to flour continuesly to form anything remotely looking like a bun. Should I just increase the flour to 3 1/2 c?

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

Charlotte, I would add flour a little at a time rather than increasing it by such a large amount. Are you in a humid climate?

Reply
Jen

If this is adapted from the king Arthur site…..why does it not call for bread flour??.

Reply
Breezy

Because “adapted” is the operative word. It’s not the actual recipe from the King Arthur site, it’s a recipe that’s been adapted (changed) from the actual recipe on the King Arthur site.

Reply
sandie

I’m sure this has been answered before, but I’m new to the site.
Question: Why use unsalted butter, If you use salted butter you should not
have to add salt. Thank you

Reply
EvaNEvyn's Mom

These rolls were AMAZING. I made them as a test run before our Thanksgiving feast. We were amazed at how light and fluffy the rolls were. My daughter has requested that I make a double match for Thanksgiving.

Reply

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