Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls

This copycat recipe for Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls is perfectly sweet, soft, fluffy, and golden brown. You’re going to love how easy these are to make! Watch the video to learn how.
Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls - perfect copycat recipe!!

Now that it’s officially summer, at least for this half of the world, I can’t stop thinking about tropical getaways. It’s kind of ridiculous that it’s SO hot here in Phoenix that a tropical getaway sounds like it would be significantly cooler. At least it might be more, well, moist, instead of bone-dry and desolate like it’s been in Arizona. I think we’ve had less than 2-inches of rain this entire year to date. Why anyone ever decided to live here in the first place is beyond me! We’d all be goners without modern conveniences and water systems.

The best I can do this summer since I unfortunately don’t have any tropical vacations planned is to eat like I’m on vacation. And although I’m not quite sure how authentic the idea of Hawaiian bread rolls is, these are just perfect for any summer feast. Seriously, just look at these pictures. I’m so glad I finally got down a nearly perfect copycat recipe for homemade Hawaiian bread rolls to share with you. I hope your family loves it!!

Do you have any fun vacations planned for the summer?

Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls - so soft and fluffy!

Recipe Notes:

Don’t let these intimidate you, they’re meant to ensure your baking success!

  • The recipe is specifically written to produce bread rolls as similar as possible to the store-bought kind, so changing or substituting anything will produce different results!
  • This recipe is meant to be sweet, which is why the pineapple juice and sugar is added. If you don’t want it to be sweet reduce the sugar.
  • The recipe calls for instant yeast because I find that to be easy and simple. If you need to use active dry yeast instead, add it to the pineapple juice and milk and let sit for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Note that you may have longer rising times.
  • You may knead the dough by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer. It may take up to 10 minutes by hand.
  • You may use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour, but the bread flour gives these rolls a perfectly round shape and chewy texture.
  • Weighing the flour gives you the most accurate and best results, but if you’re using cup measures be sure to use the spoon & level method.


  • You can freeze 10 minutes after your shape the dough into rolls. Defrost overnight in the fridge, let sit at room temperature for about an hour, until puffy and not so cold, before baking as the recipe directs.
  • You can also let the shaped rolls rise overnight in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour, until puffy and not so cold, before baking as the recipe directs.
  • You can freeze the fully baked rolls in an airtight container. Thaw to room temperature overnight before reheating in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes. You can also bake straight from the freezer at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes, though this method may produce more dry rolls.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Sweet, slightly tropical, and buttery.
Texture: Soft, fluffy, and tender with a golden brown chewy exterior.
Ease: If bread baking overwhelms you this is a wonderful place to start!! Watch the video and read the above recipe notes and you’ll be good to go, promise!
Appearance: Who could resist one of these big beautiful sweet golden rolls? They look just like the store-bought ones!
Pros: Easy, relatively quick, delicious, perfect for a special dinner.
Cons: None except maybe that these are made with white flour.
Would I make this again? Oh absolutely!

Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls - perfect copycat recipe!!


Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Yield: 15 bread rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


For the rolls:

1/2 cup pineapple juice (room temperature)
1/2 cup warm milk (100 – 110°F)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) bread flour

For baking:

1 large egg


Combine the pineapple juice, milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn to medium-low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a dough begins to form. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until a soft and smooth ball of dough forms.

Place the dough in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy and doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan.

In a small bowl combine the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush all over the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Adapted from JW Food and Design and here

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Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls - perfect copycat recipe!!

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56 Responses to “Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls”

  1. #
    Chloe @ foodlikecake — June 25, 2014 at 3:56 am

    These look amazing!

  2. #
    Chloe @ foodlikecake — June 25, 2014 at 3:57 am

    These look so soft and fluffy, mmm :-)

  3. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — June 25, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I swear those little sweet rolls get me every time. I find myself not able to stop eating them if I have them around, but if I made them myself, I couldn’t feel bad about snarfing them down since I’d never waste anything I actually made. :)

  4. #
    Katie — June 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I know what I’m making this weekend. These would be amazing with pulled pork.

    • Tessa replied: — June 26th, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

      I literally had these with pulled pork for dinner on Tuesday night!

  5. #
    Jaclyn — June 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    That texture looks PERFECT! And that golden top, to die for!

  6. #
    Gaby — June 26, 2014 at 6:58 am

    So soft and with just a hint of sweetness, these would be irresistible!

  7. #
    Carol — June 26, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Can you do this in a bread maker as a loaf?

    • Tessa replied: — June 26th, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

      I don’t own a bread maker but I don’t see why not… it wouldn’t exactly be a copycat recipe at that point though!

  8. #
    Jess — June 28, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Wow, these look great, and I imagine taste even better! I love these with pork, and coleslaw.

  9. #
    Allie — June 29, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Can’t wait to try this! Have always loved those King Hawaiian Bread Rolls. Quick question, can the recipe be halved? Otherwise would you instead recommend using some AP flour since I won’t have enough bread flour? I prob have around 3 cups of bread flour left but can’t wait to make this soon!

    • Tessa replied: — June 29th, 2014 @ 8:01 am

      You should be just fine using up all the bread flour you have then substituting AP flour for the remaining amount.

  10. #
    Leah — July 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

    I made these yesterday and they turned out harder then i’m sure there supposed to be rather than light and fluffy. I’m wondering if that is the result of not letting it rise long enough? Thanks!

  11. #
    Melchor Mesias — August 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Good day ma’am Tessa that was another amazing bread recipe…it’s a big help to me because here in our country philippines culinary school is so expensive ..so I’m very thankful to find your website…thank you so much…more power and Godbless…

  12. #
    Amber — August 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    These look great and will be the first recipe I make with my new stand mixer. Thanks so much

  13. #
    Juney — October 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

    This was sooooo fantastic tasting and easy. I’ve turned into a Carb-Monster…. I ate two in a row !!!

  14. #
    Desiree' McCann — November 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I am curious. My dough has been sitting in the bowl for about 45 minutes now and it hasn’t risen at all. First time making any kind of bread.

    • Tessa replied: — November 3rd, 2014 @ 9:31 am

      It sounds like you didn’t use instant yeast or your yeast might be dead (or your kitchen is really cold).

  15. #
    Lola — November 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Not all the flour is not being incorporated. I have followed the recipe to a T. Now what do I do? Too much money to waste.

    • Tessa replied: — November 3rd, 2014 @ 9:30 am

      Not all the flour is not being incorporated? I really have no idea what the means! :(

  16. #
    Madelyn — November 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Tessa,

    I just took these rolls out of the oven and ate 2! They are wonderful! My girls really liked them too. Very easy to do. Will be making regularly. Thank you! Will be trying more of your recipes.

    • Tessa replied: — November 13th, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear that, thanks for sharing.

  17. #
    Amanda — November 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    What’s your recommendation for storage? I’ll need to bake this weekend for Thanksgiving. Fridge or counter?

    • Tessa replied: — November 20th, 2014 @ 10:53 am

      Hi! Please see the “make ahead” advice in the post. I would not recommend baking 4-5 days ahead of time, they will go stale unless you freeze.

  18. #
    Andrea Sweet — December 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    How did you keep the milk and pineapple from curdling when mixed? This would seem to be a possible problem with recipe

  19. #
    janet — January 7, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I made these rolls with my brand new Kitchenaid mixer (1st thing I made with the KA mixer). Filled them with Mojo style pulled pork, topped with pan seared pineapples.
    Very delicious!
    Better than the Store bought Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.
    Will make again!

  20. #
    janet — January 7, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  21. #
    Cesar Ceja — January 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Hello. The recipe states “4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) bread flour” but 4.5 cups is not 20 ounces. Which is correct for the recipe, 4.5 cups (36 ounces) or 2.5 cups (20 ounces)?

    • Tessa replied: — January 12th, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

      Hi! If you’re not familiar with weighing ingredients it can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around at first but think of it this way – 1 cup of feathers will not weigh the same amount as 1 cup of lead. 1 cup does not always equal 8 ounces. Please see my Ultimate Guide to Measuring for more help: http://www.handletheheat.com/ultimate-guide-measuring/

  22. #
    Chelsea — January 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I just made these, and I don’t think they came out right. The dough didn’t double in size before I formed them for baking. Does the pineapple juice have to be warm? Mine was cold, but I had the milk warmed to the appropriate temperature. I baked them. They rose, but I think it was because of the eggs. I also kneaded by hand because I do not have a have kitchen aid, will that make a difference?

  23. #
    Laura — January 16, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Chelsea, I had issues of whether the pineapple juice’s temperature was crucial for this recipe to come out right. I researched two other Hawaiin roll recipes and BOTH said to use ROOM temperature pineapple juice. It makes sense because of the yeast. Thanks for bringing this to light in this recipe.

  24. #
    Randy — January 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I will be using Active Dry Yeast and read your instructions on how to substitute; however, I am wondering if I need to adjust the measurement you stated for the instant yeast and if so what would the new amount be for the Active Dry Yeast? Thank you and great video btw!

    • Tessa replied: — January 19th, 2015 @ 1:48 pm

      Active dry yeast and instant yeast can be substituted for each other 1:1. Happy baking!

  25. #
    Magiasbook — February 14, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Olá vou experimentar sua receita e fazer,espero acertar o que é farinha de pão para vocês aqui no Brasil eu conheço farinha de trigo .

  26. #
    cecilia — February 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Oi magiasbook.
    Se vc nao achar a farinha propria para pao. Use uma farinha de boa qualidade.E so isso.

  27. #
    Aria — March 25, 2015 at 6:08 am

    @Lola, since the OP seems confused: if all of your flour does not incorporate, it is probably due to your house/where you love being much drier. In more humid climates, you need more flour to compensate for the moisture in the air. I’ve noticed that for some bread recipes the flour requirements can fluctuate by +/- 1.5 cups from winter to summer here in the humid South.

  28. #
    Melissa — April 7, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I had to let you know that my family LOVES these rolls, thank you so much for posting your recipe!! I make them at least twice a week. I hate buying mass-produced, chemical filled bread so I always make my own and this is my kids’ favorite for their school lunches. They are delicious!

  29. #
    Rebecca — April 14, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    These turned out perfect! I cut the sugar in half to make less sweet rolls for the particular dinner I was making. I’ll definitely try out the original soon too!

  30. #
    Vickie — April 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t have a stand up mixer. Can I fold in the flour by hand and how long should I knead it?

    • Rebecca replied: — April 19th, 2015 @ 1:10 pm

      She addresses that in the post.

  31. #
    Ivy — April 19, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    I used instant yeast, turn out terrible. The dough became very dry and falling apart. Oh and the yeasty smell is super awful even though I followed the recipe to a T. So I switch to active dry yeast and everything come out perfect. I’m so glad I didn’t get discourage after the first fail. Also, the second time I use only 3 2/3 cup bread flour. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

    • Tessa replied: — April 21st, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

      I’m guessing your experiences have less to do with the yeast and way more to do with the amount of flour used! Use a scale to weigh your flour for the most accurate results or be sure to use the spoon and level method of measuring flour with measuring cups. More info here: http://www.handletheheat.com/2014/07/ultimate-guide-measuring.html

  32. #
    Ana — April 26, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I made these rolls this weekend and they turned out great! They’re not quite as sweet as regular Hawaiian rolls, which is nice. Thanks for the recipe!

  33. #
    Lyndia — May 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I have the packets of Fleischmann’s RapidRISE HIGHLY ACTIVE YEAST. can I use it in this recipe? If so, how many packs. Should I use?

  34. #
    Steve Vickery — May 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Hi, I just made these and they looked great but were really dense :( . I used active yeast w 1/4 cup of water and bread flour. I also baked them in a glass dish so I lowered the temp to 350 and baked till golden brown. So bumbed. Any suggestions to make them turn out fluffier?

  35. #
    Jo Stone — May 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I made your recipe today. Well attempted to.

    The dough was really wet and sticky…..until I realized that I added 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of juice instead of a half cup of each, lol.

    Once I added twice as many of the other ingredients, it came together nicely. I cooked half of the recipe and froze the other half.

    Sometimes mistakes are good, I’m glad that I had enough ingredients.

    It turned out really good. :)

  36. #
    Ada — June 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Just made these…. ABSOLUTELY delish! So easy to make. Thanks Tessa!

  37. #
    Rae — June 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I have tried many copy cat Hawaiian bread recipes. This is the only one that is SPOT ON!!! These will become a regular on my “Breads To Bake List”. Thanks so much. I am a hit with my granddaughter. Hawaiian rolls are her favorite!

  38. #
    Lenore DeLitizia — August 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Just made these using the dough setting on my bread machine. I used bread machine yeast, and, OMG, they are amazing. Thank you for the best Hawaiian roll recipe ever.

    • Tessa replied: — August 19th, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

      Wonderful Lenore, thanks for sharing about the bread machine!

  39. #
    Lenore DeLitizia — August 21, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Hi again, Tessa. As I said previously, these rolls are amazing. Would it be possible to make bread from this recipe, and, if so, would it be in a bread pan, or would I have to use a pie plate or cake pan?

  40. #
    Christine Jeffries — August 25, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I don’t understand what I did wrong. both times I made these rolls, they turned out dense and not fluffy. Any ideas?

    • Tessa replied: — August 25th, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

      Is it possible you over-measured the flour? I always like to use a scale because measuring cups often compact ingredients resulting in too much. Was your yeast fresh? Check out this post for tips on measuring and checking for yeast freshness: http://www.handletheheat.com/ultimate-guide-measuring/

  41. #
    Christine Jeffries — August 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you for your response. I did measure the flour by weight but it was too sticky and added a bit more. I am also wondering if I didn’t let it rise enough. And the yeast was fresh. Just purchased with a date of 2016.

  42. #
    Stacy W — August 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    These were wonderful! I made them last night for pulled pork sandwiches. I did have to tweek the recipe because I live above 4000 feet, but will definitely make again! Thank you for the recipe.

    Oh, for high altitude, I decreased the yeast by 1/4 tsp, added an additional 2 tbs. of pineapple juice and to make sure they come out nice and moist, 2 tbs. sour cream.

    • Tessa replied: — September 1st, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

      Wonderful Stacy! Thanks for sharing your high altitude adjustments – so helpful!

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