Hawaiian Rolls with a Little Help from Your Bread Machine

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Sneak Peek: Prepare to wow your loved ones with Hawaiian Rolls made with the help of your bread machine that rival store-bought Hawaiian bread in flavor, texture, and appearance. Ingredients include pineapple juice, honey, ginger, all-purpose flour, and cake-batter extract (the secret ingredient.

a clone recipe of King's Hawaiian Bread Rolls with sandwich makings on the sidePin

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Have you been looking for the perfect Hawaiian Bread recipe that genuinely looks and tastes like the fabulous bread you buy in the store? Me, too. Of course, we will make it with our bread machine.

Four Reasons Why You Will Be Glad You Tried This Recipe

  1. These are really close to the authentic Sweet Hawaiian Bread. I think I’ve mastered the formula after years of disappointment with recipes that claimed to imitate Sweet Hawaiian Bread. That’s according to my tastebuds and those of my family and friends. I think you will agree after you taste them.
  2. Try using these as slider buns. Eating sandwiches will be fun all over again.
  3. Make these with your bread machine using the DOUGH cycle. Be sure to read my Surprising Secret for Making Better Bread with a Bread Machine if you haven’t already.
  4. If you don’t have a bread machine, you can always make these rolls by hand or use a stand mixer. See the recipe notes for details.

Happy Bakers Speak Up

I just made these, and they are wonderful! Thank you so much for this recipe! I looked all over town for butternut extract, (no luck there), so I used 1/4 tsp of almond extract, and 1/4 tsp of Butter extract, and it hit the nail on the head! They taste even better than the store bought King’s rolls! Thank you again for sharing this recipe!“–SHEALEIGH

Hawaiian rolls-one is split to see the insidePin
Take note of the soft and close texture. These rolls are as soft as a down pillow.

Recipe Inspiration

Creating a clone of commercially-produced Hawaiian Bread has been on my recipe bucket list for a long time.

I can tell by the ingredient list on the package sold at the supermarket that a home cook is not likely to figure out the exact recipe, but that doesn’t deter me.

At any rate, it’s time to stop the experimentation before I have to graduate to a larger dress size. These are a splurge, and I cannot resist when these Hawaiian rolls call my name!!!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • PINEAPPLE JUICE: Pineapple juice is not listed on the label of King’s Hawaiian bread. That label is pretty mysterious. But canned pineapple juice adds a sweet and tart flavor that works. Use water or milk if you can’t get or don’t like pineapple juice. By the way, you don’t have to warm the liquid when using a bread machine.
  • DRIED MILK: If you don’t have dried milk, you can use fresh or canned milk for the liquid instead of pineapple juice.
  • EGG AND EGG YOLK: Eggs add to the yellow color and the richness of the dough. Be sure to freeze the leftover egg white for this Homemade Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache.
  • MASHED POTATOES: Leftover mashed potatoes are perfect. I often freeze packets of mashed potatoes just for these rolls.
    • If you don’t have leftovers, cook a medium-size unpeeled potato for 3-4 minutes. Pull the skin off and chop. Add to the bread machine pan as is.
    • Instant potatoes are another option. Follow the directions on the package.
  • HEAVY CREAM: Substitute half and half or milk if you don’t have cream.
  • SUGAR: Use 2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, depending on your sweet tooth.
  • HONEY: Honey contributes to the texture and sweetness.
  • BUTTER: Instead of softened butter, I now recommend you chop your butter with a table knife. It will melt quickly when the bread machine paddles get their hands on it—no need to wait for it to soften.
  • GINGER: I use powdered ginger that you buy in the spice aisle at the grocery store. A pinch of fresh ginger might work, but I haven’t tried it myself.
  • CAKE BATTER EXTRACT: Cake batter extract imparts a specific enigmatic flavor to sweet yeast bread and a yellow color characteristic of Hawaiian-style bread. If you can’t find it, vanilla-butter-nut extract is also good. Vanilla extract is my third choice.
  • FLOUR: My first choice is unbleached all-purpose flour. Bleached all-purpose flour can be substituted. Different flours may require slight adjustments in the amount used. Check your dough while mixing to see if you need to add more liquid or flour. The goal is for the dough to stick to the sides of the pan and then pull away cleanly.
  • INSTANT YEAST: If you are mixing this recipe in a bread machine, use bread-machine yeast, instant yeast, or active dry yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, there is no longer any need to dissolve it. If using active dry yeast, add an additional ¼ teaspoon. Read more about using yeast with a bread machine here.
  • LEMON JUICE (optional): Since I don’t keep pineapple juice in my pantry, I usually use milk instead of pineapple juice. When I do that, I like to add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice for the subtle flavor it adds to this bread. It works the same way as the lemon juice in my basic white bread machine loaf recipe. It helps the yeast rise and acts as a dough conditioner. You won’t taste it.

Making sandwiches with sweet Hawaiian rollsPin
Hawaiian rolls make excellent slider buns.

How To Make Sweet Hawaiian Rolls with a Bread Machine

All ingredients for the bread dough added to the machine.Pin
Add all dough ingredients to the bread machine pan.
When you first start the DOUGH cycle the dough will look clumpy.Pin
Press the DOUGH cycle button to start mixing. The dough will be rough and lumpy.
As the kneading phase gets close to the end, the bread should be shiny and elastic.Pin
At the end of the kneading portion of the DOUGH cycle, your dough should look smooth and elastic. It should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
Pull the dough out of the pan onto a floured surface.Pin
When the DOUGH cycle completes, and the dough is doubled, pull the dough out of the pan onto a floured surface.
shaping dough into ballsPin
Portion dough into equal portions and make smooth balls.
Making a round loafPin
Or make a round loaf. (I used 2/3’s of the dough for this loaf and made the rest into small balls.)
Cover rolls to rise Pin
Cover shaped dough with a cheap shower cap or a tea towel and allow the rolls to rise again.

In the picture above, I divided the dough into 12 rolls–six per pan. This is a good size for slider buns. For dinner rolls, I normally make 16 rolls and place them in two 8-inch round pans.

Glazing the rolls with egg yolk and milk.Pin
Mix egg yolk and milk and glaze rolls if desired. If you have the time, glaze them once and let it dry. Then glaze again. It makes a beautiful finish. Bake in a 375˚F oven for 13-15 minutes. The rolls are done when the internal temperature reaches 190-195˚F. Check with a quick-read digital thermometer.
rolls with a glazePin
The egg yolk and milk glaze give the bread its characteristic shine.

FAQ About Making Bread Machine Hawaiian Rolls

Why does it take the dough so long to rise?

The dough is rich in butter, cream, and sugar. Those ingredients tend to make yeast sluggish (like me, when I eat too much dessert). Expect a longer rise than normal.

When the DOUGH cycle completes, check the dough. If it has not yet doubled in size, leave the dough in the bread machine until it does. Then, remove it to a floured surface for shaping.

The second rise after shaping will take a bit longer, too. However, I don’t wait for the dough to double. Instead, bake the rolls when they are about 1-½ the original size. Otherwise, the texture of the rolls is too coarse and sometimes a little dry.

How can I get a soft but nicely browned crust?

Use lighter-colored metal pans. Gold finishes or USA pans are my favorite. Reusable aluminum foil cake or pie pans can work, too. But don’t run them through the dishwasher, or they will become dull. Instead, try washing aluminum pans by hand and reusing them.

The egg glaze makes the top dark, shiny, and soft.

When I tried baking in foil pans, why didn’t the bottom of my bread brown?

A lower position will help the bottoms to brown and keep the tops from browning too much. Another tip: Always place foil pans onto a cookie sheet when baking.

Why do I need to check the dough after starting the bread machine?

Neglecting to open the lid and take a look may result in disappointment in the form of dough too sticky to handle or something resembling a firm rubber ball.

Check twice. Look after the first minute to ensure the blades are engaged and the dough clumps. Check again about 12-15 minutes after starting your bread machine. Look to see if you need to add additional flour or water to make the dough stick to the sides, then pull away cleanly.

How do I know when my bread is done?

Specifying exact baking times can be tricky in bread recipes. Of course, you don’t want your rolls to be overdone and dry. Doughy isn’t good, either. If you have a quick-read thermometer, bake the rolls or loaf to 190˚F in the center.

Do these Hawaiian Sweet Rolls require a glaze?

The glaze is optional. If you examine the bread at the store, the rolls are unglazed, but the larger round loaves are glazed. I prefer my rolls glazed, so I’ve added the instructions here. You can see what they look like unglazed here.

Can I make this bread into a loaf?

I like to make round loaves for snacking. This loaf includes about 2/3’s of the dough from this recipe. I formed the remainder of the dough into small balls for slider buns.

Can I bake this bread in my bread machine?

If you are new to my website, I don’t bake any bread in my bread machine (click to see a tutorial for my method). The crust turns out like cardboard, the texture is often crumbly, and the appearance lacks. I don’t recommend it if you prefer a beautiful loaf you will be proud to serve.

Hawaiian bread with a double glaze.Pin
Hawaiian loaf with a double coating of egg glaze.

Parting thoughts: If you try these rolls, I can’t wait to hear from you. What do you think? Did you use the recipe exactly as written, or did you have to use a substitute? Let me know.

Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

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Hawaiian rolls-one is split to see the insidePin
Yield: 16 rolls

Hawaiian Rolls Bread Machine Recipe

A sweet and soft bread in the same style as my favorite Hawaiian bread at the grocery store. The instructions are for mixing and kneading in a bread machine, then shaping by hand and baking in a conventional oven.

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(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 32 votes


Prep time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 57 minutes


  • cup (76 g) pineapple juice (can substitute water or milk)
  • ½ cup (125 g) mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dried milk powder (or use milk instead of pineapple juice and leave the milk powder out)
  • 1 large (50 g) egg
  • 1 (18 g) egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons (36 g) sugar
  • cup (76 g) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (58 g) unsalted butter chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (21 g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cake batter-extract
  • 3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast


  • 1 (18 g) egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) milk


Making the dough:

  • Combine 1/3 cup (76 g) pineapple juice, 1/2 cup (125 g) mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons nonfat dried milk powder, 1 large (50 g) egg, 1 (18 g) egg yolk, 3 tablespoons (36 g) sugar, 1/3 cup (76 g) heavy cream, 1/4 cup (58 g) unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon (21 g) honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cake batter-extract, 3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, and 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast into the bread machine pan in the order given. Select the DOUGH cycle and push the START button.
  • Open the lid after a minute and check to ensure the paddles are engaged and working correctly. The dough should start to clump.
    If the dough looks like pancake batter or is dry and crumbly, you may have inadvertently mismeasured an ingredient, or perhaps there is a mistake in the recipe. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too wet, or liquid if the dough is too dry (wait a couple of minutes between each addition).
  • Recheck your dough again after 15-18 minutes. The dough should stick to the sides, then pull away cleanly. See the video to watch this in action. Note how shiny and elastic the dough is.
    If you aren’t sure if your dough looks right, read more about this surprising secret that will help you make fabulous bread every time.
  • When the dough cycle completes and the dough has risen to double, remove dough from the bread machine pan to a floured surface. (I use a silicone mat so I can throw it in the dishwasher.)

Shaping the dough for rolls:

  • Spray two 8-inch, round pans with an aerosol oil/flour mixture like Baker’s Joy.
  • Form dough into a large ball. Divide in half. Divide each half into 8 portions and form each portion into a ball.
  • Place 8 balls into each pan. Cover pans with a tea towel and find a warm place for the rolls to rise again.
  • About 15 minutes before rolls are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 °F
  • Let dough balls rise until about half again their original size. If you let them get too big during this rising, they will be dry.


  • Whisk 1 (18 g) egg yolk and 1 tablespoon (14 g) milk together in a small bowl. Use a silicone brush to carefully coat unbaked rolls (don’t let it drip) before you place them into the oven.

Baking Rolls

  • Place rack in a low position in your oven. Bake rolls at 375 °F (190˚C) for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 190˚F (88˚C). You don’t want them to be doughy, but if you bake them too long, they will be dry and lose the soft texture you expect in Hawaiian bread.
  • After cooling an hour or two, place rolls into a plastic bag to keep the crust soft.


1. Knead a cup of raisins or other dried fruit into the bread dough after removing it from the bread machine for a fabulous variation.
2. If you want a round loaf, divide the dough into three parts. Use two parts to make a round loaf. The remaining dough is good for rolls. In case you’re wondering why not make a bigger loaf with all the dough: My experience says it’s difficult to get a whole loaf of that size to bake all the way through without drying out the loaf on the edges.
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These are fantastic – we’ve tried numerous recipes, and these are easily the closest we’ve gotten to King’s Hawaiian Rolls. Subbed sweet potatoes, subbed 1/4 tsp almond extract and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and bumped up the sugar a touch. Using the temp probe ensured they were baked perfectly. SO good

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you for the great comment. I like your idea about using sweet potatoes. I don’t know how people experiment with bread with a quick-read digital temperature probe. Every kitchen should have one.

  2. I’m so confused, the recipe says that it yields 20 rolls but in the video the dough only yielded six. I feel like the ball of dough from the bread machine would not make 20 balls unless they were very tiny. Is this correct? Should I make them really small to get 20?

    1. Hi Amy,

      I’m so sorry for the confusion. I have corrected the recipe. Hope this helps.

  3. I want to make this bread. 1 question. If I just make 1 loaf, do I bake it at the same temperature and for the same length of time. If you posted this, I must have missed it. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to make as I love the store Hawaiian rolls!

    1. Hi Lynda.

      I have tried making it as one round loaf and had trouble getting it done in the middle without drying out the edges. That’s why I only used 2/3 of the dough to make a loaf. However, I didn’t try more than once or twice. If that’s what you want, start experimenting. One thing I haven’t tried is a loaf pan–a Pullman pan might work great. (Sorry for the delay in answering. We have been on vacation.)

  4. Marilyn J Burrows says:

    5 stars
    These were amazing!! Thank you.

  5. Barbara Karr says:

    Can’t find Vanilla Butter Nut Extract anywhere. Will not having alter the taste of the rolls. Thanks for your help. Barb

    1. Hmmm. I looked online and the only Vanilla Butter Nut Extract I found were so high-priced that I would call it extortion. Incredible!

      So, what to do now? I haven’t tried it but wondering if butter extract would be a good substitute or perhaps the new cake batter flavoring from McCormick.

      The rolls will definitely be delicious without the flavoring. You might go ahead and try them to see what you think. However, there is something about that extract that makes them taste more like the ones at the store. Meanwhile, I will try to find a substitute and let you know.

  6. Barbara Karr says:

    I just recently found you and am amazed at the knowledge you share. Thank you for all your recipes, tips, and tutoring! I made your french bread and ate almost all of it myself. (not necessarily a good thing). First really successful recipe in a long time. Best wishes! God Bless. Barb

    1. Barbara,
      How kind of you to say those nice things about the blog! I’m so glad you found it. Thank you for writing back about the bread. It is definitely a family favorite around here.

  7. devinmontuya says:

    Is there a substitution for the heavy cream that I may try as my children are lactose intolerant?

    1. If they can tolerate lactose-free milk, use that. Otherwise, you could use water. The rolls won’t be as rich and soft but they will still be delicious.

  8. America’s test kitchen has a great bread pudding with bourbon sauce made out of challah bread!

  9. Kristin Burnett says:

    UPDATE! I just pulled these out again– my kids raided the kitchen the other night and ate them all– and they taste better than the store bought ones! Before, I said they weren’t sweet enough for my taste but still the fluffiest rolls ever. Now, they are sweeeeeeeet and fluffy! My differences are thus: mashed SWEET POTATO in place of a regular one, 1/4 tsp each of vanilla and almond extract in place , and bread flour for AP flour.

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Paula! I swear I’m going to make this every other day 🙂 If I happen to make a loaf, I’ll let you know. So far, I’ve made dinner rolls and hamburger-style buns.

    1. Hi Kristin,
      Always happy to hear about the successes. I love sweet potato in rolls. Great substitution.

  10. Shealeigh says:

    I just made these, and they are wonderful! Thank you so much for this recipe! I looked all over town for butternut extract, (no luck there), so I used 1/4 tsp of almond extract, and 1/4 tsp of Butter extract, and it hit the nail on the head! They taste even better than the store bought King’s rolls!

    Thank you again for sharing this recipe!

    1. So glad to hear you liked them, Shealeigh.

  11. Kristin Burnett says:

    Just pulled these out of the oven, let one cool for a few and popped it in my mouth. Although very fluffy (the most pillow-y rolls I’ve ever made!), I was disappointed that they just weren’t that sweet to me. The only substitutions I made were thus: bread flour, and like a reviewer suggested, used 1/8 tsp of almond extract and the rest vanilla. Perhaps I could up the sugar to a half cup, or use honey instead?

    Still, these rolls are fantastic, and I will definitely be using this recipe again! Thank you so much!

  12. Kristin Burnett says:

    Could I substitute bread flour instead of AP flour? I’m going to bake the for Christmas.

  13. These are superb! Thank you for all the work you put into creating the recipe. I must confess that I didn’t have the vanilla nut extract (I used 1/8 tsp almond extract and the rest vanilla), a bread maker (just lots of elbow grease!), or the shiny aluminum pans, but the rolls were still delicious. Well done, Paula! I will definitely make these again.

  14. Thanks for sharing your bread recipe. I’ve a bread machine sitting at a corner of my kitchen collecting dust until I stumble on your blog. Great recipe and explanation on how to make them and beautiful photos to accompany each recipe!

  15. These look awesome! I can’t wait to try the recipe! I am an absolute convert to using the bread machine to mix the dough and then baking in the oven. My never used bread machine has turned into an appliance I use often! Thank you for that!

  16. Thanks, Paula, I have been looking forward to this recipe! It must have been an adventure to come up with this, the recipe list of ingredients is fascinating.

  17. I love those Hawaiian Rolls! I can’t always find them when I need them to make ham and cheese sliders- It’s nice to have to option to make them myself. Those look even better than the originals. 🙂