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Hawaiian Bread Rolls: A Bread Machine Recipe (+Video)

This recipe for Hawaiian Bread Rolls mixed in a bread machine is a sweet and soft dinner roll clone of the Hawaiian bread sold at the grocery store. Try using these as slider buns. Eating sandwiches will be fun all over again.

If you don’t have a bread machine, you can always make these rolls by hand or use a stand mixer. See the notes in the recipe.

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

Recipe Inspiration

Creating a clone of King’s 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.

After many years of disappointment with recipes that claimed to imitate Sweet Hawaiian Bread, I think I’ve got it, at least according to my tastebuds and those of my family and friends.

At any rate, it’s time to stop the experimentation before I have to graduate to the next dress size. These are a splurge, and I simply cannot resist when they are in the house!!

Click here to sign up for a FREE 6-day Quick-Start email course: “Make Fabulous Bread with Your Bread Machine.”

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pineapple Juice: I know pineapple juice is not listed on the label of King’s Hawaiian bread. Their label is pretty mysterious. But canned pineapple juice adds a sweet and tart flavor that works. Use water if you can’t get pineapple juice.
  • An Egg and Egg yolk: Eggs add to the yellow color and the richness of the dough.
  • 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 peeled potato. Cube the potato, cover it with water and microwave for 6-7 minutes until tender. Drain and mash.
    Use potato flakes to make the easiest mashed potatoes. Follow 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: Contributes to the texture
  • Butter: Soften but don’t melt the butter before adding it to the bread machine.
  • Unbleached flour: Bleached flour or bread flour can be substituted. Check your dough while mixing. Different flours may require slight adjustments in the amount used.
  • 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. No matter which of these three types you use, they all require the same amount.
Making sandwiches with Hawaiian bread
Hawaiian rolls make excellent slider buns.

Kitchen tips for making Sweet Hawaiian-Style Rolls

#1

Why does it take the dough so long to rise?

The dough is rich with butter, cream, and sugar. I won’t try to explain the science. Just know you will probably need more time than you would normally allow for dinner rolls.

When the DOUGH cycle completes, check the dough. If it has not yet doubled in size, keep the dough in the bread machine until it does. Then remove it to shape into rolls or a loaf.

The second rise will take a bit longer, too. However, I don’t wait for it to double. Bake them when they are about 1-1/2 the original size. Otherwise, the texture of the rolls is too coarse and sometimes a little dry.

bread machine Hawaiian bread with one split in half

#2

How can I get a soft but nicely-browned crust?

Use lighter-colored metal pans. Gold finishes are favorite. Reusable aluminum foil cake or pie pans can work, too. But don’t run them through the dishwasher. Wash by hand and you can use them again.

Using a glaze helps. See the recipe below.

SWEET HAWAIIAN-STYLE ROLLS in a basket

#3

When using foil pans, bake on the lowest shelf in your oven.

This will help the bottoms to brown a bit and keep the tops from browning quite so fast. Another tip: Always place foil pans onto a cookie sheet when baking in them. It’s safer and protects the bottom crust.

#4

Why should you check your dough after you start your 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.

I suggest you check your dough 10-15 minutes after starting your bread machine. Look to see if you need to add additional flour or water.

#5 

What is the secret ingredient in this recipe?

Vanilla-butter-nut extract imparts a certain enigmatic flavor to sweet yeast bread and also a yellow color characteristic of Hawaiian-style bread. If you can’t find it, cake batter extract would be my second choice. Vanilla extract is my third choice.

#6

How do I know when the rolls are done?

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

I like to make round loaves for snacking. This loaf is made with 2/3’s of the dough from this recipe. I formed the rest of the dough into small balls to use as slider buns.

#7

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. Personally, I prefer my rolls glazed, so I’ve added the instructions here.  You can see what they look like unglazed here.


How to make Hawaiian bread with a bread machine

1. Add all dough ingredients to the bread machine pan.
2. Press the DOUGH cycle button to start mixing. The dough will be rough and lumpy.
At the end of the kneading portion of the DOUGH cycle, your dough should look smooth and elastic. It will stick to the side and then pull away cleanly.
3. Pull the dough out of the pan onto a floured surface when doubled in size
4. Portion dough into equal portions and make smooth balls.
Or make a round loaf. (I used 2/3’s of the dough for this loaf and the rest I made into small balls.)
5. Cover shaped dough with a cheap shower cap or a tea towel and allow to rise again.
Mix egg yolk and milk and glaze rolls if desired. Bake in a 375˚F oven.
rolls with a glaze
The simple egg yolk and milk glaze make these rolls special.

Click here to sign up for a FREE 6-day Quick-Start email course: “Make Fabulous Bread with Your Bread Machine.”



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Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula


Bread Machine Hawaiian Rolls

Bread Machine Hawaiian Rolls

Yield: 20 rolls
Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 57 minutes

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

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup warm pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dried milk powder
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla-butternut-extract
  • 3 cups (360 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread-machine yeast

Glaze

  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bread machine pan in order given. Select the dough cycle and push the start button.
  2. Check bread after 5-10 minutes to make sure dough sticks to the side of the pan and then pulls away.
  3. When dough cycle completes and the dough has risen to double, remove dough from pan to a floured surface. (I use a silicone mat so I can throw it in the dishwasher.)
  4. Spray two 7 or 8-inch, square or round pans with an aerosol oil/flour mixture like Baker's Joy.
  5. Form dough into a large ball. Divide in half. Divide each half into 10 portions and form each portion into a ball. See this video if you need an easy way to make perfect balls.
  6. Place 10 balls into each pan. Cover pans with a tea towel and find a warm place for the rolls to rise again.
  7. About 15 minutes before rolls are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. 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.
  9. Whisk egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl. Use a silicone brush to carefully coat unbaked rolls before you place them into the oven.
  10. Place rack in a low position in your oven. Bake rolls at 375 degrees F for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. 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.
  11. After cooling about an hour or two, place into a plastic bag to keep the crust soft.

Notes

Variation:

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. Using the dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue 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 and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that 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 dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread-machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape the dough.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 small rolls Serving Size: 1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Barbara Karr

Monday 4th of February 2019

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

Paula

Monday 4th of February 2019

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.

Barbara Karr

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

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

Paula

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

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.

devinmontuya

Thursday 8th of October 2015

Paula, Is there a substitution for the heavy cream that I may try as my children are lactose intolerant? Thanks, Devin.

Paula

Thursday 8th of October 2015

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.

Jen

Thursday 29th of January 2015

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

Kristin Burnett

Sunday 28th of December 2014

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.

Paula

Wednesday 31st of December 2014

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