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.
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!!
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 or instant yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, dissolve it first in the warm cream. See the recipe notes.
Kitchen tips for making Sweet Hawaiian-Style Rolls
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
What bread recipe would you like to see next?
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- 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
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk
- Combine all ingredients in the bread machine pan in order given. Select the dough cycle and push the start button.
- Check bread after 5-10 minutes to make sure dough sticks to the side of the pan and then pulls away.
- 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.)
- Spray two 7 or 8-inch, square or 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 10 portions and form each portion into a ball. See this video if you need an easy way to make perfect balls.
- Place 10 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 degrees.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- After cooling about an hour or two, place 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. 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.
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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