Homemade Hawaiian Rolls are a diy version of the famous King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls ~ these golden buns are soft, lightly sweet dinner rolls that will round out all your meals this summer.
Homemade Hawaiian rolls go with everything!
My winter bread baking urge has eased right into summer with these plush little rolls. They’ll become mini buns for all manner of sliders, barbecue sammies, and on the fly snacks this season. With very little effort, you can churn out 16 of them to feed a crowd, or just serve them straight up as dinner rolls for family meals.
What are sweet Hawaiian rolls?
The iconic King’s Hawaiian rolls that you’ve probably seen at the grocery store are the famous product of King’s Hawaiian Bakery which started in Hawaii in the 1950’s and became known for it’s sweet, soft rolls made in the Portuguese tradition of enriched breads. Many Portuguese families immigrated to Hawaii in the 1800’s and brought their traditional breads and pastries with them. Over time that tradition has become a part of Hawaiian food culture. Love the delicious mash up of cultures!
Pro tips for making Hawaiian rolls ~
- Don’t stress out if your dough seems very sticky ~ that’s how it should be! You’ll scrape your dough into a bowl for its first rise, and it should be easier to handle when you’re ready to shape them into rolls.
- Use a little oil, not flour, to coat your hands and work surface when you work with this dough.
- An easy way to divide your dough into equal portions for the rolls is to divide it in half, and keep dividing each half by two until you have the right number of rolls. In this recipe, you’ll end up with 16 equal portions, but I found that a standard 9×13 pan fits 15 rolls most comfortably.
- Leave enough time for rising ~ sweet, enriched doughs can take longer to rise than regular bread dough because of the sugar content, so be patient and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful, fluffy rolls.
How to store these homemade rolls ~
Like all homemade bread, these Hawaiian rolls are best stored covered at room temperature for no more than a couple days. Store-bought bread often includes ingredients that help it stay soft for much longer, but the beauty of homemade bread is that it’s super fresh! So enjoy them within 1-2 days when they’ll be at their best.
We used our rolls as mini buns for our pulled pork with pineapple bbq sauce (look for the recipe coming tomorrow!) A quick homemade slaw finished these sliders off perfectly.
Barbecue sliders is just one way to use these versatile Hawaiian rolls:
- I love to use them for mini burgers. Try them with my favorite chickpea veggie burgers for a meatless option.
- Make chicken salad, tuna salad, or shrimp salad rolls for an elegant luncheon.
- Layer them up with deli meats and cheeses.
- Make mini meatball subs or mini sloppy joes.
- These little rolls make perfect kid friendly sized versions of all of the above.
More bread recipes perfect for completing summer meals ~
- 3 Ingredient Biscuits
- Honey Jalapeno Cornbread
- Rosemary and Olive No Knead Focaccia
- Perfect Homemade Pita Bread
Homemade Hawaiian Rolls
For the sponge
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp instant yeast (I used 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of dry active yeast)
- 2 Tbsp water
For the dough
- 1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick), unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for brushing the rolls before baking)
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp corn starch (or potato flour)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- First, combine the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (if using) or a mixing bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes (see note below about what it means to make a sponge for a dough).
- Add the pineapple juice, softened butter, brown sugar, and eggs to the bowl, and mix until everything is well incorporated. If you are using a stand mixer, I used my paddle attachment for this stage.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt, and then add it to the wet ingredients.
- Mix together well, at first using the paddle attachment on medium speed for a couple minutes, then switching to the dough hook and kneading for about 5-7 more minutes (or knead by hand.) This dough is VERY sticky, so don't worry if it seems very wet, but you can also add 1-2 tablespoons more flour here if it seems like it needs it.
- Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, it should be about doubled in size or a little less.
- Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and set aside.
- After it is done rising, gently scrape the dough out onto a work surface for shaping the rolls. It should be a little easier to work with at this stage, but if it's still very sticky, lightly oil your hands and your work surface while you shape the rolls.
- Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, by dividing it in half, then dividing each piece in half 3 more times. A standard 9x13 baking pan will fit 15 rolls comfortably, so you can either discard the last little bit of dough, or bake it separately.
- Roll each portion of dough into a ball and place them in the prepared baker. Cover and allow to rise again for about an hour. They should be puffed up and filling out the space in the pan.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix 1 Tbsp of water with your reserved egg white and lightly brush the mixture over the risen rolls. The egg wash gives them their signature soft, shiny crust.
- Place the rolls in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown color. If they seem like they are starting to brown too much on top you can gently place some tinfoil over them while they continue to bake.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing.