Hawaiian Rolls

filed under: Bread on April 17, 2020

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls are sweet and fluffy rolls that you can make at home and skip the grocery store! The melt in your mouth rolls are great on their own or perfect for burgers and sandwiches. I use them all the time for my slider sandwiches like my Cheeseburger Sliders and Ham and Cheese Sliders.

Hawaiian Rolls

Hawaiian Rolls did, in fact, originate in Hawaii. Robert Taira created the rolls based on a popular bread called Portuguese Sweet Bread. Robert’s Bakery became King’s Bakery after he moved the location to Honolulu.

We know the rest! The mainland loved the taste of the rolls and Taira was able to create his 12-pack of King’s Hawaiian Rolls for mass production. But, going to the grocery store for these right now is harder than usual, so I decided to make my own batch. I even stuck with the added pineapple juice in the recipe for that sweetness that the rolls are known for.

These rolls taste JUST LIKE the store-bought dinner rolls we all love. They have the same texture and flavor and you will be blown away by how delicious they are. However, there are a couple of ingredients that you may find unusual… the pineapple juice and the potato starch. Both were new to me when testing this recipe but now I want to add them to everything! Potato starch is a magical ingredient that keeps soft rolls SOFT. You can find Potato Starch here. 


Bowl of Homemade Hawaiian Rolls on White Towel

Hawaiian Rolls Recipe

Ingredients (full recipe below)

  • Instant yeast 
  • Water
  • Pineapple juice
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Egg yolk (reserving the egg white for egg wash)
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Potato starch— (Not potato flour.) Potato flour includes flavor, fiber, and protein, while potato starch is pure flavorless starch. Starch helps keep rolls soft, moist, and fresh by absorbing liquid. Starch actually slows the process of bread going stale! It is perfect for soft dinner rolls. If you don’t have potato starch on hand, you can substitute the following: corn starch; arrowroot powder; rice flour; tapioca starch.
  • Salt

Side View of Pan of Baked Hawaiian Dinner Rolls with Butter

How to Make Hawaiian Rolls

Hawaiian Rolls are not hard to make; you just have to have some patience as the dough rises a couple of times.

  • To begin, get out your stand mixer and in the bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and pineapple juice. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. 
  • Next, add the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk (remembering to reserve the egg white for the egg wash), and vanilla. Mix these ingredients together.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, and salt.
  • Then, add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and use the paddle attachment to mix the ingredients for about 3 minutes.
  • Then, use the dough hook attachment to knead the mixture for 5 more minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, I recommend kneading the dough by hand. Knead the dough for about 20 minutes to get a similar result. As a reference, for every 8 minutes using a dough hook, knead the dough by hand for 25 minutes.
  • Finally, round the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl to rise for about 3 hours.

Process of Hawaiian Rolls with One Image of the Raw Dough and One of the Baked Rolls

How to Shape Hawaiian Rolls

After the dough has risen for a few hours, it’s time to shape the rolls and put them in a greased 9×13-inch pan. There are a couple of ways you can make your 16 rolls.

  • First, gently punch down the dough to deflate it. One strategy you could use is to gently roll the dough into a log on a clean surface.
  • Then, use a bench knife or stiff spatula to cut the log of dough into equal-sized pieces. If you have a kitchen scale, now would be a wonderful time to use it to get the rolls as similar in size and weight as possible. You could also continue to divide the dough in half, and in half again, etc., until you get 16 pieces.
  • To roll the pieces of dough, simply roll them in your hands, making sure you form a smooth top surface of each roll. Place the rolls into the greased pan and cover them with plastic wrap to allow them to rise for about an hour.

Hand Picking Up Hawaiian Dinner Roll from Baking Pan

Baking Hawaiian Rolls

When the rolls are almost done rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remember the egg white you reserved? Mix that with water to create the egg wash for the rolls. Brush the egg wash over the rolls and bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F.

Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool a bit before putting them on a wire rack. Serve warm and with your favorite sandwiches!

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls on White Plate with Rolls in Background

Looking for More Bread Recipes?

Simple White Bread

Easy Dinner Rolls Recipe

Amish Potato Dinner Rolls


4.75 from 8 votes
Hawaiian Rolls
Prep Time
30 mins
Resting time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 30 mins

Homemade Hawaiian Rolls are sweet and fluffy rolls that you can make at home and skip the grocery store!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Hawaiian Rolls
Servings: 15 rolls
Calories: 159 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke--iambaker.net
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast,
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup (125g) pineapple juice, canned
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 58g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk, with white reserved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the yeast, water, and pineapple juice. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk (remembering to reserve the egg white), and vanilla, mixing until well combined.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, and salt.

  4. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture, beating with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes at medium-high speed. Scrape the dough into the center of the bowl.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes at medium speed.

  6. Round the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl to rise (about 3 hours).

  7. Prepare a 9x13-inch pan by lightly greasing it.

  8. Gently punch down on the risen dough to deflate it. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. (You can do this by continuing to divide the dough in half until you are down to 16 pieces. Or, roll the dough into a log and use a bench knife or stiff spatula to cut it into 16 pieces.)

  9. Round each piece into a smooth ball and place it in the greased pan, evenly spaced.

  10. Cover the rolls with a piece of greased plastic wrap and let them rise for an hour. They should be nice and puffy.

  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F when the rolls are just about done rising.

  12. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the reserved egg white to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the rolls.

  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 190°F.

  14. Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool a bit before turning them out onto a wire rack.

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  • Voon says:

    Hi do you have a recommendation for a substitute for pineapple juice? As I am allergic to pineapple… was hoping could bw replaced with say orange juice perhaps?

  • Dee says:

    You are awesome 🙋 😍🙏 and I am hoping to get a chance to see other meals

  • Gael MacGregor says:

    I don’t have a stand mixer & my hand mixer doesn’t have a dough hook attachment. Suggestions on the best way to make without? The timing of mixing, kneading, etc.?


    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      I work with iambaker and am happy to help out with questions!
      Hi, Gael! If you don’t have a dough hook attachment, I recommend kneading the dough by hand. For reference, for every 8 minutes kneading with a dough hook, you will knead by hand for 25 minutes. A quick test to check if your dough is ready is to stretch it. Take a small piece of dough, stretch it, and check for translucency. If it is translucent, it’s ready to go. If the dough breaks when you stretch it, it requires more kneading. Yes, it’s a workout, but it will be worth it!

  • Morena de Guardado says:

    Hi Amanda! I am from El Salvador. I like your recipe.

  • Kristine says:

    What is potato starch and where/how do I get it? I can’t wait to try this delicious looking recipe!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      There is information in the blog post covering that. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    This recipe looks awesome! Is it safe to use fresh pineapple juice in place of canned? I happened to pick up a pineapple yesterday, and then came across this post 🙂 Thanks!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, you can!

  • Nagwa says:

    Can I replace pineapple juice with milk or water?
    Thank you very much.

  • jean says:

    is it possible to use the Idaho potato instant mashed potato flour?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I have not tried that substitution so I can’t speak to its effectiveness.

  • Lynda says:

    Hi Amanda, came across your Hawaiin Roll recipe and thought my family would like this. One question : could I double this recipe and make half and freeze the other half for a later time ? If so, how long can I freeze them for before I have to use it ?
    And just wanted to say also, I love your recipes, have not come across any that I was disappointed in, nor my family, who are my best critics !! Thank You for sharing ..

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi Lynda! Thanks for the kind words! 🙂
      So, I do freeze them! I like to freeze them fully baked. Allow them to cool completely. Remove from pan. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. (If they are not cooled it won’t work as moisture will form inside the plastic wrap and cause freezer burn.) Then wrap it again in foil or freezer paper or in an airtight plastic bag. Write the date on your bread before sticking it in the freezer and try to use it within six months.

  • Brandy says:

    Does anything change with rapid rise yeast?

  • Ric says:

    The recipe say it makes 16 rolls. The picture shows 3 rows of 5 (15) 8″ X 13″ Pan? 4 rows of 4 (16) would need a square pan?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Ric! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. This recipe did make 15 rolls. I updated the recipe to reflect that. Thanks, and have a great day!

  • Sue says:

    OMG! These are spot on!!! They are SO good! Worth every minute spent on them. With that said, I must comment that the 3 cups of flour just wasn’t enough. After all the mixing/kneading, it came out like cake batter. I added another full cup of flour (1/4 c at a time) until it reached the point I could turn it into a ball. Also, all our local stores are out of potato starch so I used cornstartch. Anyway…we ate a couple right out of the oven, had some with a prime rib roast that night instead of the popovers I usually make, have stuffed them with chicken salad and had them with loose meat instead of regular hamburger buns. This has definitely gone on our regular breadmaking rotation.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So glad you like them Sue! And glad you were able to make it work out for you, great idea adding more flour!

  • Sue says:

    Well, I made them again. Once more, I had to add an extra cup of flour. This time I turned them into hot dog rolls. You know, the split-top New England type. I don’t have an actual hot dog pan but I still made it happen. Now if I only had lobster to stuff in them!!!

  • Paula says:

    I can’t see the quantities on how much to use of each ingredient….Thankyou

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Just click jump to recipe at the top or scroll to the bottom. The recipe card is right above the comment section.

  • Alejandra says:

    I enjoyed baking these, the result was just like I imagine by the photo. I didn’t have pineapple juice so I made my own at home and the final product was great. Thank you so much for your recipes!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thrilled to hear it, Alejandra!

  • Jodie Scott says:

    I can never make these enough! Great recipe and I love how they taste! My whole family loves them. I enjoy your website so much!

  • Mehru says:

    Any alternate for pineapple juice please?

  • elena organo says:

    How nice to try…i think so simple and not so many ingredients..thanks for sharing….

  • Robert Bosch says:

    Can I make these in a bread machine? What would the process be?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I haven’t made them in the bread machine so don’t have specifics.

  • Laura yancey says:

    I have searched for potato starch, but no luck.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Laura! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. There is a link to buy potato starch in the post. Have a great day!

  • Moo says:

    Sounds yummy. How do I get potato starch??

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi! It should be readily available to the grocery store or even Amazon!

  • Sherry Hendershot says:

    I have my second batch this week proofing in the oven as I type this. You can substitute orange juice, but just know that the rolls won’t be as sweet as with the pineapple juice. Also, cornstarch works fine as a substitute. The rise nicely and are light and fluffy

  • Jody says:

    My husband is a Hawaiian Sweet Roll fanatic. He says these are spot on! Per the comment of adding additional flour … my dough was very ‘soft’ after following the recipe to a ‘T’ with the exception of using corn starch in place of potato starch. As I put them in the pan to rise I truly thought I had done something wrong. They. Came. Out. Perfect!

  • Christoph says:

    Hello … I’m a fairly decent bread maker, having been at it for some 50+ years. I have yet to make a decent soft bun or roll that does not taste like bread and want to try your Hawaiian rolls. However, I noticed your recipe calls for a full tablespoon of instant yeast. Holy cow, that’s an extremely high yeast to flour ratio for 3 cups of flour. Do you mean 1 teaspoon?


  • Deb says:

    Extremely soft batter. Next time I will omit the 2 tablespoons of water and carefully add the juice. As this was so soft I added approximately 1/2 c flour but still really needed more. Also, 3 hours proofing for the first rise was way too long. I proofed for 1 1/2 hours and that was too long. Next time I will try 1 hour and watch it more closely. I used cornstarch which was a good substitute. Overall flavor was good.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi Deb! Sounds like you changed the recipe, so I can see why there may have been issues in the end. Proofing will vary depending on the climate.