The Best Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

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Hawaiian sweet rolls are some of my family’s favorite. They are great for sandwiches, as a side with dinner, or alone with honey butter.

This recipe yields the perfect texture, the right amount of sweetness, and it comes together easily. Pineapple juice lends that familiar flavor of Hawaiian bread that we all love and gives the bread a subtle sweetness which is then enhanced with a touch of sugar. These rolls really are the best and you are sure to agree!

Hawaiian sweet rolls in a baking pan.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Hawaiian sweet rolls are my favorite dinner rolls. If we’re having bread with dinner, it’s going to be these rolls. I got hooked on this sweetly fragrant bread thanks to King’s Hawaiian. That brand is an evil genius.

Why must you make carbs taste so good?

Because I love the bread so much, I just could not resist making some from scratch. And then I couldn’t resist slathering them with honey butter.

INSANE. I know.

Sweet on sweet on sweet. That’s mostly what we are about here at Baked by an Introvert… Cavity inducing goodness.

One Hawaiian sweet roll on a plate.

Making the best Hawaiian sweet rolls

This homemade Hawaiian sweet roll is made with basic bread ingredients but there are a few extras to give the bread that distinct flavor of Hawaiian bread. I use half buttermilk and half pineapple juice for moisture and flavor. The two combined have a lovely sweet and tangy profile.

To enhance the sweetness, I also add both white and brown sugar. For me, brown sugar just isn’t sweet enough but has amazing flavor, so a little white sugar is used to up the sweet factor just a tad. I also opted to use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour. Since bread flour contains more gluten, it yields a denser bread. My goal for these rolls is to have a light, fluffy texture. Nothing too chewy.

The bread needs to rise twice. Each rise is about 1 to 1 and ½ hours. So make sure you plan ahead for this. The first rise happens once the dough is mixed together and kneaded. The second rise is after you’ve portioned and shaped the dough into individual rolls.

Brushing Hawaiian sweet rolls with melted butter.

Hawaiian sweet rolls with honey butter

Once the rolls are baked to golden deliciousness, I like to brush them with homemade honey butter. It complements the sweet bread perfectly and can easily be whipped up in a matter of minutes.

You don’t even need a recipe for honey butter. Just take some unsalted butter, let it soften to room temperature, beat it with an electric mixer until is smooth and creamy, and slowly beat in some honey. Use as little or as much honey as you prefer.

You can store any leftover honey butter in the refrigerator and use on toast or English muffins for breakfast!

A bowl of honey butter for Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Or if you are like me, your honey butter will taste like plain honey and you’ll casually scrap your finger across the butter each time you visit the refrigerator. There was no hiding the fact that I had been eating honey butter off my fingers, the evidence was visible.

But in all seriousness, I think you should give this Hawaiian sweet rolls recipe a try. The rolls are light, tender, and perfectly sweet.

They make great ham sandwiches also!

The best Hawaiian sweet rolls in a baking pan.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls Recipe
5 from 1 vote
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The Best Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

These soft, light and fluffy Hawaiian sweet rolls are so easy to make. They don’t require much work because a stand mixer does all the kneading for you. The beauty of these rolls is their fragrant, sweet and tangy flavor which comes from a mix of pineapple juice and buttermilk. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Hawaiian sweet rolls, rolls
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes
Yields 16 rolls
Calories 256 kcal
Author Jen Sobjack

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
  • 5 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey butter*

Instructions

  1. Combine the pineapple juice, buttermilk, and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted and temperature reaches 110°F. Remove from heat.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix 1 cup of the flour, sugars, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined. Add the pineapple juice mixture followed by the egg and vanilla. 
  3. Mix on low speed just until blended. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. It may still stick to the bottom.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch the dough down to deflate it and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal size portions. Shape each portion into a smooth ball and arrange them in a lightly oiled 9x13-inch baking pan. 
  6. Cover the pan with plastic and set in a draft-free area to rise until doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

  7. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown, rotating halfway through the baking time. 
  8. Brush the rolls with honey butter and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Rolls are best when eaten the day they are made.

Recipe Notes

*Honey butter is made by mixing butter and honey. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of room temperature unsalted butter and mix in 2 tablespoons of honey at a time until you achieve the desired taste. Store leftover honey butter in the refrigerator and use it on toast, muffins, or rolls.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
Amount Per Serving (1 roll)
Calories 256 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 164mg 7%
Potassium 102mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 46g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 12g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 1.4%
Calcium 2.7%
Iron 11.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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21 Comments

  • Ashley - The Recipe Rebel

    Soooo I’ve never actually had Hawaiian Sweet Rolls — crazy, right?! We don’t really have them here in Canada but I KNOW I would love them and have been meaning to make them for a long time. I am definitely putting these on my list to try!

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Hawaiian sweet rolls are the best! I buy those all the time and have never thought to make my own before. Now I definitely need to do that after seeing these. I wish I could just dive right into this for breakfast, Jen! Your pictures are gorgeous!

  • Rachel @ Bakerita

    I adore Hawaiian rolls, and these look sooo fluffy and beautiful! I want to tear one off the screen 🙂 the pineapple juice sounds like the best addition ever for that slight tang and sweetness. I must try this!

  • Kelly

    These Hawaiian rolls look so soft, fluffy and perfect, Jen! They’re totally my weakness and I would be so tempted to eat the entire pan! Love the addition of pineapple juice!

  • Helene

    Beautiful pictures and eloquently written. Ahhh, this must be the key from other recipes I’ve seen online… Buttermilk?!!

    If you can solve this for me I’ll be forever grateful-What is the secret to splitting these so they don’t mesh together? I’ve tried a staight, serrated and hand torn…none of them work 🙁

    Thank you and l’ll save my King Arthur for something else 😉

    -Helene

    • Jen

      Buttermilk and pineapple juice offer moisture and flavor to the rolls. You could try baking them on a large cookie sheet with more space between them so they won’t stick together.

  • Diane

    I wish you would try this recipe. ! You won’t believe how everyone will FLIP OUT over them. Naturally, because I am middle aged, I need to be done eating the calories in bread. This is just a TREAT beyond measure for loving relationship gatherings . I used Bobs RedMill all purpose white…Hopinig to incorporate his whole wheat pastry flour soon. I used 1/3 each organic brown sugar and organic white. I used organic / no sugar added , pineapple/coconut juice. I brushed these beautifully risen rolls with egg yoke , this produces golden shiney presentation. They pull apart perfect. These could be little buns for a sandwich or a dinner roll . I did have to make a larger quantity , so had to freeze them . They thaw and warm up amazing. Right out of the oven to the table is extremely impressive if you can swing it. You will enjoy showing off !

    • Jen Sobjack

      I have yet to bake this recipe as a loaf so I’m not totally sure what you would need to do to make it work. But I imagine you could divide the dough in half and make two loaves with this recipe. The bake time would also need to be increased to ensure the loaves are cooked through.

  • Doris

    These tasted good, but my rolls turned out REALLY heavy. They were not fluffy at all. The rolls were so dense. I followed your recipe without adding to it. I’m not sure what I did wrong. First time I ever made rolls. Help!