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.
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.
Hawaiian Rolls Recipe
Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Instant yeast
- Pineapple juice
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown sugar
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast,
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- ½ cup (125g) pineapple juice, canned
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick or 58g) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ 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
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the yeast, water, and pineapple juice. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Add the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk (remembering to reserve the egg white), and vanilla, mixing until combined. (Some butter clumps are okay.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, and salt.
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.
Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes at medium speed. If you notice the dough is too sticky, add a little flour.
Round the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl to rise (about 3 hours).
Prepare a 9×13-inch pan by lightly greasing it.
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.)
Round each piece into a smooth ball and place it in the greased pan, evenly spaced.
Cover the rolls with a piece of greased plastic wrap and let them rise for an hour. They should be nice and puffy.
Preheat the oven to 350°F when the rolls are just about done rising.
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.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 190°F.
Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool a bit before turning them out onto a wire rack.