These soft and fluffy Hawaiian sweet rolls are perfect for ham sliders, sandwiches, and appetizers.  The dough is flavored with brown sugar and pineapple juice for a touch of sweetness.  You don’t need a bread machine to make these homemade rolls for dinner!

Prep Time: 55 minutes
holding one of the Hawaiian sweet rolls
Sweet Bread

Easy Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

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Do you enjoy soft, fluffy homemade bread?  I do, especially when the bread has a touch of sweetness.  These easy Hawaiian sweet rolls are just the perfect bread to use for sliders, sandwiches, appetizers, or just eating by themselves as dinner rolls.  I hope you’ll find them as delicious as our family does!

holding one of the Hawaiian sweet rolls cut in half

What are Hawaiian sweet rolls?

Hawaiian sweet rolls are light, soft, and fluffy white bread rolls originally from Hilo, Hawaii.  Pineapple juice is added to the dough to give it a subtle tropical flavor.  These soft rolls are very popular in the United States for making sliders or serving on their own as dinner rolls.

closeup of one of the Hawaiian sweet rolls

Are Hawaiian sweet rolls healthy?

Store-bought Hawaiian sweet rolls aren’t healthy.  The dough contains preservatives and dough conditioners, which doesn’t make it a healthy choice.  Homemade Hawaiian sweet rolls, however, are much better for your health.  No preservatives, chemicals, or fancy names in this bread!  Check out the nutrition facts at the end of the recipe card for detailed nutritional information.

What makes Hawaiian rolls sweet?

These Hawaiian rolls are sweetened by light brown sugar and pineapple juice.

holding a plate of Hawaiian sweet rolls

How to Reheat Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Warm the rolls at 350 F for 3-5 minutes, until desired warmth.  If the rolls are frozen, they will take longer to warm.

How long do Hawaiian sweet rolls last?

Store-bought rolls would last for up to a week at room temperature.  Homemade ones should be frozen or eaten within 24 hours of baking since they don’t have preservatives.

plate of Hawaiian sweet rolls

How do you store Hawaiian sweet rolls?

Keep them sealed tightly in a zip-top plastic bag at room temperature for up to 24 hours.  Don’t refrigerate them, as it will make the rolls go stale more quickly.

Can Hawaiian sweet rolls be frozen?

Yes, they can be frozen.  Bake the rolls and let them cool completely, then wrap them tightly with aluminum foil and seal them in a zip-top freezer bag.  Freeze for up to 1 month.

How to Make Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Gather the ingredients.  You’ll need bread flour, yeast, salt, butter, lard, brown sugar, eggs, pineapple juice, and milk.

ingredients for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Dump the milk, butter, and lard into a small saucepan and set over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the fats have melted and the mixture is smooth, then let it cool to 115 F.

melted butter, lard, and milk mixture in a pot for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Mix in each one with your finger.

flour, salt, and yeast for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Blend in the sugar, eggs, and pineapple juice.  The mixture will be quite dry at this point.

mixing dough for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Pour in the cooled milk mixture and blend until a sticky dough forms.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

mixed dough for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead for 3-5 minutes on medium-low speed.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, but still stick to it.  Add a few spoonfuls of flour if the dough doesn’t clean the bowl after 5 minutes of kneading.  Be sure the dough passes the windowpane test as well.  (Check the recipe card to learn how to do this.)

kneading dough for Hawaiian sweet rolls

Shape the dough into a ball, place back in the mixing bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  You can even let it rise overnight in the fridge if you want to make the rolls ahead of time.

dough for Hawaiian sweet rolls in a bowl

Punch down the dough to knock out the air pockets, then divide into 12 pieces and roll into tight balls.  Place in a buttered 9×13-inch cake pan.

placing Hawaiian sweet rolls in the baking pan

Cover with a clean garbage bag or buttered plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled in size and springy to the touch, roughly 45 minutes to an hour.  If the dough is cold from the fridge, it will take longer to rise, but have a better flavor.

Hawaiian sweet rolls before baking

Bake the risen rolls at 375 F for 20 minutes, until well browned.  Make sure the rolls have an internal temperature of 190 F on a meat thermometer to ensure they’re cooked.  Let them cool completely on a wire rack, then break apart and serve.

Hawaiian sweet rolls on a wire cooling rack

Pro Tips for Making Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

  • Don’t substitute the bread flour.  Bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose.  Protein turns into gluten when mixed with liquid, giving the bread strength and structure.  This results in a higher rise and pleasantly chewy texture.
  • Don’t leave out the pineapple juice.  Although its flavor in the rolls is subtle, it is the main distinctive element in this recipe.  If you absolutely must substitute, replace the juice with milk and add an extra tablespoon (12g) of light brown sugar.
  • Use unsalted butter.  Unsalted butter is often fresher than salted.  Using unsalted butter also allows you to control the amount of salt in your baking.
  • Use a combination of butter and lard for the best flavor and texture.  Butter brings a great flavor to the dough, while lard encourages a beautifully soft and fluffy texture.
  • Be sure to let the milk, butter, and lard mixture cool to 115 F before using.  Extreme heat can kill the yeast in the dough.
  • Want to make the rolls ahead of time?  Let the dough complete its first rise in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours).  Finish the rolls the next day, although take note that the rising times will take longer, because the dough will be cold from the fridge.
  • Are the rolls rising too slowly?  You can speed up the process by placing the bowl of dough or pan of rolls in a cold oven.  Place a large casserole dish filled with boiling water on a shelf below the dough and shut the door to trap the steam inside.  The gentle heat will encourage the yeast to work more quickly.

Looking for more dinner roll recipes?  You’re in the right place.

person taking one of the pumpkin dinner rolls German pretzel buns on a cookie sheet with greenery breaking one of the Hokkaido milk bread rolls in half

The pleasure of a 5-star review of these Hawaiian sweet rolls would be greatly appreciated.

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holding one of the Hawaiian sweet rolls

Easy Hawaiian Sweet Rolls


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 55 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 rolls 1x

Description

These soft and fluffy Hawaiian sweet rolls are perfect for ham sliders, sandwiches, and appetizers.  The dough is flavored with brown sugar and pineapple juice for a touch of sweetness.  You don’t need a bread machine to make these homemade rolls for dinner!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 1/8 cups bread flour (500g)
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt (10g)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (50g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (118 ml)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (118 ml)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (57g)
  • 1/4 cup lard (56g)

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk, butter, and lard into a small saucepan and set over medium heat until the fats have melted, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool to 115 F.
  2. Dump the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring each one in with your finger.  Add the sugar, eggs, and pineapple juice and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until blended.  The dough will be very dry.
  3. Trickle in all of the milk and fat mixture while the mixer is running on low speed.  Turn up the speed to medium and mix until a sticky dough forms.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed.  The dough should clean the bowl, but it will still stick to the sides.  If the dough refuses to clean the bowl after a few minutes of kneading, add more flour (just a spoonful at a time) until the dough cooperates.
  5. Make sure the dough passes the windowpane test.  Check this by breaking off a lump of dough and stretching it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.  The dough should be translucent without tearing; if not, knead a minute longer and check again.
  6. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the extra air.  Divide it into 12 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy, then roll each piece into a tight ball.
  8. Place the balls equally apart in a buttered 9×13-inch pan, then cover them with a clean garbage bag or buttered plastic wrap.  Let the rolls rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size and are springy to the touch, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375 F about 10 minutes before the rolls are done rising.
  10. Bake the rolls at 375 F for 20 minutes, until they have an internal temperature of 190 F on a meat thermometer.  Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: recipe, homemade, sliders

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