Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

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Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (1)

By: Becky Hardin

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I love to make my own Hawaiian Rolls from scratch with this copycat recipe, instead of buying them from the store. They’re fresh, fluffy, and so delicious! These Hawaiian sweet rolls are the perfect thing to serve with any dinner. I make them for busy weeknight sliders, and also make them for homemade rolls at the holidays.

Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2)

Table of Contents

What’s in this Hawaiian Rolls Recipe?

The secret to Hawaiian bread rolls is that delicious sweetness that makes them so addicting. Here I’m adding brown sugar and pineapple juice straight into the dough to get the perfect flavor.

  • Buttermilk: Adds moisture, tenderness, and a subtle tangy flavor to the rolls.
  • Unsalted Butter: Provides richness, flavor, and helps to keep the rolls soft and moist.
  • Instant Yeast: Acts as a leavening agent to help the dough rise and create a light and airy texture in the rolls.
  • Pineapple Juice: Adds sweetness and a hint of tropical flavor to the rolls, giving them their distinct Hawaiian taste.
  • Brown Sugar: Enhances the sweetness of the rolls and contributes to the golden color of the crust.
  • Kosher Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor of the rolls.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a subtle hint of vanilla flavor to complement the sweetness of the rolls.
  • Eggs: Contribute to the richness and tenderness of the rolls, as well as provide structure and help with browning.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Forms the structure of the dough and provides the necessary gluten to give the rolls their soft and chewy texture.
  • Water: Combines with the reserved egg white to help create a glossy crust on top of the rolls.

Pro Tip: When using instant yeast there’s no need to proof it in water or milk beforehand. Just make sure to check the expiration date!

Variations on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

There are tons of ways to change up these rolls to be sweeter or more savory. Try some of these variations:

  • Add slices of ham and Swiss cheese to each roll before shaping them for a savory take.
  • Crumbled cooked bacon and finely grated cheddar cheese can be added to the dough before shaping the rolls. This combination will give you a savory and indulgent treat.
  • Place a small piece of pineapple and a cube of your favorite cheese (such as cheddar or mozzarella) inside each roll before shaping them. The pineapple adds a burst of sweetness, while the cheese adds a creamy and savory element.
  • Add minced garlic and a combination of your favorite herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley) to the dough while kneading. This will infuse the rolls with a savory and fragrant flavor.
  • Add shredded coconut to the dough while kneading, and top the rolls with a sprinkle of coconut before baking.
  • After shaping the rolls, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top. This variation will give you deliciously sweet and aromatic rolls.
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How to Store

These sweet rolls will go fast around the dinner table, but if you have any leftovers, be sure to save them. Keep them in an airtight container or resealable bag and store them at room temperature for 2-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How to Freeze

You can freeze the dough before baking, or freeze fully baked rolls.

  • Freeze the dough after step 8 for up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature for at least 1 hour before baking.
  • Freeze fully baked rolls in a single layer on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours. Transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag to store for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

Serving Suggestions

These rolls go with absolutely everything. They pair well with any meal, from roasted chicken to pulled pork or turkey. I love serving them on holidays with a bit of honey butter, but they are just as good for everyday meals.

Top them with butter and Parmesan to create a riff on garlic bread, or use them to make ham and cheese sliders, meatball sliders, turkey sliders, cheeseburger sliders, or breakfast sliders.

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Hawaiian Rolls Recipe

4.58 from 124 votes

Author: Becky Hardin

Prep: 20 minutes minutes

Cook: 30 minutes minutes

Total: 2 hours hours 30 minutes minutes

Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (6)

Serves15 rolls

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Homemade Hawaiian Rolls are fresh, fluffy, and so delicious!

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  • ½ cup buttermilk 114 grams (see note)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 57 grams, room temperature (½ stick)
  • teaspoons instant yeast 7 grams (1 envelope)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice 114 grams
  • cup brown sugar 71 grams
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 grams
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
  • 2 large eggs 50 grams
  • 1 large egg yolk 14 grams (white reserved)
  • 4½-5 cups all-purpose flour 540-600 grams
  • 1 teaspoon water 5 grams

Recommended Equipment


  • Spray a large mixing bowl and a 9×13-inch baking pan lightly with nonstick spray. Set aside.

  • Combine the buttermilk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave in 20-second increments until the mixture is warmed to about 115°F.

    ½ cup buttermilk, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the buttermilk mixture and yeast together. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

    2¼ teaspoons instant yeast

  • Add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs. stirring on low until combined.

    ½ cup pineapple juice, ⅓ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk

  • Gradually add in 2 cups of flour and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Continue adding the rest of the flour on low speed until a soft dough forms. Add more flour if necessary.

    4½-5 cups all-purpose flour

  • Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead on medium speed for 5-6 minutes until the dough forms a soft, smooth ball. Alternately, you can do this by hand for 8-10 minutes.

  • Place the dough into the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Place in a warm spot in your kitchen and allow to rise for 1 hour*, until doubled.

  • Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 15 equal pieces. Round the dough into balls and place them in the prepared pan. Cover and rest for 30 minutes*, until doubled.

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  • Whisk together the reserved egg white and 1 teaspoon water. Lightly brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

    1 teaspoon water

Last step! Don’t forget to show me a pic of what you made! Upload an image or tag me @thecookierookie on Instagram!

Becky’s tips

  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, follow this simple homemade buttermilk recipe.
  • *Sweet doughs often take a bit longer to rise due to the higher sugar content. Use your own judgment on rising times – keep an eye on the size of the dough/rolls before proceeding on to the next time, ensuring that it has doubled in size.
  • I recommend using instant yeast for this recipe, as it’s the easiest method.
  • Using a stand-up mixer with a dough hook will make this recipe much easier, but you can knead the dough by hand if needed.
  • Plan ahead with this recipe, because the dough will need time to rise before baking.
  • Rising times may vary, so make sure the dough doubles in size each time.

Storage:Store Hawaiian rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1roll Calories: 211kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 36g (12%) Protein: 6g (12%) Fat: 5g (8%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 46mg (15%) Sodium: 177mg (8%) Potassium: 97mg (3%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 6g (7%) Vitamin A: 159IU (3%) Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 27mg (3%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Did You Make This?I want to see! Be sure to upload an image below & tag @thecookierookie on social media!

Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (8)

Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (9)

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Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight. Simply cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. When ready to bake, allow the dough to come to room temperature and rise before shaping and baking the rolls.

Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant?

Yes, you can substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast, but there are a few adjustments. You will need to proof the active dry yeast in warm liquid (follow the package instructions), and you may need to allow for a longer rising time due to the slower activation of active dry yeast.

Why are my rolls dense?

Dense or heavy rolls are usually caused by not kneading the dough long enough. Be sure to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. If your dough is properly kneaded, it should slowly spring back when pressed with one finger. If it springs back too quickly, it is under-kneaded. If it does not spring back at all, it is over-kneaded. The same tips can be used to tell if the dough has been proofed enough. Too springy means under-proofed and not springy enough means over-proofed.

More Roll Recipes We Love

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  • Crescent Rolls
  • Homemade Dinner Rolls
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Meet Becky Hardin

Becky Hardin is a wife and mother living in Saint Louis Missouri. She founded The Cookie Rookie in 2012 as a creative way to share recipes. Now, she is a trusted resource for easy cooking around the world, being featured in Taste of Home, The Kitchn, ABC’s Home and Family, and more. Here at The Cookie Rookie she is the editor in chief of all recipes and continues to enjoy sharing her passion for cooking for busy families. She has since founded two additional food blogs, Easy Chicken Recipes and Easy Dessert Recipes.

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Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (13)


Posted on 11/24/2022

The brown sugar gave them a darker color and the pinapple was very prevalent. They were tall and puffy but taste a bit like pineapple upside down cake…in a good way :).Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (14)


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (15)


Posted on 10/6/2022

The product came out great and I love how each step includes a reminder of how much of the ingredient I was supposed to have So I don’t have to keep scrolling backup that was a nice touch This is going to be my go to roll recipe from now on the only reason I deducted a point was because it didn’t taste as sweet as I would expect a hawiian roll to taste.Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (16)



Samantha Marceau

Posted on 10/6/2022

Reply to Aaron

We’re so glad you enjoyed these rolls, Aaron. Feel free to experiment with adding a bit more brown sugar if you like them sweeter!


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (18)


Posted on 8/11/2023

Reply to Aaron

I just wanted to add that I have found out since then you cannot use fresh pineapple juice the bromelain messes up the gluten canned pineapple juice has been cooked and the bromelain is gone


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (19)


Posted on 6/21/2022

Love it I could eat it everyday 😋 ❤️❤️‍🔥❤️‍🔥



Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (21)


Posted on 6/17/2022

These turned out amazingHawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (22)



Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (24)


Posted on 1/2/2022

These rolls mat not be authentic :) but they sure are delicious! They make great slider buns for ham!Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (25)


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (26)

Becky Hardin

Posted on 1/5/2022

Reply to Anne

The deliciousness is what matters!


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (27)

Becky Hardin

Posted on 4/9/2021

I am sorry this wasn’t up to your taste!


Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (28)


Posted on 4/8/2021

I just made my first batch of these. They are good. however it took so long to rise. it now 11:30 and i had them rising since 7:00 almost double the time but it was well worth the wait.Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (29)



Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (31)

Becky Hardin

Posted on 4/9/2021

Reply to Jessica

Those look delicious, Jessica!



Hawaiian Rolls Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)
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