Hawaiian Rolls Recipe

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Soft pillowy Hawaiian Rolls are a sweet buttery dinner roll made with pineapple and brown sugar. Hawaiian Dinner Rolls are a favorite for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The leftover rolls are perfect for day after Thanksgiving sliders filled with leftover turkey fixings like turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. 

Other delicious Bread Recipes that are worth checking out include soft pillowy Potato Rolls, crusty French Roll Bread, and Cloverleaf Rolls.

A side shot of a soft pillow Hawaiian Roll on a white plate.
I am totally smitten with these soft pillowy Hawaiian Rolls. There's just something about a lightly sweetened roll that makes the angels sing, and my heart warm. 

These are a copy cat of those delicious Hawaiian Rolls you find at the grocery store, but even better because they come fresh and warm from the oven.

I know some of you are scared of our little friend called yeast, but I promise you it's really not as scary as it seems. Tips when making yeast breads: 
  1. Make sure non of the ingredients are too warm, if I don't have a thermometer handy the easiest way I find to make sure the milk isn't too hot is by pressing my wrist against the outside of the bowl like when the kids were little, and you would check their bottles to make sure they weren't too warm if it burns it's too hot and let it cool.
  2. Make sure your yeast is fresh. If the yeast doesn't become foamy the rolls won't rise.
  3. Having enough patience to let the dough rise, especially the final rise where the rolls double in size to become nice and fluffy.

See nothing to be scared of with these rolls. As my kids would say easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

Here's how to make Hawaiian Rolls:

A stainless steel mixing bowl with warm milk, melted butter, brown sugar and yeast.

In a large mixer fitted with a dough hook combine:
  • 1/4 cup Milk warmed to no hotter the 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup Butter, Melted 
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast, or 1 packet
 Mix everything together and let it sit for about 5-8 minutes until mixture looks a bit foamy.

Crushed Pineapple and juice added to yeast mixture in stainless steel mixing bowl.

Add 2/3 cup pineapple juice, and 1/3 cup crushed pineapple.

Beaten Egg in a small glass bowl.

Beat 2 eggs well. Add eggs to the yeast pineapple mixture, and mix until combined. Add 4 cups All-Purpose Flour, and sprinkle 1 teaspoon Salt evenly over flour. Mix on medium- low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed.

Turn speed to medium and knead until dough is soft but not sticky when touched add 1 tablespoon at a time of additional flour as needed to make a soft dough but not sticky up to an additional 1/4 cup.

Hawaiian Roll Dough in a ball placed in a buttered stainless steel bowl.

Butter a medium bowl well. Place dough in bowl and butter the top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel.

Risen Hawaiian Roll Dough in a stainless steel bowl.

Set bowl in a warm area and let rise until doubled in size about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Hawaiian Roll dough being shaped into balls.

Gently remove dough from bowl and divide dough into 2. Divide each half into 8 equal sized pieces. Gently pull top of dough down and pinch at the bottom to make a smooth ball.

Please forgive my nails they were in some major need of some TLC.

Shaped Hawaiian Roll Dough in a 9"x13" pan.

Grease (1) 9"x13" pan and (1) 8"round cake pan with butter.  Evenly space 12 rolls in 9"x13" pan and 4 rolls in cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place rolls in a warm area free of drafts until doubled in size about 45minutes -1 hour.

Tip: Before second rise rolls can be refrigerated and baked later. If rolls are refrigerated remove from refrigerator about 1hour 15minutes before baking and allow to double in size.

Bake rolls in a 350 degree preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

4 Hawaiian Rolls in a metal pan.

Brush warm buns with butter and allow to cool.

This was all that was left of the Hawaiian Dinner Rolls by the time I went to take a picture and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep the kids from devouring the last of the rolls only because I was out of crushed pineapple to make another batch.

A split open Hawaiian Roll with a spoon full of raspberry jam on top of a white plate.

I think that's a pretty gorgeous roll. We had run out of butter but it was delicious with a little raspberry jam. A perfect breakfast treat with my cup of tea.

Other favorite Roll Recipes you might enjoy are:
  • French Bread Dinner Rolls
  • Potato Dinner RollsBest 
  • Garlic French Bread Dinner Rolls
  • Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

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    Rolls, Yeast Bread, Yeast Rolls, Dinner Rolls, Thanksgiving Rolls, Christmas Rolls,
    Yield: 12
    Author: Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
    Hawaiian Rolls

    Hawaiian Rolls

    Soft pillowy Hawaiian Rolls are a sweet buttery dinner roll made with pineapple and brown sugar. Hawaiian Dinner Rolls are a favorite for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The leftover rolls are perfect for day after Thanksgiving sliders filled with leftover turkey fixings like turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
    Prep time: 35 MinCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 3 H & 5 M


    • 1/4 cup Milk, Warmed Under 110 degrees.
    • 1/4 cup Butter, Melted
    • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast Or 1 Packet
    • 20 ounce Canned Crushed Pineapple
    • 2 whole Eggs, Beaten
    • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Plus up to additional 1/4 cup
    • 1 teaspoon Salt
    • Additional Butter For Greasing Bowl, Pans and Buttering Tops Of Rolls


    1. Butter a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
    2. Place milk, melted butter, brown sugar, and yeast in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix ingredients until well combined. Allow mixture to sit for about 5-7 minutes until bubbly.
    3. Mean while stain crushed pineapple reserving 2/3 cup pineapple juice and 1/3 cup crushed pineapple.
    4. Add the 2/3 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup drained crushed pineapple, and egg to yeast mixture. Mix until well combined.
    5. Add 4 cups flour and sprinkle salt evenly over the top of dough. Knead dough on medium-low until most of the flour has been absorbed.
    6. Turn mixer to medium speed and mix until dough is soft but no longer sticky about 5 minutes. If dough is sticky add an additional 1 tablespoon of flour at a time up to 1/4 cup until dough is soft and smooth.
    7. Place dough in a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm draft free area. Allow to double in size about 1-1 1/2 hours.
    8. Butter a 9"x13" pan and a 8" round cake pan, set aside.
    9. Gently remove risen dough from bowl and divide in half. Divide each half into 8 pieces.
    10. Gently form each piece of dough into a smooth ball by pulling edges under and pinching. Place 12 rolls evenly spaced in 9"x13" pan and 4 rolls in cake pan. Cover rolls with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
    11. At this point rolls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove from refrigerator 1-1 1/2 hours before baking and allow to double in size.
    12. If cooking immediately allow rolls to double in size in a warm draft free area about 45 minutes -1 hour.
    13. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    14. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
    15. Brush hot rolls with butter and allow to cool.
    16. Store rolls in an airtight container.

    Nutrition Facts




    5.56 g

    Sat. Fat

    3.04 g


    47.66 g


    1.97 g

    Net carbs

    45.7 g


    13.06 g


    6.19 g


    242.59 mg


    38.96 mg

    Calories are estimated.

    Did you make this recipe?
    Tag @serenabakessimplyfromscratch on instagram and hashtag it #SerenaBakesSimplyFromScratch
    4 Hawaiian Rolls in a metal 9x13 pan with white text at the top of photo Hawaiian Rolls.
    2 photos of Hawaiian Rolls. The top photo is of a side shot of a Hawaiian Roll and the bottom photo is of a split open Hawaiian Roll on a white plate. There is a white banner between the two photos with black text Hawaiian Dinner Rolls.


  1. I love hawaiian dinner rolls but have yet to try making them myself. That needs to change with these!

  2. I love homemade dinner rolls and these sound fantastic! I bet they would make great buns for burgers as well :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. I bet your house smelled amazing as these baked Serena, they look delicious!

  4. I can totally imagine how much you love these Hawaiian dinner rolls! They look very moist and soft and bouncy... unlike those "dried" buns I see in stores! I love the golden top - so pretty... <3

    1. Hi. Looking a your recipe you only need 2/3 cup of pineapple, right? I don't see adding any more in the recipe. I plan on making them tomorrow. Look delicious.

    2. 2/3 of a cup Pineapple Juice and 1/3 cup Crushed Pineapple! Thanks, Serena

  5. These look amazing, Serena! I love a slightly sweet bread---yum!!!

  6. I can tell you I don't bake much at all, but I will be making these! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Raspberry jam is my favorite! That's exactly what I would put on these! Or honey butter. :)

  8. Bread of any time is a weakness but dinner rolls bring me to my knees! These look outstanding!

  9. Do these freeze well after baked?

    Also, at what point BEFORE baking can they be frozen (to bake at some other time)?

    1. Hi, I haven't tried freezing these to be able to say for sure. I would probably freeze them after shaping, and then allow them to thaw and then the final rise if I was going to try it. I hope that helps, Serena

  10. Hi Serena, these rolls look amazing! Can't wait to try them. One quick question though, can I make these with just pineapple juice and leave out the crushed pineapple? And if so, how do I adjust the recipe. Hope to hear back from you soon! Thanks!

  11. Hi! I'm sure you could, but I haven't ever made it that way. My thought would be probably about 3/4 Pineapple Juice instead, but you might have to adjust the flour to get the dough the right consistency. I don't know how proficient of a bread baker you are, but if you've made a lot of bread that is where I would start. Obviously I don't know how they would very without trying it out, so you'll have to let me know! Thanks, Serena

    1. Thank you so much for the quick reply Serena! Your suggestion worked like a charm! The rolls came out perfect! They were pillowy soft, fluffy and absolutely delicious! I'm throwing out all of my other Hawaiian rolls recipes, none come close! Thank you, thank you so much!

  12. I tried these twice. Failed both times. First time my yeast mixture didn't seem to get foamy. However, I went ahead & tried to complete the recipe. After an hour & 15 minutes zero rise to my dough. I have experience baking with yeast. My yeast is fresh. I might not have had the milk warm enough. So I tried again making sure the milk was warm enough. Still zero foaming to my yeast mixture. I am extremely disappointed as I am having a party on Saturday and these rolls as sliders are a major part of the food. I don't have the time or ingredients to waste on a third attempt. I do know when I make my whole wheat bread and proof my yeast; I never put the melted butter in as part of the proof. It is warm water, a bit of sugar, and the yeast needed for the recipe. I have a beautiful foam every single time. Yes I do know the temp of my home makes a difference. I made sure it is warm inside today. Extremely disappointing after reading the positive reviews of people who actually made these.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that! I don't blame you for not wanting to waste anymore food. If you ever decide to try again you could delay adding the butter until after it's foamy and see if that helps. Even if your house is cooler the dough should rise, it just takes longer. Sometimes on top of the fridge or near the stove is warmer. The warm milk is crucial, I usually use a thermometer to make sure it's not over 110 degrees. If I don't have a thermometer I'll put a little on my wrist like a babies bottle to make sure it doesn't burn. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast, too cold and it won't wake up. I hope you find a recipe that works for you. -Serena

    2. I called my mil last night and asked her advice. I am new using a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and mine has a stainless steel bowl. We decided that might be a huge part of the problem. My bowl is cooling down the milk & butter too much. So I am trying again today. I will make sure my bowl is warm before adding the milk and butter. I will definitely try your advice of waiting to add the butter.
      The first batch that didn't rise within the suggested time I kept working on and finally made rolls. They passed the husband and son taste test! So I know I am on the right track.
      Thank you so much for your time and suggestion.

  13. Hi Serena, I love these rolls, they're delicious! But I was wondering how to go about making the dough in the bread machine, in what order would I add the ingredients to the bread machine for the dough cycle?

  14. Hello, these look delicious! I'm just starting out baking and only have a hand mixer, so I'm wondering if I need a dough hook to make these? If not, would you recommend mixing by hand or with the handheld mixer (I have a whisk attachment.) Thank you!

    1. Hi Tess! You could make these with a heavy duty spoon to mix the ingredients together and then knead the dough instead of a dough hook. Just make sure to knead the dough really good. It will take some arm strength! Let me know if there's any other questions I can help you with, Serena

    2. Thank you SO much, can't wait to try! :))

  15. Just pulled these out of the oven and my boyfriend can hardly wait for them to cool off. As a recommendation, it can help with the yeast to wait to add the melted butter until after the yeast foams; the lipids in the butter coast the yeast spores and prevent full activation from the warmth of the milk and sugar. Great recipe!

  16. These rolls are awesome! It took a long time for the dough to double in size though. I used instant yeast so I never got the 'foam' but the dough eventually rose to double its size (several hours in front of the fireplace) and I was able to continue on with it. They turned out great. My only question is why the crushed pineapple?? I get the juice part but my hubby was like "NO" to the crushed pineapple so I admitted that (I didn't have any either). Just curious what that does for it and if you end up biting into bits of pineapple. Other than that this is a great recipe and I am sure I will make it again. I would like to try it with gluten free flour but am not sure if it will work out as well. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi! The crushed pineapple just helps to give it more pineapple flavor. The crushed pineapple breaks down pretty small by the time the doughs been worked so much. I don't have any tips for Gluten Free Rolls they require more adaptations and I haven't ever experimented with it. What gives the rolls their texture is the gluten from the flour and sugar feeding the yeast. Gluten Free Flour might require some adaptations to get similar results even with cup for cup but that will depend on the flour used. If you do decide to try it I would love to hear if you find something that works! -Serena

  17. hello, i would like to try to make these but can i use orange juice instead of pineapple juice? I'm very new to baking here retired carpenter but love good food. thank you

    1. Hi, You can use orange juice. It will just have an orange flavor instead of pineapple. I hope that helps. -Serena

  18. I baked these today and also had an issue with the yeast rising. I typically use the instant rise yeast but ran out so I used the rapid rise. After I had issues I found that I had a little bit of instant rise yeast left, rolled out my dough flat, sprinkled the yeast all over the surface, gave it a quick mist of warm water and worked it back into the dough. I let the dough proof again and it rose! This recipe is delicious! I’ll be using the instant rise dough next time!

  19. These turned out perfect for us to use as sliders. Made them the day before then after they were all cooked, turned them into sliders and put in oven with foil over top until the cheese was melted. We've tried other hawaiin roll recipes before but the consistency wasn't as good. This one was the same texture as what we have bought in stores.

  20. Hello there! Can I use fresh pineapple and fresh juice? (not canned)

    1. Hi Angela, I don't believe fresh would work unless you cook it. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain and it affects the gluten development just like you can't use fresh pineapple in jello. A little research makes it look like the pineapple would need to be cooked to 180 degrees F for about 8-10 minutes. I hope that helps, Serena

  21. Hi! Do you think it would work to sub almond milk or coconut milk for dairy free folks? I’m making these for my sister and she can have butter but not milk. I might use the coconut milk and end up with pina colada rolls 😂

    1. Hi! Yes, either should work just fine! Coconut would be yummy! Thanks, Serena


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