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Homemade Hawaiian Dinner Rolls (King’s Hawaiian Rolls Copycat Recipe)

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This easy recipe lets you make your own sweet and fluffy Hawaiian dinner rolls at home.

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls on a plate next to an instant pot.

Light and delicious, these rolls are sweet enough and pair amazingly well with various dishes at the dinner table. Serve them with Instant Pot cheeseburger soup, lobster corn chowder, or Instant Pot Italian beef stew for a hearty meal to satisfy your appetite.

You can also enjoy them smothered in butter, peanut butter, or your favorite fruit jelly for an easy, no-fuss breakfast or snack.   

There is just something comforting about making and eating homemade bread, and this simple recipe for making homemade Hawaiian sweet rolls perfectly exemplifies it. Moreover, if you follow the recipe, you’ll realize how easy it is to bake your own dinner bread, so you may never need to buy King’s Hawaiian Rolls from the store again. 

Jump to:

What Makes Hawaiian Dinner Rolls so Good?

When you think of Hawaiian Dinner Rolls, King’s Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls must be the one that immediately comes to your mind. Light as air and with just the right hint of sweetness, you can find them in every supermarket.

The creators, King’s Hawaiian Bakery, made the first 12-pack rolls in 1983 using their original recipe, though they’ve been baking them in Hawaii since the 1950s. In 1977, they built their first mainland bakery in Torrance, California. Since then, they’ve been catering to many people across the country who have fallen in love with their delicious bread.

But have you ever wondered what makes Hawaiian rolls taste delicious? They’re so good that, more often than not, you’ll find yourself eating more than just one roll each time.

What sets Hawaiian bread apart from the regular versions of dinner rolls is that they usually have a lightly sweet flavor. This is because sweetening ingredients, such as sugar and honey, are added to them.

Other variations add fruit juices, such as pineapple juice, to their bread mix. This results in a taste that’s perfectly sweet and rich – often good enough to be enjoyed on its own.

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❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are a few reasons why you’ll love making these homemade Hawaiian rolls again and again:

  • Easy recipe: Even novice bakers and cooks will find making bread rolls easy-peasy. Additionally, you’ll find the effort to create it well worth it because of how good it tastes.
  • Kid-Friendly: The sweet and soft nature of Hawaiian dinner rolls makes them appealing to children. They can be a hit with kids, whether served as part of a meal or as a snack.
  • Soft and Fluffy Texture: The texture makes the rolls light and enjoyable to eat.
  • Versatility: You can use them for making Hawaiian ham and cheese sliders or even as the bread of on-the-go sandwiches filled with meaty leftovers from your last big meal. They’re also great as a base for French toast or bread budding.

If you love this great recipe, you might also enjoy making Nutella banana bread for your next breakfast or snack.

🥘 Ingredients

Ingredients for Hawaiian Dinner Rolls.

If you love baking, you might already have most of these ingredients in your pantry. If you’re a beginner, however, you’ll be glad to know that what you need to make Hawaiian bread rolls is easy enough to find in your local grocery store.

To make this tasty Hawaiian sweet bread, you will need:

  • Flour: The ingredient that will give your bread structure. You can use bread flour or all-purpose flour, but I prefer using bread flour because it has a higher protein content. This gives a better rise and fluffier texture to the rolls.
  • Granulated Sugar: This will give your dinner rolls a sweet taste similar to store-bought Hawaiian rolls.
  • Active Dry Yeast: The ingredient that leavens or makes your dough rise and gives it a light and airy texture.

See recipe card for complete list of ingredients and quantities.

🔀 Substitutions

Make these swaps if you don’t have some of the ingredients.

  • Granulated Sugar: To make these delicious rolls, you can use brown sugar in place of granulated sugar. 
  • Active Dry Yeast: This recipe may also work if you use an equal amount of instant yeast. 

🌈 Variations / Options / Add-Ins

Change up the recipe a bit depending on your personal preferences.

  • Go sweeter: You can brush the rolls with butter and honey on top to make them taste even richer and sweeter. 
  • Make them savory: Make your fully baked rolls deliciously savory. You can do this by pouring garlic butter made from melted butter, parsley and garlic on top and in between the rolls.
  • Go gluten-free: If you want to try this recipe without the gluten, use the same amount of gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. 
  • Softer Rolls: You can add milk and eggs if you want softer and more tender dinner rolls. The proteins and fats in these ingredients enhance the texture of the rolls.
  • Fluffier Texture: Potato flakes or potato starch can help create fluffier rolls. Potatoes contribute moisture and help to retain it during baking.
  • Buttery flavor: Brushing the tops of the rolls with melted butter before and after baking can enhance the flavor and contribute to a soft crust.

If you find yourself needing more bread recipes to make yourself in the kitchen, then this bacon bread is a highly recommended one to try.

🥄 Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

Here are the tools you’ll need to make these excellent homemade Hawaiian Rolls:

  • Dough Hook: The attachment you will need to help form the dough.
  • Electric Mixer: What you will need to mix the dough well.
  • Baking Pan: This is where you will put the rolled dough for baking in the oven. 
  • Instant Pot: What you will use to help the dough proof or rise further.

🔪 How To Make Hawaiian Dinner Rolls

It’s time to get busy! Here are the quick and easy steps to create sweet Hawaiian rolls without breaking a sweat. 

Step 1: Mix Sugar, Water, and Yeast

Add the sugar, water, and yeast to a stand mixer bowl. Stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Afterward, a layer of foam should appear.

Sugar, water, and yeast in a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add Flour

Then, add the flour and mix with a dough hook until the dough forms into a ball.

Flour is added in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Grease the Instant Pot Liner

Generously coat the Instant Pot liner with oil. Then, place the dough inside.

Dough inside the Instant Pot.

Step 4: Set Instant Pot to Yogurt Mode

Next, cover and set the Instant Pot to yogurt mode for 40 minutes. Knead the dough every 10 minutes. The dough should double in size.

Dough inside the Instant Pot.

Step 5: Remove Dough and Shape Into Rolls

Afterward, remove the dough from the Instant Pot and divide it into 9 equal parts. Using your hands, roll each separate part into a smooth ball.

Step 6: Place Rolls in Baking Pan

Place rolls in an 8 x 8 baking pan that has been oiled.

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls shaped into dough balls in a glass baking dish.

Step 7: Cover and let sit

Next, cover the pan with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow the rolls to sit for 15 minutes.

Step 8: Bake the Rolls

Then, bake in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes until the buns look golden brown.

Step 9: Remove from the Oven and Serve

Lastly, remove the baked rolls from the oven. Serve warm for the best results.

Overhead view of Hawaiian Dinner Rolls on a plate.

👩‍🍳 Pro Tips

  • The secret to making perfect Hawaiian dinner rolls is to ensure the yeast is fresh and active. Activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm liquid (milk or water) with a bit of sugar. Let it sit until it becomes frothy, indicating the yeast is active and ready to leaven the dough.
  • Proper kneading develops the gluten structure, giving the rolls their structure and fluffiness. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This can take about 8 to 10 minutes by hand or 5 to 7 minutes with a stand mixer.
  • Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (do not rush). This allows the yeast to ferment and produce carbon dioxide, which creates air pockets in the dough, resulting in a light and airy texture.
  • After the first rise, gently punch down the dough to release excess carbon dioxide. When shaping the rolls, handle the dough gently to preserve the air pockets. 
  • Lightly oil your hands before shaping the bread dough into smaller rolls. It makes handling the dough easier as it won’t stick to your hands.
  • Cover the freshly baked rolls with a clean kitchen towel or foil while they cool. This helps retain moisture, preventing the rolls from drying out.

❓ Recipe FAQs

How do you Store These Hawaiian Dinner Rolls?

You can place the rolls in an airtight container and store them at room temperature. It should be good to eat for up to 3 days. 

Can I Freeze These Rolls?

If you want to freeze the rolls, you can put them in an airtight container and then store them in the freezer. They can be good for up to 3 months.

How do you Reheat Them?

Warm them in the oven for about 5 minutes at 300 F or in the microwave oven for 10-15 seconds.

🙏 Pairing

These are my favorite dishes to serve with Hawaiian Dinner Rolls:

Ready to get cooking? Print off the recipe card below or toggle on Cook Mode to keep your screen from going dark while you follow along on your phone or tablet.

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📋 Recipe

Three Hawaiian Dinner Rolls in a bowl on a table next to a napkin.

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls

Corinne Schmitt
Make your own Hawaiian Dinner Rolls from scratch by following this recipe!
5 from 56 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 9 Rolls
Calories 224 kcal

Equipment

  • Dough hook
  • Electric mixer
  • Baking pan
  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water at 100 F
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cups flour

Instructions
 

  • Add the sugar, water, and yeast to a stand mixer bowl. Stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes. A layer of foam should appear.
  • Add the flour and mix with a dough hook until the dough forms into a ball.
  • Generously coat the Instant Pot liner with oil. Then, place the dough inside.
  • Cover and set the Instant Pot to yogurt mode for 40 minutes. Knead dough every 10 minutes. The dough should double in size.
  • Remove the dough from the Instant Pot and divide it into 9 equal parts. Roll each separate part into a smooth ball using your hands.
  • Place the rolls in an oiled 8 x 8 baking pan.
  • Cover the pan with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow the rolls to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Bake the rolls in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes until the buns look golden brown.
  • Remove the baked rolls from the oven. Serve warm.

Notes

Pro Tips

    • The secret to making perfect Hawaiian dinner rolls is to ensure the yeast is fresh and active. Activate the yeast by dissolving it in warm liquid (milk or water) with a bit of sugar. Let it sit until it becomes frothy, indicating the yeast is active and ready to leaven the dough.
    • Proper kneading develops the gluten structure, giving the rolls their structure and fluffiness. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This can take about 8 to 10 minutes by hand or 5 to 7 minutes with a stand mixer.
    • Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (do not rush). This allows the yeast to ferment and produce carbon dioxide, which creates air pockets in the dough, resulting in a light and airy texture.
    • After the first rise, gently punch down the dough to release excess carbon dioxide. When shaping the rolls, handle the dough gently to preserve the air pockets. 
    • Lightly oil your hands before shaping the bread dough into smaller rolls. This would make handling the dough easier as it won’t stick to your hands.
    • Cover the freshly baked rolls with a clean kitchen towel or foil while they cool. This helps retain moisture, preventing the rolls from drying out. 

Recipe FAQs

How do you Store These Hawaiian Dinner Rolls?

You can place the rolls in an airtight container and store them at room temperature. It should be good to eat for up to 3 days. 

Can I Freeze These Rolls?

If you want to freeze the rolls, you can put them in an airtight container and then store them in the freezer. They can be good for up to 3 months.

How do you Reheat Them?

Warm them in the oven for about 5 minutes at 300°F or in the microwave oven for 10-15 seconds.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.02gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 52mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin C: 0.002mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 2mg
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