Making King’s Hawaiian Rolls


Being a curious bear, I was recently fascinated with the notion of creating the perfect sandwich roll. Substantial yet tender, and of course, it had to be delicious. King’s Hawaiian is a brand of rolls that is very popular–for a reason. They’re substantial yet tender….and delicious. What is the secret of these rolls?

I embarked upon a bit of research and hit upon a number of copycat recipes. I analyzed the recipes for the components that made up the distinctive flavor and texture of the rolls. Pineapple juice, milk, egg, oil, ginger, vanilla, sugar. These are sweet rolls with a subtle depth of fruitiness and a delicate hint of spice. But how to get that combination just right? I do know a perfect bread recipe…. So I went back to Grandmother Bread to rock the boat with some Don Ho.

Here’s what I came up with. And I do believe these are the best, most tender rolls I’ve ever made.
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How to make Hawaiian Rolls:

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter or oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups flour*

*The flour measure is approximate–you may need slightly more or less. Use enough flour to make a good, pliable dough.

Heat the pineapple juice and milk, either in a small sauce pot on the stove or in the microwave. In a large bowl, combine juice, milk, yeast, and sugar. Let sit five minutes.
Stir in egg, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and ginger. Add the first two cups of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Keep adding flour a little at a time and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour. You can let it rise longer if you’re busy! Won’t hurt a thing.)

Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again before dividing into rolls. With floured hands, shape dough into rolls and place in a 9 x 12 greased pan. Cover and let rise until doubled. Brush tops with a couple tablespoons of melted butter and an egg, whisked together, for a glossy browned finish. Bake in a 350-degree oven.
This dough can be shaped into dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, sub buns, or even baked whole in a loaf pan. I made a dozen sandwich-size rolls and baked them for about 25 minutes. Your baking time will depend on the size of your rolls.

Look at the tender crumb on these rolls. Seriously.
Hawaiian rolls–at home!

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  1. Granma2girls says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Here in Canada we don’t have these Hawaiian rolls and I’m always hesitant to try just any copycat recipe. But everything I have made from your recipes turns out fabulous. Can’t wait to try these!

  2. Joell says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!
    I was just thinking yesterday if I could find a simular recipe, I love the sndwich buns, but they are quite pricey, and since I make all of our bread, I didnt feel that I wanted to purchase them, so this is just perfect.
    Thank you again :happyflower:

  3. beforethedawn says:

    I was thinking about how to make these just the other day! Thank you for doing all the work for me! I cannot wait to try these out. I wish I could reach into the screen and take one, yum!

  4. bumblebee says:

    WOW! These look just fabulous!!! Picture perfect!!!! I cannot have pineapple juice, so do you think orange juice might work okay? I would LOVE to try these!!!! :snoopy:

  5. rileysmom says:

    I’m anxious to try these, too! I never have any when I want them….and way out here, there’s no running to,the grocery!
    Thank you for perfecting the recipe, Suzanne!

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