Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Sweet, buttery, homemade Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are super soft and fluffy infused with pineapple juice and slathered in butter!  Their light tropical flavor makes these tender golden rolls ideal for sliders, potlucks and special occasions like Thanksgiving!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan.

Whenever I think homemade sliders, I think Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls with bbq pork in a slider.

 I used to think King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  Now I think these homemade big, beautiful Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  And I get giddy.

A close up of soft buttery Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls have always been one of my favorite rolls so to create the perfect homemade Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, I turned to the experts, Cooks Country, America’s Test Kitchen sister company.  I slightly adapted their recipe to create what I think are better-than-store bought big, golden Hawaiian Sweet Rolls that are melt in your mouth addicting.

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan showing one pulling apart.

These rolls are infused with pineapple juice, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and splash of vinegar for a slightly sweet, slightly tangy tropical flavor.  The pineapple juice lends these rolls its subtly fruity sweet flavor enhanced by the vanilla all balanced by the vinegar’s subtle sharpness.  The dough itself is incredibly rich and more dense than traditional rolls while still incredibly tender and fluffy at the same time.  The secret to nice fluffy rolls is letting them rise and double in size and this dough has two rises which also helps develop the tropical flavor.

Showing how to make Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan adding butter before baking.
A close up of raw dough form Hawaiian Sweet Rolls ready to be baked in a pan.

Brush the dough balls with butter before baking to help bake to golden perfection and infuse with flavor then brush the rolls again once baked to keep them soft and of course, infuse them with more buttery deliciousness.  

Showing fresh baked Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan.

And dig into warm soft and tender sweet, buttery tropical rolls.  Eat them plain, slather with more butter, douse in honey or pile high with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken, Slow Cooker BBQ Pork or Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes.  Because homemade is always better.  way better.

Fresh baked Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked in a pan.

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Two Hawaiian Sweet Rolls baked buttery fresh baked.
sweet, buttery, Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are super soft and fluffy infused with pineapple juice and slathered in butter! My family LOVES these! perfect for sliders, potlucks and special occasions like Thanksgiving!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Servings: 18 rolls
Total Time: 3 hrs 23 mins
Prep Time: 3 hrs
Cook Time: 23 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple juice at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey (mild honey like clover)
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons softened butter, separated

Instructions

  • Combine pineapple juice, milk, melted butter, and honey in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until mixture registers 110 degrees F, about 1 minute (Mixture may appear curdled which is okay).
  • Fix mixer with dough hook and generously spray hook with nonstick cooking spray. Mix 5 cups flour, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Slowly add pineapple juice mixture, followed by brown sugar, egg, vinegar, and vanilla and knead on LOW until dough starts to pull away from the bowl, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to MEDIUM-LOW (dial 4) and knead until for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. (Dough should clear sides of bowl but will stick to bottom but WILL BE STICKY, add up to ½ cup more flour if needed for dough to clear bowl.)
  • Remove dough and spray mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Knead dough into a ball and place back into your greased mixing bowl. Cover tightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 ½ -2 hours.
  • Meanwhile spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • After dough has doubled, remove to a floured surface (or nonstick mat) and punch down then lightly shape into rectangle of uniform thickness (overall dimensions don’t matter) using your hands. Cut the rectangle into 18 roughly even pieces then shape into balls by folding the corners under so that the top is smooth.
  • Arrange the dough balls into 6 rows of 3 in prepared 9×13 dish and cover loosely with greased plastic. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic and brush rolls with approximately 1 ½ tablespoons butter. Bake until golden brown, about 20 – 23 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let rolls cool in dish on wire rack for 10 minutes then brush with remaining butter. Best served warm.
  • TO REHEAT room-temperature rolls, wrap in aluminum foil, place on baking sheet, and bake in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

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59 Comments

  1. Christi Zelaya says

    Has anyone attempted this recipe subbing gluten free one for one flour for the flour in this recipe? I didn’t want to try subbing bread flour, as that’s a different texture. Any suggestions? I have a niece that is dying for a good Hawaiian roll. Poor kid is 11 and that was her favorite bread ever.

  2. Lora says

    Another 5-star recipe…they even taste great when you accidentally forget to put in the honey!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Lora! I’m glad they still tasted good without the honey! I hope you slathered them after 🙂

  3. Ashley says

    Should I change the recipe at all for high altitude baking?

  4. Amanda says

    Am I able to make them ahead? Like first rise shape then freeze them?

    • Jen says

      Hi Amanda, I would make the rolls up through half of step 6 – cover the rolls with plastic and freeze without rising the second time. When you are ready to finish making them, they will take about 5-6 hours to thaw and then rise at cool room temperature (about 65°F to 70°F). I hope this helps!

  5. Drew Peacock says

    This recipe is fantastic!
    I made split-top hotdog buns because my mother in law requested lobster rolls. Flavor and texture are spot on.
    They’re also slightly less sweet than a commercial brand.

    • Jen says

      Thank yo so much Drew for taking the time to comment! I’m thrilled your loved this Hawaiian Rolls recipe and I love the idea of using them as hot dog buns for lobster rolls – YUM!

  6. Denise says

    Can you bake these rolls in a muffin tin?

    • Jen says

      I haven’t personally tried it, but I don’t see why not!

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