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Hawaiian bread

Sweet Hawaiian bread – copycat version of King's Hawaiian rolls! Pineapple juice adds the sweetness to this fluffy yeast bread.

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

Growing up, I loved when my mom would buy Hawaiian bread from the store.

Not sure if it was because they cost a little more than regular bread, or because I ate them so fast (probably a little of both), but I remember they were a special treat in our household.  The rolls were so soft and sweet, the whole bag was gone in no time!

Fast forward to grown-up land, and I don't even remember the last time I've bought Hawaiian bread. Somehow it had slipped off my radar that this even existed, probably to the benefit of my overall carb intake.

I had a moment (likely a pinterest-inspired moment, as is common these days) where I saw them referenced and knew I would have to add it to my baking list.

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

The “trials” count for this recipe totaled to 3. The first time, this happened – it didn't look or taste at all like Hawaiian bread (or any type of bread, for that matter), it was flat and hard and pretty bad.

The second time turned out a little better, but as you can see below it still didn't rise very much and didn't exactly resemble the fluffy bread I remembered fondly. This time it actually tasted pretty good, though (I added milk and honey).

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

So I changed a couple more things around and made rolls for my third try. EUREKA I got Hawaiian rolls!

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

The secret to the sweetness is pineapple juice!

But the secret to yeast bread is warmth, so this time around I made sure to warm the liquids to help the yeast rise.

(Combining the pineapple juice and milk in the recipe sounds weird, I know, but it works.)

There seem to be a lot of copycat recipes out there that use ginger, but I didn't use any. 

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

Hopefully you can benefit from my trials and enjoy these rolls on the first try.

Yield: 16 rolls

Hawaiian bread

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian! |

Sweet hawaiian bread - copycat version of King's Hawaiian rolls! Pineapple juice adds the sweetness to this fluffy yeast bread.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, (plus a little extra if needed for kneading)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, (1 for the glaze)


  1. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, add the flour, yeast and sugar.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, add the pineapple juice and milk and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Add the liquids to the flour mixture.
  3. Add the honey, melted butter, and 1 egg to the mixing bowl and combine.
  4. Once ingredients are just combined, lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes. (Or you can use a kneading hook in your stand mixer.) Add a little more flour if needed if the dough is sticky.
  5. Place back in the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Separate dough into balls (should make about 16) and place in baking dish. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Use remaining egg to brush tops of rolls so they will brown in the oven.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 23-27 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or store in airtight container in fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.

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Shannon Bell

Monday 13th of April 2015

I will be making these for dinner tonight to go with bbq pulled pork... this makes me smile

Marc @ Smell My Kitchen

Tuesday 12th of August 2014

Wow this looks good! It would be delicious with a cheese or spinach dip.

Really nice entrée to bring to a dinner too.


Tuesday 12th of August 2014

I love the idea of eating it with spinach dip! I'm going to have to try that, thank you Marc!

Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel

Monday 11th of August 2014

Oh my gosh, these look amazing! I love Hawaiian bread... especially for french toast or mini ham sandwiches. Love the idea of making it from scratch!!


Monday 11th of August 2014

Ahh! Hawaiian bread french toast?! You just changed my life.

Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

Sunday 10th of August 2014

I haven't heard of Hawaiian bread before, but it sounds wonderfully sweet with the honey and pineapple juice.


Monday 11th of August 2014

It's sooo good! Please let me know if you try this sweet bread Dannii!

Medha @ Whisk & Shout

Saturday 9th of August 2014

This looks amazing! I love seeing your trial and error process :) Good recipes take work!


Monday 11th of August 2014

Thank you Medha! I'm glad you like to see a little of the background testing. I always feel like everyone else gets it right the first time!