Soft and sweet homemade vegan Hawaiian rolls sweetened with pineapple juice and brown sugar are the perfect vegan copycat recipe of the grocery store favorite! A perfect bread for dinner, snacks, or as the base for other recipes.
Why You’ll Love these Hawaiian Rolls
Homemade dinner rolls are some of my favorite things to bake. There is something so comforting about soft and sweet dinner rolls. This recipe is great because with only 8 ingredients that you mostly have in your pantry already you can make the most unreal soft and fluffy rolls.
If you haven’t made homemade bread rolls before, don’t worry. This recipe is one of the best ones to use to start your bread making journey. The enriched dough calls for a low and slow rise and the shape is super easy to roll together.
For the full list of ingredients, complete with amounts, please see the recipe box below.
- Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice is what gives Hawaiian rolls their distinctive flavor! I use just the canned kind that I keep in my pantry for other recipes like in my homemade vegan BBQ sauce or BBQ lentil burgers. Make sure it is 100% pineapple juice.
- Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes are the secret ingredient for enriched vegan breads! They provide structure, moisture, and make the dough super soft. I use instant potato flakes that I quickly mix into mashed potatoes so I always have them on hand.
- All Purpose Flour: You don’t need to use bread flour, just a simple all purpose flour.
- Active dry yeast: I prefer to use this over instant yeast but use your favorite if you prefer the instant.
You’ll also need: Canola oil (or other neutral oil), brown sugar, soy milk (or other plant based milk), and salt
Make the Dough
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
Begin by proofing the yeast. Combine the yeast with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar with the soy milk warmed to about 110F/43C. Whisk it together until the yeast and sugar dissolves and then set aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to awaken.
In a big mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, place the yeast mixture and add the room temperature pineapple juice, the remaining brown sugar, and oil. Give this a quick stir and add the all purpose flour and salt on top.
To mix in a mixer: Mix on a low speed for 2 ½ minutes and then on a medium speed for 2 ½ minutes.
Making by hand: Knead the dough in the bowl or on the clean countertop for up to 10 minutes until a smooth dough ball forms.
No matter which technique you use, the dough will be slightly tacky but not sticky. Sticky dough will stick to your finger if you touch it, while tacky dough can feel a bit tacky but will never come away on your finger.
Grease the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. Rising time can vary based on both temperature and humidity levels in your kitchen, so if this is your first time making this recipe, you may need to tweak how long this dough needs.
This bread takes a bit of time to proof, especially if your kitchen is cold (like mine can be in the winter in Michigan!). To counter this, I like to wrap up the bowl in a warm, clean kitchen towel, and place it next to a hot tea kettle on the stove, or simply place it next to a pot of hot water. This really helps with the humidity and the heat that helps the bread rise. Cover the bowl with either plastic wrap or another clean kitchen towel.
Just make sure that you don’t touch the bowl to the hot kettle/pot. You don’t want to overheat and kill the yeast!
How to Shape the Rolls
After the first rise, it’s time to shape them for their second rise in the greased baking dish.
First up, punch down the dough and place the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Tip! I like to use a piece of parchment paper when making this to help with easy clean up.
Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 pieces. Star by making an “X” in the middle to make 4 pieces and then divide each of those into 3 more pieces. You’ll have 12 triangles when done.
Tip! Don’t worry if the dough balls aren’t exactly the same size. I never do and always get rolls that are basically the same size. But, if you want to be perfect, weigh the dough before dividing it into 12 equal pieces.
Pick up each dough and begin to tuck the edges under each other to start to form the ball shape. Roll it in your hands and pinch the edges under. Finally, place the dough ball seem side down on the countertop and gently roll it around in a clockwise direction a few times. This creates the tension on the dough ball to help them rise beautifully.
Make sure that the countertop is clean and has no flour on it when you roll each dough ball on the counter. The dough needs to slightly stick to help create that tautness.
Place each roll into your prepared pan and gently cover with the clean kitchen towel again. Place it back in a warm spot and let it rise for about another 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Baking the Hawaiian Rolls
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Place the fully risen rolls in the oven uncovered and bake for about 25 minutes. The rolls will have a beautiful golden brown color on top when done and using a thermometer, will have reached an inside temperature of 195F/90C.
Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool in the hot pan for about 10 minutes. You can brush the tops with vegan melted butter if desired.
Are Hawaiian Rolls vegan?
The original recipe for Hawaiian rolls is not vegan as they contain eggs and milk. That is why this recipe is here! This recipe is made to taste just like the King’s Hawaiian rolls you can buy (and hopefully better).
How to Store
Countertop: Store any leftover rolls in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 3 days. On day 4 I find they start to dry out, but can make some delicious bread pudding.
Fridge: If you have applied a melted vegan butter top to the rolls, I recommend that you store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep the butter from going rancid.
Freezer: Once fully baked and cooled, store the Hawaiian rolls in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow the rolls to thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for a few hours.
How to Reheat Rolls: To reheat the rolls, pop them in a 400F/205C oven for 5 minutes or so until warmed through. You can also place rolls individually on a microwave safe plate and warm in intervals of 15 seconds until warmed through.
More Bread Recipes
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- Mixing bowl
- measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Knife or bench scraper
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup pineapple juice
- ⅔ cup soy milk unsweetened and unflavored
- 3 tablespoons mashed potatoes
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Proof the yeast. In a small mixing bowl, combine the warm dairy free milk with the yeast and a sprinkle of sugar. Whisk together. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes. If the yeast does not get foamy, the milk may have been too hot, or the yeast may have expired.
- Prepare the dough. In the bowl of your stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a large spoon, combine the proofed yeast, remaining brown sugar, mashed potatoes, oil, and pineapple juice. Quickly whisk together before adding the flour and salt. Mix on low speed for 2 ½ minutes, scrape the sides of the bowl, and then mix on medium speed for an additional 2 ½ minutes. If making by hand, mix and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
- First rise. Lightly greatest a large bowl with a neutral flavored oil. Place the dough ball in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap. Place it in a warm spot and let it rise for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Prepare the pan. Greatest an 8×10-inch (20×25-cm) baking dish and set aside.
- Shape the rolls. When the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 12 pieces. Tightly roll each dough ball in your hands and on a clean, un floured kitchen countertop. Place them in your prepared baking dish.
- Second rise. Cover the shaped rolls with the plastic wrap or kitchen towel from before. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
- Preheat the oven. While the rolls are on their second rise, preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven so the roll tops don’t burn.
- Bake the rolls. Bake the uncovered rolls for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you see the tops browning too quickly, you can loosely tent the baking dish with aluminum foil. The rolls will have an internal temperature of 195°F/90°C when fully baked. Remove from the oven and brush with melted vegan butter, if desired. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- How to Store
- Countertop: Store any leftover rolls in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 3 days. On day 4 I find they start to dry out, but can make some delicious bread pudding.
- Fridge: If you have applied a melted vegan butter top to the rolls, I recommend that you store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep the butter from going rancid.
- Freezer: Once fully baked and cooled, store the Hawaiian rolls in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow the rolls to thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for a few hours.
- How to Reheat Rolls: To reheat the rolls, pop them in a 400F/205C oven for 5 minutes or so until warmed through. You can also place rolls individually on a microwave safe plate and warm in intervals of 15 seconds until warmed through.