How to Make Copycat Vegan Hawaiian Rolls
If you are familiar with and love(d) the famous store-bought King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, then I think you’ll be happy to know you can now make homemade vegan ones. These are sweet, buttery, soft, fluffy, and slightly chewy. They taste nearly identical to the original brand’s! My non-vegan family is obsessed with these vegan Hawaiian rolls, and I am confident you will be, too.
Bread beginner? You got this!
This roll recipe takes some time and effort, but it is a relatively easy recipe to put together despite the long list of instructions. I wanted to be very clear in the instructions and go into depth when needed, so there would be no confusion. I know making homemade bread can be quite intimidating for some people. So, I want to reassure you that you will have delicious rolls as long as you follow the instructions to a T. However, they don’t need to look perfect. So, relax and have fun with it!
These vegan Hawaiian rolls require just 7 ingredients and basic bread-making instructions.
First, I combine warm water, active dry yeast, and sugar in a standing mixer bowl. Once it is nice and bubbly, I add more sugar, pineapple juice, vegan butter, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, and salt. It may seem odd to put pineapple juice in a bread recipe, but it works incredibly perfect in these rolls! (They are called Hawaiian sweet rolls, after all.) I then let the standing mixer do all the kneading. I scrape the sticky dough into a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rest for one hour.
Then, I punch the dough down a couple of times to remove some of its gas bubbles. This allows the dough’s ingredients to slightly ferment and helps the dough to rise a second time.
After it’s risen for one more hour, I punch it down again, roll the dough into small balls, and lay them in a heavily buttered baking dish. I brush them generously with melted pineapple butter and let them rest one last time, but just for twenty minutes.
Into the oven, they go, and near the end, I brush them with more pineapple butter. Lastly, as soon as they come out of the oven, I brush them heavily with plain melted butter. This not only adds more flavor but helps give the rolls a nice shine.
This recipe creates nearly identical tasting rolls in comparison to the famous ones!
They’re so buttery and sweet, making them quite addicting! These genuinely taste nearly identical to the original ones. Even my non-vegan picky family said so, and that’s saying a lot! My mom said they taste exactly like King’s Hawaiian’s, except better because they’re homemade. The only slight difference we came to a conclusion on is my version is a tad denser and bouncier than the store-bought ones, but they’re still very soft, fluffy, and pillowy.
These taste amazing on their own and are perfect as a side dish, especially for the holidays. But, feel free to get creative. Use them as slider buns! I think turning these into vegan pulled pork sliders or a Hawaiian-style vegan chicken sandwich would be so fun! I have a recipe for Italian Vegan Cheesesteak Sliders, and I’ve always used my homemade burger buns for that recipe. But, next time, I will be giving my Hawaiian rolls a try with that recipe instead!
If you make these vegan Hawaiian rolls, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Copycat Vegan Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- Standing mixer with dough hook attachment
- 1/3 cup water
- One 7 gram (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 cup pineapple juice, 100% pure
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, plus more for greasing the bowl and baking dish
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 100% pure
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For Brushing on Top of the Rolls
- 2 tbsp pineapple juice, 100% pure
- 4 tbsp vegan butter
- Heat the water in a small saucepot until it reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, add it into the bowl of a standing mixer, along with the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Stir and then allow this to rest for 10 minutes.
- In a small saucepot, heat the pineapple juice and vegan butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is also at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After the yeast mixture has rested for 10 minutes, add the warmed pineapple juice and butter, vanilla extract, the rest of the sugar, the flour, and salt into the mixing bowl.
- Use the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer onto the lowest speed, and mix until everything is mostly combined. If needed, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl. Once everything is mostly combined, let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes.
- Grease a large mixing bowl with vegan butter or pan spray. Once the dough has finished kneading, scrape it into the greased bowl and lightly grease the top of the dough as well. Directly place a piece of plastic wrap onto the dough as well as over the bowl. Place this in a dark, warm place to rest and partially rise for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the piece of plastic wrap and "punch" the dough down twice. To do this, lightly grease your fist with butter or pan spray, and literally (gently) punch down near the dough's center twice.
- Cover the dough, and it's bowl back in the plastic wrap, and place it in a dark, warm place to rest for 1 more hour. After it has finished resting for 1 hour, move on to the next steps.
How to Roll the Dough into Balls
- Heavily grease a 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish with vegan butter.
- Now, "punch" the dough 2 more times. Lightly flour the countertop to prevent the dough from sticking. Then, divide it into 15 equal-sized pieces. Try to get the pieces as equal in size as possible; it is okay to steal some dough from each other to make them equivalent.
- Place them on the lightly floured counter and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
- Place one piece of dough in front of you and pinch the outer edges together into the middle. Turn it over, so the pinched part is now on the counter. Using both hands, roll the ball around in a circle, as tight as you can, keeping the pinched part still on the counter. Only add more flour if the dough is completely sticking to the counter. You want to use as little as possible; otherwise, it will be hard to roll the buns tightly.
- Then, if needed, use a bench scraper to lift the roll and place it into the greased baking dish. You will be making 3 by 5 rows of rolls. Keep a piece of plastic wrap laying on the roll(s) while you roll the rest out.
- In a small saucepot, over medium-low heat, combine the 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and 2 of the tablespoons of the vegan butter from "For Brushing on Top of the Rolls." Once the butter is melted, stir the two well, and brush half of it evenly over all of the rolls. Set the other half to the side for later. Lay the piece of plastic wrap back onto the rolls and let them rest for 20 minutes. After they have finished resting, move on to the next steps.
How to Bake the Rolls
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the piece of plastic wrap from the rolls and bake them on the middle oven rack for 18 minutes.
- Brush the other half of the pineapple-butter mixture over the rolls and place them back in the oven to bake for 6 more minutes.
- Lastly, melt the last two tablespoons of vegan butter and brush it evenly over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.