Top Pick Of The Week

April 16, 2013

King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

These rolls are so moist and buttery, they don’t need extra butter. But we couldn’t resist adding our favorite cultured butter from Vermont Creamery. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Light and lightly sweet breads and rolls from a third generation, family-owned bakery.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Adapted from the concept of Portuguese sweet bread, these airy loves and rolls add a beguiling touch of sweetness to everything from toast to burgers and sliders.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The buttery, sweet flavors add a lift to everything.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Available at retailers nationwide (store locator) and online at

The loaf is easily turned into a bread bowl. Photography in this section courtesy King’s Hawaiian.

Mini sub rolls make tasty sandwiches. The original dinner rolls are perfect for sliders.

The King’s Hawaiian family of rolls (loaves not shown).


King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread: Aloha & Mahalo!*

Portuguese sweet bread is a lightly sweet round loaf made with milk, sugar and/or honey. Traditionally a Christmas and Easter holiday bread (it’s baked with embedded hard-boiled eggs for Easter), it’s popularity as a breakfast bread has made it available year-round—if you’re lucky enough to live in a community where it’s available.

But thanks to the expansion of King’s Hawaiian sweet bread and rolls, more Americans can enjoy its pleasures.

In the 1950s, Robert Taira, the Hawaiian-born son of Japanese immigrants, opened Robert's Bakery in Hawaii. Among his wares were round, soft loaves of sweet bread—a tweaking of the Portuguese sweet bread concept. They became a hit; the company says that “the loaves rarely ever made it home before being devoured.” After the first bite, we understood why.

In 1963 the bakery expanded and moved to King Street in Honolulu, where it was renamed King’s Bakery. With lines wrapping around the block, the loaves, called Original Hawaiian Sweet Bread, were discovered by tourists and shipped to the mainland as gifts to family and friends.

In 1977, a production facility opened in California, with a slightly modified name: King’s Hawaiian Bakery. The product line expanded too, to Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls and then to Honey Wheat Round Bread.

Today, there’s another facility in Atlanta and an even bigger line: Original Hawaiian Sweet Hamburger Buns, Original Hawaiian Sweet Hot Dog Buns, Original Hawaiian Sweet Mini Sub Rolls and Original Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Buns.

All are made from the same delicious original recipe; and all are just about guaranteed to make you a fan, if not a raving evangelist.

Make your favorite sliders on King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls. Shown above: Egg and sausage breakfast sliders. Photo courtesy King’s Hawaiian.


Ways To Enjoy King’s Hawaiian Breads & Rolls

A lighter, fluffier cousin of brioche (which has eggs in the recipe). King’s Hawaiian breads add a light touch of sweetness that is copasetic with sweet spreads and a wonderful counterpoint to savory ingredients.

  • The loaves can be sliced for bread and French toast, and easily turned into bread bowls for dips and chili.
  • The dinner rolls are the perfect size for for sliders.
  • The hamburger, sandwich, and sub rolls are perfect for pulled pork, sloppy joe’s or your favorite sandwich fixings.
  • The hot dog rolls make lobster rolls even sweeter.

No matter how fine your fillings are, family and friends are certain to inquire about the bread. Don‘t take it personally.

There are delicious recipes on the website that incorporate the rolls, from the family’s signature artichoke and spinach dip to bread pudding to monkey bread and an Italian sausage stuffing that will win raves.

— Karen Hochman


*Hello (aloha) and thank you (mahalo).

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