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How do you warm up Hawaiian rolls?

Hawaiian rolls are a beloved bakery staple thanks to their soft, sweet flavor and pillowy texture. However, warming these rolls properly is key to bringing out their very best qualities. Read on for tips on the best techniques for heating Hawaiian rolls, whether you’re preparing them fresh or using leftovers.

Should You Warm Hawaiian Rolls?

Warming Hawaiian rolls before serving brings out their delicious flavor and softens the dough to the perfect consistency. Cold from the fridge, Hawaiian rolls can be dry and overly chewy. A quick spin in the oven or microwave makes them taste like they just came fresh from the bakery.

Warm rolls also pair better with many foods. Melted butter soaks into warm rolls much better than cold. Likewise, warm rolls won’t cool down hot foods like soups or dips when used for dipping or making sandwiches.

Pre-warming Hawaiian rolls is especially important if you will be freezing and reheating leftovers. Thawing alone leaves rolls cold and stale in the center. Taking the extra step to warm thawed rolls brings back their fresh-baked taste and texture.

How to Warm Hawaiian Rolls in the Oven

The oven provides an easy, consistent way to warm Hawaiian rolls. Simply preheat your oven and bake the rolls for a few minutes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Arrange the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly greased with butter or oil.
  3. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until warm throughout.
  4. For an extra touch of flavor, brush the rolls with melted butter after warming.

The exact baking time will vary based on how many rolls you are warming and whether they are leftover or fresh. Large batches of refrigerated rolls may need up to 15 minutes to warm all the way through. Check frequently and remove the rolls once they feel hot.

Besides the oven, you can also warm Hawaiian rolls wrapped in foil on the grill or over a campfire. Place the foil packet off direct heat and flip occasionally for even warming.

Microwaving Hawaiian Rolls

The microwave provides the quickest way to warm Hawaiian rolls with very little effort. Microwaved rolls are ready in under a minute.

However, microwave heating can be uneven. The rolls may end up warm on the outside but still cool in the center. Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Arrange the rolls in a circle on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on HIGH in 15-30 second intervals until warmed through, checking and turning the rolls between intervals.
  • For added softness, place a damp paper towel over the rolls before microwaving.
  • Let the rolls sit 1-2 minutes after microwaving to allow the heat to evenly distribute.

The time needed to warm Hawaiian rolls in the microwave depends on your microwave power and the number of rolls. For 4-6 rolls, start with 15 seconds and add more time as needed. Larger batches will likely need 30 seconds or more.

Using a Bread Warmer or Toaster Oven

For warming Hawaiian rolls most similar to the bakery, use a bread warmer. This small countertop appliance heats rolls gently using low, ambient heat. Place the rolls unwrapped in the bread warmer and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

A toaster oven also provides light, surround heating that warms Hawaiian rolls evenly. Arrange the rolls on the rack and toast at 300°F until heated through, 5 minutes or more. The larger capacity of a toaster oven makes it great for heating rolls in bulk.

Warming Leftover or Frozen Hawaiian Rolls

Leftover Hawaiian rolls and rolls that were previously frozen require a bit more finesse to warm up properly. Here are some tips:

  • Thaw frozen rolls overnight in the fridge before warming. Do not microwave frozen rolls.
  • Always warm leftovers and thawed rolls before serving. Simply letting them come to room temperature will leave the centers cold.
  • Increase oven temperature to 325°F and bake time by a few minutes more than for fresh rolls.
  • Wrap in a damp paper towel when microwaving to add moisture back into leftover rolls.
  • Avoid overheating rolls as they will dry out. Warm only until heated through.

With a little extra care, day-old Hawaiian rolls and frozen rolls can taste nearly as good as fresh. The warmth brings out their flavor and makes them taste freshly baked again.

Can You Toast Hawaiian Rolls?

You can toast Hawaiian rolls for a crisper texture and added flavor. Try these easy methods:

Oven Toasting

For oven-toasted Hawaiian rolls, preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange rolls on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned outside, about 5-10 minutes depending on oven timing and roll size. These rolls will be crispy outside but still soft and airy inside.

Broiler Toasting

For quicker crisping under the broiler, place Hawaiian rolls on a broiler pan. Broil for 2-5 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Watch rolls closely to avoid burning.

Buttered and Toasted

For next-level flavor, lightly spread the tops of the rolls with butter or garlic butter before toasting. The butter will melt into the rolls and create a crispy, buttery crust.

You can also toast leftover Hawaiian rolls to revive them. The crispiness will disguise any staleness.

How Long do Warm Hawaiian Rolls Stay Fresh?

Properly stored, freshly warmed Hawaiian rolls will stay fresh and tasty for 2-3 days. To maximize freshness:

  • Let cool completely after warming before storing.
  • Keep rolls in an airtight container or sealed bag.
  • Refrigerate to extend freshness.
  • Avoid leaving rolls sitting out at room temperature, as they will stale faster.
  • Re-warm rolls in the oven or microwave before serving if needed.

Toasted Hawaiian rolls are best eaten the same day for maximum crispness. Their higher surface area makes them stale faster than soft, fresh rolls.

You can also freeze any leftovers while still fresh. Thaw and reheat as needed. Freshly warmed, frozen Hawaiian rolls taste much better than rolls left to sit at room temperature.

Serving Ideas for Warm Hawaiian Rolls

Warm, soft Hawaiian rolls beg to be filled and topped. Here are some delicious ways to serve them:


Split Hawaiian rolls open to make slider sandwiches stuffed with sliced ham, roast beef, chicken salad, or other favorites. Their sweet flavor pairs perfectly with savory meats.


Serve warm Hawaiian rolls alongside breakfast dishes like eggs, pancakes, and breakfast meats. They make a nice sweet alternative to biscuits or toast.

Bread Bowls

Hollow out a roll to make a bread bowl for soups, dips, and other fillings. This edible bowl adds a touch of sweetness.


Offer warm Hawaiian rolls alongside dinner as a bread side. Their mild sweet taste complements a variety of savory mains.


For dessert, split rolls and fill with ice cream, chocolate sauce, or fruit and whipped cream. Their pillowy texture makes Hawaiian rolls ideal dessert cups.

DIY Toppings

Set out a variety warm Hawaiian rolls alongside sweet and savory toppings. Guests can build their own rolls with favorites like butter, jam, sliced meats, cheeses, and more.

Common Questions

What is the best way to reheat Hawaiian rolls?

The oven provides the best overall way to reheat Hawaiian rolls. Bake at 300°F for 5-10 minutes to warm rolls throughout without drying them out.

How do you keep Hawaiian rolls warm for a potluck?

Pre-warm rolls right before the potluck, wrap tightly in foil, and place in an insulated bag or casserole dish to transport. The insulation will keep rolls warm for up to 2 hours.

Can you heat Hawaiian rolls in the air fryer?

Yes, an air fryer can be used to reheat Hawaiian rolls and provide a crisper texture. Air fry at 300°F for 2-5 minutes, flipping rolls halfway through.

Do Hawaiian rolls need to be refrigerated?

For best quality and safety, leftover Hawaiian rolls should be refrigerated. Properly stored in the fridge, they will last 2-3 days. Let rolls come to room temperature before warming and serving.


Warming up Hawaiian rolls before eating brings out their delicious taste and soft texture. The oven provides an easy, reliable reheating method, while the microwave can also be used for quick heating. Leftover and frozen rolls just need a few extra minutes and a slightly higher oven temperature. Beyond basic dinner rolls, warmed Hawaiian rolls can be used creatively for sandwiches, bread bowls, desserts, and more.

With these simple tips for properly heating Hawaiian rolls, you can enjoy this bakery favorite at its very best.