What Happens When You Make Hawaiian Rolls with Mountain Dew?

Guess what I did, you guys. Well, if you guessed "made Hawaiian rolls with mountain dew", you're right.

If you aren't familiar with Hawaiian rolls, let me briefly educate you. These are a puffy, egg-enriched, sweetened type of roll. They're squishy, and vaguely brioche-like in texture.

They're most famously sold in grocery stores, in a plastic bag, under the label "King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls".

These rolls are oddly addictive. They can go sweet or savory, and are equally great for sliders as they are as an ingredient in bread pudding. 

When I found a recipe for a homemade hack on King Arthur Flour's website, I got super excited...until I realized that I had no pineapple juice.

The idea of going to the store seriously bummed me out. I had baking mojo now! No interruptions!

So I looked around for something else to use, and my gaze settled on a can of Mountain Dew. It had been living in the fridge for quite some time--my other half sometimes indulges in the stuff along with popcorn while watching movies. 

Well, it had been there long enough.

I was going to do the dew...in my dough. 


Other than the Dew, I stayed pretty true to the recipe. And here's how they came out:

Awwww, girl. Awwww, yeah. These rolls came out delicious!

Actually, the Mountain Dew mellowed out during the baking process, and gave the rolls a fascinating flavor. I have since made the traditional version of the rolls, with pineapple juice, for a post on Craftsy.com. Visually they were pretty much identical, but between you and me, I actually think that the Dew ones tasted better. They had a lightly sweet flavor, but something in the carbonation or the sugar in the soda condensed into a slightly malty, sweet flavor in the Mountain Dew batch of rolls. 

The rolls tasted fantastic with a pat of butter, just out of the oven, but they were similarly delicious when lightly toasted and used to make mini chicken salad sandwiches later that day. They were also great for breakfast the next morning, served alongside eggs and bacon and with some butter and maple syrup. What versatile rolls! Who knew that Dew could do this?

Honestly, I consider these a great success. Who knew? Mountain dew in bread rolls = a very good thing. 

Bread made with Mountain Dew? Why not?


Mountain Dew Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Printable version here

Adapted from King Arthur Flour  

Makes 16 rolls

For the sponge

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the dough

  • 1/2 cup Mountain Dew
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk; reserve the egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare the “sponge”. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of the sponge ingredients. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the Mountain dew, butter, brown sugar, eggs and yolk, and vanilla, mixing until combined.
  3. In a separate bow, sift together the remaining flour, starch, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the liquid ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.
  4. Begin to mix the ingredients using the paddle attachment. The mixture will start out quite sticky. Once the ingredients have come together, continue to mix and knead until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic. You can continue with the paddle attachment or switch to the dough hook. (Author’s note: I do not have a dough hook so I used the paddle attachment for 5 minutes to knead, pausing and scraping the dough that might have stuck to the bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment a few times during the process.).
  5. Lift the dough out of the bowl for a moment. Lightly grease the bottom of the mixing bowl, form the dough into a ball, and place it back in the bowl. Cover, and let rise until puffy, about 2 hours.
  6. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan. Gently, deflate the dough. Divide it into 16 equal pieces, by dividing in half, then in halves again, until you have 16 equal pieces.
  7. Form each piece into a smooth ball, with the seam, if any, facing down. Space the buns in the pan (two rows of 5, and one of 6).
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the pan for 1 hour, until it’s nicely puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Mix the reserved egg white with about 1 tablespoon of water, and brush over the tops of the rolls. This will give them a shiny finish.
  10. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden on top.
  11. Remove the rolls from the oven, and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for several minutes, then remove from the pan to serve warm.

Have you ever used Mountain Dew in baking?