Finding good bread alternatives while on a keto diet can be really tricky. But after much trial and error, I’ve created a recipe for Hawaiian sweet rolls that will expand your keto bread horizons! Great on their own or to make sandwiches!
It’s no secret that low carb bread is really hit or miss. When I first started on a keto diet, I tried several recipes that were all too eggy, or weirdly wet, or that completely deflated once I took them out of the oven.
Happily, there has been a lot of progress in this area (find my favorite bread loaf recipe over on Gnom-Gnom!) and I think this Hawaiian sweet rolls recipe is going to be a great one to have in your back pocket!
Keto Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
There are a few recipes out there for keto Hawaiian rolls, but the ones I tried left something to be desired. They were ok, but often flat and overly sweet or doughy in the center.
After many attempts I finally found a way to make rolls that have a good rise, are fully cooked all the way through, with just the right amount of sweetness.
This is another mozzarella-based dough, which I think lends itself to Hawaiian rolls really well. But the extra ingredients and different methods are what make these rolls stand out.
One big difference in this recipe compared to some others is that it uses yeast. The yeast isn’t the biggest factor in getting it to rise, but it does add just a little bit of lift. And it’s good for the flavor as well.
The main ingredients used here are mozzarella, cream cheese, almond flour, flaxseed meal, oat fiber, xanthan gum, powdered low carb sweetener, and yeast.
We proof the yeast with a very small amount of maple syrup (you could substitute honey or regular sugar as well) but the yeast eats it, so it’s not a concern for carb count.
One other ingredient I have listed is pineapple flavoring. It’s totally optional but I’ve seen multiple recipes use it. At first I tried using Lorann pineapple flavoring oil, but even the absolute smallest drop I could get was too much. And honestly, fake pineapple flavoring isn’t my jam.
However, I made some pineapple infused rum for some cocktails and it works perfectly here. It gives it just a hint of tropical flavor. If you’d like to make your own, it’s as simple as filling a mason jar with cut pineapple, pouring dark rum over it to cover, and leaving it for 48 hours.
The best way of mixing this dough is in a food processor. It’s very stiff to try to do by hand, and a handheld mixer will struggle.
If you’re on the market for a new food processor, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. I’ve had it for years and it’s held up well. It does everything I’ve ever asked of it without issues.
The dough is very sticky. So in order to be able to work with it, I recommend a couple of things.
First, turn it out onto some plastic wrap. Wrap it fully, and press it into a flat round shape. Unwrap it, then cut it into six wedges. Preferably equal wedges, but cutting things evenly is not one of the skills I possess. Clearly.
The easiest way to handle each portion is with wet hands. So run your hands under the sink before you grab each piece. Then shape it into a square or round roll shape.
I tried several times to bake the rolls together in a pan like the Hawaiian rolls you buy at the store. But the problem is that I just couldn’t get them to cook all the way through before the top got burned.
I needed a way to keep them separate from each other that also encouraged them to rise. These silicone muffin cups were just the right thing. Make sure you place them on a baking sheet of some kind so they can go in and out of the oven easily.
Helpful Tip: Use a wet fingertip to smooth the tops of each roll for more even browning.
Leave the rolls in a warm spot for an hour. My house tends to run cold, so I often put them on top of a heating pad set to low.
As you can see, they don’t get a huge rise from the yeast, but they do get just a little extra puff that helps with the texture.
An additional trick I use to help them rise is to place a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven while it preheats. Then when I put the rolls in, I add a handful of ice cubes to the hot pan. This creates steam, which gives more rise.
Even though these rolls bake at a lower temperature (325°F) you’ll need to tent them with foil after 15-20 minutes of baking. This is because almond flour burns much more quickly than regular flour, and we want the centers to cook through without the tops burning.
Once they’re done, allow them to cool in the silicone cups before removing them.
These are amazing as is, with a little butter if you like.
But my favorite way of eating them…
… is as BBQ chicken sliders. I make up a batch of my Instant Pot Shredded Chicken, add some Keto Bourbon Maple BBQ Sauce, then layer that with a simple slaw and sandwich it in the middle of one of these rolls.
I think this is my kids’ current favorite dinner.
Honestly? I can’t say I blame them.
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup (60mL) lukewarm water
- 1/4 tsp maple syrup
- 6 oz. (170g) shredded mozzarella
- 2 oz. (56g) cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups (150g) almond flour
- 3 Tbsp (40g) golden flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup (20g) oat fiber
- 1/4 cup powdered low carb sweetener
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp pineapple flavoring (optional)
- Combine yeast with lukewarm water and maple syrup and let rest to proof while starting the dough.
- Melt together mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl for 90 seconds. Stir, microwave for another 30 seconds if necessary.
- Transfer melted cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Add egg and process well until fully incorporated.
- Add proofed yeast mixture and pineapple flavoring, if using. Process to combine.
- Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, salt, sweetener, and xanthan gum to the dough and process until it comes together. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Cover completely and use hands to shape into a round, then cut into six equal pieces.
- With wet hands, shape each piece into a square and place into a square silicone cupcake mold. Place molds on a baking sheet.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for one hour to allow to rise.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and place an empty rimmed baking dish in the bottom of the oven while it preheats.
- Place the tray of rolls in the center of the oven and put a handful of ice cubes in the empty baking dish.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, tenting the rolls with foil after 15-20 minutes so the tops don't burn.
- Allow the rolls to cool in the silicone baking cups before removing and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 24.2gSaturated Fat: 6.1gSodium: 710mgCarbohydrates: 13.1gNet Carbohydrates: 4.9gFiber: 8.1gSugar: 2.1gProtein: 14.6g