Hawaiian Roll French Toast Gives Brioche A Run For Its Money

French toast is a dish with some serious versatility. It can be sophisticated enough for a boozy brunch, simple enough for a family meal, and satisfying enough for any time of the day or night. Though every household has its own secret recipe for the best French toast, it's an inarguable fact that bread is one of the most important building blocks. Brioche, a super-buttery and soft type of French bread, is the usual choice for fancy French toast, but we're here to advocate for Hawaiian rolls. 

Both Hawaiian rolls and brioche are prepared with an enriched dough, meaning they use more than just the basic flour, water, salt, and yeast. Brioche leans heavily on the added heft of eggs and butter, whereas Hawaiian bread embraces extra sweeteners like sugar, honey, or even pineapple juice, as well as a smaller quantity of eggs and dairy. While they're less buttery than brioche, these beloved rolls boast a meltingly soft and fluffy interior that is their defining characteristic, in addition to their slightly sweet flavor. This delicate texture and taste makes Hawaiian rolls an especially good fit for perfect French toast.

Why Hawaiian rolls make great French toast

Hawaiian buns walk the line between sweet and savory, serving as a popular vessel for burgers, ice cream sandwiches, and now, French toast. Though multiple brands produce the rolls, the most famous and ubiquitous across the U.S. is King's Hawaiian. King's brought this style of bread to California in the 1970s, and the brand's reputation has grown ever since. Social media is now buzzing over French toast made with these fluffy, sweet rolls.

Even after cooking in a hot pan, Hawaiian rolls retain their tender, elastic texture, creating a French toast that feels like a happy medium between buttery brioche and meltingly soft potato bread. The rolls are easy to swap into your favorite recipe, which likely calls for a custard mixture of milk, eggs, vanilla, and perhaps spices like cinnamon. One trick to ensure a moist interior is to slice the bread vertically, rather than halving the rolls hamburger-style or using them whole. This ensures that each bite has a section of the crisp top crust and a squishy bottom. Just soak, cook, and enjoy the fluffiest and softest French toast ever.

Serve your Hawaiian roll French toast alongside a savory buffet of bacon, cheese, and eggs, or sliced bananas, Nutella, and granola. As previously mentioned, some cooks use Hawaiian rolls to make ice cream sandwiches, so you could even stuff the cooked pieces with vanilla ice cream for a truly decadent brunch.

Even more ideas for French toast

Hawaiian roll French toast is a quick and easy brunch idea, and you can even make it with dry or stale bread. If you like to enjoy these rolls with dinner, and now you have leftovers, try shaking up your French toast recipe so you don't get bored with it. 

Firstly, don't just stick with the stovetop. These small buns are a great choice for air fryer French toast. Busy home cooks can even prepare this dish ahead of time by soaking the bread overnight before baking it in the oven. The toast will be softer and more custard-like after hours in the fridge, so try adding a sprinkle of chopped pecans, coconut, or brown sugar for both flavor and texture. To increase the surface area for a crisp exterior, not to mention creating a fun presentation, you can cube your French toast into smaller bites.

For a more grown-up taste, throw a splash of Irish whiskey or rum into your French toast batter. The sweetness of the Hawaiian bread could benefit from the alcohol's nuance. And since Hawaiian buns are often used for burgers or sandwiches, consider making a breakfast slider with your French-toasted rolls, or stuff them with cream cheese, jam, peanut butter, Nutella, and/or fruit for a sweet sandwich.