Pani Popo is a Samoan sweet roll baked in a delicious coconut sauce. One of my favorite Pacific-Island dishes from my bakery days in Hawaii.
Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Rolls)
Oh how I love Pani Popo. Even though it is a Samoan dish, I was first introduced to it when I lived in Hawaii. As I mentioned before, I worked at a bakery when I lived in Hawaii and was introduced to SO MANY amazing treats and recipes, this being one of my-all time favorites. I loved waking up early in the morning and making these delicious rolls. The smell is intoxicating!
What is Pani Popo?
Pani popo is such an easy dish to make and it is oh so tasty. If you have never had Pani popo before, it is basically a soft dinner roll baked with a sweet coconut sauce. It is soft and fluffy on the inside and the bottom is nice and gooey, like a gooey sweet roll should be (but gooier). I love that I am am able to make these at home for my family (and that they LOVE them as much as I do. Seriously, my kids go nuts over these)!
Versatile and Delicious
You can serve this with pretty much any dish. They’re delicious as a breakfast item, side dish or even dessert. With Thanksgiving coming up, this would be a great way to switch things up and try a new kind of dinner roll that the whole family will love!
If you want to go traditional and make your own, made from scratch rolls, you can use the recipe HERE. But if you want a quick and easy alternative, you can just use frozen rolls and thaw them (both taste great).
More Tropical Treats
- Hawaiian Wedding Cake: Hawaiian Wedding Cake starts with a simple cake mix. Add a splash of coconut and pineapple and it becomes a refreshing cake that tastes like a piña colada.
- Coconut Cream Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting: This Coconut Cream Cake is a coconut lovers dream! Coconut infused cake, with a rich and creamy coconut cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with even more toasted coconut, you will be in coconut heaven with every bite.
- Caribbean Coconut Fudge Bars: These Caribbean Coconut Fudge Bars can’t be beat! A soft oatmeal cookie crust with chocolate fudge and gooey coconut topping- an instant favorite!
- Orange Pineapple Cake: Orange Pineapple cake is a light, fruity cake with an island flair. You will love the delicious whipped creamy topping! Perfect for potlucks and parties!
How to make Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Rolls)
Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Rolls)
- 20 frozen dinner rolls depending on size (see note above for homemade rolls)
- 10 oz. coconut milk (1 can)
- 1 c. sugar
- Coat a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray and arrange rolls evenly to thaw (if doing homemade rolls, roll dough into golf-ball size balls and arrange the same way).
- Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray (to keep dough from sticking to the plastic wrap).
- Allow to rise until doubled in size. This can take 4-5 hours. If you need the rolls to thaw quicker, follow the quick-rise instructions on the frozen roll packaging.
- Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.
- In a bowl, combine coconut milk and sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour about 2/3 of the coconut mixture over the rolls and bake for 20-30 minutes (or according to package/dough recipe instructions) or until golden brown and dough is baked through.
- Remove from oven and pour remaining coconut mixture evenly over the top of the rolls.
- The rolls should be sticky and gooey on the bottom (read notes above). Can be served upside down or right-side up.