Are King’s Hawaiian Rolls Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 25, 2023

As conscientious consumers, understanding whether or not a product is vegan can sometimes be an uphill task. 

The difficulty arises due to manufacturers often concealing the nature and origin of their ingredients. 

This article, however, aims to shine a light on the truth and assist you, our reader, in maintaining an uncompromising vegan lifestyle.

Are King’s Hawaiian Rolls Vegan?

No, King’s Hawaiian rolls are not vegan. The ingredients that make these sweet Hawaiian rolls non-vegan include nonfat milk, liquid sugar, dough conditioners, and enriched flour.

Are King’s Hawaiian Rolls Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, King’s Hawaiian rolls are not cruelty-free. Nonfat milk, one of the ingredients, is a dairy product, which means that it involves the exploitation of dairy cows. The dairy industry is notorious for cruel practices.

What Are King’s Hawaiian Rolls Made Of?

King’s Hawaiian Rolls are a popular choice for a sweet, fluffy, and soft roll enjoyed with a wide variety of meals. These rolls are particularly popular during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year. 

They are known for their unique taste, which comes from a combination of simple ingredients, each with its own role in the final product.

Here are the primary ingredients of King’s Hawaiian rolls:

  • Enriched flour
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Liquid sugar
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Contains less than 2% of each of the following: potato flour
  • Yeast
  • Whey
  • Nonfat milk
  • Salt
  • Datem
  • Soy flour
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate
  • Sorbic acid

Enriched flour

Enriched flour is a type of wheat flour that has had certain nutrients returned to it that are lost during initial processing. It is a primary ingredient in many bread products, including King’s Hawaiian Rolls. 

The flour comes from wheat plants, and its primary role in the product is to provide structure and texture. Enriched flour is vegan unless vitamin D3 is added during the enriching process.


Water is a key ingredient in nearly every type of bread product, including King’s Hawaiian Rolls. It is necessary to hydrate the flour and other dry ingredients, allowing the dough to form. Water is vegan and comes from a variety of natural sources.

Sugar and liquid sugar

Sugar and liquid sugar in King’s Hawaiian Rolls are responsible for the sweet flavor that these rolls are known for. The sugar used in these rolls is usually derived from sugar beets or sugarcane. 

Sugar in its basic form is vegan, but some sugar is processed using bone char (from animals), making it non-vegan. However, it’s challenging to determine whether the sugar in these rolls is vegan or not without specific information from the manufacturer.


Butter in King’s Hawaiian Rolls adds a rich flavor and also helps to create a tender texture. It is an animal product, derived from churning cream from cow’s milk. Thus, it is not vegan.


Eggs are used in King’s Hawaiian rolls to add flavor and color, to bind the ingredients together, and to help the rolls rise. They are an animal product and therefore are not vegan.

Potato flour

Potato flour is made from potatoes and used in King’s Hawaiian rolls to enhance the texture of the bread. This ingredient is vegan.


Yeast is a fungus used in bread-making for fermentation, which helps the dough rise and adds flavor. Yeast is vegan and is sourced from cultivated yeast cultures.

Whey and nonfat milk

Whey and nonfat milk are both dairy products, derived from cow’s milk. Whey is a by-product of cheese production and is used to add flavor and help with browning. Nonfat milk adds flavor and enriches the dough. Neither is vegan.


Salt is added to King’s Hawaiian Rolls to enhance flavor. It is a mineral and is vegan.


Datem (Diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides) is a dough conditioner used to improve the texture and volume of the rolls. It is usually derived from plant sources, but sometimes it can come from animal sources. Without specific information from the manufacturer, it’s unclear whether the datem used in King’s Hawaiian Rolls is vegan.

Soy flour

Soy flour is made from roasted soybeans. It’s used in King’s Hawaiian Rolls to enhance the texture and nutritional content. It is vegan.

Sodium stearoyl lactylate

Sodium stearoyl lactylate is a type of food additive used to strengthen the dough and improve its mix tolerance and volume. It can be derived from both plant and animal sources, making its vegan status unclear without specific information from the manufacturer.

Sorbic acid

Sorbic acid is a preservative used to prolong the shelf life of King’s Hawaiian rolls. It is synthetically produced and is considered vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to King’s Hawaiian Rolls

If you’re missing the sweet, fluffy texture of King’s Hawaiian rolls, there are vegan alternatives out there. Here are some suggestions:

  • Schwebel’s Sweet Hawaiian Rolls: These rolls replicate the sweet and tender texture of traditional Hawaiian rolls but are made without any animal-derived ingredients.
  • Sara Lee Sweet Hawaiian Rolls: Another great option, these are perfect for your vegan sliders or dinner rolls.

Remember to always double-check ingredients because manufacturers sometimes change recipes.


In conclusion, King’s Hawaiian rolls are not vegan due to the presence of nonfat milk and potentially non-vegan sugar. Additionally, they’re not cruelty-free because they contain dairy, an animal-derived ingredient. 

However, there are vegan and cruelty-free alternatives available from brands like Schwebel’s and Sara Lee’s Sweet Hawaiian Rolls. Continue doing your best for our planet and its inhabitants. Every small change makes a big difference.