January 23, 2023

Bolo Bao is a DELICIOUS soft Hong Kong bun with a crumbly, sweet, cookie-like topping that you can find at any Cantonese bakery. While “Bolo” means pineapple, and “Bao” means bread, there’s not actually any pineapple in this bread. Its name comes from the criss-cross pattern atop the bread, which looks like the pattern on a pineapple. This bread can more accurately be described as a marriage between a soft, lightly sweetened bun + a crumbly soft cookie on top. It was one of my childhood favorites, and I love that this recipe allows me to make a small little bun at home anytime!

When my friend Joyce sent a video of “Easy Bolo Bao” where someone bakes the topping onto some King’s Hawaiian Bread, I was skeptical. Would the bread really be soft and have the right taste? Was the topping going to have that distinct texture and buttery sweet crumb? I had tried Bolo Bao hacks before, and they hadn’t measured up. But this one LOOKED right and SOUNDED right (that knife scrape at the beginning of the video is legit)… so, only one way to find out!

The answer is YES it was delicious, and this is SUCH a great DIY hack that I know others will want to try! I’ve already made it multiple times myself, and thought to post this recipe today because I just picked up some more Hawaiian bread at Target today :). Thank you Susanna! You can find her amazing feed on Instagram @smelly.lunchbox, and watch the video of her making it here. And if you have little ones, this is an easy and relatively quick recipe to try with your kids!


Easy Bolo Bao aka Pineapple Buns (with Hawaiian Bread)
Recipe from Susanna, on Instagram @smelly.lunchbox
Makes 8

8 Hawaiian sweet rolls

Cookie topping:
50g (~1/4 cup) butter, softened
50g (~1/4 cup) sugar
75g (1/2 cup) cake or AP flour
1 whole egg (for brushing the top)
1 egg yolk (for the cookie batter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder


1. In a bowl, mix softened butter with sugar until smooth. Add 1 egg yolk and vanilla extract, and mix until incorporated.
2. Sift in flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until it becomes a smooth dough.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and roll into an even log. Refrigerate for 20-30 min.
4. Remove plastic wrap and cut into 8 even pieces. I used a scale for consistency but it’s optional!
5. Roll each piece into a ball, then press it flat in between plastic wrap until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the rest.
6. Preheat your oven to 375F. Separate the Hawaiian sweet rolls, and place on a wire rack on a baking tray. Lay a cookie crust on top of each roll. Using a butterknife, draw a crosshatch pattern (optional) but don’t cut all the way through.
7. Scramble an egg in a bowl, and lightly brush the cookie tops. Bake for 13-15 min or until golden brown. They’re best enjoyed slightly warm!

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