Samoan Coconut Bread Rolls( Pani Popo)

by ImmaculateBites on 1 November, 2013

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Pani Popo

My immense love of anything and everything coconut coupled with my continued urge to make my weekend morning worth looking forward to, steer me, towards this Coconut Samoan Sweet Bread.

Pani popo

I knew when I saw this recipe that I would ultimately lead me into danger zone but I did not heed warning. They are every bit as tender, pillowy and crusty on the outside just like these my favorite sweet rolls featured here

Pani popo(Sweet coconut bread)

The difference between these two rolls lies mainly in the flavor of the dough. The coconut milk adds a special depth of flavor to the dough with a slight coconut flavor- making it amazingly tender and light in texture.

Pani popo

When making these rolls make sure you only use enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands – the dough should be a little bit sticky.

Pani popo

Most of the recipes I perused through had some kind of milk in it so I did a little of research on the purpose of milk in the bread. It helps to deepen the flavor and produces a crusty outer layer. I only added enough coconut milk to be absorbed by the bread. If you prefer a soggy bottom add more coconut milk (about a ¼ cup). This sweet rolls can be made entirely without a stand mixer.

Pani popo

I simple love them every bite of this bread. They are so soft and buttery that they’re perfect eaten plain

4.3 from 3 reviews
Samoan Coconut Bread Rolls( Pani Popo)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 package (2¼teaspoon) Active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons) Warm water (105F- 115 F)
  • 1 can coconut milk (14-15oz) divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup powdered milk (I used full fat milk)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups to 3¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 -3 tablespoon raw sugar optional (for the top)
  1. In a standing mixer combine 3-tablespoon lukewarm water and yeast. Let it sit until dissolve for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a microwave safe medium bowl, combine 1 cup coconut milk, with the butter pieces, sugar, salt and microwave for about a minute. Stir until everything is melted. Lightly whisk in the egg and powdered milk to the butter mixture (if the mixture is too hot let it cool to a warm mixture to prevent eggs from curding.)
  3. Dump everything into the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add about 3 ½ cups of flour and continue mixing dough.
  5. Add in enough additional flour (if needed) to make soft dough.
  6. Turn dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 12 minutes or more if you want airy bread.
  7. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.
  8. Punch the dough down.
  9. At this point the dough maybe shaped into a grease loaf pan, and place seam side down in the pan or divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape into balls.
  10. Place in greased 12 -inch round pan and bake. You may refrigerate before baking for up to 24 hours.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Add the remaining coconut milk in the pan. Brush the top of the loaf with coconut milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 20 to 25 minutes.
  12. Remove from the baking pan and let it cool. I like to eat mine when it is still warm.


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Adin Blankenship November 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this one. I am making this to tomorrow for my little man to take to school. Hope the kids will love it along with some hot chocolate. :) This looks good and I love coconut. :)


Adin Blankenship November 4, 2013 at 8:06 am

Finally made some and oh my dear, it is good! My new favorite bread. The coconut really is a must and it smells good and makes it pillowy soft. :) Thanks again!


Africanbites November 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Adin , glad you enjoyed this coconut bread as much as I do. ..and greatly appreciate you reporting back .


rima November 4, 2013 at 3:55 am

i can already taste the wonderfulness of these rolls


Africanbites November 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Rima, they sure are mouth watering.


Shanna November 5, 2013 at 8:00 am

as always they look great! Maybe you could place the metric conversions in the recipe? Thx :-) ))


Africanbites November 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

Shanna, will work on that . Thanks


Karen @ The Food Charlatan November 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

I can’t get over how amazing these rolls are! I gave some to a neighbor because I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat them all and then I was totally regretting it, haha! They were SO GOOD! I sprinkled mine with coarse salt instead of sugar, it was amazing. Thanks so much for the recipe! I blogged about it over here:


Africanbites November 23, 2013 at 6:14 am

Karen, say no more! Every time, I look at these rolls , I want to head straight to the Kitchen.


Lynn March 4, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I am not sure if I should kiss you or kick you (that is, if I meet you). I find myself in the kitchen almost always since I discovered your blog and it is telling on me. I need to hit the gym before…. Your recipes are awesome!
I just tried this one today and couldn’t stop eating……yummy!!


Roxee January 24, 2015 at 7:43 pm

I am in love with your website and all your yummy recipes. Thank you so much for sharing. Can I replace the powdered milk by milk??


ImmaculateBites January 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Roxee, No you can’t .In baking you can only replace solids with solids, liquid with liquids. However, you can omit the powdered milk. Please let me know how it works for you.


Roxee January 28, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Ok I will try it this weekend and will let you know. Thank you for your answer.


Nique February 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I made these rolls today and they are incredible. I was out of milk and only had coconut milk on hand and googled coconut dinner rolls…incredible!!! The picture on your blog doesn’t do the rolls justice. I had never seen or heard of baking rolls in a cast iron skillet…GeNiUs; I <3 the idea. It makes sooo much sense because that is the only way I will bake cornbread. Thanks for sharing.


ImmaculateBites February 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Aww thanks Nique. I wish I could take credit for that idea but just picked it from cookbooks and other blogs. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.


Harlee June 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

By only adding a small amount of the milk you missed out on the best part. The bread doesn’t get soggy the coconut milk thickens to a delicious sauce and its amazing.


ImmaculateBites June 18, 2015 at 11:53 am

Hi Harlee! Thanks for sharing.


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