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20 Tropical Hawaiian Recipes

If you’re dreaming of a tropical vacation, transport yourself to an island with one of these Hawaiian or Hawaiian inspired recipes. It will hold you over until you’re ready to plan that trip.

A collage of tropical recipes

Since I grew up in Vietnam, I’m drawn to familiar tropical flavors like coconut, guava, pineapple, and many more. So naturally, I fell in love with Hawaii the very first time we visited. Everything from the food to the people, to the slower pace of life, it’s a dream! 

I was lucky enough to have the chance to work on Oahu for 3 months, visited Maui twice, and Kauai once. But it’s simply never enough, and I have to bring all those flavors home with me in these tropical Hawaiian recipes.

#1. Haupia

The easiest way to get your fix of Hawaii is in this Haupia or coconut pudding recipe. It is made with just a few ingredients, and the star is coconut milk.

Haupia in serving cups on a wooden cheese board

#2. Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

Do you buy boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts whenever you travel to Hawaii for souvenirs? How many do you give away and how many do you keep for yourself? Or should I ask how many made it home untouched? Well, they’re so easy to make you can pretend you just came back home from a very recent trip!

#3. Hawaiian Butter Mochi

This Hawaiian butter mochi is probably the most popular Hawaiian dessert recipe on the blog. It’s seriously so good, you won’t even miss the ones you can get straight from the islands!

A slice of Hawaiian Butter Mochi on a plate

#4. Guava Jam Thumbprint Cookies

This gorgeous gem of a cookie recipe adds tropical touches to your favorite jam thumbprint cookies with coconut flakes and guava jam.

These Coconut Guava Thumbprint Cookies are like buttery little tropical gems covered in coconut flakes and topped with a dollop of guava jam! | wildwildwhisk.com

#5. Hawaiian Dinner Rolls

Everyone loves King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls, right? I know we love them at our house. We could eat those by the packages. But have you tried making them yourself? It’s a fun and delicious weekend project and they’re perfect for Sunday dinner!

These homemade Hawaiian Dinner Rolls are soft and sweet, baked until golden brown. They are a wonderful addition to any meal! | wildwildwhisk.com

#6. Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

I absolutely love Honolulu shortbread cookies, especially the mini ones with chocolate chips that come in a package. They’re quite dangerous because I can probably munch through a whole bag in one sitting. I made these chocolate chip shortbread cookies to curb my craving for those, and I added macadamia nuts to them!

These Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies are nuttily delicious. They will satisfy your craving for those pineapple shape Honolulu Cookie Company shortbread in a pinch. | wildwildwhisk.com #shortbread #hawaiianshortbread

#7. Big Island Cookies

When we were on Maui during one of our trips, we stopped by a little bakery and got these amazing Hawaiian kitchen sink cookies that had everything in it: chocolate chips, oats, coffee, nuts, everything! These big island cookies are my recreation of those delicious cookies and I hope they will transport you to the island.

Two Big Island Cookies on a grey table top, with two more stacked on a plate in the background next to a glass of milk

#8. Pineapple Truffles

I actually got the pineapple mold for these truffles while we were visiting one of the islands. I think it was Kauai at that time. I knew I would have some use for it at some point, and these pineapple truffles were born.

Pineapple Truffles

#9. Macadamia Coconut Croissants

Do you love almond croissants? These macadamia coconut croissants are the tropical version of those. The filling is made with macadamia nuts and coconut instead of almond. You can make them with homemade croissants or store-bought. They are amazing!

Cross section of a Macadamia Coconut Croissant

#10. Tropical Cinnamon Buns

Ok, so another tropical twist on a classic recipe, this time the cinnamon rolls. These tropical cinnamon buns are made like a cinnamon roll but with a tropical filling of macadamia nuts and coconut. They are out of this world!

Pouring coconut sauce over baked rolls

#11. Coconut Truffles

Super simple and oh so delicious! These 3-ingredient coconut truffles are as easy as it gets without compromising on your dessert happiness. 

Coconut truffles piled in a glass cup

#12. Tropical Rugelach

So you noticed how much I like a tropical twist on a classic treat. Let’s transform the already delicious rugelach into something even more amazing with a filling of tropical fruit butter, macadamia nuts, and coconut.

Tropical Rugelach are delicious little bites of tender pastries filled with tropical fruit butter, coconut flake and macadamia nut. They taste like a vacation in your mouth. | wildwildwhisk.com #rugelach #tropical

#13. Tropical Cake with Peach Mango and Coconut

This tropical cake is like a coffee cake that just came home after a week-long vacation on the island and it’s already decided it needs to move back there, stat!

Tropical Peach Mango Coconut Cake with Mascarpone

#14. Chocolate Butter Mochi

Just like the Hawaiian butter mochi but with chocolate. These chocolate mochi are just as rich and delicious as the original version but perfect for chocolate and brownie lovers!

A stack of Brownie Butter Mochi

#15. Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Back to more shortbread because if you’ve been to a Hawaiian grocery store, you’ll know they have shortbread of all flavors. I have a lot more recipes for shortbread, but I want to highlight these coconut shortbread cookies because you’ll go coco-nuts for them, I promise!

A stack of coconut shortbread cookies with a half eaten one on top

#16. Guava Popsicles

Fresh guava is hard to come by so we planted a guava tree in the backyard, but it’s probably going to take 5 – 10 years to see the fruit of our labor. In the meantime, using guava nectar to make these easy guava popsicles will have to do.

An easy recipe for Guava Popsicles that requires only two ingredients and less than five minutes of your time in the kitchen. | wildwildwhisk.com

#17. Coconut French Toast Casserole

Ah, french toast is for sure one of my favorite breakfast treats. And of course, I’ll have to add a little tropical twist with coconut milk in this french toast casserole.

Coconut French toast casserole in a glass baking dish

#18. Pineapple Coconut Frangipane Tart

You will find this tart nowhere else on the interweb my friends. You’re in for a treat with the sweet pineapple and the creamy coconut frangipane. Please make it because this exquisite tart needs to be eaten!

A slice of Pineapple Coconut Frangipane Tart on a plate

#19. Jello Cheesecake

For the longest time, I had no idea where this recipe came from. It’s something my husband’s grandma always made to take to parties for years and years. And then we found something so similar when we visited Hawaii! That laid to rest our question of this recipe’s origin.

A stack of two Strawberry Jello Dessert Bars

#20. Surfer Granola

The recipe for this granola was inspired by a small nut and granola shop we visited while on one of the islands. It’s super easy to throw together. You can eat it by the handful as a snack, top your yogurt or chia pudding with it, or add some in your cereal bowl for an extra helping of Aloha.

Surfer Granola spilling from a jar

Bonus: Pineapple Dog Treats

Last but not least, you can’t leave your fur kids out, let them join in the fun with these tropical pineapple dog treats. Just 4 simple ingredients to make, you don’t have to cut them into the pineapple shape but you’ll get extra points for it, Sriracha and Mochi told me so!

Pineapple dog treat in a pineapple shape

If you make any of these Hawaiian recipes, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!


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  1. Cindy Nakamura
    May 8, 2020 /

    We tried the Coconut Mochi Cake. Delish! It’s a keeper for us.

    • Trang
      May 8, 2020 /

      Thanks Cindy, so happy to hear!

  2. Marie
    April 22, 2020 /

    I’m going coco-nuts for this list of deliciousness. I really want to try the butter mochi and my pup needs those pineapple dog treats for sure.

    • Trang
      April 22, 2020 /

      Yes! Your pup does need those treat 🙂

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