clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Pani Popo: A Samoan Sweet Bread

  • Author: Paula
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 rolls 1x


Pani Popo is a mouthwatering sweet bread that’s covered with dollops of creamy coconut sauce. These Samoan coconut buns are perfect with a cup of coffee.



For the Dough:

  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, large, lightly beaten
  • 480 grams (4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 55 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

For the Coconut Sauce:

  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) coconut milk
  • 110 grams sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt


  1. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl.
  2. Mix in flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, and yeast in a separate bowl. Knead until the dough is beginning to come together. Add the butter in batches while continuing to knead the dough. 
  3. Knead until dough is soft and elastic (until windowpane stage). Form into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a well floured surface. Punch down the dough to slightly deflate it.
  5. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by lightly oiling the surface. 
  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and transfer to the baking pan. 
  7. Cover the shaped dough and rest for 30-45 minutes or until the dough has puffed a bit. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  8. While the rolls are resting, prepare the filling. Combine the ingredients for the filling in a small saucepan.
  9. Over medium heat and stirring constantly, cook the filling until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes. The filling is ready once the sauce begins to coat the spatula. Take care not to burn the sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  10. Once the rolls have risen for the second time, pour the sauce over the rolls. 
  11. Bake for 18-25 minutes. 


  • You can reserve half of the sauce to use as topping for the baked bread. 
  • If you don’t like coconut milk in the dough, use normal milk instead. 
  • If you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, heat up the milk until lukewarm and dissolve a tablespoon of sugar in it. Add the dry yeast and let it bloom for about 10minutes. Add to the dry ingredients. 
  • Add more milk by the tablespoon if the dough seems to dry. 
  • You can put a bit of foil on top of the bread while it bakes if it gets brown too fast. 
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Samoan

Keywords: Pani Popo