Why Are My Cinnamon Rolls Hard? 5 Reasons You Never Know Before

Cinnamon rolls are such fantastic sweet treats for breakfast or special occasions.Great cinnamon rolls come with diverse flavors as the doughs are lightly sweet, soft, and moist, and the fillings feature a sweet-buttery taste blending with the woody fragrance of cinnamon.

You expect to bring out tasty, fluffy cinnamon rolls. Unfortunately, despite your effort, you only have tough and dry cinnamon rolls.

You wonder – why are my cinnamon rolls hard?

Let’s follow the below article to discover detailed reasons for your issue and a perfect cinnamon roll recipe

Why Are My Cinnamon Rolls Hard? 

why are my cinnamon rolls hard

Many reasons might make your sweet treats turn dry and tough. We will start to walk you through the five most prevalent causes, including overusing flour; overmixing the dough; using the melted butter; letting the dough rest in a bowl without oil cover; overbaking the sweet treats. 

1. Do Not Measure Flour Correctly 

As new cooks, you do not have enough kitchen tools, such as a measuring cup or kitchen scale. As such, you might measure the amount of flour in the sweet dough recipe for cinnamon rolls by eye, right?

As a result, you might use too little or too much flour. An excess amount of flour makes the dough dried out, leading to the tough rolls. On the other hand, if you don’t use enough flour, you’ll end up with dense and soggy rolls.  

2. Mix The Dough Improperly 

What else can cause tough cinnamon rolls? Your sweet treats might become too hard to enjoy because you over mix the cinnamon roll dough

How to know if the cinnamon bun mix is well combined? 

When the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, touch it to test the stickiness. An adequately mixed dough is slightly sticky to the touch. 

3. Use The Improper Butter Type

Another reason for dry cinnamon rolls is to use the wrong butter type.

Many cinnamon roll recipes call for melted butter for making the cinnamon filling. However, this butter type will not work well as softened, room-temperature butter combined with other ingredients. 

Thus, in the subsequent baking time, let’s use softened butter instead of melted one as it helps to create a smoother filling that you can spread more evenly over the dough. 

4. Forget To Raise The Dough In Hot And Oiled Bowl

Why are my cinnamon rolls dry?

Dry cinnamon rolls might happen because you do not place the dough in a clean and oiled bowl when it completes its first rise. 

This extra step helps moisturize the dough and rise higher as it will not stick to the bowl. Besides, this step makes it easier to remove the dough after proofing. 

5. Overbake The Cinnamon Rolls

A big mistake leading to dry homemade cinnamon rolls is overcooking them. 

The best sweet spot for baking these sweet treats is 375°F (around 190°C). If you have set the oven temperature over that perfect spot or bake them over the required time, then do not be surprised when your cinnamon rolls become too dry and tough. 

So, how long to bake cinnamon rolls? How to tell if cinnamon rolls are done?

The baking time varies depending on your recipes; however, if you see the rolls feature golden brown, take them out and check for cinnamon rolls temperature using a food thermometer. 

If the internal temperature of cinnamon rolls reaches 190-200°F, then congratulations, your cinnamon rolls are good to go. 

4 Cooking Hacks On Making Cinnamon Rolls 

Now we will reveal some secret cinnamon roll tips for making perfect homemade cinnamon rolls. 

1. Use Bread-flour Instead Of All-purpose Flour

When it comes to suitable flour types for making this delicious dessert, all-purpose flour and bread flour are the most common options.

The main difference between these two is a matter of protein. The protein amount in bread flour is higher than all-purpose flour as it comes in white and whole wheat varieties.

What is the best flour for cinnamon rolls?

If you want softer and fluffier rolls, we suggest using bread flour instead of white flour. For substitution in your recipe for the yeast doughs, you can make a 1:1 substitute with a little extra water. 

2. Let The Dough Rise Overnight

Usually, you cover the bowl containing the dough and place it in a warm spot for proofing, right?

That works great; however, if you have some time and want the cinnamon rolls to come out with a more complex flavor, opt for letting the dough rise overnight in the fridge. 

A cold fermentation process enables the yeast to release carbon dioxide much lower, leading to a more robust taste. 

3. Slice The Rolls Using Floss

Have you ever struggled with cutting the rolls using a knife? An improperly sharpened blade might squish your perfect cinnamon rolls and leave you with unattractive pieces.  

How to cut cinnamon rolls properly?

It would be best to use a piece of dental floss to loop around the dough and divide it into small chunks. 

4. Let The Cinnamon Rolls Cool Before Icing

After baking the rolls, you need to let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes before frosting. 

That is because when you top the icing or cream cheese frosting on a hot sweet roll, it will melt and ooze out of them quickly. However, a gentle warm roll lets the icing flow slowly over the top and get in place before enjoying.  

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe For New Cooks 

How to make perfect cinnamon rolls? Let’s follow our secret recipe for new cooks, and you can make delicious cinnamon rolls in the shortest period. 


For the dough:

  • 2 and ¼ tsp of active dry yeast (¼ oz instant yeast)
  • ¾ cup of milk (whole milk or low-fat milk)
  • ¾ tsp of salt
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (or 14.4 oz) of bread flour
  • ¼ cup of melted unsalted butter 
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk

A small note here is to use the ingredients at room temperature. This helps to optimize yeast activity and butter to combine well with other components in less time. 

For the filling:

  • ⅔ cup dark or light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 and ½ tbsp of ground cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 3 tbsp of softened unsalted butter
  • 4 oz of softened cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup of powdered sugar


  • Step 1: Warm the milk with a temperature around 110° and 115°F.

Pour milk into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 45-50 seconds. 

  • Step 2: Combine warm milk with other ingredients to form the cinnamon roll dough.

Pour the warm milk into the medium bowl and sprinkle prepared dry yeast on top. Then, combine the yeast-milk mixture with sugar, melted butter, egg, and egg yolk. 

After that, sift the flour into the mixture, add salt, and stir using a spoon until the sweet dough starts to shape. 

  • Step 3: Knead the dough in an electric mixer. 

To save your effort, knead the sticky dough using a stand mixer on medium speed for around 8 minutes or until the dough has formed into a slightly sticky bun. 

In case the dough is too sticky, and you cannot take it out of the dough hook, add 1-2 more tablespoons of bread flour. On the contrary, it is too dry, add a little warm milk. 

If you do not have an electric mixer, you can knead the dough by hand for 8-10 minutes on a dry surface covered with bread flour. 

  • Step 4: Let the smooth dough rise in a warm spot.

Transfer the sweet dough to an oiled bowl. Then, use plastic wrap and a warm towel to cover it. Let the dough rise in a place with a temperature between 75° and 95°F for one and ½ hours.

The proofing period might be shorter or longer depending on the humidity or temperature in your kitchen. The dough is ready when it doubles in size. 

  • Step 5: Roll the dough into a rectangle.

Place the sweet dough on a plat surface covered with flour. Then, roll it out into a rectangle with the thickness level based on your preference. 

For instance, if you want bread-like cinnamon rolls, the rectangle should be ¾ inch thick. Or, in case you prefer a gooey and chewy version, roll out to only ¼ inch thick. Then, cover the dough with prepared butter.

  • Step 6: Fill the dough with a cinnamon-brown sugar mixture.

Combine ground cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl. After that, use a spatula to rub the cinnamon roll filling into the dough, leaving a small section along one edge.  

  • Step 7: Roll the dough as tight as possible.

You might need to cut off about an inch off the ends of the dough as those parts might not contain as much filling as we expect.  

  • Step 8: Slice the dough and make 1-inch chunks using dental floss or a sharp knife. 
  • Step 9: Give the rolls space and time.

Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet or a baking pan lined with parchment paper. You also need to give space around 1-2 inches among the rolls to ensure they will not stick together when fully risen. 

After that, cover the rolls with plastic wrap and a clean warm towel and let them rise again for around half an hour. 

  • Step 10: Bake the cinnamon rolls.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and remove the towel and plastic wrap. Then, bake the chunks for around 25 minutes or until they become golden brown.  

Check the cinnamon roll temperature to ensure they are fully baked, and let them cool for at least 5 minutes before icing.

  • Step 11: Make the cream cheese frosting.

Mix the ingredients you prepare for the cream cheese frosting in a medium bowl. Then, beat the mixture until smooth and fluffy using an electric food mixer. 

  • Step 12: Spread the frosting over your doughy cinnamon rolls and enjoy. 

Wrapping Up 

Now you know the top common reasons for your question – why are my cinnamon rolls hard? Besides, you also discover an easy-to-follow recipe on how to make fluffy cinnamon rolls.

Is there anything you want to know about cinnamon rolls? Feel free to leave your wonders and thoughts below. It is our pleasure to support you on the cooking journey.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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