Part of being human is in the mistakes that we make and in the times that things fail. In no way does a failed event (or recipe in my case) make one a failure, it just means that we learn an additional way to NOT do something. And today I learned how not to make a cinnamon roll! So instead of a typical recipe telling you what to do, I am going to tell you the mistakes I made and what not to do. By all means, take my word for it because I have pictures to prove that I know what I am talking about. 



You see my cinnamon rolls down there? They look like that because the dough didn’t rise, and for a while I wondered why. Then it struck me like lightning. I didn’t activate the yeast properly. Yeast, in its dry state, is “asleep” and if you attempt to use it in it’s dry state, it won’t release those air bubbles (carbon dioxide) that cause the dough to rise. So to activate it, you must mix it with lukewarm water and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot because if it is the yeast will go from being “asleep” to dead. So yeah, avoid that too. You can tell that yeast is active when it starts to foam a little at the top.

Cinnamon Rolls

Under kneaded & Un-Risen Dough


I have to admit, I struggled with this one a lot. I definitely under kneaded the dough, resulting in a flat looking roll with a dense texture. Don’t be scared of kneading your dough, it won’t get hurt and it’s good exercise! Your dough is under kneaded if it looks floppy, tears easily and doesn’t hold its shape when rolled into a ball. Good general practice is to knead the dough, let it sit for 10 minutes and then knead again. Do this a few times till it can hold its shape. On the flip side, over kneading is equally bad. If you are using a mixer to knead, make sure to check how the dough is looking every 3 minutes or so. Over kneaded dough is very tough to fold and easily breaks, because the gluten has been over worked and is too tight. If you are using your hands to knead, not to worry, you will probably wear yourself out before you get to this point.


Dense & Flat dough

Dense & Flat dough


Back to the thing about rising dough, it can’t rise in just any place; it needs to rise in a warm place. My mistake was ….. *slow drum roll* …. putting the dough in the fridge. Yes. The fridge. I’m shaking my head so hard now. And there I was, 2 hours later, wondering why my dough was the same size – if not smaller – than when I started out. Don’t let that be your story.


At some point any recipe you use is going to tell you to mix butter and brown sugar then spread it on the base of your baking pan so that the bottom of your cinnamon roll is lightly coated. Well, don’t be like me and HEAP that stuff on there. Because at the end of the day, your cinnamon rolls start to fry in the oven – you know, with the butter acting like oil and stuff… In this case, less is more.

Fried rolls from too much butter


Not long after the rolls were in the oven, I noticed that the sides were browning (probably because they were frying in all that butter) and I checked to see whether the roll was fully baked. It wasn’t. Somewhere in my mind, I rationalized that turning up the oven temperature would fix this. It didn’t. Instead, the roll became hard and crusty on the outside and it was STILL doughy on the inside. Yuck. If you are ever in this situation, turn down the heat and let it slowly bake.

Hard crust, doughy inside


Well that’s all for now. I really hope you have learned from my mistakes. I really hope that I have learned from my mistakes too. I guess we’ll see if I have during my next attempt.


  1. Tamara Smith
    September 7, 2015 / 9:12 AM

    You can actually put your dough in the fridge for a very slow rise. Like overnight. It works for me

  2. September 25, 2015 / 9:13 AM

    I’ve had just about all of these happen to me; the last four all in one. I’m starting to forget what normal sticky buns taste like.

  3. Amanda
    January 25, 2016 / 12:15 AM

    Got a Nordic ware baking sheet from Kmart. Perfect recipe on back of the label with the exception of having to double rise time from 1 to 2 hours

  4. Negeen
    April 4, 2017 / 10:55 PM

    omg this dough is so hard!!! i think i got it alright though <3

  5. Rebecca Palmer
    May 23, 2017 / 7:26 PM

    I forgot to the divide the butter content so put all 112g in my dough instead of 3tbsp!!! Should I leave out the butter with the cinnamon spread then?? Hahaha help is needed

  6. Donna
    July 15, 2017 / 8:06 AM

    Here’s my problem I encounter every time I make cinnamon rolls. Dough rises beautifully the first time. After filling, rolling, slicing and placing into pan, not overcrowding either. They spread out but not up. The end pieces rise up though. It’s odd to see them. Flat rolls, with the exception of one sticking up like a mountain. Both pans look that way. Any help or suggestions with my situation would be greatly appreciated.

    • Nirvana
      July 15, 2017 / 4:38 PM

      Mine do that if they are placed too far apart. Do you allow them to double in size after cutting and placing in the pan? They should touch each other after this second rise and then climb up each other as they bake. The end piece is usually more tightly rolled so it holds itself together as it bakes

  7. July 21, 2017 / 1:57 PM

    I create recipes for my food blog and am able to make just about anything under the sun, but struggle with bread dough, and in this case CINNAMON ROLLS! This time I actually didn’t kill my yeast, but did over kill on the coconut oil (in place of butter). HAHA the rolls are tough and they literally boiled in oil in the oven…. I have been researching, but found this after. (great tips by the way!)::sigh:: You’d think I would stop trying to make these by now and move on. 😉

  8. Nina
    September 29, 2017 / 3:42 PM

    So helpful!

  9. Natalie DeAmicis
    October 10, 2017 / 2:23 AM

    Thank you thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone. I think I killed my yeast because the dough never rose. :/.

    ///Tough cinnamon rolls, tumbled into the trash///

    • Stan
      December 25, 2018 / 11:35 AM

      Yeast gets old too and some already in the package is dead. I throw away yeast when it is over about a year old. I bought a case of bread mix and time after time it flopped. I tried new yeast packets and the problem went away.

  10. unakunik
    November 6, 2017 / 11:28 PM

    so helpful… thx, but can you help me with this little problem (that is not so little hahaha), how come my cinnamon roll gets hard after it cools down. especially after it spend over night in the fridge, it becomes fluffy again after I reheat it, but soon becomes tough again after an hour or so.
    oohh by the way, I put the aaa.. what’s the name of the baking paper on top of my lightly buttered tray.

  11. Bob
    November 21, 2017 / 3:07 PM

    I know what I’m doing now when it comes to baking cinnamon rolls, but it took a lot of practice on my part. I probably made 16 different pans adjusting the recipe, the temperature, and the baking dish as I went along to get it right.

    If you’re out there, and you’re thinking, “why bother?!” baking these rolls is a skill that takes practice to develop. But once you do, you’ll be able to make cinnamon rolls that are exactly what YOU want and everyone you know will know you for them. To me, that’s more than worth it.

    • Eileen
      June 30, 2018 / 11:36 AM

      What’s your secret ? !!

  12. BakingFail
    July 31, 2018 / 11:04 PM

    This wont get posted but at least you’ll see it. You rolls are not even done right they are flat and extremely uneven, raw and did not rise at all. I would be embarrassed to even think about doing a post about this I heard about it in a fail bake blog many ave seen his page and agree you really should be on a what not to do page well you are but in general I’ll tell you straight up not sure if others have but there are many that said the same thing your rolls were uneven very flat and they don’t look looked all the way through try a bread machine for your dough cause you clearly have no idea what your doing or how a cinnamon roll is made at all mine are about 4 times the size and that is what they mention a lot in the blog is yours don’t even looked like they were cooked. People who gave feedback clearly know nothing about baking and I own a cake shop with my sister and mom so trust me no bueno!

    • Okay
      August 1, 2018 / 6:43 AM

      Lol….did you read the blogpost? It clearly states how NOT to make them and is clearly making fun of the baking fail. So what’s your point?

      • Deb
        December 22, 2018 / 9:20 AM

        Lol!!! Some people just don’t want to help! Thank you for the points of what not to do! It does help!I’m sure at that bakery her family burnt something!! Lol!

    • Michelle
      January 14, 2019 / 4:42 PM

      Wow, try adding some punctuation and proper grammar next time. Reading comprehension is fundamental here and you clearly did not even read the blog. No one cares if you own a cake shop if you’re an illiterate jerk.

    • Well then.
      February 3, 2019 / 11:17 AM

      Dude, literally just read the title of the blog post…no need to be a dick. Come on now.

  13. Ann
    October 6, 2018 / 6:11 PM

    How do you keep the centers of the cinnamon rolls from ooofing up the middle during baking? Some of them, the center poofs out of the roll.

  14. sally dockstader
    October 26, 2018 / 1:22 PM

    My cinnamon rolls were very dense and heavy and I suspect probably under Baked…. They Rose beautifully… I set them in the fridge overnight for a slow rise and then let them come to room temp…. About an hour and a half. Punched it down and then rolled it out and applied the butter cinnamon filling… Place them all in a baking pan, all touching and let them rise again for 30 minutes…. But here is where my problem starts… One recipe says 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, and another says 375 for 40 minutes…. How can there be that much discrepancy!! Are there any rate after 20 minutes they began looking browned, and upon separating them, appeared risen, but very heavy..and dense… Now reminding me of a Parker House roll instead of a Sweet Roll texture…the proofs seemed fine… The dough was borderline sticky so I know there wasn’t too much flour…not sure how it. Can be both well risen but heavy….

  15. Tara
    February 8, 2019 / 10:43 AM

    I have been having issues with baked by the cinnamon buns in glass pans . The outer buns are good but the center ones are never done .
    I tried again yesterday recioecsaid to bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes . I think I baked for 30 minutes and lightly browned . After they cooled the center buns fell and were under cooked . I also had another pan with 2 rows they were better . Any tips?

  16. Julie
    January 3, 2020 / 4:31 PM

    I make very good cinnamon roll dough. my problem is that I do everything right it turns out great. But when I take it out of oven and serve they stick together or the edges tear apart. how do I get perfect rolls? is there a separator to help your rolls from sticking together and tearing apart?

  17. Julie
    January 3, 2020 / 4:31 PM

    I make very good cinnamon roll dough. my problem is that I do everything right it turns out great. But when I take it out of oven and serve they stick together or the edges tear apart. how do I get perfect rolls? is there a separator to help your rolls from sticking together and tearing apart?

  18. j
    January 14, 2020 / 1:19 PM

    1. Make sure your yeast is fresh or if not fresh under 6 years in the freezer! That first time making bread it wouldn’t rise. Sadness.

    2. Read the recepie twice! My first time making cinnamon rolls I didn’t cut the dough ball into two and couldn’t figure out why the hell it was so hard to roll into a tube. /facepalm
    This mistake boomeranged on me when putting the first cake pan of rolls in the oven… there wasn’t enough room for them to cook! I had to cook the rest of them on cookie sheets and a broiler pan. They all tasted insanely good just came out very wide. xD

    If you pay attention any mistakes made might not be total failures.

    3. Frozen bread dough needs to rise and be kneed twice. xD I was buying them for years before getting brave enough to make my own, and wondered why it didn’t rise all that high in the oven. Well making my own bread taught me that bread must be kneed; even pre made frizen bread.

    Thanks for the article it’s very helpful.

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