How To Tell When Cinnamon Rolls Are Done (Foolproof Methods)


When it comes to delicious food, cinnamon rolls are definitely a contender. Whether they’re for breakfast or dessert, these sweets hit the spot for everyone who is lucky enough to eat one. But making sure your cinnamon rolls are baked to perfection can be tricky.

The best way to tell when cinnamon rolls are done is to stick a toothpick or a knife into the center roll. If it doesn’t come out cleanly and raw-looking dough sticks to it, then they need to cook a bit longer. Also, lift one of the rolls and look at the bottom, they should be light golden brown.

Read on to learn how you can get perfectly done cinnamon rolls every single time. Your favorite cinnamon snack will never be under or overdone again!

How To Cook A Cinnamon Roll To Perfection

There are a variety of elements that can affect how cinnamon rolls bake and whether they turn out perfect, doughy, or hard.

Here are 4 tips to make sure your cinnamon rolls cook perfectly the first time, every time:

  1. Preheat the oven and make sure it’s set the correct temperature, typically 375 degree Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius); cinnamon rolls need to be baked at a lower temperature than most other bread dishes.
  2. Place the rolls 2 – 3 inches apart so that they have ample room to expand and cook. If you’re making cinnamon rolls from scratch, make sure to let them proof beforehand (at least an hour) so you can accurately space.
  3. Rotate the rolls halfway through the bake time to ensure they all cook evenly. Most home ovens have hot spots, which can otherwise cause part of the batch to bake faster. If you’re baking multiple batches, also switch the rack placement (top goes to middle, etc.).
  4. Test your cinnamon rolls before pulling them out of the oven by using one of the four method described above: using an internal thermometer, checking the bottom of the rolls, testing the center, or “eyeballing” it.

As long as you follow the recipe or baking instructions and the tips above, your cinnamon rolls should turn out perfectly.

When cinnamon rolls are done, they have an internal temperature between 190 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit (88 – 93 degrees Celsius). They should have a developed golden brown color that is consistent across the top and sides.

An internal thermometer can help you ensure your cinnamon rolls are completely cooked prior to taking them out of the oven. After baking approximately 30 minutes (or for however long your recipe calls for), use the internal thermometer to check the temperature.

Alternatively, you can test the baking process by checking the bottom of the rolls. Using a knife, fork, spatula, etc., pull up the roll closest to the center of your baking sheet; if there’s still raw dough, your rolls aren’t done yet.

A third method is to feel the center of the roll, which should be firm but not squishy when the cinnamon rolls are finished baking. Prior to using the thermometer, more experienced bakers can also “eyeball” it. You may be able to tell how close your rolls are to being done based on the color. They should be light golden brown on the bottom.

Why Are My Cinnamon Rolls Always Doughy?

Doughy cinnamon rolls can be caused by crowding your rolls during baking, not using enough flour in your dough, the thickness of your dough and rolls, an incorrect oven temperature, and/ or a too-short bake time.

Here are some reasons why your cinnamon rolls may be doughy and underdone:

  • Spacing– If your rolls are too close together when baking, the tops will cook and brown faster than the edges and bottoms; this can give them the appearance of being done, even when they’re still undercooked.
  • Under-Floured Dough– Using too little flour when you’re making cinnamon roll dough can cause it to be soggy. Dough should be tacky but not sticky; if it’s clinging to your hands or workspace like goo, then add a tablespoon of flour until the texture is right.
  • Dough Thickness– Cinnamon rolls that are thicker (3/4 inches or more) create denser, more bread-like rolls, while rolls that are thinner (around 1/4 inches) tend to be softer and doughier. Keep that in mind when buying or making cinnamon roll dough.
  • Oven Temperature– Skipping the preheating step can lead to uneven bakes, resulting in rolls that are the wrong side of gooey. Alternatively, setting the temperature too low (below 375 degrees) can result in your rolls struggling to bake all the way through.

People love soft and gooey cinnamon rolls, but these characteristics are different from doughy and undercooked rolls. The former is delicious; the latter can actually make you sick if it’s too undercooked.

Can You Eat Undercooked Cinnamon Rolls?

Eating slightly undercooked cinnamon rolls is unlikely to harm you, but ingesting raw dough can make you sick. Ingredients like flour and eggs have bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can give you a stomach ache and cause cramping, headaches, diarrhea, and other symptoms of digestive upset.

There’s a fine line between undercooked and raw. To avoid any potential health hazards, it’s best to make sure your cinnamon rolls are done all the way through.

How To Fix Undercooked Cinnamon Rolls

The easiest way to fix undercooked cinnamon rolls is to place them back in the oven to finish baking. Check them every two minutes. This is also the safest way, as it eradicates harmful bacteria found in raw dough ingredients.

If the other parts of the cinnamon rolls are done, such as the sides or tops, then cover those in aluminum foil. This will prevent them from burning as the rest of the cinnamon roll finishes baking.

Can You Fix Hard Cinnamon Rolls?

Slightly-Hard-Cinnamon-Rolls

Heating cinnamon rolls up in a microwave is one of the best methods to fix hard cinnamon rolls. Microwaves heat up cinnamon rolls without crisping them up or baking them anymore. Popping hard cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 15–45 seconds is usually enough to soften them up.

Pro Tip: Add a moist towel over the cinnamon rolls while it’s in the microwave. This keeps the microwave from sucking out whatever moisture your rolls have left. 

Keep in mind, your rolls will have to be cold or room temperature at this point. You can’t remove them from the oven, see that they’re hard, and then throw them in the microwave.

Two of the most common reasons cinnamon rolls are hard are overcooking the rolls or making the dough incorrectly, either by adding too much flour or overworking it:

  • Bake Time– If you bake your cinnamon rolls too long, they’ll become tough; if you overcook them a really long time, they’ll be burnt. If you’re using store-bought rolls, this is the most likely culprit.
  • Flour– If you’re making your cinnamon rolls from scratch, then you may be using too much flour. Adding too much flour, either during the initial mixing phase or while you’re kneading, can create a bread that’s tough and dense.
  • Dough– Kneading the dough too much can also damage the gluten molecules, resulting in a dough that breaks rather than stretches and creates rock hard cinnamon rolls.

With these tips, you can salvage your current batch of cinnamon rolls and make sure your future batches are the right balance between soft and firm.

Final Bite

Cinnamon rolls can be a hard recipe to perfect, but the reward of a tender, delicious snack makes it all worth it. It’s likely that your batches will either be too doughy or too tough at some point. Luckily, there are ways to fix both problems and plenty of tips to help you bake the best batch of cinnamon rolls possible.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss Why Do My Pancakes Fall Apart? | How to Fix It.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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