Homemade Bagels

The first time I made bagels was back 2014, and I accidentally dropped the pan fresh out my 425 degree oven on my thigh. That scar has faded by now, but my love of piping hot, homemade bagels hasn’t.

I originally started using Tasty Kitchen’s bagel recipe, which has slowly morphed into this recipe over the years.

image of homemade bagels cooling on a wire rack

Now, making your own bagels when you live in NYC does seem a little counterintuitive. I can walk two blocks and buy a freshly baked everything bagel from my neighborhood bagel shop for a little over a $1.

But that’s also what makes it seem like the right time to master a great basic bagel recipe. I’m surrounded by some of the best bagels in the world, which reminds me exactly how I like my bagels to taste.

They should have a crunchy exterior and a wonderfully chewy yet soft texture hidden inside. This recipe uses bread flour and boils the bagels before they head into the oven to achieve that fantastic texture.

image of homemade bagels made with different toppings

Making These Bagels By Hand vs.Stand Mixer

My first batches of bagels were made by hand. I didn’t have a stand mixer, and they turned out great.

I’ve gotten a bit lazy over the years and now prefer using my dough hook, but this recipe will bake up great either way.

The dough is definitely easier to make using a stand mixer, but a little elbow grease never hurt anyone.

image of bagel dough resting in bowl

Whichever method you use to make the dough, just be sure to knead or mix the dough until it gets an elastic texture, and pulls away from the bowl or counter.

Once you get to this point, stop and let the dough rest.

If you continue to work the dough, the gluten strands can become too tight. Just like adding in too much flour, this can also lead to dense bagels.

It’s pretty easy to sense when the dough is ready if you’re kneading by hand.

However, if you’re using a stand mixer, keep a close eye on your dough to ensure you don’t accidentally overwork it.

Substitutions and Swaps

While I love this homemade bagel recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all of these ingredients on hand!

image of ingredients on a counter ready to make homemade bagels

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Bread Flour – If you don’t have bread flour, all-purpose flour can be used in its place. I haven’t tested this recipe out with gluten free flour, but it should work as long as you use a good blend like King Arthur’s GF flour. Just be sure to knead the dough a bit longer, to help give it structure.
  • Instant / Rapid Rise Yeast – You can use active dry yeast in place of the instant yeast in this recipe, just allow the dough to rest / rise for an extra 15 minutes (active yeast takes longer to rise than instant).
  • Malt syrup – This is not a common ingredient, and you might have trouble finding it at your grocery store! Malt syrup adds a lot of flavor to the bagels, so I recommend trying to use it if possible. Otherwise you can use molasses, brown rice syrup or dark brown sugar in its place.
image of homemade bagels still warm from the oven and ready to be eaten

Making These Homemade Bagels in Advance and Freezing Instructions

I totally get that not everyone wants to wake up early on the weekends. But don’t worry, you can sleep in and still enjoy fresh bagels! You just have to plan ahead a bit.

Making These Bagels in Advance (overnight)

Make the dough through step 6, and allow the dough ball to rise overnight in the fridge. Letting the dough rise overnight helps it develop more flavor, and actually makes the bagels taste even better!!

Remove the dough from the refrigerator the following morning and let it rise for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Then continue on through the rest of the recipe (picking back up at step 7). While you might want to shape the bagels the night before too, I don’t recommend it! They can end up rising too much and losing their shape.

Freezing Instructions

Baked bagels freeze incredibly well, and can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them overnight in the fridge or at room temperature, then warm in either the microwave or oven.

Bagel dough can also be frozen. Once the dough is made through step 5, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil. The dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, then pick the recipe back up at step 6.

Halving or Doubling This Recipe

You can halve this homemade bagel recipe by simply halving all of the dough ingredients (do not halve the water or baking soda to boil though). You can also double this recipe by doubling the ingredients, but I recommend baking each tray of 6 bagels separately.

image of homemade bagels resting and rising before being boiled and baked

Adding Toppings and Flavors to These Homemade Bagels

This homemade bagel recipe is a perfect base for just about any flavor or topping.

While they taste great plain, I think most of us enjoy a little pop of flavor. Below are some of the flavor variations I’ve tried with this recipe.

  • Everything Bagels: In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp poppy seeds, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp dried minced onion, 1 Tbsp dried garlic flakes, and 1 Tbsp sea salt. After brushing the bagels with egg wash, dunk each bagel into the topping.
  • Sesame Seed Bagels: Place 1 cup of sesame seeds in a wide bowl. After brushing the bagels with egg wash dunk each bagel into topping.
  • Poppy Seed Bagels: Use 1 cup of poppy seeds in a wide bowl. After brushing the bagels with egg wash dunk each bagel into topping.
  • Salt Bagels: Use 1/2 cup of coarse salt (about 1 Tbsp per bagel). After brushing the bagels with egg wash, generously sprinkle sea salt on top of each bagel. These can get pretty intense, so add as much salt as you find palatable.
  • Cheese Bagels: Add 1/2 cup of your favorite shredded cheese to the dough as it’s kneaded. After brushing the bagels with egg wash, sprinkle with additional cheese on top.
image of homemade bagels stacked on a plate

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this recipe for homemade bagels, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating and a comment with your thoughts.

You can also tag me on social media @chelsweets or use #chelsweets, so I can see you creations!!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 6

Homemade Bagels

image of homemade bagels cooling on a wire rack

This homemade bagel recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious! It's the perfect base for any flavor of bagel, and makes you wonder why you ever bought bagels in the first place!!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes

Ingredients

Homemade Bagels

  • 3 cups bread flour (390 grams)
  • 2 1/4 tsp or 1 packet instant yeast (7 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 cup warm water (240 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp malt syrup or molasses (20 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil - to oil the bowl (3 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda - to be added to water later (15 grams)
  • 1 large egg - for the egg wash (56 grams)

Instructions

Homemade Bagels

  1. Start by adding 3 cups of bread flour, 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup water and 1 Tbsp of malt syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl.
  2. Knead either by hand or with a dough hook on a medium-low speed until the dough is elastic but firm (about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a dough hook).
  3. You may need to add in a bit of extra water or flour if the consistency of the dough is off, but do so slowly (1 Tbsp at a time).
  4. Spread 1/2 tsp of oil around in a separate large bowl to prevent the dough from sticking and place the dough ball into this bowl.
  5. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes. This gives the dough a chance to rest, which relaxes the gluten and will make the dough easier to roll out and shape.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's nice and smooth again, then cut it into 6 equal pieces.
  7. Roll each piece of dough into a strip long enough to wrap around your fingers (about 7-8 inches long). Connect the two ends of the loop, and roll the ends together on your counter until they stick together. If your ends aren't sticking together, dab a tiny bit of water onto them to help them stay put.
  8. Place the rolled bagels on a baking tray lined with parchment paper to rest. Let them rest while you bring your water to a boil.
  9. Bring 5-6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. When the water is gently boiling, add 1 Tbsp of baking soda.
  10. At this point, preheat your oven to 425 F.
  11. Place 2 bagels into the pot at a time, and let them cook for 45 seconds on each side. I don't recommend boiling more than 2 at a time or else they'll be overcrowded and difficult to flip.
  12. As the bagels are boiled, remove them and place them on paper towels (to absorb excess moisture). Repeat with the remaining bagels.
  13. When all the bagels are boiled, move them from the paper towels to a parchment lined baking sheet. They will feel a bit slimy, but that's how they're supposed to be!
  14. In a separate small bowl, whisk together 1 large egg with 1 Tbsp of water.
  15. Brush each bagel with egg wash, making sure you cover both the top and sides to help it brown evenly.
  16. Add whatever topping(s) you desire (see note below).
  17. Bake at 425ºF for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through and flipping the bagels over. They should be a relatively dark golden brown and their crust should be quite firm.
  18. Let them cool on the tray until they cool down enough to handle (about 15 minutes), then slice and enjoy.
  19. Leftover bagels can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

*Optional Toppings

  • Everything Bagels: In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp poppy seeds, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp dried minced onion, 1 Tbsp dried garlic flakes, and 1 Tbsp sea salt. After brushing the bagels with egg wash, dunk each bagel into the topping.
  • Sesame Seed Bagels: Place 1 cup of sesame seeds in a wide bowl. After brushing the bagels with egg wash dunk each bagel into topping.
  • Poppy Seed Bagels: Use 1 cup of poppy seeds in a wide bowl. After brushing the bagels with egg wash dunk each bagel into topping.
  • Salt Bagels: Use 1/3 cup of coarse salt (about 1 Tbsp per bagel). After brushing the bagels with egg wash, generously sprinkle sea salt on top of each bagel. These can get pretty intense, so add as much salt as you find palatable.
  • Cheese Bagels: Add 1/2 cup of your favorite shredded cheese to the dough as it's kneaded. After brushing the bagels with egg wash, sprinkle with additional cheese on top.

Halving or Doubling This Recipe: You can halve this homemade bagel recipe by simply halving all of the dough ingredients (do not halve the water or baking soda to boil though). You can also double this recipe by doubling the ingredients, but I recommend baking each tray of 6 bagels separately.

Making These Bagels in Advance (overnight): Make the dough through step 6, and allow the dough ball to rise overnight in the fridge. Letting the dough rise overnight helps it develop more flavor, and actually makes the bagels taste even better!!

Remove the dough from the refrigerator the following morning and let it rise for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Then continue on through the rest of the recipe (picking back up at step 7). While you might want to shape the bagels the night before too, I don't recommend it! They can end up rising too much and losing their shape.

Freezing Instruction: Baked bagels freeze incredibly well, and can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat them, thaw them overnight in the fridge or at room temperature, then warm in either the microwave or oven.

Bagel dough can also be frozen. Once the dough is made through step 5, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil. The dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, then pick the recipe back up at step 6.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 349Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 41mgSodium 777mgCarbohydrates 69gFiber 2gSugar 30gProtein 8g

If you want to take a trip down memory lane, below are photos of the first bagels I ever made. Not bad for a first attempt 😛

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14 thoughts on “Homemade Bagels

    1. Since the texture and taste of bagels is driven by the rise / boil & bake, they have a great chew and taste just like a NY Bagel!! I just never have bread flour on hand, and found that I really enjoyed how this recipe turned out using all purpose flour 🙂

    1. So sorry about that Norman, it was a site error! It should say 2/3 cup of water. I just updated it 🙂 Happy baking!!

    1. So sorry about that Rachel, it was a site error! It should say 2/3 cup of water. I just updated it 🙂 Happy baking!!

  1. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I’m from NYC but live in Ireland now. I’ve been trying to find a good bagel recipe and this one is it. it is exactly what I was looking for. thank you <3

  2. THIS IS SOOOO YUMMY.. I have a serious weakness for bagels and never thought to make my own.. I saw you post this and thought yeap one day… Well today was the day and it was SOO WORTH IT.. I couldn’t even wait the 15minutes for them to cool down.. I inhaled them????.. THANKYOU for sharing this

Let me know what you think!