Homemade Bagels Recipe

This easy homemade bagels recipe proves that you can make deliciously chewy bagels in your own kitchen with only a few basic ingredients and baking tools!

overhead image of a variety of bagels

Today I’m teaching you how to make homemade bagels with only a few basic ingredients and kitchen tools. Today you’re going to tackle any fears of yeast and bread baking– and I’m right here to guide you along!

bagels cut in half in a stack

Bagels, crème brûlée, soft pretzels, and hot ham & cheese pockets. What do these foods have in common? Each seem really complicated to make at home, but secretly couldn’t be easier. Homemade bagels taste fresher, are cheaper, and you’ll earn the bragging rights for from-scratch baking. (PS: Each of those recipes has a video tutorial!)

Video: How to Make Homemade Bagels

Here’s a video to guide you along the process.

Bagels Require a Lean Dough

The 1st step is to make the bagel dough. This is the same dough you use for everything bagels, a recipe already published on my blog. There’s only 5 ingredients.

  • Warm Water: Liquid for the dough.
  • Yeast: Allows the dough to rise. I recommend an instant or active dry yeast.
  • Bread Flour: A high protein flour is necessary for bagels. We want a dense and chewy texture, not soft and airy like cinnamon rolls. Bread flour is the only solution!
  • Brown Sugar: Bakeries use barley malt syrup to sweeten the bagel dough– it can be a little difficult to find, but brown sugar is a fine substitute.
  • Salt: Flavor.

Notice how there is no fat? This is called a lean dough. Lean dough is ideal for recipes like focaccia, pizza dough, artisan bread, and no knead bread. Sweet bread, such as cinnamon rolls, include fat for richness and flavor.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

2 images of bag of bread flour and bagel bread dough in a glass bowl

You can prepare the dough with a mixer or by hand. Kneading the dough by hand is imperative. Bagel dough is very heavy and dense, which could rattle your mixer too much. You’ll only knead for a few minutes and you can watch me do it in the video above. After the dough is kneaded, let it rise for 60-90 minutes. Punch it down, then divide into 8 sections and shape into bagels.

How to Shape Bagels

Shaping bagels is easier than it looks. Poke your finger through the center of the ball of dough, then use 2 fingers to widen the hole to about 1.5 – 2 inches. That’s it! I don’t really do anything fancy and the bagels don’t need to be perfect. Mine never are!

2 images of bagel dough cut into pieces and bagels in a water bath

Bagel Water Bath

Bagels must cook for 1 minute on each side in a pot of boiling water. This is actually the most important step in the whole recipe. Why?

  1. Boiling the bagels gives the bagel its beautiful shine. But looks aren’t everything– this shine is actually a result of the dough’s starches gelatinizing which creates a crisp, shiny coating. I learned this from Cooks Illustrated.
  2. Boiling bagels cooks the outer layer of dough, which guarantees they’ll hold their shape in the oven.

Add honey or barley malt syrup to the water bath. Why? The sugar adds extra caramelization and crisp. Brushing the boiled bagels with egg wash does the same. Don’t skip either!

2 images of homemade bagels on a baking sheet before baking and bagels after baking

Homemade Bagel Varieties

  1. Plain Bagels: Follow the recipe below.
  2. Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Follow my cinnamon raisin bagels recipe.
  3. Everything Bagels: Follow my everything bagels recipe.
  4. Sesame Seed Bagels: Use 1/3 cup sesame seeds. After brushing with egg wash in step 9, top with or dunk each bagel into topping. Use more as needed.
  5. Poppy Seed Bagels: Use 1/3 cup poppy seeds. After brushing with egg wash in step 9, top with or dunk each bagel into topping. Use more as needed.
  6. Salt Bagels: Use 1/3 cup coarse salt. After brushing with egg wash in step 9, top with or dunk each bagel into topping. These are pretty salty, so feel free to go lighter on the salt.
  7. Cheese Bagels (Asiago, Cheddar, etc): Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the dough when you add the flour. After brushing with egg wash in step 9, sprinkle with extra cheese.
  8. Cinnamon Crunch Bagels: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough recipe below when you add the salt. Double the cinnamon crunch topping from cinnamon crunch bread. After brushing the bagels with the egg wash in step 9 below, spoon cinnamon crunch topping on each.

Some readers have used this bagel recipe to make whole wheat bagels by replacing half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. I haven’t tried it, but I do use some whole wheat flour when making homemade English muffins— another breakfast staple!

Homemade cinnamon raisin bagel

Bagels with cream cheese

Another staple? A loaf of sandwich bread. There’s nothing on earth like homemade bread!

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
overhead image of a variety of bagels

Homemade Bagels Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 8 bagels
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Make fresh bagels right at home with this tested dough recipe. Don’t skip the water bath and egg wash– both provide an extra chewy and golden brown crust.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 2 and 3/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast*
  • 4 cups (520g) bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface and hands*
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or packed light or dark brown sugar (or barley malt syrup)*
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • coating the bowl: nonstick spray or 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • egg wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

For Boiling

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup (60ghoney (or barley malt syrup)*


  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm water and yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough is very stiff and will look somewhat dry.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes. The dough is too heavy for the mixer to knead it!
  4. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size.
  5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  6. Shape the bagels: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a ball. Press your index finger through the center of each ball to make a hole about 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter. Watch video above for a visual. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with kitchen towel and rest for a few minutes as you prepare the water bath.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  8. Water bath: Fill a large, wide pot with 2 quarts of water. Whisk in the honey. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Drop bagels in, 2-4 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side.
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on top and around the sides of each bagel. Place 4 bagels onto each lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You want the bagels to be a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow bagels to cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Slice, toast, top, whatever you want! Cover leftover bagels tightly and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Overnight Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 4, but allow the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator instead of at room temperature for 60-90 minutes. The slow rise gives the bagels wonderful flavor! In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let the dough rise for 45 minutes at room temperature. Continue with step 5. I don’t recommend shaping the bagels the night before as they may puff up too much overnight.
  2. Freezing Make Ahead Instructions: Baked bagels freeze wonderfully! Freeze them for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm to your liking. You can also freeze the bagel dough. After punching down the dough in step 6, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 6.
  3. Special Tools: stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, large baking sheets (I love these), big pot (I use my 5.5 quart dutch oven), pastry brush.
  4. Yeast: Use instant or active dry yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise time may be up to 2 hours. 1 standard packet is about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons, so you will need a little more than 1 packet of yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Bread Flour: Bagels require a high protein flour. Bread flour is a must. Here are all my recipes using bread flour if you want more recipes to use it up! All-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the bagels will taste flimsy and won’t be nearly as chewy.
  6. Barley Malt Syrup: This ingredient can be a little hard to find, but truly gives bagels that traditional malty flavor we all know and love. Most natural food stores carry it. I offer alternatives such as brown sugar in the dough and honey in the water bath; I’ve made bagels with these alternatives AND with barley malt syrup and honestly love both versions.
  7. Bread Machine: Place the dough ingredients into the pan of the machine. Program the machine to dough or manual, then start. After 9-10 minutes, the dough will be quite stiff. Allow the machine to complete its cycle, then continue with the recipe.
  8. By Hand: If you do not have a mixer, you can mix the dough together in a large bowl then knead by hand for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Bagel Varieties: See blog post above for various add-ins and toppings. Note that the toppings are added after the egg wash in step 9. Some readers have used this bagel recipe to make whole wheat bagels by replacing half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. I haven’t tried it, but let me know if you do!
  10. Halve or Double: You can halve this dough recipe by simply halving all of the dough ingredients (do not halve the water or honey for the boiling step). No changes to the recipe instructions. For best taste and texture and to not overwhelm your mixer with excess heavy dough, I do not recommend doubling this dough recipe. Instead, make separate batches of dough.

Adapted from a mix of recipes I’ve tried: King Arthur FlourCook’s Illustrated, and Complete Book of Breads


  1. Do you have a Blueberry bagel recipe??

    1. Sharon Tramblay says:

      Can these be made into onion bagles?

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Sharon! We haven’t tested onion bagels, but recommend adding about 1/4 teaspoon onion powder and 1/3 cup dried minced onion in the dough. Add both when you add the flour. You can also top with more dried minced onion. You can find this in the baking aisle with the spices. Let us know if you try it!

  2. I had been craving authentic NY bagels and the bagels from my local bagel shop just weren’t cutting it, so I decided to try this recipe. I used the barley malt syrup in both the bagel dough and the boiling water and they turned out excellent! My mom thought I was kidding when I told her the bagels were homemade. I will definitely make them again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback on this recipe, Sheron! We’re thrilled you enjoyed them.

  3. These bagels came out perfect!! I’ve been daunted by the task of making bagels because of the boiling step, I’ve messed them up before, but these were perfect. Thanks! Do you have nutrition information for this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  4. Pretty sure I made this recipe many years ago (was it here prior to 2019?), before I knew anything about baking and was just dipping my fingers in the baking scene. They were great then and I just made em tonight & they’re still great! My only problem I had was my bottoms got a little darker than I wanted. Probly because I used a dark cookie sheet! But still came out delicious! Thanks for another great recipe! I hope they stay soft for a few days wrapped up!

    1. Tamara Charland says:

      I made my first batch of bagels today. A half recipe. Just in case they didn’t turn out. These really tasted good. Nice crunchy exterior crust almost like a pretzel and soft chewy crumb.

  5. These always come out perfect. I use maple syrup as I haven’t found barley syrup quite yet. Some times I use my sourdough starter and do the rise overnight, but usually I don’t think to get it started soon enough ha. I’ll also hit the water with some baking soda as well.

  6. I am just starting to get into baking, and I always find your recipes are easy to follow and turn out perfectly. This bagel recipe confirms it – fantastic! Thank you so much!

  7. Wow. This was my first time ever making bagels and it was such a pleasant experience! I don’t have a stand mixer so I just used my hands, worked just as well. Had a nice outer crust and was soft inside.

  8. Hi, anybody have experience here not using the egg? I have a family member who doesn’t eat eggs. Thanks!!

    1. Rebecca White says:

      I totally forgot the egg the other day as I had the kids running around. They tasted great! They didn’t get as golden but I still so good:)

    2. The egg is not at all necessary. Kind of a strange addition in my opinion, actually. Putting baking soda in the boiling water is the typical method for getting that nice outer crust. Same as you do with pretzels.

  9. Great recipe! I’ve made this at least a dozen times, and they always turn out a little different, but always good.

    Some modifications I sometimes do:
    1) add about a tbsp of caraway seeds to the dough. Mostly cause I love caraway.
    2) I add a bottle of Malta Goya (an unfermented malt beverage – there are many brands found in Mexican groceries) and a bit of honey, sugar or brown sugar to the boil water. Gives a nice malt flavor.
    3) I add malt powder to the dough instead of sugar.
    4) to make one cheese bagel, I’ll press in cheese to the top of the bagel just before baking.

    I’ve found that you really dont need to knead that much, and overkneaded bagels are worse than underkneaded bagels. My most common mistake is to take them out just a minute or two early, and the insides tend to be a bit wet. I now go a minute longer than when i think they are done.

  10. I just made a batch of everything bagels and they turned out perfect. I bought a pre mixed everything bagel seasoning at smart and final and it tasted great. I put the seasoning on right after the egg wash. I did one sheet of 4 bagels then a second sheet of 4 bagels after the first. There was no difference be tween the batch that went straight into the oven and the batch that sat out the extra 25 minutes. I will male this again many times. Thank you!

  11. These bagels were so great! I loved the taste. However I found that mine came out a bit flatter than I wanted… do you have any ideas of why that could’ve been? I am new to making bagels so it could just be a lack of experience!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lindsey, Was the dough particularly sticky? A little more flour will help for next time – a firmer dough should create puffier bagels. Did they puff up during the boiling step? Another tip is to not let your dough rise too long (you want it to double in size). Yeast recipes/breads will deflate if the dough has risen/proofed too long. Hope this helps!

  12. Just tried this recipe for the first time. Really tasty, no more store bagels for me!

  13. Made these with the kids yesturday and I am tasting them now. So good!!! Thank you for the recipe!

  14. This recipe was very easy and delicious! I didn’t have eggs, so I used butter for the egg wash part, still delicious. I made mine with different spices in my cabinet (cinnamon and sugar, rosemary garlic, tomato basil). It felt amazing to know that instead of just dreaming of a garlic onion bagel, I can make one myself! I was unsure of the honey water step, as I was expecting baking soda (similar to pretzels) but this worked perfectly, and didn’t foam boil like baking soda does. My one question is: how do you make sure your dough doesn’t fall apart? Mine wasn’t adhering to itself even when I rolled into balls. Delicious recipe. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, We are so happy that you enjoyed this recipe so much! You can watch the video above to see exactly how we shape the bagels (starting right around the 1:30 mark). They certainly are not perfect – but more of a rustic shape/look! 🙂

  15. I use your recipe but replace 1/3 to 1/4 of the flour with spent grain from my home brewing. My wife loves them and so do I!

  16. Hi Sally,

    Could you please tell me what is the mixer kneading speed and how long does it take to knead by mixer. How do we know when the kneading is done?



    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Loan, each step of the directions will tell you the speed and how long to knead the dough. Some steps can be done with a mixer, and others will be done by hand. Enjoy!

      1. I see it now. Thanks Sally.

        By the way, your banana muffin recipe is awesome, everyone loves it.

  17. I’ve made this recipe a few times, but the Dough never seems to rise. I’ve followed each step. I’m kinda stumped.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rosa, Thank you for trying this recipe and we are happy to help troubleshoot. In the first step is your yeast foamy after it sits in the covered bowl for 5 minutes? Be sure are using water that is between 100-110°F (38-43°C) for this step. If there is no foam on top then the yeast is dead and should not be used. Make sure you are using the correct amount of yeast – this recipe calls for more than 1 standard packet. Also, what type of yeast are you using? We use instant but if using active dry yeast instead, the rise time may be up to 2 hours. For more tips you can visit our Baking With Yeast Guide. Hope this helps!

  18. I’ve been making these bagels since spring 2020, after pandemic hit. Great recipe !! I usually make sesame. I make two batches at once and then slice and freeze the cooked bagels in zipper bags. I use white sugar in the dough for yeast and brown sugar in the boiling water. Seems to work! Thanks! You’ve ruined me for store bought bagels!

  19. Hi. Can I use a bread machine on the dough setting?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel! We haven’t tested it, but other bakers have reported success using a bread machine with this dough.

  20. Thanks for a great recipe Sally! These were so easy to make and turned out great. I used the Artisan Bread Topping King Arthur Flour makes and they were delicious. Next time I’ll try pumpernickel and whole wheat. I also liked it made only 8. I have a KitchenAid commercial mixer so I was able to Knead the dough in my KitchenAid.. You never fail to provide great recipes.

  21. I made this a week ago and my family loved them. I wanted to make more than one recipe this time, and was wondering why you didn’t recommend doubling the recipe.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather! The large amount of dough can be difficult to mix, knead, and rise properly. Plus the proportion of yeast needed can change for large batches of dough. Best to stick with separate batches.

1 16 17 18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love



Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

Every December we publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row! Sign up via email and we’ll send you my most popular recipes and all the new cookie recipes once the palooza begins!

View More

Pie Week is all about baking the BEST pies! Sign up via email and we'll send you my most popular recipes and all the new pie recipes once Pie Week begins!

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally