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!

Bagel varieties

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!

Homemade bagels

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.

Bagel bread dough

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!

Bagel 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!

Homemade bagels

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.

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!

Homemade cinnamon raisin bagel

Bagel with cream cheese

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

Print
Bagels image

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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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 (500g) 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)*

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Overnight Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 4, but allow the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. 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

636 Comments

  1. Truly spectacular bagels. Better than any store I’ve had!

  2. Omg!!!! I made these bagels today making the cheese version. I used regular all purpose flour because I didnt have bread flour #quarantine. They turned out amazing. So chewy, crunchy and soft on the inside. I will be making everything bagels in a couple of days because these wont last long in our house! So yum! Thanks for a great recipe.

  3. Oh my god, I don’t know if I’ll ever buy bagels again. These are SO delicious. I let the dough rise overnight and followed all the other instructions exactly. Topped half with sesame seeds and half with everything bagel seasoning. They came out perfect! Chewy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside. Next time I will make the holes a bit bigger and the bagels a bit flatter as they came out somewhat puffy in the middle, but I’m not complaining. Thanks for another great recipe!!

    1. Susan Benevento says:

      I have a question according to me 4 cups of flour are not 500 grams. A cup is 250 grams. Please help me!

      1. Hi Susan! 1 cup of bread flour is about 125-130g per cup.

  4. I’m a teacher, sheltering in at home during the covid pandemic. I just made your cinnamon raisen bagels! OMG! I’m a New Yorker, so I know a good bagel when I taste one, and this was the best bagel I ever had! I am so proud of myself (and I’m not a cook at all — I was just craving a bagel). Thank you for a great, easy, straight forward recipe. I’m going to make another batch of plain ones to freeze. Helped make this quarantine a little better.

    1. Love reading this, Carolynn! Thank you so much for your positive feedback 🙂

    2. Amazing! I used AP flour, kneaded a little longer to develop more gluten, and added diastatic malt powder to the dough. I added Asiago and coated half in everything bagel seasoning. Hands down one of the best things I’ve made. Thanks for another great recipe.

    3. Can you boil the night before and cook the next morning and still achieve good results?

  5. As the raw bagels rested and I boiled the water, all was great. Unfortunately, as I removed the bagels from the parchment cover sheet to put into the boil, they stuck to the parchment! although I tugged and lifted as gently as possible, several bagels deflate and squished, and did not recover, resulting in flattened bagels. I will say they baked beautifulyy ad tasted devine. Any advice?

    1. Hi Mary, I haven’t had that happen before but I imagine it was very frustrating. Try coating the parchment with a little flour which will help prevent those bagels from sticking before they go into the water.

  6. Just made these bagels and they are so amazing! First time making bagels and this recipe was so easy to follow and it was the biggest feeling of accomplishment!!
    Quick question- if I were to make them into mini bagels, how long would you recommend to bake for? And would water bath timing be the same? Thanks!!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed them! You can make mini bagels. I’m unsure of the bake time but keep your eye on them and bake until they are golden brown.

    2. Just took these out of the oven. Of course I ate one, sooo good!

  7. With the overnight method, I recommend covering the dough in plastic wrap on top as the top of the dough, when left covered only with a towel, left a crust on the top of the dough. Made it more difficult to form the bagels the next day. Also, super important to take your time with forming the balls, as they need to come to room temp.

  8. Denice Marquardt says:

    These were amazing and so easy for a first timer! My daughter is keen on egg bagels. Have a recipe for those? Thanks so much!

  9. Katie Meier says:

    These bagels are delicious and the texture is awesome! However, I followed the recipe by shaping the holes in the bagel to be 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter, and the bagels were quite large. They were much thinner than I would have liked them to be, so next time I will definitely not follow the recipe on that part.

    1. I had issues with bagel height. I found a video online that shows a good technique. Just put the dough ball on a floured surface and coat your index in flour. Push through and then soin the bagel around your finger that helped mine stay puffy

      1. I do not have honey at home, but I do have table syrup, maple syrup and corn syrup. Could I use any of these as a substitute?
        Would love to make the recipe tomorrow and I don’t have time to get honey

  10. Janet Lee says:

    Well, I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Have the right flour, everything else, and follow the directions. They taste good but are not chewy. Any hints, anyone?
    This is my only Sally’s recipe that has not been fantastic.
    Thanks.

  11. Very good recipe, am in France we dont have bagels here, or is very rare to find them. They look amazing! Thank you.

    1. Love the recipe
      They came out great amd it was my first time!
      Thanks

  12. FYI the 500grms of flour does not result in a stiff dough. I am hoping I can still add some more flour tomorrow morning and save them. Crossing my fingers because I really want bagels tomorrow.

  13. Sandra Tofte says:

    I have the malt barley, do I use the same measurement as the brown sugar/honey?

  14. I’ve been doing these bagels throughout the lockdown, In London, I think today was my third time…spectacular! One question….as it uses a lot of honey..can I keep the honey water and use next time around?

    1. Hi Deborah, so glad you enjoy these homemade bagels! Some readers have kept the leftover boiled water to use again but I haven’t personally tested it.

  15. These turned out great! My family loved them (and I typically struggle with recipes the first time I make the ).

  16. I really love your recipes, I’ve made your dark chocolate mouse cake more than ten times! I followed this recipe and measured everything out by weight, however, my dough was really sticky and not stif like yours. I’m waiting for it to rise now, not too concerned but should I be?

    1. Hi Angelina, there are a lot of variances that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency. Just remember that the dough is supposed to be a little soft, so don’t over-flour it. Flour your hands and work surface well when you are shaping them.

      1. They turned out delicious! I just left it and floured my surfaces enough so they won’t stick.

  17. Easy recipe. Came out great!!!
    Have you any suggestions on the ratio of flours if I want to make a rye bagel??

    1. So glad you enjoyed these, thanks Rob. I haven’t tried a rye variation but let me know if you test anything.

      1. I tried the recipe with 25% rye flour and 75% bread flour. I also mixed in 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds. The dough was sticky ( I am not sure if that was due to high humidity in Florida or the rye flour) so I added about 1/4 -1/3 Cup more bread flour. The rye bagels came out great.
        Thanks again for the recipe.
        I no longer miss my New York bagels!!

  18. Great recipe. The family loved it. Thinking of doing 1/2 the recipe for cinnamon raisin bagels and 1.5x the recipe for plain/everything so double the recipe in total. Should I change the water/honey for boiling half way through or will it last for 2 batches properly? Thank you!

  19. I was wondering if you would suggest using this recipe for blueberry bagels.

    1. Hi Cami, You can use fresh or dried blueberries. You can add them in when I add the raisins in my Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. Follow those instructions. A caution, though, fresh blueberries will make this dough very wet. I prefer dried berries.

  20. Hi Sally! Bagels are my favorite! If I could eat them everyday I would. Your recipe looks amazing and I plan on trying it this week. I had a question regarding the egg wash, I know you advised that it is necessary, however, a member of my family cannot have eggs. Is there a substitute I can use to achieve similar results? Thank you so much, I love your site!

    1. Hi Mena, A light brush of milk or melted butter works too!

  21. Can I use high-gluten flour to make these?

    1. Hi Lindsey, this particular flour is typically higher in protein than bread flour. The bagels will be pretty dense, so if you don’t mind the chewier and denser texture, you can try it.

  22. Hi Sally, I am going to bake these for vegans as the recipe looks good and people’s comments are positive too :). What would you suggest instead of the honey (and barley malt sugar as we don’t have this available?). Would golden syrup be OK? And I guess the brushed egg could be a soya milk or nut milk or vegetable margarine as you have suggested alternatives of butter/milk on an earlier comment? Thank you!

    Natasha

    1. Hi Natasha! A few readers have used brown sugar in the boiling step. Instead of egg wash, brush them with some nondairy milk before baking.

  23. Hi! Can I use a hand mixer instead? If I can, any tips? I don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook!

  24. Don’t mind me, just working my way through your every recipe! Always wanted to try making bagels and when I saw you had video instruction here I knew I had to give it a go! Made plain and everything this afternoon. I didn’t have any bread flour (and haven’t been able to find at the store) but I added some vital wheat gluten to my all purpose flour using a conversion I found somewhere online, I think it worked ok– the bagels had a wonderfully dense and chewy consistency. The only downside is that they’re so filling, I can only eat one at a time! Another perfect recipe complete with easy to follow instructions, thank you!

  25. Nora Moulton says:

    I love these bagels and have made them a few times now with excellent results! However, I decided to try the overnight rise methid last night and my dough got a crusty top. I’m going to try boiling/ baking anyway but do you have an idea how I can prevent this?

    1. Hi Nora! They’ll be just fine—it was simply the exposure to air inside the bowl. Happens to me all the time.

  26. Hi Sally! I made the bagels for a second time and they didn’t come out so great this time…the dough was really sticky and they came out very flat, and the insides were doughier. Do you have any idea what I could have done wrong? I measured everything with a scale so I don’t think it was wrong measurements. I baked them for 23 mins. Do you think it could have been because it was quite warm yesterday? Your thoughts would be appreciated, I want to make them again because the first time they were amazing! Thank you!

    1. Hi Chrissy, was the dough too sticky and/or shaping too difficult? Was your yeast expired too, by chance? I’m concerned the bagels were flat. Try adding another couple Tbsp of flour next time. That should help them hold their shape a little better.

  27. I just made the bagels, but they came out very dense and doughy. What did I do wrong?? Not sure if I under or over kneaded the dough. Thanks

  28. Hi I’ve used everything as suggested in the recipe and wholemeal bread flour instead of white – will the time for pricing the dough be different as it hasn’t risen at all in an hour. And my dough was very dry compared to the one you had in your video. I also used fresh new yeast

  29. Jackie Hemple says:

    I love spinach bagels and can not find them anywhere in my area. Would you be able to help me with how I can I that?

    1. Hi Jackie, I wish I could help but I haven’t made spinach bagels before. Adding some chopped fresh spinach to this dough shouldn’t be a problem though.

  30. Came out perfect. Cut the recipe in half for my first time and made four for the trial: two plain, one sesame, one garlic. I used whole wheat and actually let the dough rise for 3 hours and they turned out great. My only issue was that after transferring directly from the bath to the baking sheet, they stuck to the wax paper while baking. I would probably lay down a thin layer of non-stick spray first next time and hope it doesn’t overly caramelize/crisp the bottom of the bagels.

    1. Yikes! I hope you mean parchment paper and not wax paper – wax paper is not heat safe!! Though if you did use wax paper, that would explain why they stuck. They won’t stick to parchment paper (once they’re done cooking).

1 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply

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

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

Archives

Categories

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

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

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

×