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 let me know if you do!

Homemade cinnamon raisin bagel

Bagels with cream cheese

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

Print
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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

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 (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)*

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 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

711 Comments

  1. Totally would make this again!! Best recipe and so easy to follow. I’ve tried a few different recipes before and they succeeded but this by far has the best outcome!!!

  2. For the water bath, if it’s just sugars helping…why not simple white granulated sugar? It would be much cheaper. Am I missing something?

  3. I made these for the first time, they turned out perfect. I have a mixer with a dough hook, but since you have to hand knead it anyway, why bother? I just did it all by hand. I also used white sugar in the water bath instead of honey. I put a wire rack on top of a sheet pan next to my boiling water bath, so that when I lifted the bagels out of the water the excess water could drip off. This also made a perfect place to brush on the egg wash without having it pool up underneath the side of the bagels. Once I had the egg wash on it was easy to dip them into my seeds and then place them on my baking pan. Also, I was able to arrange all eight onto one baking sheet which was helpful. Lastly, though I didn’t have any bread flour on hand, the All Purpose that I used was fine. I am planning to get some barley malt syrup and bread flour for the next time around. Great recipe, thanks!

  4. I’ve made several batches of bagels using this recipe and have mostly been pleased with the results. However, when I started weighing the ingredients, I ran into problems. 1 1/2 c of water is 320 ml not 360. I ended up having to add quite a bit of extra flour when I went by weight the first time and couldn’t figure out why until I double checked the weight for 1 1/2 c.

    1. Thanks for that info. I just had to add quite a bit of flour to my dough when making it, and I was worried I did something wrong

  5. Hi. First time I’ve ever written a comment of any kind. I love all of the recipes of yours, Sally, that I’ve tried including this one. It’s the 4th time I’ve used it. I wonder if you could tell me why my bagels are sticky the next day. I let them cool for hours. I’ve stored them in a bread bag and a ziplock. Both times the next morning they’re sticky but still delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipes!!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan! So happy you love these bagels. Best way to store these is to tightly cover and store them at room temperature – make sure to completely cool them before sealing. They will get a little moisture on them but always toast up perfectly!

  6. I just taste tested my second attempt this year, ever. I’ve improved! The crunch and chew on today’s batch are perfect. The flavor is as I want it to be. Some of them are flatter than others but this time the interior is so much softer and less goopy in those I’m hopeful the thicker ones (look as they should) will be great.
    Tomorrow is National Bagel and Lox Day so breakfast will be the real test.
    Thanks again for a great recipe.

  7. I just made my first ever batch of cinnamon raisin bagels. After reading the reviews I added more cinnamon (will add even more next time for my taste) and the dough was quite sticky as others have said. I added a bit more flour before removing it from the mixer. The only negative issue I had with the completed bagels is that the bottom is quite brown. The taste doesn’t seem to be affected. Next time I will place the baking sheet a bit higher in the oven. The bagels are crunchy, chewy and flavorful. The texture is exactly what I expect in a bagel that I get from a bakery. I am so excited that I can make these. I impressed myself☺️. I can’t wait to make other flavors. Stupid diet!!!

  8. Alyssa Collins says:

    LOVE this recipe. Make it exactly as you write it and it is delicious. I mostly make it with 50/50 whole wheat flour and it works great. I have also done mozzarella jalapeno bagels and they are deadly. Thank you!

  9. Made these for the first time and they came out pretty well, but with room for improvement for round 2! What kind of salt do you use? I measured everything but I think I need either a little more salt or a different type. Thank you.

  10. I’ve made this recipe 5 times. Each batch got rave reviews from my family. This one is a keeper.

  11. This recipe worked perfectly for me! And I’m not even an expert baker! Bagels are hard to get in India and I’m thrilled I can make them myself now. I’ve absolutely loved every one of Sally’s recipes that I’ve tried!

  12. I did a half batch with Trader Joe’s everything seasoning and they positively dazzled my partner. I put in the dough in the fridge overnight and then did the boiling and baking the following morning. I was able to find malt syrup and think it definitely added to things. I will definitely reuse this recipe in the future!

  13. I’ve made this recipe so many times, and they always come out great! I took the tip of letting it sit in the fridge overnight, and it really enhanced the flavor. The only thing I changed was adding the topping into the dough, that was your seasoning is in every bite, not just the top! I also use this to make bagel bombs. YUMMY!

  14. During my four years of living in Alabama, I have really missed NYC bagels. And since I couldn’t get back to the Big Apple this year because of the pandemic, I was desperate for a bagel fix. Like millions of Americans, I have really upped my baking game during the pandemic. And I have loved all of the recipes that I have tried from Sally’s Baking Addiction. So I decided to give this recipe a go. Nevertheless, I was actually shocked that the bagels turned out as well as they did. I am super picky about bagels, but these truly tasted like the real thing!! I would encourage anyone to try this recipe. (FYI: I did use Barely Malt Syrup.) Thank you Sally for another exceptional recipe!

  15. The bagels turn out sublime. Recipe is incredibly easy to follow – your blog is an amazing resource for any beginner baker.

    Never buying bagels again!

  16. Loved this recipe. First time making bagels and this recipe made it effortless. I did half everything bagel seasoning and half cheddar/jalapeño and they both came out amazing. I did prefer the cheddar/jalapeño one more mainly because I love the kick of heat!

  17. Hi,
    If I wanted to make this into a chocolate bagel, how many grams of chocolate chip would I need? and should I add some cocoa powder? If yes, how much?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hello! We’ve never made chocolate bagels with cocoa powder before so can’t offer any advice. You can make chocolate chip bagels by adding about 1 cup (about 180 grams) of chocolate chips to this dough. Enjoy!

  18. A friend gave me this recipe and they’re the best!! They remind me of Jersey / New York bagels (home). I make these in many variations jalapeños and cheese, cinnamon and raisin, everything bagels and plain. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  19. Hi Sally. I think I’m doing something wrong. My bagels taste bland. How can I fix this? I don’t have barley malt syrup. I used sugar. Otherwise they looked beautiful. Please help! I’m a big fan of your recipes:)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ellen! For extra flavor you can try one of the homemade bagel varieties listed in the blog post. Cinnamon raisin, cheese and everything seasoning are some of our favorites!

  20. I love this recipe, but I can’t seem to ever get my baking time right. (I’ve made prob 6 or 7 batches now). I even bought an oven thermometer to make sure my oven is working right. The outside of the bagels are getting dark before the inside is fully cooked. Would lowering the temp help? If so, how much lower would you suggest?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elise! Try baking them at 375°F (191°C). This may help them cook more evenly. The bake time will be longer since the oven temperature is lower.

  21. I’ve made these a few times and I found it you split the dough into 4 pieces they make bigger bagels with the same bake time…absolutely delicious and look and taste just like a bagel shop bagel. I may never buy them again – so simple and easy! Thanks Sally! Couldn’t have done it without your step by step simple to follow guide!

  22. I have made bagels with these multiple times and it has always turned out great. One thing I would note is that if your oven typically runs hotter, change the oven temp to 405F and bake for 18 minutes, rotating at 9 minutes.
    Sally, do you have a recipe for blueberry bagels?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathleen, You can use fresh or dried blueberries. You can add them in when we add the raisins in our Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. Follow those instructions. A caution, though, fresh blueberries will make this dough very wet. We prefer to use dried berries.

  23. Dear Sally (and others who have tried the overnight rise),
    I made this recipe about 15 times (haha not exaggerating) for friends and family before attempting the overnight rise last night. My dough did not rise as much as it would a normal rise, is there something I may have done wrong? Did I knead too much?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica! If you’ve made it many times before without issue, it’s likely the dough just needs longer to rise. You can leave it out at room temperature until doubled in size. Enjoy!

  24. I love, love, LOVE these bagels. I will never buy bagels from the grocery store again. I brought them in as a treat for coworkers and they also loved them.

    Question: do you have any advice for measurements of other variations (besides the ones you have listed), such as: pumpkin spice or blueberry or lemon cranberry.

    Many thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Trish! For blueberry bagels, you can add dried blueberries in when we add the raisins in our Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. Follow those instructions. We haven’t tested those other flavors but we would love to hear what you try.

  25. Hello Sally. I have made several bagel varieties from your recipes over the past 6 months. Although very delicious, the bagels are not as puffy as the local bakery. Also, my last two batches were a flop! I made sesame bagels using the same 4 cups flour / 1-1/2 cups water recipe as before. The dough was very gooey and sticky from the start and never got stiff. hated to throw the batch away so I cooked the batch. The bagels came out like biscottis. Each batch was made from different bags of flour. The yeast was new. I followed the recipe as written. Should I decrease the water or maybe increase the flour?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi John! If a batch seems more watery, you can always add more flour 1 Tbs at a time until it comes together. 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. Enjoy!

  26. Charleigh Miller says:

    Love this recipe! Do easy and simple! I recommend this recipe to everyone! This was my first recipe I used from @Sallysbakingaddiction !!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed these bagels, Charleigh!

  27. Í just made this and I’m so happy this turned out really nice!
    I live in Iceland and the only bagel we have here are frozen. So now I can start making my own bagel 🙂
    By the way, the only change I made is instead of bread flour, i changed it to half whole wheat flour and half APF.
    Thank you Sally for sharing this lovely recipe.

  28. Wow! My family went nuts over these bagels! Thanks for sharing it with us! Love it!

  29. My bagels have sunk to the bottom of the pan! Failure! First time must be user error! Help!!

    1. Your bagels must have needed more time to rise. I’ve only made the recipe once with quick-rise yeast. Next time I suggest first placing them in a bowl of regular old water to see if they float, I they don’t then leave them to rise longer! Hope this helps 🙂

  30. Just made these at my daughter’s request. Oh my! So delicious warm from the oven! Made plain and everything. Definitely will make again.

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