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.

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!

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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


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 (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)*


  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. 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. Thank you for the recipe! My family loves these bagels! I have made a batch for the past 3 weekends. I followed the recipe as directed and they were perfect! Those who complained about burnt bagels in the reviews may not have used parchment paper?!?

  2. Do I need a stand mixer or will a food processor work?

    1. If you don’t have a mixer I recommend making the dough by hand. Directions for both are above!

  3. This is the 4th time I bake them and I made about 4 dozens this time. Now I experimented with chocolate chip bagels with chocolate cream cheese. It was funny to think that it was probably the first chocolate chip bagel with chocolate cream cheese baked and eated in my city for the first time ever. The good news is that I almost master the dough preparation, my bagels are expanding as the professional ones. I realized that the Yeast brand, amount and the correct water amount and temperature are the most important factors for success. I tried 4 different yeast brands and 2 of them do the job, (Tradi Pan and Clabber Girl) while Rexal and Magidely didn´t work, I still need to try Nevada, but for the moment, I got the results I expected. Ialso have a slight diference in the process. The yeast is mixed in dry with the flour and No boiling step is needed at all. The dough rises to double in matter of half hour, but after shaping the bagels, if you compressed the dough at shaping, bagels will expand again until you placed them into the oven, so it all depends of time and probably ambient temperature, in this final step after shaping bagels is when I noticed the defrosting oven will be necessary, so what I did to help my bagels expand again is to placed them next to the oven, where temperature is higher, and it worked. Finally, thank you very much for everything, I have shared small cream cheese and jam sandwiches with many people, and everyone loves them, I am thinking seriously in starting a business, it will be the 2nd in my city, but it will be the best.

  4. This recipe is truly as easy as it looks. My family loves the sesame, everything and cinnamon variations. Perfect!!

  5. I moves from the East to West Coast 30 years ago. Sort of a bagel desert here until my niece sent me this recipe. Wow!! It was easy & produced the best bagel I’ve enjoyed out here…and right from my own kitchen. Delicious & New York-style chewy. Thank you so very much, Sally. (sigh…)

  6. If I could give this recipe a 5!star rating I would. My husband is a bagel snob and said that these are as good as his favorite bagel chain in Atlanta. One thing I did differently was seed both sides..crispy and delicious! It is a keeper!

    1. I’m so happy that even your husband enjoyed these so much!!

  7. I just made this for the first time and followed the recipe to a tee. Made everything salted and being from Maryland had to do an Old Bay as well. They are a huge hit. Both my wife and son said they are the best bagels they have ever eaten. Huge compliment. Thanks so much for the recipe

  8. I just made 2 batches of bacon n 5 cheese beagles. AWESOME!!!! The second batch I used 2 1/2 cups of bread flour 1 1/2 cup of oat flour and 1/2 cup of oat bran and an extra teaspoon of yeast. It turned out perfect. Thank You for sharing your recipes.

  9. Amazing! I’ve always been so nervous to try making bagels. The recipe and instructions were so easy and straight forward. I used parchment paper and they are perfectly browned. They look great. I’m waiting for them to cool right now, then I’m sure my kids are going to eat them up so fast. I think I may need to double (or triple) next time.
    The kids love french toast bagels…do you have add ins for that? I was thinking cinnamon raisin recipe minus the raisins, with brown sugar and cinnamon on top

    1. Just do it:

    2. Maybe use maple syrup in the water instead of honey?

  10. Mimi and Gabe says:

    My grandson and I made these and they were so easy compared to the last recipe we tried. We made them plain. Everyone who tried them raved about them. The night we made them I cut each one in half and froze them. Then we take them out as needed and they are just as good as the first day. I have not tried keeping them without freezing because I have found bagels do not keep well.

    1. I’m so glad you gave these a try and enjoyed them!

  11. If I decide to proof the dough in the refrigerator overnight, do I let it rise first at room temperature or do I put it right in the refrigerator? The instructions are a bit confusing for this.

    1. Hi Jaime, let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight.

      1. Great! Thanks!! My son is loving these bagels!!

  12. Hi Sally,
    Being a life long New Yorker(73) I just tried your recipe. The taste was really good.
    the only issue I have it wasn’t as chewy as I’m used to. I will admit I’m not much of a
    baker, more or a cook. I followed the recipe to a T so my question is what can I do to make them a little chewier, less water more flour? I baked them for 20 minutes as they
    looked done, nice brown color.

    1. Hi Ira! Are you using bread flour? That helps guarantee extra chewy bagels. A little extra water in the dough may help add the extra chewiness you crave.

      1. Hi Sally,
        yes I used bread flour. I’ll try a little more water on the next batch and let you know. Also after a couple of days they did become a little chewier but that was probably just from becoming”stale”. I also used this recipe and made some bialys which were also very interesting.
        Thanks again for your recipes

  13. Best EVER! But exactly what I’ve come to expect from Sally’s website. My mouth is SO happy!!

  14. I have used this recipe over and over and my family is now addicted. They can’t to go back to store-bought anymore!
    I was wondering if you’ve tried this recipe with a liquid addition such as pumpkin or banana. Will I need to add more flour or change anything to compensate for the additional liquid?
    Thanks so much!! You and your recipes are the best!

    1. Hi Carla! Thank you so much and I’m so glad you enjoy these homemade bagels! I wish I could help, but I’ve never tried making pumpkin or banana bagels. You’d likely need to *slightly* adjust the liquid and add more flour. Let me know if you test anything!

  15. Shannon Schiller says:

    Best bagel recipe I’ve tried. I used a tiny circle cookie cutter to make a nice round hole. I also used 25% whole wheat flour and they came out great!

  16. This recipe is so easy, I made them with my kids and they taste fantastic! I even forgot to use bread flour but they still turned out great.

  17. Hi Sally,

    Do you think I could make an apple cinnamon bagel with this recipe as the base? Would the apples need to be pre-cooked, or would they work better mixed in raw?


    1. Hi Kristen! I feel fresh apples will simply be too wet for the dough. But how about chopped dried apples instead? If you decide to use fresh apples, gently cook them on the stove first and add a little more flour to the dough to make up for the added moisture. 🙂

  18. I love making the cheese bagels. They are so good. My friend has asked me to make blueberry bagels.

    I figure I can take the basic bagel recipe and fold in some blueberries. Anything I should consider before attempting this?

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy the cheese flavor! Take a look at my recipe for raisin bagels and see how I fold them in – you can do the same with blueberries! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-cinnamon-raisin-bagels/

  19. I’ve followed this recipe several times and it is fantastic. Thank you so much for it! I even made and froze several batches of the dough and then prepared them all at once for a crowd this summer, and the dough thawed and baked up perfectly.

    A tip for anyone baking these in Germany like me: I’ve been using Type 550 flour (since bread flour isn’t really a thing here), and I think the results are perfect.

  20. Marsha Thalin says:

    If there is one thing I dearly miss living in Sweden it is bagels. I have tasted several meagre attempts at this wonderful bread. I have tried several recipes, BUT NOW I found it. Perfect. I used fresh yeast because I bake alot and it is available. Don’t know how to use dry yeast. Thank you!!!!!

    1. I’m so glad you tried this recipe and that you enjoyed it so much, Marsha!

  21. Hi Sally-

    I followed your recipe and made a dozen, perfect bagels. I had been searching for this recipe so the bagels wouldn’t be too fluffy and soft. I used the overnight/fridge proofing method and boiled this am with barley malt syrup and topped with “everything”. Perfectly blistery and chewy! I did shape the bagels before I proofed them and they retained their shape. I also made by hand/no mixer and was easy and wouldn’t change a thing! Thank you!

  22. First time bagel making for me! As Holly Wilmarth said in her review… I have been making bread for about 40 years. I have always feared making bagels thinking it was time consuming and beyond my skill level. This was AWESOME! Even got my What’s His Name to do the kneading, since I burned the palms of my hands the night prior doing something else.
    I added roasted garlic to the flour/mix and did the overnight rise. Goodbye to the awful bagels I can get here in my part of rural Florida! Oh and my What’s His Name does not give star ratings. His are sounds and comments. His silence, yom yom yom and HELL YAH equals a 5 star.

  23. The closest real Bagels are an hour and a half away so I made bagels for the first time today. Delicious. I topped them individually with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds and pepitas after the egg wash. Cant wait till I finish this batch and experiment with other savoury toppings

  24. Samuel Maldonado says:

    Hey, thanks for these recipes. I’ve gotten into baking all my own bread recently, and they’re really helpful. This one is actually how I found your site; was looking for how to make homemade bagels. This recipe is great; super easy and versatile like all of yours that I’ve tried. I use 3.5 cups flour and .5 gluten, and it works great. Just made some with 100% whole wheat, and they came out better than the regular ones. Only adjustment I made was to add an extra 1/8 cup of water.

  25. I made this recipe over the weekend. Most delicious bagels I have ever had. They were soft and chewy and so flavorful. I live in NJ and we have some of the best bagels. I think these were better than the bagel store. It did take 2 hrs, but the process was relatively easy. I will be making this again. So good!

  26. I am definitely an amateur baker, so to see my finished product I am absolutely STUNNED at how amazing these bagels came out! The only thing I adjusted was that I lowered my oven temperature to 410°F because I didnt have parchment paper to line my pans with. These bagels are soft with some bounce on the inside but chewy and crunchy on the outside! My topping consisted of everything bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s with an addition of black sesame seeds. I’m so impressed at myself, thank you for this recipe!!

  27. These bagels were so easy to make! I was skeptical because I always thought making bagels would be a time consuming process but I was really craving an awesome bagel. I moved back home from NYC a few years ago and I cannot seem to find good bagels here. I used my bread maker to make the dough and then I just followed the rest of the directions. As soon as they came out of the oven, I ate one and I was immediately in heaven. I think I may have to make a 2nd batch this weekend because my family loved these so much that I only have 3 left …

  28. Hello… in the two references to barley syrup, should I use the same amount as referenced to the other ingredient?

    1. Yes, exactly.

  29. Tracie Willis says:

    I tried this recipe with the plain bagels yesterday and although they didn’t rise as much as they were supposed to and I found my batch a bit dry( didn’t stick together as well as they should) they were very forgiving and very enjoyable! I am going to try the cinnamon raisin tonight but will let rise in the fridge overnight. Not perfect but delighted with my first try!!! Thank you for the recipe!

  30. Is it possible to make bagels using whole wheat flour instead…

    1. 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!

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