Soft and chewy on the inside with a light golden brown outside—these Easy Homemade Bagels are fantastic! Bake them up plain or with everything bagel seasoning sprinkled over the top. Either way, toasted with some whipped cream cheese, they make the perfect breakfast!
Table of Contents
Homemade Bagels - Recipe Overview
Like my homemade soft pretzels recipe, this easy bagel recipe requires very few ingredients, comes together (relatively) quickly, and tastes just as good—if not better—than any local bagel shop.
The key player in these homemade bagels is the bread flour which gives them their soft and chewy texture. And to give them their light golden brown color is the boiling water bath which has baking soda and a little honey mixed in for a hint of sweetness.
I used instant dry yeast which gives the dough a rise time of around 60-90 minutes, but you can also use active dry yeast instead. Just factor in a longer rise time of about 2 - 2 ½ hours.
Brush on some egg wash after the boiling water bath and sprinkle on some everything bagel seasoning (if you want the best bagel ever), and within 25 minutes you have really good tasting bagels!
Here's the list of ingredients you will need to make these easy homemade bagels!
In the recipe card below the ingredient amounts default to US measurements (cups), but you can also view the recipe using the metric amounts (grams), which is what I recommend for the best results. Food scales are relatively inexpensive and can be found just about anywhere!
- Bread Flour. You will need 3 ½ cups total. The King Arthur brand of bread flour is what I recommend, but use whatever brand you prefer! Bread flour has a higher protein percentage than all-purpose flour which gives these bagels that perfect chewy inside and crusty outside.
- Water. This is needed for the homemade bagel dough and also for the baking soda honey bath. For the bagel dough, it should be very warm (anywhere from 90ºF to 110ºF if using a digital thermometer) to the touch. For the water bath, the water will need to be boiling.
- Instant Quick Rise Yeast. I like using the Red Star brand. Instant will give you a rise time of around 60-90 minutes.
- Salt. 1 ½ teaspoons is used to help enhance the flavor and tighten the gluten structure of the bagel dough.
- Granulated Sugar. Just 1 tablespoon is needed. It's role in this homemade bagel recipe is just to add a tiny bit of sweetness to the dough. A little more added sweetness is added with the next ingredient as well.
- Honey. 1 tablespoon is whisked into the boiling baking soda bath. It's an optional ingredient that helps to give just a hint of sweetness to the dough. It's very subtle.
- Baking Soda. You will need 1 tablespoon which is only for the baking soda bath. Do not add this to the pretzel dough.
- Egg Yolk. You'll use this along with 1 tablespoon of water for the egg wash that's applied to the tops of the bagels (after the baking soda honey bath).
- Everything Bagel Seasoning. You can make your own everything bagel seasoning for this recipe or you can do like I did and just get a jar of it from you local grocery store. Mine came from ALDI, but Trader Joe's has a really good mix as well.
Maple Syrup or Barley Malt Syrup. As a substitution to the honey in the boiling baking soda bath, you can use the same amount of either maple syrup or barley malt syrup.
Active Dry Yeast. You can use active dry yeast in place of instant quick rise yeast, but expect a longer rise time of around 2-2 ½ hours.
All-Purpose Flour. You can use this as a substitute, but I don't really do not recommend it due to the lower protein percentage. You simply won't get that same chewy texture as you will with bread flour.
The Best Baking Tools
Here's a list of tools you'll need to make this easy homemade bagels recipe. And good news—you do NOT need to use a stand mixer if you don't want to!
- Stand mixer with dough hook. Or you can make it even easier by using a large mixing bowl and dough whisk.
- Dough whisk. This along with a large bowl is what I used to initally mix the dough together. After that, I used my hands to knead the dough. You can even use your clean hands to mix it together too.
- Silicone baking mat. You can also use parchment paper, but you will need to lightly spray the top with either a flour-based baking spray or non-stick oil cooking spray to make sure the bagels do not stick. Silicone mats are also nice because it's less waste.
- Baking sheet. You'll need one large baking sheets.
- Bench Scraper. You can use either a bench scraper or sharp knife to divide the dough into sections. If you want the sections to be the same weight, bust out that food scale!
- Large Pot. This is for the baking soda honey bath.
- Fine Mesh Strainer or Flat Slotted Spatula. You'll need this to remove the bagels from the boiling baking soda bath. They'll also help remove any excess liquid that will drip off the bagels.
- Wire Cooling Rack. A wire cooling rack is needed so you can let the bagels cool a bit before enjoying!
- Oven Thermometer. I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer for all my recipes. They're inexpensive and help to ensure your oven is accurately heating to the correct temperature!
Let's Make These Homemade Bagels!
This is only a brief overview of how to make these homemade bagels. For the full detailed recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.
Prepare the bagel dough. I whisked the warm water, instant yeast, and granulated sugar together in a separate bowl first. Let it bloom covered for 10 minutes.
You can use your stand mixer and dough hook attachment, but I found it just as easy to use a dough whisk and large mixing bowl to mix everything together.
After the water/yeast/sugar mixture has bloomed add it to a large mixing bowl with the bread flour and salt. The dough will be thick, dry, and scaley looking.
Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured (bread flour) surface for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl (it can be the same bowl you mixed the dough in), cover, and let rise for 60-90 minutes. It's best to find a warm spot in your kitchen so the dough helps to rise properly.
Prepare the water bath and prep oven. Bring a large pot of water (6-8 cups) of water to boil Whisk in the honey and baking soda. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
Shape the bagels. Bunch the dough down then divide the bagel dough into 8 pieces You can weight each portion of dough so they're all the same or you can just eyeball it.
Roll each portion into a ball on a clean unfloured surface. Having the unfloured surface will help the dough stick a little which helps to form the ball of dough. Place on a silicone lined or lightly sprayed parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Press the center of each ball of bagel dough with your thumb and pointer finger to create a hole. Stretch it out just a bit.
Give the bagels a bath. Add 2-3 bagels into the boiling water/baking soda/honey bath. Use a timer and leave them in for 1-2 minutes per side. They will puff up a during this process and look wrinkly and weird. This is all totally normal as they'll smooth out as they bake!
I recommend using either a fine mesh strainer or flat slotted spatula to remove the bagels. I don't recommend using tongs as the bagels will still be soft. Remove any excess water and put it back onto the baking sheet.
Time to Bake. Brush on the egg wash mixture, sprinkle on the everything bagel mix, then bake!
Yes, but I really do not recommend it due to the lower protein percentage. You simply won't get that same chewy texture as you would with bread flour.
Absolutely! Let the bagels cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Reheat by bringing them to room temperature the day before then toast them in a toaster oven. Frozen bagels will keep for 1 month.
I prefer the method where you roll each section of dough into a ball, then pierce the center of the ball with your thumb and pointer finger to create a hole.
The alternatively way is to roll each section of dough out to about 8-9 inches in length. Then wrap both ends around the palm of your hand and press together to seal.
You'll need poppy seeds, white and black sesame seeds, flaky sea salt, dried onion flakes, and dried minced garlic. Or you can simply drive to your local grocery store and get a jar of it already made. I found mine at ALDI, but Trader Joe's—if you're lucky to live near one—has a good version too!
More Breakfast Treats to Enjoy!
Easy Homemade BagelsAuthor:
- 1 ⅓ cups Warm Water (between 90ºF-110ºF)
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Instant Quick Rise Yeast (1 packet)
- 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 3 ½ cups Bread Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
Baking Soda Bath
- 6-8 cups Boiling Water
- 1 tablespoon Baking Soda
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tablespoon Water
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, instant yeast, and granulated sugar. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture should look foamy when ready.1 ⅓ cups Warm Water, 2 ¼ teaspoon Instant Quick Rise Yeast, 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- Add in the bread flour and salt, then using a danish dough hook or your clean dry hands, mix together until the dough forms. It should be thick and look dry and scaly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, then knead the dough with your hands until it's soft and smooth in texture (5-7 minutes).3 ½ cups Bread Flour, 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
- Shape into a ball then place into a greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 60-90 minutes. Warmer spots in your kitchen will see a faster rise time.
- When the dough is just about ready, adjust your oven to the middle rack and preheat your oven to 425ºF. Prep a large baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (highly recommended) or parchment paper lightly sprayed with a flour-based baking spray or non-stick oil cooking spray (without the spray the bagels might stick).
- Before shaping your bagels, prepare your baking soda and honey bath by bringing a large pot of water along with the baking soda and honey to a boil. I also mix together the egg wash mixture at this time then set it aside.6-8 cups Boiling Water, 1 tablespoon Baking Soda, 1 tablespoon Honey
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the bagel dough into 8 equally sized pieces. You can either eyeball this part or you can weigh each piece so they are all the same size. Mine weighed around 100 g each.
- Roll each section of dough into a ball on an unfloured work surface (you want the surface to be a little sticky). Place onto the prepped baking sheet. Next, create a hole in each ball of bagel dough using your thumb and pointer finger. Stretch it out a little bit, but not too much.
- Place 3-4 bagels into the boiling baking soda honey bath and leave in for no more than 1 minute (use a timer) per side. The bagels will puff up and look weird and wrinkly, but I they'll smooth out during baking!
- Remove each bagel with a fine mesh strainer or flat slotted spatula, carefully letting any excess liquid drip off, then place back onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all 8 bagels have been bathed in the baking soda honey bath.
- Brush on the egg wash mixture and sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning (if desired).1 Large Egg, 1 tablespoon Water, Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425ºF or until your bagels have a nice shiny, light-medium golden brown color. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Homemade bagels can be kept in a well-sealed container at room temperature for up to 1-2 days. They also freeze wonderfully too! Let the bagels cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Reheat by bringing them to room temperature the day before then toast them in a toaster oven. Frozen bagels will keep for 1 month.