Homemade Bagel Recipe

Just thinking about this homemade bagel recipe makes my mouth water. It's super easy to make, and it yields delicious, chewy bagels every time.

Homemade bagels

This homemade bagel recipe is Jack’s new favorite thing to bake, and I couldn’t be happier! Like many of you, he’s been baking up a storm lately, churning out crusty loaves of sourdough filled with dried fruit, nuts, or roasted garlic. I love all of it, but I’m especially excited whenever he starts a new batch of bagels. These may be homemade, but they have all the essential qualities of a good bagel: a shiny exterior, a lightly sweet and salty flavor, and a perfect chewy bite. To take them over the top, we coat them generously in crunchy, garlicky Everything Seasoning. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

If you’re looking for a fun weekend project, give this bagel recipe a try. You only need a few basic ingredients to make it, and it’s surprisingly easy. Best of all, it’s a great recipe to make with someone you love – you can shape the bagels together, and one person can boil them while the other piles on the bagel topping. Then, if you’re anything like Jack and me, you’ll watch them through the oven window as they bake, anticipating eating the warm, puffy homemade bagels fresh out of the oven.

Bagel recipe ingredients

Bagel Recipe Ingredients

This bagel recipe has 3 parts: the dough, the poaching liquid, and the bagel topping. Here’s what you’ll need for each one:

The Dough

  • Bread flour – Because of its high protein content, bread flour makes these homemade bagels delightfully chewy. This recipe also works with all-purpose flour, they’re just a bit less chewy than bagels made with bread flour.
  • Maple syrup – It activates the yeast and gives the bagels a hint of sweetness.
  • Warm water – Along with the maple syrup, it gets the yeast going, and it brings the dough together.
  • Active dry yeast – They couldn’t rise without it!
  • Sea salt – It’s key for really flavorful homemade bagels.

The Poaching Liquid

Did you know that you have to boil bagels before you bake them? It gives them their signature chewy, shiny coating, and it keeps them from puffing up too much and losing their holes in the oven. I boil them in a mix of maple syrup, baking soda, salt, and water to give them a light golden brown color, a crave-worthy chewy exterior, and a nice shiny finish.

And the toppings!

Everyone has a favorite bagel topping, and Jack and I are 100% on team Everything. We like to coat our bagels in a homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning, but feel free to top them however you’d like! They’re fantastic plain, or with a sesame seed or poppy seed topping.

You can attach the toppings in two ways: with or without an egg wash. I think the egg wash adds an extra-delicious chew, and it helps the topping adhere better to the baked bagels. However, you can also dip the boiled bagels directly into the topping. Without an egg wash, this bagel recipe is vegan.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Kneading bagel dough

How to Make Bagels

Ready to learn how to make bagels? Check out this step-by-step guide first, and then find the full recipe at the bottom of this post!

First, make the dough. Activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water and maple syrup. When it foams, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix it with the flour and salt until the dough is smooth and not sticky, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Dough ball in a large bowl

Then, transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes. Form it into a ball and place it in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough has almost doubled in size.

8 dough balls on a plate

Now for the fun part: shaping the bagels! Turn the dough out onto an un-floured work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

Shaping homemade bagels

Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the work surface, and roll each dough ball into a rope about 9 inches long.

How to make bagels

Place one hand palm up so that your four fingers are centered on top of the rope. Fold each side of the dough over your fingers, so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. Holding the dough, turn your hand over and roll it on the countertop to seal the two ends together.

Place the finished bagels onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Homemade bagel dough

The next morning, boil and bake! Remove the dough from the fridge, and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour while you preheat the oven and bring the poaching liquid to a boil.

Bagel recipe dough on baking sheets

Working in batches, add the bagels to the boiling water and cook them for 1 minute per side. Return them to the baking sheets, coat them with your desired bagel topping, and bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden brown. Enjoy!

Bagel Recipe Tips

  • Weigh your flour. Because this bagel recipe uses a large amount of flour, you should weigh it if you can. This way, you’ll know exactly how much flour you’re using. Cup measurements are much less precise, as they can vary based on a variety of factors (your specific measuring cups, how tightly you pack your flour, etc.). If you don’t have a kitchen scale, check out this post for my best tips on measuring flour with measuring cups.
  • Let the dough rise somewhere warm. Yeast responds to warmth, so, for an extra productive rise, stick the dough somewhere warm. We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!
  • Keep it covered. To keep the bagel dough moist and pliable, always cover it with plastic wrap when you’re not working with it. Cover all of it during its initial rise and its overnight rise, and cover any dough you’re not working with while you shape the bagels.
  • Don’t boil the bagels until they float. Before you start boiling the bagels, place one into a small bowl of water to see if it floats. If it does, the bagels are ready to cook! If it doesn’t, let the bagel dough proof for an additional 30 minutes, or until one floats. This test ensures that the dough contains plenty of air – if you cook it too soon, your homemade bagels will be dense.

Homemade everything bagel recipe

Homemade Bagels Serving Suggestions

Topped with my vegan carrot lox (or regular lox), cream cheese, and classic fixings like cucumbers, capers, and dill, these homemade bagels make a fantastic weekend brunch.

I also like to toast one for a quick breakfast or lunch. Then, I top it with cream cheese, mashed avocado, hummus, or baba ganoush, or I make it into a sandwich. Lately, I’ve been loving these homemade bagels with my egg salad, vegan egg salad, and chickpea salad sandwich fillings.

Store the homemade bagels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze them for up to 2 months.

Bagel recipe

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Homemade Bagels

rate this recipe:
4.88 from 157 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves 8
Note: this homemade bagel recipe requires overnight resting time, plus 1 hour to proof in the morning. We like to make the dough the night before, and boil and bake the final bagels in the morning.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or barley malt syrup
  • 1 (¼-ounce) pkg active dry yeast, (2¼ teaspoons)
  • cups warm water
  • 540 grams bread flour*
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

For the poaching water

  • tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon salt

For the toppings

Instructions

  • Prepare the dough: In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, yeast, and water, and proof for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, place the flour, salt, and the yeast mixture. Mix on medium-low speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is well-formed around the hook. If the dough is very dry after 3 minutes, add 1 tablespoon water. (Note: I don't recommend mixing this dough without a stand mixer, it's a stiff dough that gets nice and smooth this way).
  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and barely tacky, then form into a ball and place into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough has risen (it may double in size or slightly less).
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, grease them very lightly with oil, and set aside. Turn the dough out onto a clean, unfloured, work surface and divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball by rolling on the countertop with a cupped hand. As you work with each piece through the next few steps, keep the dough that you’re not working with covered in plastic wrap.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the countertop. Take each dough ball and roll into a rope about 9 inches long. Place one hand palm up so that your four fingers are centered on top of the rope. Fold each side of the dough over your fingers, so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. (see photo above). Holding the dough, turn your hand over and roll your hand on the countertop to seal the two ends together.
  • Place each finished piece onto a baking sheet. Dust the tops with a very slight amount of flour to keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the pans from the fridge and let sit at room temp for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Place one bagel into a small bowl of water to make sure it floats. If it sinks, let the dough proof for an additional 30 minutes or until one floats.
  • Prepare the poaching water: In a large pot, bring two quarts of water to a boil with the maple syrup, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add 3 bagels (or as many that comfortably fit) to the pot, reducing the heat if the water starts to boil over. Boil for 1 minute per side. Transfer the bagels back to the baking sheet, flipping them over so the smooth side is on top. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  • Prepare the toppings: Beat the egg white and water together in a small bowl, if desired. Brush the bagels with the egg wash and sprinkle with the seasoning. Alternatively, you can skip the egg wash and dip the top of the bagel straight into the seasoning, but the egg wash helps the seasoning adhere better to the bagel.
  • Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Notes

*Note: I highly recommend weighing your flour for this recipe since it’s a high quantity of flour and measuring with measuring cups can often result in too much flour which will result in dry dough. The cup conversion is 4 1/3 cups, but I can't guarantee results without precisely weighed flour.
This recipe also works with (540 grams) all-purpose flour, they're just a bit less chewy than bagels made with bread flour.

292 comments

4.88 from 157 votes (66 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Ellie
    04.15.2024

    Hi, is your recipe using American size cups for water? American is 236ml vs aus/UK which is 250ml. I find it makes a difference when baking. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.20.2024

      yes – American cups

  2. Emily
    04.07.2024

    1 star
    I do find it frustrating that this recipe is advertised as 1 hour prep time while the recommended dough rising time is 90 minutes and then a second rest overnight. I would have gone for a different recipe had I known this would not allow me to enjoy any bagels today.

  3. Jen N.
    04.05.2024

    5 stars
    First time making bagels, and it was wonderful! So easy, I followed the recipe exactly. I did weigh the flour. I did overproof them by about 30 minutes the next morning, completely my fault.
    They still turned out great. My husband raved about the nice chewy texture. The taste was great, I made them plain. Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.08.2024

      Hi Jen, I’m so glad they were a hit!

  4. Aryon
    04.02.2024

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!!! I plan on getting bread flour to make the texture even better. This recipe says it makes 8 but I managed to get 9 it’s only one extra but it’s still pretty great!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.05.2024

      Hi Aryon, so glad you loved the bagels!

  5. Erin
    03.16.2024

    5 stars
    Delicious bagels! Thank you!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.21.2024

      Hi Erin, so glad you loved them!

  6. Deb Z
    03.07.2024

    For those who are complaining about how chewy the bagels were….they’re supposed to be chewy! Great recipe. A keeper. Going to go and make a second batch right now.

  7. Deb Z
    03.06.2024

    5 stars
    Bagels were great. Just wondering if the dough was supposed to be tacky because mine wasn’t. Actually, I had to add a couple of tablespoons of water. I also kept them in a ball, punched a whole through it and stretched it into a bagel shape. Much less time consuming. Thanks for this awesome recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.08.2024

      Hi Deb, I’m so glad you loved the bagels! The amount of water you need can vary based on factors like humidity, so you’ll sometimes need to add water to get a smooth but stiff consistency. Great simple shaping technique, thanks for sharing!

  8. Kate
    03.02.2024

    5 stars
    Hi, I made these the other day but want to make them again. What is the best way to store them so they stay crunchy a day after?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.08.2024

      Hi Kate, I recommend storing them in an airtight container or bag at room temp so the insides don’t dry out. You can lightly toast them before serving to crisp them up.

  9. Bianca
    02.11.2024

    5 stars
    Absoulutely delicious! Made these the day before and in the morning finished them in time for breakfast. Best bagels I have ever taste, texture is perfect and the outside is slightly crispy. Looked like from a 5 star bakery with the homemade everything bagel seosoning aswell. Will definitely will be making these again! Everyone loved them!

  10. Amy
    01.03.2024

    I dont have mixer, so my daughter and I took turns kneading. I also measured the flour, as well as not letting it sit overnight and these turned out amazing!!
    I am absolutely going to use this recipe again and add some doable tips!!

  11. barry
    11.17.2023

    going to try your next time. Just tried another recipe of 10 bagel with 6 cups flour . They turned out quite satisfactory but thought dough was too heavy, too elasticy, too dry with not enough air and hard to work. My dough ball didnt look like your smooth airy looking picture of yours. That other recipe used rapid rise yeast instead. Yours weighing flour and using active yeast is a difference from other i need to explore in a couple weeks

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.17.2023

      Hi Barry, I hope you love the bagels!

  12. Kimberly
    10.14.2023

    The flavor and technique of these is great, but mine have turned out wrinkly and not pretty and smooth each time. The only variation I do from the recipe is that I do not wait overnight I cook them same day. Any tips on what could be causing the wrinkling?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2023

      Hi Kimberly, we get the best texture by letting them rest overnight – that might be your issue. The only other thing I can think of is to make sure you’re weighing your flour vs. measuring.

    • Kayla
      01.30.2024

      I made the dough yesterday around 4pm, waited overnight and boiled/baked them this am. They were perfect when I pulled them from the fridge but as soon as I put them in the water they got flat and wrinkly. They have a nice crunch and shine because of the egg wash but are chewy. My kids ate them and said thank you for trying but they didn’t like how chewy/tough they were.

  13. Olivia
    09.26.2023

    5 stars
    Made these this afternoon and they were amazing. Nice and crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. I think the reviews saying theirs were too tough didn’t weigh the flour and used measuring cups which aren’t very accurate. I added cheese and peperoncinis to the tops of mine and they were absolutely amazing. Will make again. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.27.2023

      Hi Olivia, I’m glad your bagels turned out so well!

  14. marilyn
    09.19.2023

    5 stars
    Cooked these this morning…delicious.
    I did have trouble getting them off the baking paper..should I have floured or wet my fingers
    I was 40 gm light on the flour…would that cause them to be more sticky?
    Made 12 instead of 8 worked out fine. looking fwd to your advice…..love this website!!! mx

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.20.2023

      Hi Marilyn, yes less flour would make them more sticky. I’m glad you enjoyed!

  15. Loey
    09.10.2023

    1 star
    Hard as rocks. So chewy they hurt my jaw. I worry I did something wrong. I timed my kneading. My yeast rose well, I followed the instructions but they were so dry and so tough. *face palm*

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.11.2023

      Hi Loey, it sounds like they possibly baked too long.

  16. Shyanne Delp
    06.12.2023

    4 stars
    I’m not sure where I went wrong but mine turned out to be more like English muffins. They still tasted good though.

  17. Justin
    05.13.2023

    I made this one for Mothers Day brunch, it was simple, and absolutely delicious. One of the more forgiving recipes I’ve found, combined with well laid out instructions.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.19.2023

      Hi Justin, I’m so glad you loved the recipe!

  18. Jess
    04.15.2023

    After boiled and baked bagels looks little bit flat. Feels like over providing. Have you tried room temperature for second rise? What’s the reason for refrigerator overnight?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.20.2023

      Hi Jess, we went the overnight rise route because we like to have the fresh-baked bagels for breakfast, and they’ve always turned out well for us. If you try a room temp rise, let us know how it goes!

    • Deb Z
      03.06.2024

      5 stars
      Leaving any bread in fridg overnight, allows the gluten to develop more and they taste better because of the slow rise. It has nothing to do with make them for breakfast. Overnight equals better tasting bagel.s

  19. Genevieve
    04.13.2023

    2 stars
    540 grams to 1.25 cups of water? I ended up with cement…I had to add a ton more water to compensate… I’m not sure if there is a typo somewhere, but this recipe was a dud before I even finished…

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.14.2023

      Hi Genevieve, did you change anything about the recipe?

    • Justin
      05.13.2023

      5 stars
      I followed the recipe to a tee and had no issues at all. As per the recipe I weighed the flour rather than measure using cups and found this worked quite well. But you would definately struggle without a stand mixer.

  20. Brandi Plance
    04.02.2023

    My whole family loved them. I did two batches. One as Everything and one as Blueberry. Super good and so easy.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.07.2023

      I’m so glad they were a hit!

    • Gabby
      06.23.2023

      5 stars
      Did you add fresh, frozen or freeze dried blue berries? I want to add fresh but I am nervous when to add them to the dough and will it mess with the moisture/rise?

      I’ve seen recpies that cook them down and reduce the liquid and others that send the whole fresh berry into the dough.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.