This easy homemade bagels recipe takes simple ingredients and transforms them into deliciously soft, chewy New York-style bagels in under 2 hours.
Bagels are one of those things that are pretty much universally loved by everyone. If you thought making homemade bagels was difficult or required some fancy kitchen equipment, I'm here to tell you that you are completely mistaken! This easy recipe is ready in under 2 hours and the bagels come out perfect every time.
How to Make Homemade Bagels:
- Active dry yeast: 2 and ¼ tsp. (1 standard packet)
- Warm water: Lukewarm - not hot. Warm water activates the yeast, but if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast, or if it's too warm the yeast won't get activated. It should be between 100-110°F. If you don't have a thermometer, just check with your finger, it should feel slightly warmer than room temperature and not hot.
- Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast which helps activate it.
- Olive oil: Just a little bit for added flavor and moisture.
- Salt: Salt is crucial for flavor. We add some into the dough and then also top the bagels with some coarse sea salt before baking.
- Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. This is what gives the bagels their classic chewy texture. If you don't have bread flour, you can use all-purpose as well, just be aware that your bagels will just be softer and less chewy.
- Honey: For boiling the bagels. Authentic New York-style bagels are boiled in water and barley malt syrup. Honey is a good substitute for this since most of us don't carry barley malt syrup in our kitchen and neither do most grocery stores. If you would like to use it you can order some on Amazon.
- 1 egg, beaten: For the egg wash.
Make the dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the active dry yeast, warm water, sugar, and olive oil. Let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast dissolves and gets a little foamy. Add in the flour and salt and mix until a dough forms. Knead by hand or in the stand mixer for 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it bounces back when gently pressed in.
Rise: Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl greased with olive oil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. About 60-90 minutes.
How to Shape Homemade Bagels:
Divide the dough into 8 - 4 oz. pieces. You can eyeball if you don't have a kitchen scale. They will still come out great. Roll each piece into a ball, then use your finger to poke a hole in the center. Gently stretch the hole to about 1-2 inches wide.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Boiling bagels in water pre-cooks the exterior which gives it its crisp chewy outer shell. Adding barley malt syrup or honey to the boiling water helps develop a golden-brown color and also adds flavor. Work in batches when boiling the bagels because they are going to puff up quite a bit.
Add water and honey to a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil the bagels in batches for 1-2 minutes per side and then set on the prepared baking sheet.
Egg wash: This is an easy and important step that helps the exterior become golden brown and crispy and also helps the toppings stick to the surface. In a small bowl beat 1 egg and use a pastry brush to brush the tops and sides of each bagel.
Add desired toppings such as coarse salt, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Bake in a 425° oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
More ways to top bagels:
- Shredded cheese
- Pickled jalapenos
- Cinnamon and raisins
- Cinnamon and sugar
- Cooked crumbled bacon
- Minced garlic
- Minced onion
- Slivered almonds
- Sliced strawberries
Slice and serve warm with cream cheese. Keep bagels in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.
More Bread Recipes:
- Rosemary Focaccia Bread
- Zucchini Bread
- Skillet Cornbread
- Braided Easter Bread
- Cream Cheese Swirl Pumpkin Bread
- 2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast, (1 standard packet)
- 1 and ½ cups lukewarm water , (between 100 - 110° F)
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 4 and ¼ cups bread flour, (spooned and leveled)
- 8 cups water
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 egg, beaten
- coarse sea salt
- sesame seeds
- poppy seeds
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the warm water, active dry yeast, sugar, and olive oil. Let sit for a few minutes until the yeast dissolves and is a little foamy.
- Mix in the salt and the flour until a dough forms. Knead in the stand mixer or with your hands for 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it bounces back when gently pressed in.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. About 60-90 minutes.
- Punch the dough down to release the air and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and use your fingers to poke a hole in the center of each. Gently stretch the bagels out until the hole is about 1-2 inches wide.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and spray with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place the shaped bagels on the prepared trays and cover loosely. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the water bath.
- Add the honey and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Add the bagels to the boiling water, 2 at a time, and boil for 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove and place back on the prepared baking sheets. Brush each with the beaten egg and sprinkle with toppings.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Leftovers last covered at room temperature for 1 week.