How to Make Bagels from Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide and Variations


If you’ve ever had a fresh, warm, and chewy bagel, you know there’s nothing quite like it. Making bagels from scratch is not only a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also provide you with one of the best breakfast foods out there. In this article, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step process for making bagels from scratch, including variations and low-carb options.

Step-by-Step Guide

Making bagels from scratch may seem daunting, but with our easy-to-follow guide, you’ll be a pro in no time!


  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg white (optional)


  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add yeast. Add honey or sugar (optional) and 1 cup of warm water. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add the rest of the warm water gradually (if needed). Mix until the dough becomes firm. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl. Add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm and dry place for at least one hour, or until it doubles in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Punch the dough down and form eight to ten equal-sized balls. Gently press your thumb through the center of each ball, and then stretch the hole to make a bagel shape. Place the bagels on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Boil water in a large pot and add baking soda. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Gently drop the bagels into the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. (Cooking the bagels in the water helps to give them the characteristic chewy texture of a bagel).
  7. Remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Brush the top with egg white (optional) and sprinkle any desired toppings such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.


One of the many great things about making bagels from scratch is the variety of flavors and toppings available.

Sweet Flavors:

  • Cinnamon raisin bagels (add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of raisins to the dough before kneading)
  • Blueberry bagels (add 1 cup of blueberries to the dough before kneading)
  • Chocolate chip bagels (add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the dough before kneading)

Savory Flavors:

  • Everything bagels (mix a tablespoon each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and coarse salt to sprinkle on top of the bagels before baking)
  • Jalapeño cheddar bagels (add 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 chopped jalapeño pepper to the dough before kneading)
  • Garlic and herb bagels (add 1 tablespoon of dried herbs and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic to the dough before kneading)

Low-Carb Bagels

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you can make low-carb bagels using low-carb flour (available at most grocery stores), or almond flour.


  • 3 cups of almond flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs until fluffy and then mix in the cream cheese.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the almond flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then make a hole in the center to form a bagel shape.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

You can also try healthier options for toppings, such as vegan cream cheese or sugar-free jam.

Authentic vs. Store-Bought

While store-bought bagels may be convenient, they don’t quite compare to the taste and texture of homemade bagels. Homemade bagels have a chewy outer layer and a soft interior, whereas store-bought bagels can be dry and bland.

When making bagels from scratch, you know exactly what goes into them, and you can control the quality of ingredients. Store-bought bagels can contain preservatives, additives, and artificial flavors, which aren’t always healthy.

Bagel History

Bagels originated in Poland in the 17th century and quickly spread to Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. The word “bagel” comes from the Yiddish “beygl,” which means “ring” or “bracelet.” In the 20th century, bagels became a popular breakfast food in the United States and have since become a staple in many households.

In addition, there are many regional variations of bagels, such as Montreal-style and New York-style bagels, each with their own unique texture and flavor.

Bagel Making Tips

Making bagels from scratch can take practice, but there are a few tips and tricks to help ensure they turn out perfect every time.

  1. Use bread flour for a chewier texture.
  2. Let the dough rise in a warm and dry place to help activate the yeast.
  3. Boil the bagels before baking to give them a chewy texture.
  4. Experiment with different toppings, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and coarse salt.
  5. Fill your bagels with creative fillings, such as whipped cream cheese with chopped smoked salmon, hummus, or PB&J.

Bagel Sandwiches

Bagels make for a great sandwich bread alternative, and there are endless possibilities for fillings and spreads.


  • Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich
  • Peanut butter and banana bagel sandwich
  • Avocado, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich


  • Tuna salad bagel sandwich
  • Corned beef and sauerkraut bagel sandwich
  • Roast beef and horseradish bagel sandwich

Special Diets:

  • Gluten-free bagel sandwich (use gluten-free flour for the bagel and fill with turkey, lettuce, and cranberry sauce)
  • Vegan bagel sandwich (fill with avocado, tomato, and sprouts, and use vegan cream cheese or hummus as a spread)


Making bagels from scratch may seem like a lot of work, but the end result is well worth it. With our step-by-step guide, variations, low-carb options, and sandwich ideas, you’ll be able to enjoy homemade bagels anytime you want.

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