Yes, You CAN Make Homemade Bagels: Easy Recipe!

Inside: It’s easier than you think to make your own soft, chewy bagels with just four simple ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step easy bagel recipe for you!

Post updated April 24, 2024

For a few years in my 20s, I lived in New York City and ate my weight in bagels.

I loved stopping at the bagel shops on my way to work to buy a warm, chewy bagel slathered with cream cheese.

Not surprisingly, after moving to Ohio, it became frustratingly hard to find a good bagel.

Grocery store bagels always disappointed. Bakery ones were hit or miss.

Then I got a recipe from a friend, made a few tweaks, and was surprised by how easy it was to make bagels at home–and with only four basic ingredients. 

Bake a batch of these and you can enjoy a fresh bagel at home, no move to NYC required.

Here’s all you need to make homemade bagels.

Ingredients you need

  • Flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content and is great for yeasted recipes like this one. But I’ve also made them with all purpose and they’ve come out fine.
  • Yeast: You can use either quick rise or regular active dry yeast. Quick rise will obviously give you a quicker rise!
  • Sugar: I use regular white sugar. This helps activate the yeast and give flavor.
  • Salt: I use regular table salt.

Equipment you need for homemade bagels

  • Mixing bowl + spoon
  • Sheet pan
  • Large pot for boiling
  • Slotted spoon for removing boiled bagels from water

Nice-to-have gear for making bagels

How to Make Easy Homemade Bagels

Activate the yeast: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup warm water. Stir and let it sit for five minutes. It will get nice and foamy. I use filtered water that I microwave until warm, but not hot. Hot water can kill the yeast.

The yeast will get all bubbly as it sits!

Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Add the yeast mixture: Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the yeast mixture into the center.

Mix dough ingredients: Either by hand or with a wooden spoon, mix ingredients and keep adding more of the warm water until the dough comes together. It will look a bit shaggy and will be moist but not wet.

This is what a “shaggy” dough looks like.

Knead bagel dough: Turn bagel dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, working in flour from the surface, about 6-7 minutes. The dough should be firm and stiff.

Let dough rise: Brush a bowl lightly with olive oil and turn the dough in the bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled, between 1-2 hours (I use trick #3  when I need dough to rise).

Punch it down: Punch down the bagel dough in the bowl, dump out onto the work surface, cover with the towel, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Shape bagels: Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and shape them. Two tips for doing this:

  • Use a kitchen scale: I bought  and use it to weigh all of the dough balls so they’re the same size. This not only makes the batch look more uniform, it also means they’ll bake more evenly.
  • Roll them the right way: The best way to roll bagels is on an un-floured surface, because the stickiness of the surface helps the balls form a better shape. Using a cupped hand, move the dough in a circular motion under your hand to form a round ball. I used  to help me get the shaping  right.

Coat your index finger in flour and press your finger into the center of each ball to form a ring, stretching the ring to form a bagel shape.

Let bagels rest: Place the shaped bagels on a sheet pan. Cover the bagels with a damp towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Boil bagels: While the bagels are resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. The boiling step creates the signature chewy texture of bagels.

Place bagels into boiling water with a slotted spoon (or by gently lowering them into the water). Let bagels sit in boiling water for 1-2 minutes (they should float to the top), then flip and allow to sit in water for an additional 1-2 minutes. The longer they are in the water, the chewier the texture will be.

Boil just a couple at a time to avoid overcrowding the pot.

Brush bagels: When you remove the bagels from the water bath, place them on a baking sheet coated with oil or lined with . After trying it both ways, I’ve found that the Silpat works much better and doesn’t lead to any sticking. Brush the tops of the boiled bagels with an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon water).

Leave bagels plain or add your favorite bagel toppings. The easiest way to coat them is to pour 2-3 tablespoons toppings onto a small plate, then dip the bagels into the coating after you’ve brushed them with egg. Possible toppings: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, or shredded cheese.

Bake: Bake for 20 minutes on your lined baking sheet, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Slice, spread with butter or cream cheese, and enjoy!

FAQ About Homemade Bagels

Can I make homemade bagels in my bread machine?

Yes! You can also make this bagel recipe using your bread machine, which will mix, knead, and proof the dough for you! Here’s the .

Do you have to boil the bagels?

Yes, if you want that signature chewy texture.

What’s the best way to store these homemade bagels?

These bagels are best enjoyed the day of baking. But if you want to store them, keep them in an airtight container or sealed bag. Remember that they don’t contain preservatives so they will go bad quicker than store bought bagels. Leftover bagels will taste best toasted.

Easy Homemade Bagels

Yield: 8 bagels

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Rise & Rest Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Yes, you CAN make your own bagels! These are soft, chewy, and only require a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or quick rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (you may use more or less)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour + extra for kneading
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Favorite toppings, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, shredded cheese, coarse salt, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup warm water, stir, and let sit for five minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix, adding warm water a little bit at a time until the dough is moist but firm (and slightly shaggy).
  3. On a floured surface, knead the dough until it's firm and stiff, about 6-7 minutes, working in flour from surface.
  4. Lightly brush the bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, then shape each into a round.
  7. Coat a finger in flour and press into the center of each dough ball to form a ring, stretching the ring into a bagel shape. Cover bagel shapes with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil.*
  9. Place bagels into boiling water with a slotted spoon (or by gently lowering them into the water).
  10. Let bagels sit in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then flip and allow to sit in water for an additional 1-2 minutes (the longer they are in the water, the chewier the texture will be).
  11. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on baking sheet brushed with oil or lined with a silicone mat. Brush bagels with egg wash (1 beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon water). Add toppings if desired.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Notes

*I usually add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water, which also adds to the chewy texture.

These bagels are best enjoyed the day of baking. But if you want to store them, keep them in an airtight container or sealed bag. Remember that they don't contain preservatives so they will go bad quicker than store bought bagels. Leftover bagels will taste best toasted.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 bagel
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g

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