Recipe: Homemade Bagels

So yesterday, on Facebook, someone posted a recipe for homemade bagels.

Now, I love bagels. Love. Them. And I've always sort of been under the impression that they were very difficult to make.

I'm here to tell you now, that isn't true. Bagels are complicated, but not difficult at all. If you have any experience working with yeast doughs at all, these shouldn't give you a moment of pause, really. I don't have a ton of experience, but I'm learning, and these were fast, easy, and delicious.

Bagel sandwich at a deli or bagel place? $2-5 apiece. Homemade bagels? About $3 for 8. 

Bagels (makes 8)

  • 4c bread flour (I used Whole Foods' "Better for Baking" flour)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 c warm water plus more if needed
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. The dough should be pretty stiff, but if it isn't absorbing all the flour or it's so stiff that you can't work with it, you'll need to add a very little bit more water. Be sparing. It's easier to add more than fix the dough if you add too much.

Knead for 5 minutes in an electric mixer with a dough hook, or 10 minutes by hand, until dough is smooth. Divide into 8 balls, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, roll the balls out. Do this as if you're making a snake out of play-dough--roll it under both your palms on the counter until it's slightly wider than your hands. Then, drape the "snake" over the back of your hand and fold both ends under so they're pressed together against your palm. Squeeze and work both ends gently until they stick together, and your bagel is formed. Repeat for all bagels, and let rest for another 20 minutes.

While dough is resting, preheat the oven to 425 and put a large pot of water on the boil. The recipe I used called for just regular water, but when I make these again I plan to use mild salt water. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.

After 20 minutes, drop bagels carefully into boiling water, as many at a time as will fit. I was able to do mine in two batches. The bagels will float--let them boil for 1-1 1/2 minutes and then flip them and boil for another 1-1 1/2 minutes. Pull them out of the boiling water, set on a plate or dring rack for a second to allow excess water to run off.

If you want to add toppings (chopped rosemary, chopped garlic, chopped onions, sesame or poppy seeds, asiago cheese, etc.) do this now, by putting the topping on a plate and pressing the bagels into it, top down, while still slightly wet. Then place on a baking sheet.

When all your bagels are on the baking sheet, put them in the oven. After 10 minutes, turn them upside down and bake another 10 minutes.

I turned my bagels a second time after 5 minutes and did an egg wash on top to give them a nice color and a little bit of extra flavor. Use your judgment for when to pull these out--mine actually took closer to 25 minutes than 20 and they honestly could have handled being in the oven for another 5, probably.

Let bagels cool about 10 minutes before you try to eat them, or they'll still be a little soggy/steamy inside.

At this point, you'll probably want to hide them from your family if you want them to last more than ten minutes. They're delicious!

Note: This recipe is a minor variation of the one found here


  1. I should NOT have read this 15 min. before lunchtime. I plan on making bagels ASAP.

  2. Oh my! I'm very excited for this! Good bagels are so hard to find.

  3. My bagel-loving offspring are returning home for Easter and all the once-good bagel shops in town seem to have mixed bagels up with spongey soft non-bagels. You have saved my honor with this recipe: I am going to bake these and I'll bet I hear no "The bagels in our new town are better than the junk you guys eat." Thank you!



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