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homemade bagels on a tray
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5 from 4 votes

Homemade Bagels

Few things are as satisfying in the kitchen as baking your own bagels, and it is not nearly as complex as you might think.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Overnight Rise12 hrs
Total Time14 hrs 15 mins
Course: Baking, Breakfast
Keyword: baked breakfast recipe, baking, homemade bagels
Servings: 12 bagels
Calories: 526kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00


  • Mixing Bowls
  • Half Sheet Pans
  • Parchment Paper
  • Knife or Dough Cutter
  • Stockpot
  • Basting Brush
  • Cooling Rack



  • 1 tsp Instant / "Fast-Acting" Yeast
  • 4 cups (500g) Bread Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Warm Water


  • 1/2 tsp Instant / "Fast-Acting" Yeast
  • 3 cups (375g) Bread Flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (or barley malt syrup)
  • 2 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt

For Boiling:

  • 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 3 Tbsp Honey (or barley malt syrup)

For Finishing / Topping:

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • Toppings of Choice (optional - sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, poppyseeds, cinnamon and raisins)


  • Make sponge: In a large bowl, stir together 1 tsp instant yeast, 4 cups bread flour, and 2 1/2 cups warm water until no dry spots remain. Cover with a dishtowel and let rise at room temperature until foamy and doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Make dough: Stir sponge until it collapses. Stir in ingredients for dough - 1/2 tsp instant yeast, 3 cups bread flour, 1 Tbsp honey, and salt. Once dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter.
  • Knead dough, adding more bread flour as needed, until it forms a smooth ball, about 10 minutes total.
  • Form bagels: Roll the dough into an even ball and use a knife or dough cutter to divide it into 12 portions. Roll each portion into a ball, tucking the ends under so it is smooth on the surface. (See note below if making cinnamon-raisin bagels.)
  • Cover the balls of dough with a slightly damp paper towel and allow them to rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
  • Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray (don't forget this step or the bagels will stick).
  • Working with one portion of dough at a time, hold the dough with two hands and gently press your thumbs through the center to create a hole. Work your hands once around the dough to expand the hole. Place bagels on prepared sheet pans.
  • Rest bagels (15 minutes or overnight): Let bagels rest at room temperature for 15 minutes or refrigerate them, uncovered, overnight.
  • Boil and bake: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450°F / 232°C.
  • When the water is boiling, stir in baking soda and 3 Tbsp honey. Gently drop the bagels into the boiling water, working in batches so that the bagels float on the surface with some space between them. Boil the bagels for 1 minutes on each side (2 minutes total). (Note: The easiest way to flip them is to push gently on one end of the bagel to submerge it - the bagel should flip right over. If some but not all of the batch of bagels includes cinnamon raisin bagels, boil those last to avoid flavoring the water.)
  • Return bagels to the prepared sheet pan.
  • If you’d like to add toppings, whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp water. Brush this egg wash over the top of the bagels and sprinkle on toppings. 
  • Bake the bagels until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve!


Cinnamon Raisin Bagels - To make cinnamon raisin bagels, combine 3 Tbsp white sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of raisins. (This makes about 4 cinnamon-raisin bagels. Increase if you want to make more / all of the batch this flavor.) Take each formed ball of dough and compress it with your palm. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon-sugar-raisin mixture in the middle and gently knead the dough ball to distribute the mixture through the dough. The dough will get slightly sticky - that's okay. Try not to over-work it. Continue with the recipe as written. 
Yeast - Look for Fast Acting, Instant, Quick-Rise, Bread Machine, or RapidRise Yeast. Do NOT use “Active Dry Yeast” in this recipe. 
Honey - I use honey because it is a pantry staple, but most commercially available shops use barley malt syrup both in the dough and in the water. Either will work. 


Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 818mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg