If you’ve ever come home from a trip to New York City with a mad hankering for a good bagel, you are not alone. A proper bagel has a nice crust, is delightfully dense yet soft and chewy, and, most importantly, is never, ever dry. Piled high with chive cream cheese or filled with the classic bacon, egg, and cheese combo, a bagel is truly the breakfast of champions. Making your own bagels at home is actually pretty easy. While we would never assume our bagels are NYC-caliber (now those are fighting words), a freshly-baked homemade bagel can still scratch that post-vacation itch for a carb-y first meal of the day.

How to Make Homemade Bagels

  1. Proof the yeast. While instant yeast doesn’t technically require proofing to activate, we consider this a “peace of mind” step. There’s nothing worse than going through the rigamarole of making yeast dough only to find your yeast is dead and your dough doesn’t rise.
  2. Mix the dough. Combine the rest of the dough ingredients either by hand or in a mixer. While we’re here, let’s talk flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content, which means it absorbs more moisture, has a tighter crumb, and does a bit of a better job at helping the bagels rise up instead of spreading out as much. You can use all-purpose flour here but may find you need a few extra tablespoons of flour while kneading to get the dough to the right consistency.
  3. Knead the dough. Speaking of consistency, how can you tell when the dough has been kneaded enough? Visually, it will be nice and uniformly smooth. It will feel quite soft to the touch but not be so sticky it sticks to your finger. Tacky is good. Sticky? Keep kneading and add another tablespoon of flour.
  4. Rise, then rise again. Let the dough rise for one hour in a covered container, divide into eight pieces, then let the portioned dough do a second rise covered with a clean kitchen towel. This second rise improves flavor and contributes to that characteristic chewy texture we love about bagels.
  5. Form, boil, bake. Form the bagels, boil for a few minutes per side, brush with egg wash + toppings, and bake until golden brown. Try not to cut into one immediately – they really do need to cool off completely for the ideal crumb texture.

How to Store Homemade Bagels

While homemade bagels are undeniably most delicious within 24 hours of baking, consuming eight bagels within that time frame isn’t likely realistic unless you happen to be feeding an army. Or you’re hosting brunch (can we come?). Bagels can be stored in a sealed plastic bag on the counter for up to three days. However, we recommend freezing any uneaten bagels after 24 hours of baking, also in a sealed plastic bag. To reheat, pop in a 450° F oven for 5-7 minutes for a bagel that’s nearly as good as the fresh-baked version.

More Baking Inspiration

Easy Homemade Bagels

Brooke Eliason
Servings: 8 servings
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Difficulty: Easy
Piled high with chive cream cheese or filled with a classic bacon, egg, and cheese combo, a homemade bagel is truly a breakfast of champions.



  • 2 cups warm water, roughly 100-110° F (472 grams)
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • Tablespoons honey
  • 5 cups bread flour (700 grams) plus more for dusting surfaces
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • optional garnishes: poppy seeds, dried onions, coarse kosher salt or flaky salt


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh chives or green onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onions
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder



  • In a stand mixer combine the water, yeast, and honey with a whisk. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. If yeast is not bubbly, throw out and start again (make sure your yeast isn’t expired).
  • Using the paddle attachment, add three cups of flour to yeast mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and add 1 1/2 additional cups of flour and the salt. Mix on low until incorporated, then increase speed to medium and knead with stand mixer for 3-5 minutes, or mix by hand for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and has been thoroughly kneaded. If the dough is still wet or sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour (or more as needed), one Tablespoon of flour at a time until it does not stick to your hands or the sides of the mixing bowl.
  • Grease a large food container or bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover and let rise for one hour (the dough should nearly triple in size). Preheat oven to 425°F. Punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface or cutting board. Using a chef’s knife or bench scraper, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a medium tight dough round and place on the floured surface to rise for another 30 minutes.
  • While the bagels are completing their second rise, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. When the 30 minutes of rising are complete, form a hole in the middle of each piece of dough by squeezing your thumb and index finger together. Widen each hole until it reaches roughly 2 inches in diameter and set aside. Once the water is boiling, place each bagel in the water (you should be able to fit about two at a time) for 20-30 seconds per side, then transfer to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet with a slotted spoon (4 per standard half sheet pan).
  • Once the bagels have been boiled, brush the surfaces with the whisked egg white and top with desired toppings (plain is fine, too). Bake bagels in two batches for 20-25 minutes each. If your oven bakes unevenly, rotate the pan halfway through. Let the bagels cool completely and serve on the same day.


  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the chives, dried onions, salt, and garlic powder and whip into the cream cheese until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve with bagels and store in the refrigerator.


– We used King Arthur bread flour to develop this recipe, which typically yields about 140 grams per cup.

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