I have a confession to make. I love carbs in all their forms, but I especially love bagels. Plain bagels. Blueberry bagels. Asiago bagels. Cinnamon-raisin bagels. Toast it and shmear it with cream cheese, and I’m in. Even better if you starve me for 18 hours or so first and then serve it to me with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon:

Me stuffing my face at Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, California, on our honeymoon. We had not eaten a real meal since the reception dinner the night before.

Forced travel fasting aside, that was a darn good bagel.

The thing that keeps me from eating them constantly is that they’re calorie bombs. If I bought the full-sized bagels, I’d be making sandwiches and eating them all the time. If I bought the mini bagels…well, I’d just end up eating multiple bagels in one sitting.

homemade bagels

Enter this recipe. Technically, this is supposed to make a batch of 8 regular-sized bagels. However, to both limit and prolong my consumption, I stretch it into 16. They’re not huge bakery bagels by any means, but they are a little bigger than the mini ones you can buy at the grocery store. And the taste is so much better!

Read on for how to make your own homemade bagels, and look next week for a post on one way to use them up.

Step-by-step slideshow below:

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Yield: 16 small bagels

Calories per serving: 128

Fat per serving: 1 g

Carbs per serving: 25 g

Protein per serving: 3 g



    For the bagels:
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, plus more for boiling
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp malt syrup or honey, optional
    Suggested toppings/fillings:
  • Raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar
  • Everything seasoning (coarse salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, sesame seeds, and poppy and/or chia seeds)
  • Shredded cheese


  1. Combine the warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and set aside for 5 minutes, until the yeast foams.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. When the yeast has proofed, pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board or clean countertop and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, working in additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a ball.
  4. Wash the mixing bowl and coat the inside with a bit of oil. Place the dough inside, swirling it around to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise at least one hour, or overnight. I’ve found that a one-hour rise yields a softer bagel, while letting the dough go overnight makes the bagels chewier.
  5. Punch the dough down after rising and let it rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F and lightly grease two baking sheets with oil. Set a large pot of water to boil with a big pinch of salt and the honey or malt syrup, if using.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in any fillings like raisins or blueberries. Pat the dough into a large rectangle. Cut the dough into eight or 16 equal-sized pieces, depending on how large you want your bagels. Create a smooth top surface on each piece by folding and tucking dough underneath; place each piece of dough on the cutting board or counter and roll it around in a tight circle to form a smooth ball, surrounding the dough with your fingers. Repeat for all pieces of dough.
  7. Working with one ball of dough at a time, place your thumb and index or middle finger on opposite sides of a dough ball. Press them together until your fingers pierce the dough and meet in the middle, creating a hole. Gently stretch the bagel so that it is even all the way around, and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover the raw bagels with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
  8. Boil the bagels, three or four at a time, for 1-2 minutes per side until they puff up and begin to look cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. Dip bagels into seasonings or top with cheese while they’re still a bit warm and damp, if desired.
  9. Bake the bagels 20 minutes or so until they turn golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool on wire racks.
  10. Eat the bagels within a couple of days or freeze for longer storage. Defrost in a sealed plastic bag on the counter or for 30-60 seconds using the defrost setting on your microwave. Then toast and serve!


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