Classic Homemade Bagels

These classic homemade bagels are traditional and made with flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt, and olive oil, are the best we’ve ever made. And you can make them with any topping you want—or, for everything lovers, with all the toppings you want. Here’s how to make them.

A variety of homemade bagels on a white surface.

Bagels have become standard fare in coffee shops these days. And certainly a real, traditional bagel, with a firm, shiny crust and a luscious, chewy inside, is a super tasty thing. Is it possible to replicate this magic at home with homemade bagels? After many doughs and testings, we believe we’ve perfected it. Try it. It’s worth the effort.–Ruth Joseph and Simon Round

Classic Homemade Bagels

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 3 H
  • 3 H, 50 M
  • Makes 40
5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • For the bagel dough
  • For cooking the bagels
  • For the bagel toppings


Make the bagel dough

In a large bowl, combine the bread and whole-wheat flours and whisk to blend well.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour mixture with the lukewarm water, yeast, and sugar and whisk until smooth, making sure all of the yeast has dissolved. Set it aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes until fermented and foamy.

Combine the remaining flour mixture with the salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Pour the oil into the fermented yeast mixture and beat with a fork until smooth. With the mixer running, add the yeast mixture to the flour in the bowl and mix until a soft, pliable dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a large oiled bowl, drape a piece of oiled plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel over the bowl, and place in the fridge to rise overnight.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 40 pieces and shape them into balls. Then roll each ball of dough into a sausage shape and form into a bagel by overlapping the ends to form a ring, pressing the ends together so they stick. Allow a disproportionately large hole in the center so there’s space for the bagels to rise (otherwise the hole will close).

Transfer the bagels to 2 or 3 baking sheets lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).

Cook the bagels

Bring a large, wide, deep pot of water to a boil.

Add the molasses and whisk in the baking powder. Carefully drop the bagels—just 3 at a time—into the boiling water and simmer without budging them for 2 to 3 minutes. Then quickly flip the bagels over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them back on the parchment paper while you repeat with the remaining dough.

Top the bagels

Once all of the bagels are cooked, lightly glaze them with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the onion or seeds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer the bagels to a wire rack to cool completely. Be proud! Originally published April 11, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the Jewish Traditional Cooking cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Rye and Caraway Variation

    • You can substitute 2 cups rye flour for the whole-wheat flour and use 4 tablespoons caraway seeds instead of onion or other seeds.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    I LOVE Bagels. I LOVE to make bagels. For me, one of the truly wonderful things about making bread, especially bagels, is the traditional ritual of kneading and resting the dough, letting it rise, shaping it, baking it, and finally eating it. It’s a very relaxing and therapeutic endeavor that anyone should find rewarding. This is a VERY good bagel. The crust became very shiny and almost crisp and the crumb was chewy, as a bagel should be.

    This recipe calls for the standard method of boiling the shaped dough for a couple of minutes, but what I found interesting is the use of molasses and baking powder as opposed to the standard baking soda.

    I found these to be much better when they were allowed to cool. I made this recipe twice. The second time I halved the recipe, which also worked quite nicely.

    This was an elaborate recipe but well worth the effort. The recipe produced 40 melt-in-your-mouth bagels. I used sesame and nigella seeds on my bagels.

    The recipe makes about 5 pounds of dough. I found that I needed 1/4 cup more water while kneading the dough than what the recipe had specified. I rolled them into approximately 2-ounce balls and shaped them into bagels measuring 2 1/4 inches in diameter. I used a large Dutch oven and filled it with 12 cups of water and added 3 bagels at a time to boil.

    After about 20 bagels, I had to add at least 6 more cups of water to replenish. I then baked them for about 15 minutes. The first 3 bagels I boiled came undone and I ended up with crescent-shaped bagels. When you overlap the ends of the bagel, moisten your fingers and really press the ends together well.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


      1. How long did you boil your bagels for, Ne? Boiling them for too long can result in an overly hard crust.

    1. Hi, am I reading correctly? You can substitute 2 cups of rye flour for 7 cups of bread flour? Or do you mean 2 cups of rye flour for every one cup of bread flour?

      1. Eldre, the substitution is for the whole wheat flour used in the recipe. You would still use the 7 cups of bread flour, but you can swap in 2 cups of rye flour for the 2 cups of whole wheat flour that’s listed as the second ingredient.

    2. Hi
      I’d like to know if I can half this recipe? I’m a New Yorker and I’m missing them but 40 is way too many for me. Thank you for the recipe.

    3. These bagels were amazing! I had my doubts that they would turn out as good as they look in your picture, but they did… these are better than anything I’ve ever bought, I’ll be making this recipe again and again-: Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe!

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