Learn how to make New York Style Bagels right at home with pantry ingredients in under an hour! Soft and chewy on the inside with a perfectly crisp exterior and easily customizable with your favorite toppings, these simple NY bagels are as close to the real deal as you can get!
Update: This post was originally published on June 16, 2014. I made updates to the post below to include more information about making the New York bagel at home.
About this recipe for New York bagels
If you’ve ever had a proper New York bagel, you also know how utterly disappointing store-bought bagels can be. Aside from being a vehicle for shoveling an ungodly amount of cream cheese into my face, real, fresh, good bagels have a shiny golden crust and a stretchy, chewy interior that crisps up beautifully after a spell in the toaster.
While I don’t have access to NYC tap water (which any New Yorker will tell you is the key to their bagels and pizza crusts), this recipe for New York bagels is pretty darn close to the real deal. The secret? It’s all about the preparation.
To get the characteristically chewy and delicate exterior that they’re known for, they are first boiled in a malt-laced water, which adds a sweet, nutty flavor. The boiled bagels are then brushed with egg wash, topped with your choice of topping, and baked off until shiny and perfect, leaving you with a tray full of gourmet bagels just begging for a schmear.
Why this bagel recipe works
Aside from being deliciously fresh and perfectly textured, this recipe for gourmet bagels:
- Is Made Using Just 8 Ingredients. I’d bet you already have at least half in your possession.
- Real deal New York City taste! These bagels have the same traditional chewy texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor found in your favorite NYC borough, such as Manhattan, Harlem and Brooklyn.
- Takes Just 1 Hour To Complete. None of this protracted 2-day, “specialty equipment required” nonsense. This easy bagel recipe is straightforward and only needs basic kitchen tools to pull off.
- Is Completely Customizable. Whether you prefer everything bagels or sesame bagels, blueberry or parmesan-herb, chocolate chip or onion, this one recipe can easily be tinkered to fit every bagel preference.
- Will Save You $$$. When crappy, tough store-bought bagels cost $4 a bag, buying a plane ticket to NYC for a bagel-eating bonanza *almost* seems like a good idea. Luckily, making the best bagels at home will cost you less than a sleeve of disappointment discs.
Ingredients for the New York bagel
- Water – Remember to pay attention to the temperatures called for in the recipe at different stages. You need lukewarm water to proof the yeast, boiling water for the first stage of cooking, and then room temp water for making the egg wash.
- Brown Sugar – Either light or dark sugar will work here. I typically use light.
- Olive Oil – For a bit of fat and some savory flavor.
- Substitute: Feel free to swap in any oil you prefer.
- Bread Flour – With a greater protein content than most all-purpose flour, bread flour is championed for its ability to create strong gluten strands, which will result in perfectly chewy bagels.
- Substitute: If all you have is all-purpose flour, feel free to use it. Your gourmet bagels won’t be as authentically New York, but they’ll still be tasty.
- Instant Yeast – This is the secret to cranking out a whole batch of bagels in just 1 hour.
- Substitute: You can also use Active Dry Yeast, but you’ll need to proof the dough for twice as long (or possibly more, depending on weather conditions).
- Kosher Salt – For seasoning.
- Substitute: If you’re using a different type of salt, be sure to use a conversion chart for proper measurement.
- Malt Syrup – To add a touch of sweetness and nuttiness, plus a touch of color.
- Substitute: You can also use dark maple syrup, dark honey, or brown sugar.
- Cornmeal – Use as needed to prevent the baked bagels from sticking to the pan.
- Egg – For creating a shiny exterior and helping your toppings stick.
- Substitute: If eggs are a no-no, try milk, cream, or melted butter instead.
- Bagel Toppings – Dealer’s choice here. Some of my favorites include Everything Bagel Seasoning, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon sugar, coarse sea salt, shredded asiago, freshly minced garlic or onion.
Gourmet bagels variations
- Vegan Bagels – Omit the egg wash and use melted vegan butter instead.
- Studded Bagels – In order to get tasty ingredients woven throughout your bagels (e.g. walnut raisin or cinnamon raisin bagel and chocolate chip bagels), feel free to add ¼ – ⅓ cup of the bits of your choice during the last 2 minutes of kneading.
- PRO TIP: Make sure your add-ins aren’t too large, or you’ll risk making the shaping process quite difficult. Think mini chocolate chips instead of full sized, and chop any dried fruit before adding to the mix.
How to make New York style bagels at home
This NY bagel recipe is pretty straightforward. Though there are a lot of steps, it shouldn’t take you much longer than an hour to make. Also, note that this can be divided into a 2-day process if you prefer – see the tips below.
Jump down to the printable recipe to see how it’s done.
Tips for the best new york bagels
Follow the simple tips below to ensure your homemade bagels turn out absolutely perfect!
How to shape bagels
Step 1: Divide. Dump the NY bagel dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 8 equal size pieces, using a scale to be precise. (You can also just eyeball it if you don’t have one.)
Step 2: Make Balls. Working with one small piece of dough at a time, place the ball on a clean work surface. Use cupped hands and light pressure to shape the dough it into a ball.
Step 3: Poke & Stretch. Next, use your thumb to poke a hole in the center of the dough. Then, holding the dough ball with your thumb in the hole, rotate the dough to gently stretch the hole to about 1 ½ to 2-inches wide. Set the bagel aside on your work surface. Repeat shaping the remaining dough balls into bagels.
The biggest piece of advice I have is don’t stress about making the hole perfect. There’s something aesthetically pleasing about “rustic” looking gourmet bagels!
Create a DIY proofing box
To encourage and speed up the dough rise; you can create a DIY proofing oven 1 of 2 ways. I especially recommend this if you your kitchen is cool or drafty!
Please note, the first method calls for heating the oven before starting the recipe; while the latter requires 3 cups of boiling water.
Oven temperature method: Before starting the recipe, arrange oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 170, or lowest possible temperature setting. Once preheated, immediately turn the oven off. You are just creating a slightly warm environment so your bagel dough can proof quickly! You don’t want to bake the bagel dough at this point. Make dough as directed, when ready to proof, place dough into slightly warm oven.
Boiling Water: When you are ready to proof the dough, arrange a loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Pour 3 cups of boiling water into the pan. Arrange another oven rack directly above the load pan. Place your bowl of dough on the rack and close the oven door. Keep the oven door closed and let dough proof. Do not turn on the oven for this method —the hot water will keep the oven warm.
How to make this New York bagel recipe ahead of time
Making new york bagels at home is an easy process; however, it’s also a lengthy one. If you would like to start and stop this recipe and make it over the course of 2 days, follow the simple tips below.
To make the bagel dough one day and bake the bagels another, spray the shaped bagels lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before boiling. To make sure bagels are done proofing and ready to go, perform a “float test”. Fill a small bowl with water. Place one bagel into the water – if it floats you are good to go. However, if it sinks, let the bagels sit at room temperature for an additional 10 minutes. Then perform float test again.
FAQ: frequently asked questions
When do I know if the bagel dough is fully proofed?
Aside from doubling in size, there are two tests you can perform. The first just requires you to poke the bagel dough with your finger. If the dough slowly springs back to almost the original position, it’s ready to go. (If the dough springs back immediately, give it another few minutes. If it doesn’t spring back at all, you’ve over-proofed it and will need to knock it down, re-knead it for a few minutes, then start the proofing process over.)
The other test is known as the “window pane” test. Take a small round of dough and gently stretch it out into a thin sheet. If you can get it thin enough to see the shadows of your fingers on the other side without tearing it, it’s ready to go!
Are gourmet bagels vegan?
They certainly can be using this easy New York bagel recipe. Instead of using an egg wash, swap in melted vegan butter to get perfectly shiny and golden exteriors.
Are NY bagels healthy?
Healthy is a subjective (and often loaded) term that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If you’re on keto or paleo diets, for example, this ny bagel recipe is not for you. That said, these bagels are made from scratch using just 8 ingredients that are all easily pronounceable, so I feel perfectly good about eating them and serving them to my loved ones.
NOTE: Please be sure to consult with a licensed medical professional before making any dietary changes.
Are bagels fried?
Nope! You’re thinking of donuts. Proper gourmet bagels are first boiled, then baked. No frying involved.
Are new york bagels dairy-free?
These ones are! So long as you don’t top them with cheese or serve them with dairy butter or cream cheese, they’re totally free from dairy.
Are there eggs in bagels?
These NY bagels don’t have any eggs in them, but I do like to use an egg wash to give them a pretty, shiny exterior. That said, you can easily trade out the eggs for milk, cream, or melted butter to keep them egg-free.
Serving suggestions for NY bagels
Homemade bagels are just as versatile as store-bought, but oh so much tastier. Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat them:
- Toast and slather on your favorite creamy topping, such as scallion cream cheese or whipped butter.
- Use your bagel to make the breakfast sandwich or sub-style sandwich of your dreams! My East Village bagel go-to order includes cream cheese, tomatoes, capers, crispy bacon and lox.
- Brunch in style with bagels and homemade Gravlax.
- Make croutons. Cut the bagel into cubes, toast them in the oven and use them as delicious bagel croutons on your favorite salads!
Storing New York bagel
There’s a reason day-old bagels are sold at deep discount when you go to a real gourmet bagel shop. For the best possible taste and texture, eat them on the day you bake them!
If you want to hang onto your NY bagels for a few days, your best bet is to let them cool completely, then wrap in an airtight bag or container and freeze them for up to a month. To use, allow to defrost at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes, then slice in half and toast as usual.
There you have it, everything you need to know about making the very best new york bagels right in your own kitchen! I can’t wait for you and your family to try this recipe. I know you’ll love it!
Until next time, friends! Cheers!
Recipes using bagels!
The best recipe for New York Bagels 👇
Recipe for New York Bagels
- 1 Glass Measure (for water)
- 1 Stand Mixer with Dough Hook (for bagel dough)
- 1 Large Pot (for boiling bagels)
- 1 Large Sheet Pan (for baking bagels)
- 1 Wire Rack (for cooking bagels)
New York Bagel Dough
- 1 Cup Warm Water - heated to 110-degrees Fahrenheit (SEE NOTES)
- 1 TBS Light Brown Sugar (substitution: Granulated Sugar)
- 1 TBS Olive Oil - plus more for greasing bowl
- 1 ¾ Cups Bread Flour (425 grams) (substitute: All-Purpose Flour)
- 1 packet Instant Yeast (7 grams) (sub: Active Dry Yeast – see notes)
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
For Boiling & Baking Bagels
- 2 Quarts Water
- 2 TBS Malt Syrup (sub: Pure Dark Maple Syrup, Dark Honey, or Light Brown Sugar)
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- Cornmeal – as needed (sub: semolina flour)
For Bagel Toppings
- 1 large Egg
- 1 TBS Water
- Bagel Toppings – to taste (SEE NOTES)
- Heat water, add sugar + oil: Heat 1 cup of hot water to 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the sugar and oil. Stir to dissolve and set aside
- Combine dry ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour and sprinkle on the yeast. Mix or whisk to combine and evenly distribute the yeast.
- Add wet ingredients: With the mixer on LOW, slowly pour in the hot water. Mix until just combined.
- Add salt and mix: Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Mix on MEDIUM for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough feels barely tacky and bounces back when poked.If your dough is too sticky, sprinkle in a little bit of flour as necessary.If your dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water. Continue to mix, adding more flour or water as necessary, until the dough bounces back.(Tip: To be extra-sure your dough is ready for proofing, tear off a small portion of dough. Gently stretch it - does it pass the windowpane test? If so, continue with the recipe. If not, mix on medium for an additional 1-2 minutes. SEE NOTES)
- Proof dough: Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a tight ball. Grease the insides of the mixing bowl with oil. Transfer the ball of dough to the oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat in oil. Cover with a tea towel and set aside on the counter OR transfer the covered bowl into your DIY Proofing Oven – close the oven. (SEE NOTES) Let proof in oven for 25 minutes, or on the counter for 35 minutes, or until the dough has almost doubled in size. (Note: If you are using active dry yeast, allow the dough to proof for 90 minutes).
- Divide dough and shape bagels: Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 8 equal size pieces (Tip: Use a scale to be precise.) Working with one small piece of dough at a time, place the ball on a clean work surface. Use cupped hands and light pressure to shape the dough it into a ball. Next, use your thumb to poke a hole in the center of the dough. Then, holding the dough ball with your thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough to gently stretch the hole to about 1 ½ to 2-inches wide. Set the bagel aside on your work surface. Repeat shaping the remaining dough balls into bagels. (Tip: Don’t stress about making the hole perfect. There’s something aesthetically pleasing about “rustic” looking bagels.)
- Quick Rise: Spray the bagels lightly with non-stick cooking oil. Cover the bagels with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.You can continue straight to next step. OR transfer the covered bagels to the refrigerator and store for up to 2 days. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes, covered, before boiling. (SEE NOTES)
- Preheat oven and Prepare Baking Sheet: Arrange oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 425-degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and generously sprinkle corn meal evenly over the paper. Set aside. (Tip: Classic NY style bagels have a thin coating of cornmeal or semolina on the bottom. The cornmeal prevents the bottom of the bagels from sticking to the paper during baking. If you don’t have cornmeal or semolina, use non-stick baking spray.)
- Prepare Poaching Liquid Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add malt syrup (or sugar) and salt. Reduce heat the heat to maintain a low boil / rapid simmer.
- Simmer bagels: Using a large, slotted spoon, skimmer, or slotted spatula, carefully lower a bagel into the simmering poaching liquid. Repeat, adding as many bagels as will fit in the pot, working with 1 bagel at a time. Let the bagels cook for 1 minute, flip over, and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. Use the slotted spoon to lift bagel out of pot, being sure to thoroughly drain each bagel. Transfer the bagel, dome-side-up, to the cornmeal coated parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat boiling all the bagels. (Note: For chewy bagels, cook for a total of 2 minutes; for less chewy bagels, cook for a total of 1.5 minutes.)
- Egg wash + toppings: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the water. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash to the tops of all the bagels. Sprinkle desired toppings generously over the top. (See notes for topping options.)
- Bake: Transfer bagels to the oven and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, for 18-24 minutes total, or until golden brown and aromatic.Tip: Check on your bagels at the 18-minute mark! My oven is about 4 years old, and it’s calibrated every 6 months. Sometimes my bagels take 18 minutes to bake, and sometimes they take 21 minutes.Note: The bagels will feel hard fresh out of the oven. They will soften as they cool, so don’t be alarmed!
- Cool: Use a spatula to transfer bagels to a wire rack to cool for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Enjoy: Slice bagels open and spread with your favorite cream cheese, whipped flavored butter, softened butter, jam, smashed avocado and more. Enjoy!
- 110 to 115-degree water: I find it easiest to heat the water in a 1 ½ to 2 cup glass measure in the microwave. This way it’s easy to add the sugar and oil, then pour the mixture into your bowl.
- DIY Proofing Box: To encourage and speed up the dough rise; you can create a DIY proofing oven 1 of 2 ways. Please note, the first method calls for heating the oven before starting the recipe; while the latter requires 3 cups of boiling water.
- Oven Temp: Before starting the recipe, arrange oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 170, or lowest possible temperature setting. Once preheated, immediately turn the oven off. You are just creating a slightly warm environment so your bagel dough can proof quickly! You don’t want to bake the bagel dough at this point. Make dough as directed, when ready to proof, place dough into slightly warm oven.
- Boiling Water: When you are ready to proof the dough, arrange a loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Pour 3 cups of boiling water into the pan. Arrange another oven rack directly above the load pan. Place your bowl of dough on the rack and close the oven door. Keep the oven door closed and let dough proof. Do not turn on the oven for this method —the hot water will keep the oven warm.
- Stop and start this recipe! You can make this bagel recipe over the course of 2 days if you would like. To make the bagel dough one day and bake the bagels another, spray the shaped bagels lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before boiling. To make sure bagels are done proofing and ready to go, perform a “float test”. Fill a small bowl with water. Place one bagel into the water – if it floats you are good to go. However, if it sinks, let the bagels sit at room temperature for an additional 10 minutes. Then perform float test again.
- Toppings: Toppings are the perfect way to customize your bagels! If you prefer plain bagels, you can apply the egg wash for a beautiful sheen-finish OR you can skip the egg wash step of the recipe completely (step 12). Below are some of delicious topping options for NY-style bagels:
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Poppy Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Caraway Seeds
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Shredded Asiago Cheese
- Freshly minced garlic
- Freshly chopped onion
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