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How To Make Bagels - Step By Step Images Make this Boiled Bagel Recipe Easy

Updated on June 9, 2016
RhondaAlbom profile image

Rhonda is an award-winning travel writer/photographer at AlbomAdventures. Based in New Zealand she has visited 54 countries on 6 continents.

Boiling Is the Secret to a Great Bagel

Homemade bagels, nothing beats it on a Sunday morning. Growing up in New York, my husband had a Sunday morning tradition of bagels along with cream cheese and lox. There were many places to get wonderful bagels. The traditional bagel recipe left them crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center.

I grew up in Chicago and we were spoiled as well. It wasn't until I left Chicago that I discovered mass produced bagels which were soft all over, just not quite right. A bit of research and I quickly learned that boiling is the secret to a "true bagel."

Now we live in New Zealand, and if we want a boiled bagel, we make it ourselves. Hubby is our primary chef and has altered our bagel recipe and technique many times, but I think he has perfected it now. These bagels are just like I grew up with, crispy outside, soft inside and mouthwatering delicious all the way through. And, they are relatively easy to do, once you get the hang of it. From start to tasty treat is about 2.5 hours, about half the time to bake a loaf of bread.

Photo Credit: All photos on this page © Rhonda Albom 2012 (unless otherwise stated)

bagel Recipe
bagel Recipe
  • Prep time: 25 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour 5 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
  • Yields: Approx 12


  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 3.5 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar


  1. Mix water, salt, sugar, yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 min.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Mix until it forms a single dough ball
  3. Knead dough for 10 minutes
  4. Measure out 100 grams per bagel and form into rings
  5. Place bagel rings on greased baking sheet. Let rise for 40-50 min.
  6. Boil bagel rings one minute on each side
  7. Place on wire rack to allow water to drip off (about 5 minutes)
  8. Place boiled bagel on re-greased baking pan
  9. Bake 20 minutes at 180C (350F) or until golden brown.
2 stars from 1 rating of Boiled Bagel Recipe


noun; a dense bread roll in the shape of a ring, made by boiling dough and then baking it.

How Do You Prefer Your Bagel? - Boiled (firm outer and chewy inside) or Mass Produced (soft throughout)?

Bagel flavor is different regionally, and people tastes differ widely. I offer here the debate. Which is better, boiled or just baked?

Boiled First or Only Baked?

I prefer my bagels to be boiled because . . .

I prefer my bagels to be boiled because . . .

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    • Evelyn 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I was born and raised in New York City, so only the traditional boiled and baked, crusty on the outside Jewish deli bagels for me - they're the best.

    • Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I prefer boiled. That's traditional.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Boiled ... makes em chewy!

    • Emma Vine 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      That's a true bagel!

    • kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      The best bagels in the world come from the older fashioned bagel bakeries in Montreal. They are boiled and then cooked in a wood fired brick oven. Yummy

    • Ed Murphy 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Boiled. The crust is what makes it. Just like artisan bread.

    • shandigp 5 years ago

      BOILED ONLY! Yuck, I really don't like the rally soft ones usually found in mas market grocery stores.

    • unqedomain 5 years ago

      I love bagel and I would like it boiled.

    • Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I have only had store bought bagels, so I don't know if I have had boiled ones or not, but I had no idea they were so easy to make. I am definitely going to give this a try when we get back from holiday.

    • heehaw lm 6 years ago

      why not try them both and taste the difference!

    • sagebrushmama 6 years ago

      We've tried a couple of times, but they come out soggy, for some reason...still, gonna give your recipe a shot!

    • Violin-Student 6 years ago

      I think the chewiness of the boiled bagel is vital.

    • Craftybegonia 6 years ago

      I think boiling them makes the chewy and I lke that. Thanks for sharing, great lens!

    • jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

      It's got to be boiled! In the grip of a synapse misfire I once bought a bagel in the southern US. More like a cupcake than a bagel. Bleech.

      The right texture is donut dipped in cement - chewy outside, soft inside.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      The two just don't compare -- boiled and baked are bagels; the others just buns-in-a-ring

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Boiled taste best

    • AmateurAtHTML 6 years ago

      You've got to boil a bagel to get the right texture! BOIL MINE PLEASE!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      definitely boil them - glossy, chewy, mmmm

    • resabi 6 years ago

      Boiled. That's what I grew up with. Yummy! I'm thinking this is the same way you'd make soft pretzels. Fond memories of hot prezel stands in NY also.

    • clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      I love my bagels boiled because it makes it a tad crispy on the outside and really moist on the inside....yum!

    I prefer them only baked because . . .

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      • seosmm 4 years ago

        Baked all the way!

      • ohcaroline 5 years ago

        I like my bagels with some crispy on the outside.

      • VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

        Baked and I love making turkey sandwiches with them!

      • LoKackl 7 years ago

        Baked - sorry, because I know officianados only endorse boiled/baked. But, baked ones seem lighter.

      Kneading the dough

      We knead the dough by hand
      We knead the dough by hand

      Each bagel uses 100 grams of dough

      We found measuring out the dough helps us produce uniform bagels.
      We found measuring out the dough helps us produce uniform bagels.

      A Kitchen Scale is Useful for This Recipe - I use mine all the time

      Taylor Precision Products Biggest Loser 6.6-Pound Kitchen Scale with Glass Platform (White)
      Taylor Precision Products Biggest Loser 6.6-Pound Kitchen Scale with Glass Platform (White)

      Similar to our scale, this is the Biggest Loser kitchen scale. What we like about it the ability to see the numbers through the glass, and this scale has a large LCD display to make it even easier. Measures up to 3kg (6.6 pounds) in 1 gram increments.


      Be patient, it takes 40-50 minutes for the bagels to rise . . .

      This is what the bagels will look like after they rise.
      This is what the bagels will look like after they rise.

      Placing Bagels in Boiling Water

      We use a slotted spatula (called a fish slice in New Zealand) to carefully place the risen bagel in the boiling water
      We use a slotted spatula (called a fish slice in New Zealand) to carefully place the risen bagel in the boiling water

      We boil two at a time . . . because that is what fits in our pan

      Boiling bagel rings
      Boiling bagel rings

      Turning the bagels

      We boil them for one minute each side
      We boil them for one minute each side


      Delicious bagels fresh from the oven
      Delicious bagels fresh from the oven

      Bake them longer if you want them dark and crispy

      These are the light bagels from the photo above turned to show there darker underside.
      These are the light bagels from the photo above turned to show there darker underside.

      Are you going to try bagel making?

      See results

      According to one legend, bagels were first created in 1683 by a Jewish baker living in Vienna Austria. They were made as a thank you gift for the King of Poland who had protected the Austrian's countrymen from a Turkish invasion. The king greatly enjoyed riding, so the baker crafted a hard roll in the shape of a riding stirrup ("Bugel" in his native German) for his majesty.

      Bagels became popular in Poland as gifts for women in childbirth and then as teething rings for infants, as they were easy to grip onto and generally healthy. When introduced in Russia, bagels were thought to bring good luck and possess magical powers.

      Bagels were brought to North America in the early 1900s by the Eastern European Jews. Popular settlement areas for these immigrants included Toronto, Montreal and New York. As bagel popularity grew in the US and Canada, these towns became known for having great bagels.

      © 2009 Rhonda Albom

      Will You Make Your Next Bagel? - All Comments Welcome

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          BUDDY 15 months ago

          Since I left Brooklyn I haven't had a good bagel, its definitely the water used in the dough that makes the taste, pizza too for that matter. I'm going to try making my own bagels, I'll let you know how they came out.... Chow!!

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

          @DownToEarthLiving: That's exactly what my hubby says, and he also grew up in New York.

        • DownToEarthLiving profile image

          Evelyn 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

          I've made them a few times, and the further I get from New York, the more I need to make them. There just aren't any places that make them "right" in my opinion.

        • profile image

          Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

          I've never made them since there are so many little shops that sell them in Jerusalem. But I do have a bagel toaster like the one you recommend and I love it!

        • Emma Vine profile image

          Emma Vine 4 years ago from Texas, USA

          Wow, awesome instructions!

        • Tamara14 profile image

          Tamara Kajari 4 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

          Much easier than I'd ever think. I'll give it a try for sure :)

        • koshertrade profile image

          koshertrade 4 years ago

          thanks pukeko for this lens! pls check my lens on kosher food too!


        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

          @ICanDoThis LM: Thanks for catching this! It's fixed now.

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          ICanDoThis LM 4 years ago

          there is no sugar in ingredients, and the first sentence of instruction says "Mix water, salt, sugar..."

        • Soapmarked profile image

          Soapmarked 4 years ago from TX

          Uh-oh, we may have to break our diet to make this one! Do you know if there is a down side to halving this recipe? Thanks for all the pictures, too!

        • profile image

          BrightDaysAhead 4 years ago

          Thank you for posting your bagel recipe! I do bake my own, but it's always great to try out new recipes!

        • puppyprints profile image

          puppyprints 5 years ago

          I love bagels! Did not know they were made by boiling.

        • profile image

          julieannbrady 5 years ago

          You known, I have two bags of bagels in my freezer -- onion and cinnamon swirl -- I never contemplated making my own bagels, but you have seriously tempted me today!

        • profile image

          ohcaroline 5 years ago

          The recipe directions were great. I may have to give them a try.

        • prosepine lm profile image

          prosepine lm 5 years ago

          Great tips, looks great. Thanks!

        • prosepine lm profile image

          prosepine lm 5 years ago

          super helpful tips!

        • shandigp profile image

          shandigp 5 years ago

          Looks tasty! The how to pictures are very helpful and the others are nice, too. *blessed*

        • verymary profile image

          Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

          love bagels, may try your recipe! *blessed*

        • TonyPayne profile image

          Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

          I thought there must be a secret to making Bagels and that it would be more complicated than this. I definitely fancy making my own after our holiday. 15 years ago nobody in England had heard of Bagels, but now you can guy them in the supermarkets and also in Deli's. Still not the same as freshly baked though. I really enjoyed this lens and look forward to making some. Blessed.

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          miaponzo 6 years ago

          Thanks for the amazing recipe!

        • heehaw lm profile image

          heehaw lm 6 years ago

          what a lense ..... wow , congrats!

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          Cynthia Davis 6 years ago from Pittsburgh

          No Joke, Angel Blessings! Happy April Fools Day!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Had to come back and wish you a Happy April Fools Day! A Special Angel Blessing from this Fool today.

        • Dianne Loomos profile image

          Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

          I had a roommate in college who made homemade bagels. They were wonderful!

        • caketech profile image

          caketech 6 years ago

          I love bagels...thanks for sharing your recipe!

        • sudokunut profile image

          Mark Falco 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

          Looks like like I'm going to be spending quite some time in the kitchen this weekend! I love bagels, but I've never considered making my own. Thanks for sharing this, I'm definitely going to try it out.

        • LisaAuch1 profile image

          Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

          My hubby will flip when I show him this, guess what he is trying to bake this weekend!

        • profile image

          ChaunyWrites 6 years ago

          Oh my gosh, boy, am I hungry now! Yum

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Oh my goodness, this does look easy and oh so good too. I can't wait to try this.

        • puzzlerpaige profile image

          puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

          Bagels are something I've never made, but there's no excuse now since I have this awesome easy bagel recipe. Nice!

        • Violin-Student profile image

          Violin-Student 6 years ago

          Good lens. I need to try these bagels. Thanks for sharing!

        • blessedmomto7 profile image

          blessedmomto7 6 years ago

          Oh yum. We are stuck inside today due to snow. I'm making bagels!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I like a fresh bagel once in a while, and these do look good. Since I live a lone, I don't think I'll be making them just for myself. Nice lens, I like this!!!

        • SusanDeppner profile image

          Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

          It has never occurred to me to make my own bagels, but you certainly make the process look easy!

        • jodijoyous profile image

          jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

          I live in New York (thank goodness), so I've got lots of good bagels, but if I didn't I'd make these.

        • sheilamarie78 profile image

          sheilamarie78 6 years ago

          I miss the bagels we ate in NY and Montreal. I'm going to have to join you and make my own!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I make bagels like this and taste GREAT

        • profile image

          AmateurAtHTML 6 years ago

          I am going to have to try these. Even the best bagels I find in DFW don't live up to my memories of bagels from NY. Thanks!

        • Grasmere Sue profile image

          Sue Dixon 6 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

          A great lens- thank you for letting me add it to my Rocketmoms bread lens.

        • SandyMertens profile image

          Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

          Thanks for adding this to Recipes, Reviews and Food Collection

          I will have to make this with my daughter when she comes home.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Where'd my comment go? Love your lens.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Favorited - and blessed! I haven't made bagels for years but you've inspired me.

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          Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

          Yum yum. I love your pictures. This lens gets an Angel blessing and will be featured on SquidAngel At Your Service.

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          resabi 6 years ago

          I enjoyed reading this lens. I voted for "try to bake" but that was a little misleading. What I meant by that (since the only consistently successful baking I do is having it turn out wrong) is that I'm going to hand over this recipe to one of my baking sisters and they will make them for us all!

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          kimmanleyort 6 years ago

          Great instructions and they look delicious!

        • clouda9 lm profile image

          clouda9 lm 6 years ago

          I've been wanting to try to make bagels again...your recipe inspires me :)

          Your lens is now featured at Squidoo Lens Reviews ( Pop in to grab your badge. I am curious how many bagels your recipe makes too.

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

          @enterprisedrm: Glad you like these bagels. Sorry, don't know how to do cinnamon crunch.

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          enterprisedrm 7 years ago

          Great recipe 100% better than the one I get from my local Costco. I love baking so this recipe was worth it. Do you know how to make Cinnamon Crunch bagel, like the one you get from Panera bread? Any tips will be help.

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          MartinPrestovic 7 years ago

          I love trying recipes that are a result of trying and testing and all sorts of experimenting in the kitchen. The way I see it, recipes are perfected this way and that is what you did! I would love to give your bagel a try some time.

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

          @anonymous: We never tried malt syrup or malt powder, but we love our recipe as is. Thanks for the suggestion.

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