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A sheet pan filled with freshly baked bagels.

Foolproof Homemade Bagels Recipe

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4.9 from 40 reviews


Equipment Notes:

As noted above, I find a scale to be imperative here: I use it to weigh not only the flour but also the water, salt, and yeast.

A large sheet pan is so handy — it fits all 12 bagels at once. If you don’t have a large one, use two standard sheet pans, and bake 6 on each. 

You’ll need a spider or a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the boiling water to a sheet pan.

A food processor or stand mixer will allow you to knead the dough quickly and powerfully.  I love my 14-cup Cuisinart.

Note: Watch your food processor closely! If you make the larger amount (12 bagels), it’s a lot of dough for even a large food processor. You’ll only run the machine for 90 seconds, but it will work hard during those 90 seconds and may jump around a bit — at any sign of the blade jamming, stop the machine and remove the dough. Also, after you add the liquids to the food processor, begin the kneading immediately to prevent the liquid from escaping through the center hole.

If you don’t have a food processor or a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand briefly, using as little additional flour as possible.

Ingredient Notes:

Many bread authorities swear by using high-gluten flour. This is something I have yet to try, but I imagine it would only improve the chewiness. But if you don’t feel like picking up another product, don’t hesitate to use all-purpose flour, which is what I typically use in all of the breads I bake.

Barley malt syrup is hard to find. Shops like Whole Foods Market typically sell it. I order it online. Also, as one commenter noted, beer making supply stores carry barley malt syrup.

For homemade everything bagel seasoning, combine:

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 3 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
  • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt


For 8 bagels:

  • 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons (13 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (4 g) instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups (350 g) lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon barley malt syrup, maple syrup, or honey + more for boiling
  • grapeseed or olive or other neutral oil

For 12 bagels:

  • 6 cups (768 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (20 g) kosher salt, I use Diamond Crystal
  • 1.5 tsp (6 g) instant yeast
  • 2 cups (454 g) lukewarm water
  • 1  heaping teaspoon barley malt syrup, maple syrup, or honey + more for boiling
  • grapeseed or olive or other neutral oil

For baking:

  • 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
  • various toppings: everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, dukkah, etc.


  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment (or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook), pulse together the flour, salt and yeast (or, if using a stand mixer, stir on low). In a medium bowl, whisk together the water and the barley malt syrup. Add it to the food processor (or stand mixer) and immediately (see notes above for why) blend for 60-90 seconds, standing nearby the entire time — at any sign of the blade jamming, stop the machine. (If using a stand mixer, knead on medium speed for 90 seconds.)
  2. With oiled hands, transfer the dough from the food processor to the bowl. The dough will feel warm and sticky. With oiled hands stretch the dough up, then down toward the center several times to form a ball. (See video for guidance.) Lightly rub some oil over the dough to coat — this will prevent a crust from forming on the dough. Cover with a tea towel, cloth bowl cover or plastic wrap. Transfer bowl to the fridge for 12 hours or longer.
  3. Place a large pot of water on to boil. When it simmers, add a big glug (about ¼ cup) barley malt syrup. Preheat an oven to 425ºF. Line two sheet pans or one large pan one with parchment paper (see notes above). Prepare the egg wash if you haven’t already. Place toppings of choice in shallow bowls.
  4. Remove bowl with dough from fridge. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. For perfectly even bagels, use your scale to portion the dough into 8 or 12 pieces, depending on the quantity of dough you made—if you weighed your ingredients, each dough ball should weigh about 105  to 110 g. Form each portion into a ball, using the pinky edges of your fingers to create tension. After all of the balls have been formed, dust your hands with flour and use your thumb to poke a hole into the center of each dough ball. Use your hands to stretch the dough into a donut-shape—don’t be afraid to really tug outward and under, almost as if you were going to turn the dough inside out but stop before you do. Note: If you don’t pull out and under, the bagels will puff into cone-liked shapes upon baking. Truly: Be aggressive with the shaping. Video guidance here.
  5. Line a sheet pan with a tea towel. Have a stopwatch (or your phone or a clock) nearby. Drop 4 of the dough rings into the boiling water at one time. Boil 30 seconds on each side. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the boiled rings to the towel-lined pan. Repeat until all of the rings have been boiled.
  6. Brush each ring with the egg wash. If you are using any toppings, dip the egg-washed bagels into the topping-filled bowls, then transfer to the parchment-lined sheet pan. If you an extra large sheet pan (see notes), you can bake all 12 at once. If you have a smaller pan, bake 6 to 8 at one time.
  7. Transfer pan or pans to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bagels are evenly golden all around. If you are using two pans, rotate the pans halfway through. Let bagels cool on sheet pans.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Boil & Bake
  • Cuisine: American