We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Bagel?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A bagel is a type of bread which is formed into a round ring and boiled before baking. Some makers steam the bagel instead of boiling it, making traditionalists label the final product anything but a bagel. Typically, bagels have a chewy texture and a slightly crisp outer layer, accomplished by handling the bread dough specially before it is cooked, preventing the dough from rising too much and giving the bagel a bread like texture. The bagel is traditionally associated with Jewish cuisine, and specimens can be found all over the world, especially in the Jewish quarter of major cities. Bagels can also be made at home, although it does take some work.

The roots of the bagel lie several hundred years in the past. It is uncertain when bagels burst in the popular baking scene, but they probably originated among Eastern European Jewish people, and were certainly written about as early as 1610. Like other Jewish foods, bagels are designed to be kosher or pareve, meaning that they conform with the rules of Jewish dietary law.

When making bagels, the cook uses a bagel dough, which typically contains flour, yeast, salt, water, and a sweetener such as sugar or honey. Some regional bakers add egg to their bagels for a more chewy texture, and others add things like cinnamon, raisins, dried fruit, and other flavorful accents. The dough is mixed, kneaded, and allowed to rise. Next, the bagels are formed, typically by making small chunks of dough into logs which are joined together. The bagels are allowed to rise slightly before proceeding to the next step.

After the bagels have risen, they are slipped into boiling water for approximately six minutes before being removed and baked. If the cook wishes to add a topping such as nuts, seeds, or onion, the tops of the bagels are brushed with egg and the topping is sprinkled on top before baking. After baking, the bagels are allowed to fully cool on racks and then packaged or eaten.

Once a cook has gotten the basics down, making bagels in an assortment of flavors is relatively easy. Some cooks use different flours, such as whole wheat, to make their bagels, while others play with an assortment of toppings and additions to their bagels. Bagels are typically sold fresh the day that they are made, and should be quickly eaten or frozen. If a bagel is slightly stale, it can be sprinkled with water and toasted to be refreshed.

There are also a number of choices for things to eat with bagels. Common inclusions are cream cheese, hummus, butter, lox, tomatoes, onions, capers, and avocado, though generally not all at once. Bagels are typically sliced in half and toasted for eating, and an assortment of toppings and spreads can be piled on both sides of the bagel, or just on one half, so that the top can be put back on to make a bagel sandwich.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By fify — On Feb 18, 2011

What's the best bagel shop in New York? I'm planning a trip there next week and want to try some new restaurants and cafes while I am there. I'm a big fan of bagels and I heard that the best ones are found in New York. I've tried Manhattan Bagel and Noah Bagel bakeries in other cities. Any other suggestions for really good bagels?

By turquoise — On Feb 16, 2011

A bagel and cream cheese is my favorite breakfast along with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea. I can't imagine starting my day any better. My favorite types are sesame seed and everything bagels. I actually tried an everything bagel because the cafe where I usually pick up breakfast was out of sesame seed ones. I rarely eat onion in general so the thought of onion flakes on a bagel scared me. I gave it a try that day and absolutely loved it. Maybe because the onion flakes are mixed with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt, the onion flavor did not bother me at all and went great with creme cheese. I learned my lesson, I won't judge a bagel by its topping ever again!

By mitchell14 — On Feb 01, 2011

While bagels are delicious, they are very dense. People trying to cut down on starches, especially in the form of simple carbohydrates, might want to avoid bagels because they can have as many calories as three slices of bread, and many recipes used by bagel shops have about equivalent nutritional benefits, or even less.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.