How to Cook and Store Bagels – Easy Guide (2023)

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  • How to Cook and Store Bagels – Easy Guide (2)Author:Melissa Collins
  • Updated: January 18, 2023

Bagels are a beloved breakfast staple. But have you ever wondered about the secrets to achieving that perfectly crispy exterior and chewy interior? Look no further!

This guide will walk you through making homemade bagels from scratch and give tips for storing them to keep them fresh and delicious. So whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide has everything you need to know to make and store the perfect bagels every time.

The best way to cook fresh bagels

To cook fresh bagels, here are a few popular methods:

  1. Boiling: This is the traditional method for cooking bagels and is said to give them their characteristic chewiness. To boil bagels, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and carefully drop them into the water. Boil them for about 1 minute on each side, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Baking: This is the most popular method for cooking bagels at home. To bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Grilling: This method is great for achieving a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. To grill, heat a grill to high heat and place the bagels on the grill grates, cut side down. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
  4. Steaming: This method is a bit less common but can create a softer crust, like the one you get from a bakery. You will need a steamer basket for this method. Place your bagels on the basket and place the basket over a pot of boiling water, cover, and steam for about 10 minutes.

Ultimately, the best method for cooking fresh bagels will depend on your preferences and the equipment available. Experiment with different methods to see which one you like best.

The best way to cook frozen bagels

The best ways to cook frozen bagels are:

  1. Toasting: Toasting frozen bagels is a quick and easy method that works well for thawing and heating them simultaneously. Simply place the frozen bagels in a toaster or toaster oven and toast them until they are heated through and golden brown.
  2. Baking: Another way to cook frozen bagels is by baking them. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the frozen bagels on a baking sheet and brush them with oil or butter. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until heated through and golden brown. If you like a softer crust, you can cover them with foil in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to thaw the frozen bagels before cooking them, but they will take longer than fresh or thawed bagels. So keep an eye on them as they cook to ensure they don’t burn.

How to cook bagels on the stove?

Cooking bagels on the stovetop is a bit less common than other methods, but it can still be done with great results. Here’s one method you can use:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat.
  2. While the skillet is heating, brush the bagels with a light coating of oil or butter.
  3. Once the skillet is hot, carefully place the bagels in the skillet, and cut the side down. Cook them in batches if the skillet is not large enough to hold all of them at once.
  4. Cook the bagels for 2-3 minutes on the first side until they are golden brown. Then, use a spatula to carefully flip them over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the second side.
  5. Once the bagels are golden brown and heated through, remove them from the skillet and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.

This stovetop method provides a crispy crust and a chewy interior. Of course, you will have to be more careful in order to keep the heat level steady and avoid over-toasting one side, but it will give you a nice texture and a very unique taste.

It’s important to note that this method does produce a bit more smoke and can be a bit messier than other methods, so you may want to do it in a well-ventilated area or with a hood on.

How to cook bagels in an air fryer?

Cooking bagels in an air fryer is a quick and easy way to achieve a crispy crust and a chewy interior without the added fat of deep frying. Here’s one method you can use:

  1. First, preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. When the air fryer is heating, brush the bagels with a light coating of oil or butter.
  3. Once the air fryer is preheated, carefully place the bagels in the basket, and cut side up. Cook them in batches if the air fryer basket is not large enough to hold all of them at once.
  4. Cook the bagels for 6-8 minutes until they are golden brown and heated through. Shake the basket or use tongs to flip them over halfway through cooking time.
  5. Once the bagels are golden brown and heated through, remove them from the air fryer and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.

An air fryer is also an excellent option for cooking frozen bagels. Don’t need to thaw them before cooking, just add an extra 2-3 minutes to the cooking time, and keep an eye on them to prevent over-browning. An air fryer is also a great way to cook if you are looking for a low-fat option, as it cooks with hot air circulating around the food, which means less oil is needed.

How to cook bagels in the oven?

Cooking bagels in the oven is a popular and easy method to produce delicious results. Here’s one method you can use:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While the oven is heating, brush the bagels with a light coating of oil or butter. You can also add any toppings or seasoning on top of the oil or butter.
  3. Once the oven is preheated, place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Depending on your preference, you can place them cut side up or down.
  4. Bake the bagels for fifteen minutes or until they are golden brown and heated through. If you are baking frozen bagels, add an extra 5-7 minutes to the cooking time and keep an eye on them to prevent over-browning.
  5. Once the bagels are golden brown and heated through, remove them from the oven and cool them on a wire rack.

You can also set the oven to broil for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking to give your bagels a nice golden top. And if you want a softer crust, you can cover them with foil in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

It’s important to note that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness and size of your bagels, as well as the power of your oven. So, it’s recommended to check them often to prevent over-browning.

How to microwave bagels?

Cooking bagels in the microwave is a quick and easy method that can heat up and soften pre-cooked bagels, but it’s not recommended to cook fresh or frozen bagels in the microwave, as it may result in a less desirable texture. However, here’s one method you can use to heat up pre-cooked bagels in the microwave:

  1. Place the bagel on a microwave-safe plate or paper towel.
  2. Microwave the bagel on high for 15-20 seconds. This will give you a warm and soft bagel similar to the one you get from a bakery.
  3. If necessary, check the bagel and add more time in the microwave in 5 second increments.

Remember that microwaves can vary in power and efficiency, so it’s important to monitor the bagel as it heats up to prevent over-cooking. Additionally, microwaving may not achieve the same texture as other methods, such as toasting, baking, or grilling.

As mentioned before, it’s not recommended to cook fresh or frozen bagels in the microwave, as the texture may not be as desirable as other methods, and it may cook unevenly. Therefore, microwaving should be considered only for pre-cooked bagels or for heating them up.

Cooking bagels in a pan is a quick and easy method that can produce delicious results. Here’s one method you can use:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat.
  2. While the skillet is heating, brush the bagels with a light coating of oil or butter.
  3. Once the skillet is hot, carefully place the bagels in the skillet, cut side down. You may need to cook them in batches if the skillet is not large enough to hold all of them at once.
  4. Cook the bagels for 2-3 minutes on the first side until they are golden brown. Then, use a spatula to carefully flip them over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the second side.
  5. Once the bagels are golden brown and heated through, remove them from the skillet and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.

This method is great for getting a crispy crust and a chewy interior. Be aware that, as with the stovetop method, you will need to be more careful in order to keep the heat level steady and to avoid over-toasting one side, but it will give you a nice texture and a very unique taste.

It’s important to note that this method does produce a bit more smoke and can be a bit messier than other methods,

How long do bagels take to cook?

The cooking time for bagels will vary depending on the method used to cook them.

  • Boiling: 1 minute per side
  • Baking: 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grilling: 2-3 minutes per side on high heat
  • Steaming: 10 minutes
  • Toasting: 2-4 minutes, depending on your toaster settings
  • Microwaving pre-cooked bagels: 15-20 seconds
  • Pan-frying: 2-3 minutes per side

Best side dishes for bagels

Some popular side dishes to serve with bagels include:

  • Cream cheese or butter
  • Lox and other types of smoked fish
  • Capers, diced onions, and tomatoes
  • Jams, jellies, or honey
  • Peanut butter or Nutella
  • Egg or Tuna salad
  • Deli meats and cheeses
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Fresh fruits
  • Yogurt or Cottage cheese
  • Soups or stews
  • Green salad
  • Vegetable cream cheese


The options are many and also depend on the preference of each one. Bagels are versatile, you can pair them with both sweet or savory dishes and enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner.

Best condiments for bagels

Bagels are a versatile food that can be enjoyed with various condiments. Here are a few popular options:

  1. Cream cheese: Cream cheese is a classic choice for spreading on a warm bagel. You can enjoy it plain or flavored with herbs, garlic, or fruit.
  2. Butter or Margarine: Spread butter or margarine on a warm bagel for a satisfying option.
  3. Peanut butter or Nutella: A spread of peanut butter or Nutella makes a deliciously sweet alternative to savory options.
  4. Jelly or jam: Spread a layer of jelly or jam on a bagel for a sweet and fruity complement.
  5. Lox: Lox, a traditional Jewish preparation of smoked salmon, is a popular bagel option. It is often accompanied by cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
  6. Avocado: An avocado is a great option for a healthy and creamy spread. Try it mixed with some lemon juice and herbs for a flavorful spread.
  7. Hummus: Hummus can be an excellent option for a savory, protein-packed spread for a bagel.
  8. Pesto: Pesto can be a great option for adding a burst of flavor to a bagel, it goes well with many ingredients, from cheese to vegetables.

Ultimately, the best condiments for bagels depend on your personal taste. You can experiment with different spreads and toppings to find what you like best.

How to store bagels?

There are a few ways to store bagels, depending on how soon you plan to eat them:

  1. At room temperature: If you plan to eat the bagels within a day or two, you can store them at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag.
  2. This will keep them fresh and moist.
    In the fridge: If you aren’t eating the bagels for a few days, you can store them in the refrigerator. Make sure to wrap them tightly in aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out. Bagels stored in the fridge can last for about a week.
  3. In the freezer: Bagels can also be stored for up to three months.

How long do bagels stay good for?

The shelf life of a bagel depends on several factors, including the type of bagel, the ingredients it contains, and how it’s stored.

In general, plain, store-bought bagels that do not contain perishable fillings or toppings can last for several days when stored properly.
If you keep bagels at room temperature, it’s best to consume them within 2-3 days.

If you’re keeping them in the refrigerator, they can last up to a week. But keep in mind that keeping them in the refrigerator will cause them to dry out faster.

If you have frozen the bagels, they can last for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, take the frozen bagel out and place it in a 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes. That should give the bagel a nice crispy crust.

To ensure your bagels stay fresh for as long as possible, store them in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Avoid storing them in a damp area or with other foods that may cause moisture or odors to transfer.

Can you freeze bagels?

Yes, you can freeze bagels. Freezing bagels can be a great way to extend their shelf life and have them ready to go when you want them. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Allow the bagels to cool completely before freezing.
  2. Place the bagels in a large resealable plastic bag or a plastic container that can be tightly sealed
  3. Seal the bag or container, removing as much air as possible.
  4. Label the bag or container with the current date and store it in the freezer.

When ready to enjoy the bagels, remove the desired amount from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature. You can also warm them up by toasting them or reheating them in the oven.

Although the best way to thaw them is in a toaster or oven, you can also thaw them at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Be aware that the texture of the bagel might change after freezing, so it might not have that fresh from the bakery texture.

FAQs

Are bagels healthy?

It depends on the ingredients used. For example, a plain bagel can be part of a healthy diet, but some varieties, such as those with added sugar, are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.

Can you make bagels without yeast?

It’s possible to make bagels without yeast, but traditional bagels are made with yeast, which gives them their characteristic texture and flavor.

Can you make bagels in a bread machine?

Yes, you can make bagels in a bread machine, although they will not have the same texture as those made by hand.

How do you store leftover bagels?

Leftover bagels can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

What is the difference between a roll and bagel?

A bagel is denser and sweeter than a roll and has a chewy texture, while a roll is lighter, airier, and less sweet with a softer texture.

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