Today’s recipe is for homemade vegan bagels. I never knew that making bagels at home could be so easy, but it really is!
Lately I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different types of bread recipes. I already have a go-to recipe for easy whole wheat bread, but wanted to try expanding into other areas! I’ve been working on new banana bread recipes, pesto bread, garlic bread loafs, vegan “cheese” stuffed breadsticks (yes, a recipe for this one is actually coming soon!), etc.
Then I thought one day, how about vegan bagels? I love a classic plain bagel with vegan cream cheese as a snack. I also really love flavored spreads (like garden veggie or chive). I really enjoy bagel sandwiches at cafes, and my husband does too. So I thought that creating a homemade vegan bagels recipe would be fun.
On top of that, if I liked my recipe it could be a way for us to cut down on buying bagels at the store in those plastic bags. I’m all about finding new ways I can cut down on plastic in my life– and DIY solutions at home can often be a great replacement! When I made this bagel recipe I wasn’t really thinking about it being a zero waste swap at the time, but it’s kind of nice to reflect now and know that it is.
Are Bagels Vegan?
Well, this recipe is. But to reply the question above, the answer is “sometimes.”
Most bagels at the grocery store are vegan. Depending on the flavor though, there could be milk powder in them. For example, there’s one brand of bagels my father in law loves to buy. The “plain” and “blueberry” flavor by them are both vegan. But the “french toast” flavor has milk powder.
When it comes to businesses like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, etc. it can once again be a mixed bag. Sometimes the bagels will be vegan, and sometimes they won’t. Classic flavors like plain and poppy seed are most likely fine. But I’m usually a little suspect of the more “specialty” type flavors that are offered.
Milk powder and eggs are completely unnecessary ingredients when making bagels though! I promise you won’t tell a difference between vegan bagels and a bagel that has 1/8th a teaspoon of milk powder in the seasoning. So whatever your diet may be, know that this bagel recipe is for anyone and everyone.
Homemade Vegan Bagels Recipe
Here are the base ingredients for a regular bagel:
- All purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Instant yeast
That’s it! Similar to my easy whole wheat bread recipe, the core of this bagels recipe is super simple and minimal. And if you feel like sticking to one flour type (which you totally can), it takes this ingredients list down from 5 to 4.
I used a combination of flours because I wanted a balance between health (whole wheat flour) and softness (all purpose flour) with this recipe. If I wanted to go full-on health mode with these bagels, I would do all whole wheat flour. But breads made with 100% whole wheat are usually pretty thick and dense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I love thick, dense, whole wheat bread.
But sometimes, I can be in the mood for softer bread too. That’s why I chose a 50/50 blend with this vegan bagels recipe. Depending on how you want your bagels to turn out you can do a blend like I did, or just use 100% of a single flour type.
Vegan Bagel Toppings
Here are some topping ideas for your bagels– if you want to make them a flavor besides plain.
- Black sesame seeds
- White sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Pretzel salt
- Course sea salt
- Dried onion flakes
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Dried chives
- Everything bagel seasoning
- Crushed red pepper
- Maple syrup drizzle
Personally, I like savory bagels way more than sweet ones. But feel free to sprinkle any seasonings or spices on top of your bagels that you like!
Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe
Below, along with the main vegan bagels recipe, I included a recipe for dairy free cream cheese.
I’ve experimented a lot with homemade vegan cream cheese recipes. And I think my recipe is close. It’s definitely tasty, and I like it! But I wouldn’t say it completely mimics store-bought cream cheese yet.
Regardless, if you’d like to try it out and give me any feedback you have on it, I’d appreciate it! Here are the ingredients for it:
- Garlic powder
- Nutritional Yeast
- Lemon juice
- Optional: chives, onion powder, pepper, minced veggies
Basically, you mix everything (except the optional add-ins) in a blender, blend until smooth. Then you hand stir in the mix-ins. Boom! Homemade dairy free cream cheese. Again, I think it’s close. But I’m still experimenting with the exact ratios and ingredients to get the likeness down. My favorite store-bought brand for vegan cream cheese is Tofutti or Follow Your Heart.
Additional Vegan Bagel Toppings
Besides the basics (like seasoning and spread), here are some fun ideas for open-face bagel sandwiches you could make as a snack.
- Vegan cream cheese, cracked pepper, tomato slices, fresh chopped dill and sprouts
- Mashed avocado, crushed red pepper, fresh lemon juice squeeze
- Vegan cream cheese, thinly sliced cucumber, pickled red onions
- Vegan cream cheese, sun dried tomato, fresh basil
- Hummus, everything bagel seasoning, thinly sliced fresh jalapeño
- Peanut butter, maple syrup drizzle, raisins
- Chocolate hazelnut spread, crushed walnut pieces
How To Make Vegan Bagels
Ok, now it’s time for the how-to!
First mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Then add water. Knead for a few seconds until a dough forms. If it’s too sticky you may need to add a bit more flour. Likewise, if it’s too crumbly you may need to add a few extra splashes of water.
Next you need to let the dough “rest.” Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it alone to rise for about 2 hours (at least 1 hour). A draft-free place is best, so usually I just stick my mixing bowl in the microwave to rise.
This recipe makes about 8-10 bagels (depending on the size you want), so after it’s done rising you’ll want to divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a round ball, and then flatten it slightly with your palms. Finally, use a finger to poke a hole through the center and start shaping the bagel into the size you want.
I found that wetting my hands with some water before I handled the dough helped me to make the bagels smoother. The first few bagels you make will be pretty lumpy (mine looked so ugly, lol). But as I kept making more I got a bit better at it each time. So don’t worry if your bagel shaping skills aren’t the best in the beginning!
Next, preheat the oven to 400 F. At the same time, bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Once the water is boiling, place one of your bagels in the pot and boil for about 1-2 minutes. Whenever I do this my bagels float after about 1 minute, and once they float that’s my cue to get them out of the water.
Transfer them to a baking tray with parchment paper, and do this until all the bagels have been boiled and laid out on the baking sheet. Now it’s time for toppings!
Sprinkle your bagels with whatever seasonings you want (see a list above for ideas). I like doing course sea salt and sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Finally, bake the bagels in the oven for about 25 minutes, until they start to look golden.
How To Make Bagels Last
These vegan bagels are best eaten within 1-2 days of making them. I find that they’re freshest/best on the day they’re made. But they can be stored in a bread box or the fridge too, for about a week. At around day 4 or 5, I notice they start to get pretty hard though.
When this happens you can soften them up in the microwave, which is what I usually do. But these bagels can also be frozen! I haven’t done this yet, but the next time I feel like making this recipe, I decided I want to make a mega batch
Bagel Recipe Closing Thoughts
I’m excited to share this post because I think it’s so easy and simple to make. Not only that, but these vegan bagels are very healthy as well!
Just like with all my recipes, this one is free from oil, processed sugar, and processed ingredients. The salt is optional too, so if you are on a very low-salt diet you can omit it completely!
I think using seasonings like garlic powder, onion flakes, etc. would be plenty to give these bagels enough flavor. So if you wanted, you could make these homemade bagels totally salt free.
Finally, I like how you can make a huge batch of them all at once, and then store them for later. You could enjoy homemade bagels for weeks! Just by pulling a few days worth out of the freezer at a time.
Finally (part 2), I like how this homemade bagels recipe gives me another way to reduce, or eliminate plastic in my life. If you’ve ever browsed the Lifestyle section of my blog, you know that I like to talk about sustainability and zero waste living. If you haven’t checked out any of my previous posts on the subject, I recommend that you do! Learning how to DIY common products you buy frequently is a great way to make your home more eco friendly and cut down on your waste. So if this is a goal of yours, it’s just one more reason to try out homemade bagel making!
But even if that’s not on your mind, I hope you enjoy this vegan bagel recipe. In the comments I’d love to know what your favorite bagel toppings are. Whether it’s seasonings, or what you like to put in bagel sandwiches. Leave a comment below! And as always, thanks for reading.
Homemade Vegan Bagels Recipe
Vegan Bagels Ingredients
- 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups water*
Optional Vegan Bagel Toppings
- 2 tsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp course sea salt
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu
- 2 TBS lemon juice (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Additional herbs (dried parsley, dill, basil, chives, cracked pepper, etc.)
- Combine the flour, instant yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add water and mix, kneading until a dough forms. You may need to adjust the water amount as you go. If the dough is too sticky, add a tad more flour. If it's too crumbly, add a splash of water.
- Cover your mixing bowl with a towel and leave it to rest for 2 hours in a draft free spot.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts (this may vary depending on if you want large bagels or small bagels). Wet hands, then roll each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten slightly with your palms. Finally, use a finger to poke a hole through the center. Continue to work the dough until it is the bagel shape you want.
- Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. At the same time, bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Cook each bagel in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then remove it with fork and add it to the baking sheet. After about 1 minute of boiling my bagels float in the water, and that signals to me they are done.
- Sprinkle your hearbs and seasonings on top of each bagel. Then bake for about 25 minutes or until they're golden.
Vegan Cream Cheese Instructions
- Soak the cashews in water for 10-60 minutes before blending them. Drain the water off when they're done soaking.
- Combine everything in a blender or food processor except for the herbs/mix-ins. Blend until smooth.*
- Once the base spread is done being mixed, transfer to a bowl and add the mix-ins by hand, stirring to combine.
- Chill in the fridge and server!
- You may need a bit more water than 2 cups. If the dough is not forming correctly, a few extra splashes of water to the mixing bowl can help.
- These vegan bagels can be stored for 4-5 days in a bread box or the fridge. After that I recommend freezing them to thaw and heat up later.
- If the bagels become too hard after a few days, they can be made soft again easily in the microwave.
- For the vegan cream cheese recipe, if you find that your blender is having a hard time blending the ingredients. Adding a tiny splash of water or plant milk can help get the blending started.
- The first time I made this recipe, it actually made 11 bagels! I was really surprised. I think this will vary depending on how large you roll them.
- If you wanted to make pretzel-style bagels, add 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda to the water that you boil the bagels in before baking.