These crispy, cheesy DIY bagel bites are a great lunch, after school snack, or game day appetizer and the recipe could not be easier.
These mini pizza bagels can be made with any of your favorite pizza toppings and take just a few minutes to bake. I've even got all the tips you need for how to freeze them for later!
About This Recipe
It wasn't long after I made my first batch of homemade mini bagels that I became slightly obsessed with perfecting homemade bagel bites too.
I make pizza from scratch all the time and I wanted to take everything I've learned about sauce to dough ratios, the meltability of cheese, and how to freeze ingredients for later... and apply it to my very own DIY bagel bites recipe.
There's nothing wrong with frozen Bagel Bites, of course. We don't hate on convenience foods around here. If those work for you great! I would never discourage you from enjoying them.
But, if you're interested in making your own DIY bagel bites from scratch, whether it's because you want to pick your own toppings, make them fancier as appetizers, make them in bulk for less cost, or you just don't like the store bought ones, this is the recipe for you.
Personally, as much as I loved the frozen Bagel Bites in college, these days I find them a little too sweet and too gummy in texture.
My DIY version is designed to stay crisp and toasty all the way from the browned and bubbly cheese topping to the bottom of the bagel crust.
You can bake them right away in about 6 minutes, or, I've included instructions for how to parbake them to freeze and bake later.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part! When you make homemade mini pizza bagels, you can choose your own toppings! I've included a bunch of suggestions in the post below, but I'm excited to see what you come up with.
Here are the ingredients that you'll need to make bagel bites from scratch! See recipe card for quantities.
- Mini Bagels - I use my homemade mini bagels when I make these bagel bites, and I recommend you do the same. While you can* use store bought mini bagels, they're not quite as small as Bagel Bites and are much softer and sweeter in flavor which can be a bit weird.
- Pizza Sauce - Your favorite store bought pizza sauce is just fine! You need about a teaspoon or two of pizza sauce for every mini bagel half. I make my own pizza sauce by blitzing together 1 (6 oz) can of unsalted tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, and a shake of dried basil and dried oregano in a mini food processor.
- Mozzarella Cheese - The best cheese for bagel bites, imo, is a low-moisture mozzarella that you grate by hand. But for these pizza bagels, you can definitely use pre-shredded cheese too. I don't recommend using fresh mozzarella — it doesn't brown and bubble as nicely as the low-moisture mozz does!
- Toppings - It's really up to you here! I've written the recipe to use pepperoni, vegetables, or plain cheese bagel bites, but I've included some other suggestions further down in the post for you as well.
*If you're going to use store-bought mini bagels, toast them pretty well before you add the sauce and toppings. Because they're much softer than homemade mini bagels, they'll bake up soggy if you don't dry out the surface area a bit first.
How to Make Homemade Bagel Bites
Start by arranging the halved mini bagels in a layer on a sheet pan. I usually use a quarter sheet pan so I can bake them in my toaster oven, but a regular sheet pan in your oven works fine too.
TIP: If any of the bagels were sliced on an angle or aren't lying flat, use a sharp serrated knife to trim the underside of the bagel. This will prevent your toppings from sliding off.
Start with your two base layers: pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. It's about 1 heaping teaspoon of sauce per bagel bite, and about a tablespoon of shredded cheese.
When it comes to toppings, I know it's tempting to load them up with allllll the toppings.
But unlike a regular pizza, which has a crust to keep things in place, bagel bites have gravity working against them.
When the cheese bubbles up in the middle, the toppings tend to go sliding off the edges. There's no 100% foolproof method for keeping all the toppings in place, but there are some things you can do to help.
Bagel Bite Topping Tips
- Mince bigger toppings small to make them easier to bite.
- Sandwich the toppings between two layers of cheese to anchor them in place.
- Place toppings closer to the center — they'll slide away as the cheese melts.
- Only use pre-cooked toppings that are ready to eat.
As you can see in my photos, each of the pepperoni bagel bites uses just one slice of pepperoni, cut into six wedges.
You can also use mini pepperoni, which are super cute, but harder to find.
How to Bake Bagel Bites
Once your bagel bites are assembled, it's time to bake them. You can use your regular oven or a toaster oven, but either way you want to use the broiler setting.
Give the broiler a few minutes to preheat, then slide the bagels under it. Use the highest rack setting in your toaster oven or oven to get it as close to the broiler unit as possible.
Just like wood-fired pizzas cook at a high temp for a short amount of time, these mini pizza bagels don't need long under the high heat of the broiler. Just 5-6 minutes will do the trick.
Remember: You're really just melting and browning the cheese and toasting up the bagels. Depending on the strength of your broiler and how close the bagel bites are to it, they may cook faster or slower — don't walk away!
Other DIY Bagel Bite Topping Ideas
When I make bagel bites from scratch, I like to dig through my fridge to see what random things I can use up for toppings. You are more than welcome to stick to classic cheese or pepperoni, or you can get creative!
But, if you're serving these DIY bagel bites up as appetizers or for game day viewing parties, you may want to include more variety, or even get a little fancy with it.
Here's some ideas to get you started:
- Supreme Pizza Bagel Bites - Sliced black olives, minced green bell peppers (or jalapeño or poblano peppers), and sliced mushrooms.
- Hot Honey Pizza Bagel Bites - Mozzarella, goat cheese crumbles, pepperoni, a ring of thinly sliced Fresno pepper, and a drizzle of hot honey to finish.
- Greek Bagel Bites - Feta crumbles, and black, green, or kalamata olives.
- Caprese Bagel Bites - Sliced cherry tomatoes, top with thinly sliced basil after baking.
- Chicken Marsala Bagel Bites - Use the marsala sauce from my chicken marsala pizza and top bagel bites with fontina cheese, oregano, and a bit of shredded chicken or minced baby bella mushrooms.
- Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza Bagel Bites - Use your favorite BBQ sauce (I like my South Carolina BBQ sauce) and top the bagel bites with pulled pork, mozzarella cheese, and thinly sliced red onions.
Storage and Freezing Notes
I tested a bunch of different ways to freeze these bagel bites and bake them from frozen and by far the best method is to partially bake (parbake) the mini pizza bagels before freezing. Here's why parbaking is best:
- Helps the toppings and cheese stick to the top of the bagel.
- Begins the cheese melting process.
- Shortens the bake time from frozen.
To parbake: Pop them under the broiler for about 2-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted, but not browned. Let the mini pizza bagels cool completely.
Let the mini pizza bagels cool completely, then freeze for 20-30 minutes on a sheet pan. Transfer the frozen bagel bites to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and freeze. Press as much air out of the bag as possible to prevent freeze burn.
They will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To bake from frozen: Pop them back on a lined sheet pan and broil for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browning on top.
I don't recommend it. The bagels get very chewy and soggy and unpleasant. That said, if you're really committed to using a microwave, microwave on high for 30 seconds, then additional 5-10 second bursts if needed.
Set it to 500F and let it preheat for a few minutes before toasting your bagel bites.
DIY Bagel Bites
- 6 mini bagels (see notes for using store-bought mini bagels)
- ¾ cup pizza sauce
- 1 cup low-moisture, whole milk mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Bagel Bites Toppings
- pepperoni (or mini pepperoni)
- black olives (sliced)
- green pepper (minced)
- baby bella mushrooms (minced)
- fresh basil (optional)
bonus: pizza sauce recipe (mix them together)
- 6 Ounces salt-free tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Clove garlic (finely grated or minced)
If Baking Immediately
- Preheat the broiler in your oven or toaster oven.
- Arrange 12 mini bagel halves on a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet pan. It's okay if they're quite close together. If any of the bagels are tilted at an angle, use a serrated knife to carefully shave off the curved underside to help them lie flat.
- Top each mini bagel with a heaping teaspoon of pizza sauce. Spread it almost all the way to the edges. Then top with a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Add any desired toppings, making sure to keep them away from the edges of the bagel. For pepperoni bagel bites, cut the pepperoni into 6 or 8 wedges, for supreme bagel bites, top with sliced olives along with minced pepper and onion.
- Broil Bagel Bites 5-6 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top. Optional: Top bagel bites with thinly sliced basil.
If Freezing For Later (Parbaking)
- Follow steps 1-4 as outlined above.
- Broil bagel bites for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted but not browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Freeze parbaked bagel bites on sheet pan for 20-30 minutes, then transfer to a large freezer safe bag and press all the air out. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To bake from frozen: Preheat broiler and arrange bagel bites on a sheet pan. Broil for 7-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and browned on top. Optional: Top bagel bites with thinly sliced basil.
- If you don't have a broiler, set your oven to 500F. It may need a bit more time to heat up.
- You want about ½ tablespoon of toppings per pizza bagel.
- If your mini bagels are bigger than actual bagel bites, you may need additional pizza sauce and toppings to get even coverage! Adjust accordingly!
- If you're going to use store-bought mini bagels, toast them pretty well before you add the sauce and toppings. Because they're much softer than homemade mini bagels, they'll bake up soggy if you don't dry out the surface area a bit first.
- Easy homemade pizza sauce: 1 (6 oz) can unsalted tomato sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, shake of dried oregano and basil, blitzed together in a mini food processor.