With a shiny brown crust and bright purple interior, these sweet homemade blueberry bagels are a blueberry bagel lover's dream! The bright purple color comes from real fresh blueberries which are used to hydrate the dough and add lots of flavor, too.
If you love a blueberry bagel for breakfast, you're going to love being able to make these blueberry bagels at home. And they're so easy to make!
Just like all my bagel recipes, the base recipe for these blueberry bagels is my standard plain homemade bagel recipe. Though the blueberry bagels need a bit more resting time than plain bagel dough, you can still do the whole recipe in less than 3 hours.
These blueberry bagels are so good with cream cheese. If you're feeling ambitious, try them with a shmear of creamy homemade goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. The slightly tangy and salty goat cheese is really nice with the sweetness from the blueberries!
Here's what you'll need to make these blueberry bagels. Nothing fancy; you should be able to get all of these at your grocery store. See recipe card for quantities.
- Fresh blueberries - Blueberries are in season from April to September, but can usually be found year round. Wash and dry before roasting. See FAQ below for tips on using frozen blueberries.
- Water - Cool to lukewarm in temperature. This will help cool down the hot roasted blueberries before you add them to the dry ingredients.
- Flour - All purpose or bread flour. Either one will work. Bread flour is more traditional for bagels. It will give you slightly chewier texture, and might need a bit more water added to the dough. See substitutions & variations section below for how to use bread flour.
- Sugar - Plain white granulated sugar. This brings out the blueberries' natural sweetness!
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which half as salty as other brands. If measuring by weight, it doesn't matter what brand of salt you use. But if you're measuring by volume and using a different brand of salt, even a different brand of kosher salt, cut the amount of salt in half.
- Instant yeast - I swear by SAF Red Instant Yeast. Instant yeast is also sometimes called "rapid rise" yeast. See substitutions & variations section below if you only have active dry yeast.
- Egg - For the egg wash to make the bagels shiny. (Omit if you don't like/can't eat eggs.)
The first step of this recipe is to roast the fresh blueberries. Just 5 to 10 minutes at 400F is enough to intensify their flavor, bring out their juices, and reduce their water content.
Once the blueberries have roasted, transfer them into a container on a kitchen scale. Tare the kitchen scale to zero to cancel out the weight of the container so you get just the weight of the blueberries.
Starting with 240 grams of fresh blueberries, I usually end up with around 180-190 grams of roasted blueberries. Depending on the heat of your oven, how long you roast the blueberries, and how much blueberry juice you're able to scrape into the container, you may end up with slightly more or slightly less.
For these blueberry bagels, we need 320 grams of liquid — and the juicy blueberries are part of that liquid content!
So DO NOT TARE the kitchen scale back to zero after weighing the blueberries. Pour lukewarm to slightly cool water directly into the hot blueberries until the scale reaches 320 grams. The water will help cool down the blueberries so they don't kill the yeast.
Mix the water and blueberries together and set them aside while you measure the rest of the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer.
With the dough hook attached and the mixer running on low, slowly pour the water and blueberry mixture into the dry ingredients.
It may take several minutes for the bagel dough to come together. Be patient. There's more moisture in the dough than it seems. The blueberries need some time to break down and release all their juices. And the flour will have time to finish hydrating as it rests. Bagel dough is meant to be low hydration and you don't want to add more water unless absolutely necessary.
After 3-4 minutes, if the dough is still looking very dry and hasn't come together, you can add more water ½ teaspoon at a time. Add it directly onto the dry bits in the bowl and let the mixer run 30-45 more seconds before deciding if more water is needed.
Once the dough comes together on the dough hook, increase the speed to low-medium and knead for 3-5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky to the touch. If it sticks to the sides of the bowl, dust in more flour until it pulls clear away.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
🥯 How to shape a bagel
On an unfloured counter top, use a kitchen scale to divide the dough into equal portions. If you're combining a few pieces together to make a portion, stack the smaller pieces on top of the bigger pieces.
Tuck the edges up so the dough is smooth against the counter with a seam pinched together on top. Repeat until the dough ball feels fairly tight, but not so tight that it tears.
Then, flip the dough over so the seam side is down against the counter. Cup your hand around the dough and slide it toward you. The dough will take on an oval shape. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat to turn the oval into a round circle.
This blueberry bagel dough can be a bit drier than regular bagel dough, so you'll want to cover the dough balls with a damp paper towel and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before poking the holes. This gives the dough time to relax and for the seam underneath to seal up.
Once the dough balls have rested, coat your hands in flour and poke a thumb through the bottom seam of the dough. Slide your other thumb in and gently squeeze and stretch, rotating the dough through your hands until the bagel hole is at least the same width as the sides of the bagel if not bigger.
Cover the shaped blueberry bagels with a damp paper towel and let them rest another 10-15 minutes before boiling.
You may want to repeat the stretching process again before boiling to keep the hole from closing up in the oven.
🌡️ Boiling & Baking Bagels
Boiling is a mandatory step before baking your bagels. The boiling process gelatinizes the starches in the crust, which is what gives you that classic, shiny, smooth bagel exterior.
To boil your blueberry bagels, fill a large high-sided skillet with about 2-3 inches of water. Enough that the blueberry bagels will have room to float in the water without touching the bottom.
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to an active simmer. Boil the bagels 1-2 minutes per side. The bagels will start to expand in the water. The longer you boil, the bigger the bagels will be; they will also be chewier with a thicker crust.
Remove the bagels to a lined sheet pan, brush them with an egg wash, and they're ready to bake. All they need is 20 minutes at 420F, and they're done. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
The blueberry bagels will lose their gorgeous purple exterior when you bake them, there's no way around that. But they'll still be beautifully purple inside!
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- Frozen blueberries - Let them defrost before roasting.
- Active dry yeast - You'll need 9 grams of active dry yeast instead of 6 grams instant. Active dry yeast has a little shell around each yeast granule that needs to dissolve before the yeast is activated. You can either let the active dry yeast "bloom" in the warm blueberry water (as long as its below 110F), or just add it directly to the dry ingredients like you do with instant yeast. The dough might rise a little more slowly in that case, but it will still work.
- Bread flour - Bread flour is traditionally used for bagels because it has a higher protein content and makes for chewier bagels. You can definitely use bread flour for these blueberry bagels. You may find you need slightly more water to get your bagel dough to come together, as bread flour absorbs more water than all purpose flour does. Again, bagel dough is meant to be low hydration so resist adding water unless absolutely necessary.
- Kitchen scale - A kitchen scale is worth it for any baking recipe; it's the most accurate way to measure your ingredients. It's also helpful for dividing your bagel dough into eight equal portions. For these blueberry bagels, a kitchen scale is absolutely necessary for getting the right amount of liquid in the dough. You'll need to weigh the roasted blueberries, and then add however much water is needed to equal 320 grams. You can't do this step without a kitchen scale.
- Bench scraper - Super helpful for dividing your bagel dough.
- Wide, high sided skillet - It needs to be deep enough that the bagels can float without touching the bottom. You can use a sauce pot or stock pot if that's all you have. A wide skillet can fit more bagels at once, so I recommend using that if you have one.
- Wire spider - For flipping the bagels in the hot water without splashing it everywhere. The wide, shallow slope of a wire spider is also better at supporting the weight of the bagel evenly without cutting into it.
Store bagels at room temperature in a paper or plastic bag. Do not refrigerate bagels.
Bagels, not just blueberry bagels, will start to harden after 3-4 days. To revive: Run the whole, unsliced bagel under water for 15-20 seconds, then stick it in a 375F oven for 3-4 minutes. This tip for rehydrating stale bagels comes straight from Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats and it sounds weird, but totally works.
If you want to freeze these blueberry bagels for later, I recommend slicing them almost all the way through first. This way you don't have to try to slice them from frozen.
👩🏻🍳 Expert bagel making tips
- There are lots of factors that can affect how much water your blueberry bagel dough needs. I tested these in a dry, cold environment, and 320 grams of blueberry water was just right. In a very humid environment, you may need less than 320 grams of blueberry water. If you're in a very humid environment and there's lots of moisture in the air, hold back about ⅛ cup (30 grams) blueberry water when you add it to the dough and add it only if needed.
- Bagel dough is meant to be low hydration and should never feel sticky or wet. Add additional water in very small increments only if absolutely necessary to get the dough to come together before kneading.
- Troubleshooting bagel dough texture: If you add too much water and the dough begins to feel sticky, or sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, dust in more flour until it pulls clear from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is dry and looks like it's tearing rather than kneading smoothly, dip your hand in water and flick droplets gently onto the dough as it kneads.
- For bigger bagel holes: Stretch the bagels again right before you boil them. So you'll poke the hole and stretch the bagels. Then let them rest. Then stretch them again right before dropping them in the water to boil.
- Boil the bagels in batches. The bagels will expand as they boil. I can usually fit about 4 bagels in a skillet at a time. Make sure you leave room so the bagels can grow, and so that you can comfortably flip them.
💭 Recipe FAQ
Absolutely! Just let them defrost before you roast them.
Yes, with some adaptations. Reduce the amount of yeast in the recipe by half and let the shaped blueberry bagels proof (rise) overnight, under a damp paper towel in the fridge. In the morning, boil and bake as the recipe instructs.
These bagels are somewhere in the middle, but definitely more on the side of no big blueberry pieces. If you don't want any blueberry chunks at all, take an immersion blender to the roasted blueberry water before adding it to the bagel dough. If you do want blueberry chunks in your bagels, roast the blueberries for less time — no more than 5 minutes — and don't stir them in the water. You could also soak ¼ cup store bought dried blueberries in the roasted blueberry water for about 10 minutes before adding it to the dough.
Yep! Follow the same instructions, just use a dough whisk or your hands to mix the dough together in a bowl. Then turn it out onto a clean countertop to knead for 8-10 minutes until it's smooth. Follow the rest of the recipe as instructed! Fair warning: Your hands will likely end up dyed purple from the blueberries.
- 240 grams blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 110-140 grams water (see recipe notes!)
- 500 grams all-purpose flour (bread flour will also work)
- 25 grams sugar (2 tablespoons)
- 6 grams instant yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 4 grams diamond crystal kosher salt (1½ teaspoons)
- Roast the blueberries. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer on a lined sheet pan. Roast for 5-10 minutes, until blueberries have started leaking all over the dang place.
- Make blueberry water. Immediately scrape the hot blueberries and any juices into a measuring cup tared to zero on kitchen scale. Weigh the blueberries, then add cool water to the container until the display reads 320 grams. The amount of water you need will change depending on how much water evaporated from the blueberries. (I usually needed around ~140 grams water, making these in a cool, dry environment.) Mix the blueberries and water together. If you don't like blueberry chunks in your bagels, use an immersion blender to chop them up in the water.
- Combine dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Make sure the yeast and salt are not touching in the bowl.
- Add the blueberry water. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the blueberry water into the center of the dry ingredients. (If you're in a humid environment, add all of the blueberries to the bowl but hold back about ⅛ cup water and add it only if needed.)
- Mix. Increase the speed to low-medium, pausing occasionally to push the dry ingredients into the center of the bowl with a spatula. If the dough hasn't come together with no dry bits left in the bottom of the bowl after 3 minutes, sprinkle additional ½ teaspoon water onto the dry bits and let the mixer run for another 30-45 seconds. Repeat again only if needed.
- Knead. Once the dough has mostly come together on the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Troubleshooting: Dust in flour if the dough is sticking to the bowl, or flick water onto the dough with your fingers if it seems too dry.
- Rise. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm spot (72-75°F) until just about doubled in size. When you press a finger into the dough the indentation should fill back in just slightly.
- Punch down. Punch the dough down in the bowl to knock any large air bubbles out of it. Cover and let rest an additional 10 minutes.
- Divide and shape. Use a kitchen scale to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. On a clean, unfloured counter, shape each one into a ball. Stack any smaller pieces on top of the biggest piece. Gently flatten the dough, then tuck the edges up, flip the dough over and cup your hand around it in a claw shape. Keep your pinkie on the counter and move in tight circular motions to build tension on the top of the dough and smoosh the edges together underneath. If that doesn't work for you: Cup your hand around the dough and, with your pinkie on the counter, pull your hand straight toward your body. The dough will tighten up into an oval shape. Rotate 90° and repeat to pull the oval into a circle shape.
- Rest. Cover the dough balls and let them rest 10-15 minutes so the seams underneath have time to seal up.
- Preheat the oven and water bath. While the bagels rest, preheat oven to 420°F. Fill a wide, straight-sided skillet with about 3" of water and bring to a low boil. Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Poke the holes. Dust your hands lightly with flour (regular AP or bread flour is fine). Poke your thumb through the bottom of each bagel round, pushing any edges or seams into the center. Gently squeeze to stretch (don't tear!) the bagels — you want the hole to be about the same width as the sides of the bagel. Rotate the bagels through your hands, squeezing to slowly stretch them.The bagels will shrink slightly when they bake, so if you prefer a bigger hole stretch them again right before you boil them.
- Rest. Cover the bagels with a damp paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Boil and bake. Working in batches, boil the bagels 2 minutes per side. Use a wire spider to remove the boiled bagels to the prepared sheet pan. Brush with egg wash and bake 20-22 minutes until lightly browned on top.
- Cool. Let bagels cool on the sheet pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- How much water you need will depend on how much water the blueberries lose during roasting and the humidity levels in your kitchen. In a very humid environment, you may need less than 320 grams of blueberry water. If there's lots of moisture in the air, hold back about ⅛ cup (30 grams) blueberry water when you add it to the dough and add it only if needed.
- Bagel dough is meant to be low hydration and should never feel sticky or wet. Add additional water in very small increments only if absolutely necessary to get the dough to come together before kneading. If you add too much water and the dough begins to feel sticky, or sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, dust in more flour until it pulls clear from the sides of the bowl.
- If you want big blueberry pieces in your blueberry bagels, add ¼ cup dried blueberries to the blueberry water. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes, then add the blueberry water to the dough.
- If you don't want any blueberry pieces in your blueberry bagels, use an immersion blender on the roasted blueberry water before adding it to the dough.
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove