These chewy, tender, golden yellow egg bagels are so easy to make at home. Top them with poppy seeds, nigella seeds, or black sesame seeds and serve with your favorite sandwich toppings.
Inspired by my easy 3-hour bagel recipe, these egg bagels get their gorgeous golden yellow color and tender, chewy crumb from the addition of egg yolks to the dough.
UPDATED 9/21 — I've updated this recipe with even more ingredient notes, a more robust FAQ and a streamlined version of the recipe!
Egg bagels were the standard in my house growing up. And as a kid I always assumed egg bagels were superior to plain bagels the same way egg matzah is superior to plain matzah. For much of my early childhood, egg bagels were the only bagel as far as I was concerned.
These days I'm more adventurous in my bagel eating. I love a rosemary olive oil bagel, a pumpkin bagel, garlic and fennel bagels, pepperoni pizza bagels, you name it. And most bagels use a plain (aka water) bagel as the base.
But a few weeks ago I found myself craving a good old fashioned egg bagel — the kind that rises high with a chewy exterior that sticks in your teeth. So I started tinkering with my trusty 3-hour bagel recipe to see if I could adapt it to work with eggs. And I could! Which means you can too.
🥯 What is an egg bagel?
Egg bagels get their yellow color and chewy, airy texture from the addition of eggs — specifically, egg yolks. The egg yolks enrich the bagel dough with fat which gives them a texture slightly more similar to a challah bread. But the shiny, gelatinized crust and the low hydration makes them unmistakably bagels.
A good egg bagel, in my opinion, should have a deliciously chewy and light texture with a thin crust and that distinctive yellow color (without any help from food coloring).
People tend to either love or hate egg bagels. Those who love them (hello!) enjoy their softer texture and slightly sweeter flavor. They pair well with other sweet fillings like jams and jellies but also provide a nice contrast to salty lox, bacon, or capers.
📋 Why this recipe works
Most of the egg bagel recipes I saw in my research used eight or more (!!!) whole egg yolks. But I didn't want you to end up with eight leftover egg whites. I wanted to use the fewest number of egg yolks possible to still produce a bagel that was unmistakably an egg bagel.
I swapped some of the water in my plain bagel recipe for egg yolks, increasing the number of yolks with each batch until I landed on ratio that gives us that perfect golden yellow color and just-right amount of chewiness.
The final recipe uses 3 egg yolks and 3 whole eggs. The fat from the 6 egg yolks gives the bagels their tenderness and yellow color. Including the 3 egg whites (which are 90% water) help keep the water content in the recipe balanced.
You will end up with three extra egg whites, there's no way around that. But you can use them to make my crispy meringue s'mores! So in a way... you're welcome.
📖 Ingredients and Equipment
Here's what you'll need to make these homemade egg bagels.
- All-purpose flour - Though bread flour is traditionally used for bagels all purpose works better here because the eggs add a lot of that chewiness you usually get from the bread flour.
- Brown sugar - Dark or light brown sugar, doesn't matter which. Plain granulated sugar will also work, but I like the stronger flavor you get from the brown sugar.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which is half as salty as other brands of salt. If you're using a different brand, cut the amount of salt the recipe calls for in half.
- Instant yeast - Instant yeast can be added right to your dry ingredients and doesn't need to be "bloomed" first in water as long as you're sure it's good. If you only have active dry yeast, you can use it the exact same way. Your dough might just take a little longer to double in size.
- 3 whole eggs - Large eggs, at room temperature.
- 3 egg yolks - Large egg yolks, at room temperature.
- Water - Lukewarm to warm, but not hot.
- Poppy seeds - I like these blue poppy seeds from The Spice House, but you can also use black sesame seeds or nigella seeds!
- Stand mixer with dough hook - You can also mix and knead the dough by hand. See the notes in the recipe cards for details!
- Kitchen scale - You'll get the best results from the dough if you measure the ingredients by weight. The scale is also useful for dividing the dough into 8 equal pieces so your bagels are all the same size.
- Bench scraper - For dividing the dough. Try not to tear the dough, you'll undo some of the work you put into creating those gluten strands that give the dough structure. It's easier to combine pieces of dough when you cut them cleanly.
- Large high-sided skillet - You'll need at least 2-3" of water to boil the bagels. You can also use a deeper pot, but a wide skillet will give you more room so you can fit 3-5 bagels at once.
- Wire spider - The wide, shallow depth of a wire spider does a better job supporting the weight of a boiled bagel than a slotted spoon does. It also creates less splashing when you have to flip the bagels in the water.
- Sheet pan - For baking your bagels.
- Pastry brush - For the egg wash.
🔪 How to make egg bagels
Just like my other bagel recipes, making egg bagels is very easy.
- Mix the dough. Start by mixing the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer, then beat the eggs, egg yolks, and water together and add them to the dry ingredients. Even though you'll be using the dough hook for this step, you're still just "mixing" the dough.
- Knead the dough. Once the dough clears the sides of the bowl and collects on the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic.
- Let it rise. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and let rise somewhere warm (72-75F) for about an hour until doubled in size.
- Shape the bagels. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, shape them into balls, let the balls rest, then poke holes in the balls, stretch them out, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Boil the bagels. A quick bath in some boiling water gelatinizes the crust of the bagels giving them their classic shiny exterior. If they're not boiled, they're not bagels!
- Bake the bagels. Brush the bagels with egg wash, top with black sesame seeds or nigella seeds, and bake for 20 minutes.
🥯 How to shape bagels
Here's a quick refresher on how to shape bagels. Unlike plain bagels, egg bagels need to rest for 10 minutes after you shape them into rounds (step 3) and before you poke the holes (step 4).
- Divide the dough into equal sized pieces. If you're combining a few pieces of dough, stack them on top of each other with the smallest one are on top.
- Fold all the edges up over the center, hiding any smaller pieces in the middle. The smooth side of the dough should be against the counter. The seam side of the bagel dough should be up.
- Flip the dough over so the seam side is down. Cup your hand around the dough and slide it toward you. The dough will take on an oval shape. Rotate it 90 degrees and repeat to turn the oval into a round circle. (If this doesn't work for you, you can cup your hand around the dough and move it in a circular counterclockwise motion, keeping your pinkie on the counter.) Always do this on an unfloured surface.
- Once the dough has been shaped into balls, coat your hands in flour and stick 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.
- Keep going, gently stretching (not tearing!) and rotating until the bagel hole is at least the same width as the sides of the bagel if not bigger. If the dough is fighting you or feels like it's tearing, let it rest for a few minutes, then resume stretching.
🍽 How to serve egg bagels
While you really can serve egg bagels however you want, their softer texture makes them perfect for softer sandwich fillings that might otherwise squish out of a firmer bagel. And their slightly sweeter flavor is perfect for sweet toppings like jams or cinnamon sugar but also provides a nice contrast to salty fillings like bacon, lox, or cream cheese.
- Toasted with butter and cinnamon sugar
- Cream cheese and bacon
- Cream cheese and lox with capers
- Strawberry cream cheese or other sweet cream cheeses
- With classic BLT toppings: bacon, lettuce, and tomato
- With a fried egg and thinly sliced avocado
- As a bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwich
How else do you like to eat egg bagels? Let me know in the comments!
💭 A few quick recipe notes
- Large egg yolks weigh 18 grams and whole large eggs (minus the shell) weigh 50 grams. If you want eggier egg bagels with an even bolder yellow color, you can use up to 8 egg yolks and no egg whites. Just adjust the water content appropriately!
- Boiling the bagels helps set the crust before they bake. You'll notice the outside texture of the bagel becomes slightly gelatinous after boiling. The longer you boil them the thicker that crust will be. I like a thinner, chewier crust on my egg bagels, so I boil them for 30-60 seconds per side. If you prefer a thicker crust, you can boil them for up to 2 minutes per side.
- You want the bagels to be as smooth as possible before you boil them. If the underside of your bagels have visible seams where the dough hasn't fully stuck back to itself, let the bagels rest 10-15 more minutes before boiling to give the dough time to smooth out.
- When shaping the dough into rounds before you poke the holes in them, use an unfloured surface and don't flour your hands. You want the dough to stick slightly to the counter to help create tension and give the dough rounds a smooth exterior.
- If you want to refrigerate the bagels overnight, reduce the amount of yeast to 1½ teaspoon and cover them with a damp paper towel and then loosely with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
- Save one of the egg whites to use as an egg wash for the egg bagels, and you can save the other egg whites for making a scramble, for crispy swiss meringue s'mores, or to make a standard meringue for a pavlova. You can also freeze egg whites in an airtight container if you aren't planning to use them right away.
- The most traditional egg bagel topping is poppy seeds (I used black sesame seeds here because I didn't have poppy seeds) but you can really use any topping you like. Use an egg wash whether or not you use a topping to get a nice shiny exterior.
You'll want to replace the weight of the egg whites (3 egg whites = 96 grams) with water but subtract the amount of weight the two additional egg yolks add (2 yolks = 36 grams) from the water. So 96 - 36 = 60 grams of water.
So instead of 100 grams water, you'll have 160 grams (~4 tablespoons) water. You may need to adjust with more or less water depending on humidity, etc. You may also want to boil them for less time (30 seconds per side) so that they're firmer and more bagel-like.
Instant yeast does not need to be bloomed in water first as long as you're sure it's good. If you're not sure the yeast is good, you can stir it into a portion of the warm water the recipe calls for; if it gets bubbly, it's good!
If you're using active dry yeast, it can be used exactly the same way as instant yeast, but because active dry yeast has a little shell around it that needs to dissolve, it sometimes takes a little longer to activate in the dough. So your dough might rise a little more slowly than if you use instant yeast.
As always, I recommend storing your yeast in the freezer — that way you know it's good!
Yep! See my ingredient notes above for why I recommend all-purpose for these egg bagels. But bread flour will also work just fine.
homemade egg bagels
- 500 grams flour (3½ cups)
- 19 grams brown sugar (1½ TBSP)
- 11 grams kosher salt (1½ tsp)
- 6 grams instant yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 100 grams warm water (95-110°F)
- 3 large eggs (150g)
- 3 large egg yolks (54g)
- ⅛ cup semolina flour (optional, for crisp bagel bottoms)
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional, for topping)
- Combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Whisk eggs, egg yolks, and water together until well combined. Reserve one egg white to use as an egg wash later.
- Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Pour the eggs and water into the center of the well. Run the mixer with the dough hook on a low-medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until a shaggy dough forms. Then knead the dough for 2-3 minutes on low speed until it becomes smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky (but not sticky) to the touch.
- Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest, covered, in a lightly greased bowl for 1 hour or until doubled in size.When the dough has doubled, punch it down, then cover and let rest 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Use a kitchen scale if you want to be precise.
- To shape the dough into rounds, gently flatten a piece of dough on a clean, unfloured surface. Then fold the top of the dough down over the middle, rotate the dough 45° and repeat. Keep going all the way around the dough, folding the top edge down over the middle until you have a smooth surface against your counter and the "seam" side facing up. Flip the dough over and cup your hand gently around it with your pinkie against the counter. Slide your hand toward your body to push the dough ball closer to you. This will increase the surface tension on top of the dough and shape it into an oval. Rotate the dough 90° and repeat the sliding motion to turn the oval into a circle. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover with a damp paper towel and let rest 10 minutes.
- Starting with the dough round that had the most time to rest, dip your thumb in flour and poke it through the bottom seam of the dough and out the other side. Slide your other thumb in next to it and stretch the dough by squeezing and rotating it through your hands until the center hole is at least the same width as the outside of the bagel. Don't squeeze too hard or tear the dough; gentle pressure as you rotate the bagel through your hands will slowly stretch it just fine.Repeat with the rest of the dough rounds. Cover the shaped bagels with a damp paper towel and let rest 10 minutes.
- While the bagels rest, fill a large, high-sided skillet about halfway with water.Preheat the oven to 425°F with rack in the middle of the oven.
- Working in batches, boil the bagels 1 minute per side. Remove the bagels to a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet pan dusted lightly with semolina flour.
- Whisk together one of the leftover egg whites with a splash of water and pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the boiled bagels with the egg wash and sprinkle with your preferred toppings.
- Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- If the dough seems dry during the kneading step, add water ½ tablespoon at a time, kneading between additions. If the dough seems too wet, add flour 2 tablespoon at a time, kneading between additions. This is a low hydration dough, so try not to add water unless you really think you need to.
- If kneading the dough by hand, it will take about 8-10 minutes of hand kneading on a lightly floured countertop for the dough to come together.
- Store bagels in an airtight bag or container. They'll stay good for 3-4 days. You can also slice them almost all the way through and freeze them.
This post was originally published on 6/25/2020.