The BEST and EASIEST pretzel bagels recipe. Quick-rise, soft, and easy to make. Make a dozen soft and chewy bagels this afternoon!
Watch our step by step video!
We go through a lot of bagels over here. A LOT. Ask any of my son’s friends and they’ll tell you that he came to school almost every day in middle and high school with a bagel in his lunch. Bagels for breakfast, bagels for lunch—we love bagels.
I only have so much time in my day so I typically buy a bunch of bagels and keep them on hand in the freezer, but every now and then I’m a fun mom who makes a batch of bagels for my kids. Word of warning: homemade bagels are devoured a lot faster than store-bought bagels. It’s a fact. Pretzel bagels and parmesan bagels are our favorites.
The Best Bagel Dough
After trying several basic recipes over the years, I’ve decided that this basic bagel recipe is the best base for the dough. The dough doesn’t have to double in size so they are fairly quick to make. It is also pretty easy to customize the recipe to make any flavor of bagel that you’d like: plain, chocolate chip, pumpkin, etc. I’ve altered it quite a bit to create these pretzels bagels that you see here, and they turn out perfect every time. Soft, chewy, and golden just like the giant pretzels from the mall—only in bagel form.
What makes a basic bagel dough suddenly golden and brown like a pretzel? It’s the water bath/boil. Instead of boiling the bagels in water and a bit of sugar, you boil them in water and baking soda just like you would if you were making soft pretzels. If you skip the baking soda in the boiling water they will be plain bagels, not pretzel bagels.
Pretzel Bagel Ingredients
(scroll to the bottom of the post for a printable recipe)
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler and I bet you already have them on hand! Flour, yeast, sugar, water, salt. That’s all that you’ll need for the dough. The bagels boil in a bath of water and baking soda (which gives them their signature golden brown color after they are baked) and are then brushed with an egg wash (egg + water) and sprinkled with sea salt or kosher salt. Let’s make a batch!
MAKE THE DOUGH
You can make this by hand (definitely use a Danish dough whisk instead of a wooden spoon) and knead it yourself, but I’d highly recommend using a stand mixer with a dough hook.
In a large bowl combine 1 1/4 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. warm water, 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast, and 3 Tbsp. sugar. Mix on low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix on high speed for another minute until everything is completely mixed.
Add 1 Tbsp. salt and 3 more cups of flour. Mix until a stiff dough is achieved. Use the dough hook on your mixer and knead for 2 minutes (or knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until smooth and elastic).
LET DOUGH REST
Cover the dough with a cloth and let rise for 15 minutes.
SHAPE the Pretzel BAGELS
Now that the dough has had a chance to rest divide it into 12 sections. Roll each section into a ball. Press your thumb through the center of each ball and gently pull in all directions until a uniform ring has formed.
Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let rest again for 20 minutes.
Heat 10 cups of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda in a stock pot. Give it a good stir. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to med-low.
Boil 3-4 bagels at a time for 30-60 seconds on each side. While the bagels boil, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Transfer each bagel to a cooling rack to drain for 30 seconds then transfer to a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat until all 12 bagels have been boiled and are on the baking sheet.
Note: allowing the bagels to rest on a rack of some sort helps the water drip off and they won’t be soggy when baked.
Beat 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water together using a fork. Brush the egg wash onto the bagels and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake the bagels for 25 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through the baking process. The bagels will be DARK golden, and this is what you want. They’ll still be soft, trust me!
Store bagels in an airtight container or bag. Bagels are delicious eaten plain or toasted and spread with butter or cream cheese. They freeze well too!
Pretzel Bagels Recipe
- 4 1/4 cup all-purpose flour divided
- 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 Tbsp. white sugar
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 10 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 egg
- kosher salt
- In a large bowl combine 1 1/4 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. warm water, 2Tbsp. active dry yeast, and 3Tbsp. sugar.
- Mix on low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp. salt and 3 more cups of flour.
- Mix until a stiff dough is achieved. Use the dough hook on your mixer and knead for 2 minutes (or knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until smooth and elastic).
- Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
- Divide into 12 sections. Roll each section into a ball.
- Press thumb through the center of each ball and gently pull in all directions until a uniform ring has formed.
- Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.
- While dough rests, pour 10 cups of water into a stock pot. Add 1/2 cup baking soda, stir, then bring the water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to med-low.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Boil 3-4 bagels at a time for 30-60 seconds on each side. Transfer each bagel to a cooling rack to drain for 30-45 seconds then transfer to a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
- Repeat until all 12 bagels have been boiled.
- Use a fork to beat the egg and tablespoon of water together to create an egg wash. Brush each bagel with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water) then sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking process. Bagels will be dark, but they will still be soft. Trust me!
Welcome! I'm Brandy, mother to 5 darling kiddos and a cute black lab named Toby. My husband is in the Coast Guard so we've lived all over the place, turning each house into a home. I love baking, sewing, making cute things with my kids, and sharing what I've learned with all of you!