Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels

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There are some foods I believe are worth buying rather than making yourself. If you asked me two years ago, I would have said bagels were one of them.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

However, over the past year, I’ve been trying to master the art of whole-grain bread baking. Baking yeast breads (not quick-cooking) is very time consuming, so I don’t do it all that often, but when I make the time for it, the results are always marvelous.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

These bagels did not take nearly as long as some breads I’ve made in the past. They really only require one hour of “hands-on” time. You can handle that, can’t you?

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I first attempted making bagels one time about a year ago, but this recipe turned out much, much better. I think having completed the process once before (errr…learning from my mistakes) really helped. Additionally, this time around I used White Whole Wheat flour, which makes for a lighter and less dense bagel than regular Whole Wheat flour.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe

If you make the dough the night before, like I did, all you have to do it pull it out of the fridge the next morning and allow it to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Before you know it, you will have freshly baked bagels within the hour!

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe

You can top your bagels with whatever you like. I opted for sesame seeds and rolled oats. Next time I am going to take a stab at Cinnamon Raisin bagels – my childhood favorite.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe

After baking, these bagels are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are the perfect size for my liking (slightly smaller than the typical bakery bagel). We ate these as soon as I pulled them out of the oven alongside scrambled eggs. It was the perfect protein and whole-grain packed breakfast to keep us going until lunch.

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe

If you are a beginner bread-maker, I urge you to try this recipe. It is simple, involves very little kneading, and doesn’t require the patience of a saint.

Go, get to it! The carbs are screaming your name!

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe


Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 1 TBSP)
  • 1⅓ cups (11 oz) warm water (not hot), divided
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3.5 cups White Whole Wheat Flour (16 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Toppings (Optional)
  • 1 whole egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Rolled Oats
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Minced Garlic
  • Asiago Cheese
  • Sunflower Seeds
  1. In a small bowl combine the yeast with ¼ cup of the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast mixture becomes foamy (if it does not foam then something is wrong with your yeast).
  2. In a large bowl combine the white whole wheat flour, yeast mixture, remaining water, remaining sugar, and salt. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer. If the dough seems too dry, add an additional Tablespoon of water. Place the dough in a large clean and lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours*. The dough should approximately double in size.
  3. Place the dough on a clean counter space or large cutting board. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieced. Roll each piece gently into a ball. Using your index finger, poke a hole in the middle of each ball. Gently pick up the dough and swirl it around your index finger a few times to make the hole a bit larger. Repeat with all of the balls of dough. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper (to prevent any possible sticking). While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water to a low boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the water. Drop half of the bagels into the pot. If they sink, allow them to float to the top (you may need to use a spoon to push them to the top). Once floating, boil the bagels for 1 minute and then flip and boil for an additional minute on the other side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels. Place them on the baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled.
  5. If you are using toppings for your bagels, liberally coat the tops of each bagel with the egg wash. Sprinkle the toppings onto the bagels. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The bagels should be golden brown on top. Allow to bake a few additional minutes longer for crispier bagels.
*Alternatively, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight for up to 12 hours and allow it to rise in the fridge. If you choose this option, make sure to allow the dough to come to room temperature before baking in the morning. Be cautious because the longer it sits, it will become sour (think sourdough).

These Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels are easier to make than you'd expect and only take one hour! Try them for Sunday brunch this weekend! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com


  • The Cookie Writer
    June 24, 2014 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    These look awesome! I have made my own bread and should really expand to bagels, English muffins, etc. Ever since making homemade tortillas, I cannot go back to store-bought!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      June 24, 2014 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I hope you make them and love them as much as I did!

  • RealCheapFood
    January 28, 2015 - 5:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks! I’m glad I found this recipe, along with the pictures. I’ve started experimenting with making bagles, and this recipe — I can see already — is going to help me an awful lot!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      January 28, 2015 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I am so glad to hear it! Let me know how they turn out for you!

  • March 28, 2015 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I have not tried this recipe but am really lookimg forward to doing so. One question: if I were to add blueberries (fresh or dried), how and when would I do that, and how much?

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      March 30, 2015 - 7:51 am | Permalink

      I would recommend using dried (fresh could get very messy!) and adding them in at Step 2 right before kneading.

  • Sarah S
    August 15, 2015 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Hey beautiful! I just made these step by step and they turned out incredible! I see what you mean about whole wheat flour by the bagel being dense, because that is what I used. I like mine a little dense! But next time round I will be sure to use white whole wheat. I topped mine with rosemary, garlic, debydrated onion and sesame seeds. Never have been more satisfied in my life. I prasie you ma’lady.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      August 24, 2015 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      Sarah, I am SO happy to hear these turned out well! Your toppings sound DELISH – I’m going to try those next time. 🙂 XOX

  • Maggie
    October 2, 2015 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Very nice . I just made these todAy. Big son and grandchildren loved them. Will be making them again.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      October 3, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      Hi Maggie, I am so glad your family loved them! It’s one of my favorite recipes!

  • Becky
    November 3, 2015 - 12:44 am | Permalink

    I just made these. I used whole wheat flour and honey instead of sugar. I added cinnamon and chopped walnuts in the dough. They are wonderful – not too heavy at all. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      November 3, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      Becky, I am SO glad to hear that! Cinnamon + walnuts sounds AMAZING – I am definitely trying that next time.

  • Mimi
    January 23, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Wow these bagels taste so great!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      January 23, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Yay!! I am so glad you tried them and liked them!

  • Michi
    April 19, 2016 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Never made bagels before, but had a general idea. This is sooooo easy and we devoured the entire batch within hours. I may never buy bagels again. I’m guessing the recipe can easily be doubled? Thanks.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 19, 2016 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

      YAY! I am so glad you loved the recipe, Michi! Thank you for commenting and letting me know. Yes, absolutely it can be doubled. I make extras and freeze them 🙂

  • May 4, 2016 - 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this recipe! Looks great. I am about to head to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients now. My GF is at work and I want to make them before she gets home lol.

    Wish me luck 🙂

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      May 4, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      James, I am so impressed! Definitely let me know how they turn out!

  • May 4, 2016 - 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rachel, so I am back 🙂

    I made a few tweaks.

    1. I forgot to pick up whole wheat flour so I went with bread flour instead.

    2. I added a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond spice to the water for flavoring.

    Now they are done. Am nervous to taste it lol. SO I have some pics for you. I can’t post on your blog so hopefully you’ll allow this link. To my bagels 🙂


    Thanks again for the recipe.


    PS. I hope my GF likes them, she should be home soon. So I’ll just wait for her to taste it first haha.

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      May 4, 2016 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

      They look awesome!! Thanks for stopping back to tell me how it went. I’ve never made them with bread flour, so once you taste them make sure to let me know how they were!

      • May 4, 2016 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

        They are delicious!. I forgot to let you know that I also added some raisons and a bit of cinnamon powder as well.

        I toasted one and then added some cheese. YUMMY. I don’t know if I will be buying bagels again lol.

        Now I make them myself. 🙂

        Thanks again for the recipe.


        • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
          May 5, 2016 - 7:02 am | Permalink

          Yay! You made my day! I’ll have to try them with cinnamon and raisins!

  • Phoenix
    July 11, 2016 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I just made your recipe. This is the first time I’ve ever made bagels. I only had to let them rise an hour instead of two—must be warm in my house.

    My mother in law loved them. I actually might have to adjust the temp further. I cooked at 425 for the 25 mins and they got darker than I’d like.

    They also got a little shrivelled, did I boil too long? Not enough?

    Anyway, will definitely use this recipe again. Thank you!!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      July 11, 2016 - 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I am so glad your MIL loved them. So strange that yours shriveled, I’ve never had that happen. Also, is it possible that your oven may run hot? Mine doesn’t get hot enough, so I use an oven thermometer that I bought on Amazon. Maybe next time just aim for 20 min. I am sure you could continue to tweak it until it’s perfect to your liking! Thanks for stopping by. – Rachel

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