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16 Different Types of Bagels (Bagel Flavors and a Brief History)

Photo collage of different types of bagels.

When was the last time you bit into a fresh, piping hot bagel with rich cream-cheese oozing out with every bite?  With so many bagel flavors it’s hard to choose… basically the different flavors/ingredients make up the many different types of bagels. Bagels are one of the most popular breakfast foods consumed by millions every day around the world.

With such a popular food item, it doesn’t come as a surprise that bagels have a devoted following. These loyal bagel fans know everything about everything related to this common breakfast food. Bagel fans hold some strong feelings about this ‘ring of kneaded bread’ when it comes to how it must be eaten.

There’s a debate whether to toast it or not, one on whether slather cream cheese on it or not, and a debate to scoop or not to scoop. Eating a bagel obviously requires some very important decision-making skills. With so many questions regarding bagels in the world, we will try to answer them all by discussing the wonderful world of bagels and bagel flavor.

Related: How to Store Bagels | Healthy Alternatives to Pizza | Types of Bread | Types of Soft Cheese

Bagels or Bread?

According to commonly held beliefs, bagels are simply rounds of kneaded bread. This concept, or should we rather say ‘misconception’ has stirred up quite a debate over what a bagel really is. Bagels are simply round pieces of bread that consist of some simple dough ingredients like flour, water, salt, yeast, malt, and sometimes, eggs, as well.

The process of making a bagel is unique. It involves first boiling the dough, then baking it till it becomes a rich, golden caramel color. A key characteristic of bagels is their ability to produce a subtle crackling sound when you take the first bite.

Though bagels are made from dough similar to the recipe used in making bread, they are actually so much more than ‘just bread’. There is often a unique and fascinating story behind different foods, and bagels have one, too.

Types of Bagels

What started with a simple, plain, bread-like food has now transformed into a food that offers a plethora of endless flavors and varieties. Much to the surprise of many, there are bagels for different times of the day, like lunchtime or breakfast time, and bagels that can satisfy different flavor cravings, whether sweet, savory, or a combination of both. Whether you prefer a plain bagel with a dollop of cream cheese, or you like yours with the dough loaded with chocolate chips or raisins, you can find descriptions of many bagel flavors below.

Here is a list of the most popular and commonly consumed bagel flavors. They will surely tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving one of these delicious foods!

Everything Bagels

A close look at an everything bagel on a small saucer.

The name couldn’t have been more apt! Everything bagels are actually covered in “everything” from all the great bagels in the world. The idea behind these flavorful bagels is simple- if you can’t decide what bagel flavor to pick, why not get a little bit of everything?

Everything bagels are believed to be the trendiest bagels after plain ones, simply because this bagel flavor seems to have sprung from the world of spices and seeds. An everything bagel features a most delectable blend of dried onions, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sometimes also a pinch of salt to let you get a taste of everything you could desire. Simply said, an everything bagel can satisfy any and all savory cravings!

Chocolate Chip Bagels

A close look at a couple of chocolate chip bagels.

As if chocolate chip cookies and muffins were not enough, consider a stack of rich, chocolate chip bagels. Chocolate chip bagels call out your long-buried inner child – you know, the one who loves to schmear chocolate on literally everything, despite warnings and forbidding from parents. These decadent bagels are filled with chocolate chips, which are available in every bite of a chocolate chip bagel.

The correct way to devour chocolate chip bagels, though, is by toasting them until you see that wonderful, cracked, golden top. Then, bite into the warm bagel to enjoy the oozing, melted chocolate inside.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

A half cut bagel with cinnamon and raisins.

Cinnamon raisin bagels may lack the versatility of a plain bagel, but they are also delightful and delicious, recalling misty autumn mornings. Cinnamon raisin bagels are not overly sweet, as one might expect them to be, but they do offer a scrumptious blend of raisins and cinnamon. The raisins give cinnamon raisin bagels their chewy, stringy texture, and the cinnamon provides a subtle kick of spice to counteract the sweetness of the bagel and the raisins.

A cinnamon raisin bagel is delicious any time of year, but they’re especially delectable in the fall and winter!

Plain Bagels

A close look at a plain bagel cut in half on a chopping board.

Flavored bagels with a dollop of chocolate or a caramel crust might sound unbelievably tempting, but sometimes, you really do crave a simple plain bagel. The other fancy bagels available in the world are all awesome, but a plain bagel can be pure perfection. A simple but out-of-this-world crusty bagel exterior followed by a soft, warm, chewy center that melts in your mouth as soon as you bite into it is nothing short of scrumptious.

You can never go wrong with a plain bagel, and contrary to what its name suggests, a plain bagel is actually much more than just a baked ring of dough. It can be a blank canvas that allows you to transform this epitome of simplicity into something different altogether, perhaps with a layer of cream cheese or some salted butter. Flavored cream cheeses can also spice up a plain bagel!

Blueberry Bagels

Pieces of blueberry bagels in a wooden bowl.

From the cooking bowl to your mouth within two hours, blueberry bagels are a true breakfast treat that can make the morning! A blueberry bagel is prepared the same way an original plain bagel is, except that the baker adds blueberries while the dough is mixing in the mixer. Soon enough, you will notice the bagel dough turn to a beautiful shade of purple, from the blueberry juice.

Blueberry bagels are not only an appealing purple color inside, they’re also sweet and fragrant from the fruit that dots the dough.

Onion Bagels

A freshly-baked onion bagel.

There is no denying the fact that onions can and often do make most foods taste better. The flavor of onion bagels is best defined as bold and also completely unforgettable. These bagels have an exceptionally crunchy texture and a rich, garlic-oniony flavor.

Onion bagels are like the Brad Pitt of the bagel flavors, and they are well-loved across the world. An onion bagel is best paired with scallion cream cheese, but some people may even choose to slather a thick layer of glistening butter over an onion bagel’s crunchy top. To make the best gooey, oniony bagels, stir in chopped or dehydrated onions before adding flour to the bagel dough batter.

The bagel dough will soon be infused with the intoxicating aroma of onions. As soon as onion bagels are ready to be devoured, your taste buds will thank you – just remember to brush your teeth after eating one, to spare the people around you!

Salt Bagels

Salt and bagels aren’t an exceedingly popular combination, but take a moment and imagine biting into a salty bagel, generously slathered with cool cream cheese. Sounds refreshing and indulgent, doesn’t it? Although a pinch of salt can solve many flavor woes and dilemmas in most dishes and on many foods, putting a little too much salt on a bagel means all you are going to taste is an overwhelming amount of salt.

So to get salt bagels right, sprinkle a little salt on the top of them, brush off the excess crystals, then bite into your hot, oozy salt bagel without thinking twice.

Asiago Bagels

A freshly-baked asiago bagel.

If bread and cheese don’t create the most wonderful, match made in heaven kind of combination, we don’t know what else would! The combination of cheese and bread is easily one of the most perfect culinary blends of all time. The Asiago bagel is a different and delicious manifestation of this ideal food combination.

Asiago bagels provide munchers with the ultimate mixture of warm, fresh bread and layers of rich, salty, smooth cheese. This is a combination that bursts into a symphony of flavor on the taste buds. Asiago bagels, as their name suggests, feature the scrumptious Italian cheese called the Asiago cheese.

Asiago cheese is made from an Italian cow’s milk, and can only be produced in Italy on the Asiago plateau, which is located in the foothills of the Veneto region of Italy. A generous amount of shredded Asiago cheese is typically sprinkled over a bagel with this flavor as soon as it comes out of boiling water and before being baked in the oven. As soon as your kitchen fills up with the rich aroma of melted Asiago cheese and you see your homemade bagels becoming a beautiful golden-brown color, you’ll know they are ready to leave the oven.

French Toast Bagels

A plate of French toast bagel with a side of fruits.

French toast bagels will make you want to have breakfast every single day of the week, even if you are one of those people who cannot stand the idea of consuming anything other than coffee in the morning. These bagels are soft, sweet, and worth every single penny they cost to buy or make them. If you must indulge in a sweet breakfast treat, a French toast bagel can be the perfect way to satisfy that sweet tooth.

The best aspect of these bagels is that the French toast custard soaks into every nook and cranny of the bread. So, there is no bit of the dough without the flavor of French toast. To get the most of a French toast bagel, soak the bagel bread with the cut side down in the glossy French toast mixture.

Then, leave it in a refrigerator for a few hours. Do you know what could take these already-delectable bagels to a whole new level? Whipped cream cheese!

Let’s face it –  whipped cream cheese makes just about everything a whole lot better.

Poppyseed Bagels

A freshly-baked poppyseed bagel.

While these bagels would normally cause you a great inconvenience (poppyseeds getting stuck in your teeth), they are worth all the trouble of dealing with the poppyseeds stuck where you don’t want them. There is no flavor in the world like that of poppyseeds, a rich, out-of-this-world flavor. The flavor of poppyseeds is best described as nutty, while these seeds are finely granulated.

Poppyseeds have an irresistible and pleasant fruity flavor, as well. To most Americans, bagels and poppyseeds are a combination that goes hand-in-hand. These seeds provide a soft and chewy bagel with a crunchy outside.

So with every bite of a poppy seed bagel, you can experience the contrasting yet oh-so-satisfying juxtaposition of crunchy and chewy. Aside from being incredibly flavorful, a poppyseed bagel is a treat for the eyes, as well. Golden-brown bagels become even more beautiful once they are topped with dark blue poppyseeds.

Egg Bagels

A freshly-baked egg bagel.

These bagels are usually described as a wonderful amalgamation of two of the most incredible breakfast items in this world: eggs and bread. Egg bagels have a huge cult following, but most of their followers strongly feel that these bagels are chronically under-appreciated and are considered underrated. Egg bagels are made with the addition of egg yolks in the bagel dough recipe.

The addition of egg yolks results in an incredibly sweet flavor. It also adds a soft texture to the bagel dough. As rich and amazing as an egg bagel is, most people have a love-hate relationship with them.

The “hate” stems from the fact that the typical egg bagel texture is far from the quintessential crusty and crunchy exterior of the typical original bagel. However, true egg bagel lovers will find egg bagels absolute perfection in terms of flavor, texture, consistency, and even color! Since these bagels are slightly sweeter than plain bagels, it is best to pair egg bagels with a lox and cream cheese spread to ensure the perfect balance between salty and sweet.

Or, load up on protein by adding a fried egg on top of your toasted egg bagel!

Whole Wheat Bagels

A close look at a couple of whole wheat bagels.

This is the perfect type of bagel for die-hard bagel fans who wish to devour these delicious treats, but must be careful due to health and/or dietary concerns. The health-conscious can prevent themselves from feeling the full guilt of carb-loading by indulging in whole wheat bagels. Although whole wheat bagels are as finger-licking good as the other bagel flavors, they are also healthy and packed with numerous nutritious benefits.

As the name suggests, a whole wheat bagel is made from whole grains and whole grain flour, rather than the regular refined grain flour that one would typically find used in the creation of a plain bagel or loaf of white bread. Whole grains are a significant part of a well-balanced diet. They are also the healthiest kind of grains to consume, as whole grains are full of minerals and fibers that nourish the body.

While the difference in the grains in the flour might slightly alter the taste of whole wheat bagels compared to plain bagels, they still taste wonderfully delicious. For extra flavor, you can always slather on some unsalted butter or low-fat cream cheese.

Pumpernickel Bagels

Two pumpernickel bagels on a white plate with a side of butter.

Pumpernickel is a dark and dense type of German bread. This bread is traditionally made with coarsely ground rye and sourdough starter. Nowadays, you may even see a loaf of pumpernickel bread that has been made with a combination of whole rye berries and rye flour.

That unique word, “pumpernickel,” stems from an old Bavarian term that translates roughly into “hard” in English. The meaning “hard” refers to the density of this bread once it is completely made. It might also refer to the process through which the pumpernickel grain is turned into flour, which can be tricky and difficult.

When consumed in a bagel, expect to encounter a very different but also interesting flavor. Pumpernickel adds a rich and distinct flavor to a normally chewy and soft bagel. They are absolutely delicious!

You can always experiment with these bagels in terms of their fillings and toppings. An excellent rendition of this bagel is a Jewish-style pumpernickel bread recipe. This recipe features the aromatic addition of chopped onions.

And, as we said previously, onions can and often do make most foods taste better and more richly flavored. This is true for a pumpernickel bagel, just as it is for many other foods.

Garlic Bagels

A piece of garlic bagel with a side of cream cheese.

In most parts of the world, especially in certain parts of the US, there is no such thing as too much garlic used in cooking. It must be said that garlic is one of the most versatile ingredients to add to recipes. A little bit of garlic goes a long way to add a ton of flavor and increase the presence of other flavors in foods to which it is added.

The garlicky crunch on a garlic bagel produces a crisp noise as soon as you bite into one. The sound is like music to the ears. If you make garlic bagels correctly when making homemade bagels, eating one will be similar to eating a delicious breakfast version of garlic bread.

The best way to infuse maximum garlicky flavor in a garlic bagel is either by brushing a garlic-olive oil mixture to the top of the bagel, or by also infusing a hint of garlic in the form of garlic powder or chopped garlic cloves in the dough batter. Either way, there should be a rich, crackling garlic layer on the top of a garlic bagel that looks almost too good to be true. Go ahead – indulge!

Cheddar Bagels

Just as there is almost no such thing as too much garlic or onion in food, you can also never have enough cheese, especially cheddar cheese! Although cheddar bagels look and taste like a bread roll with melted cheese on the top and the inside, they taste heavenly. As we said before, cheese and bread is a classic and mouthwatering combination, so it’s no surprise that cheddar bagels are so delectable!

To give a kick to cheddar bagels, add in sliced jalapenos before mixing in the cheddar cheese to the dough. This creates a burst of cheesy, spicy flavors in your mouth when eating your homemade cheddar bagel later!

Sesame Bagels

A stack of sesame bagels.

Sesame seeds taste delicate, with a nutty brilliance that brings life to both savory and sweet foods. Sesame seeds have a nutty taste that is accompanied by an exceptionally distinct crunch, which helps turn an ordinary bagel into an extraordinary one. A sesame bagel is simple, scrumptious, and crunchy, with a warm flavor that compliments anything you may put on the bagel, whether butter or plain cream cheese, or even flavored cream cheese.

A Rich History

Bagels with cream cheese spread on a chopping board.

Bagels are believed to have originated in Central Europe. The earliest mention of bagels occurred in the statutes of the Jewish community residing in Poland in 1610. According to the statutes, it was permissible to gift bagels to a woman giving birth, a midwife, and to all the other women present.

Other historical evidence suggests that bagels originated in Vienna, Austria in 1683 during the time of the Battle of Vienna. Apparently, an Austrian baker created them to celebrate the Austrians’ victory over the Turks. Considering that, the good old bagel represents the ultimate cavalry charge headed by King John III Sobieski of Poland.

The term ‘bagel’ comes from the Polish word ‘bajgiel’, which was initially derived from the Yiddish word ‘baygel’. Different variants of this word were used to refer to a type of sweet-filled pastry. Another similar etymology suggests, quite logically, that the word bagel came from the Yiddish word ‘beygl’ which was further taken from the German word ‘bougel’, which means ‘ring.’

Bagels became significantly popular in North America sometime during the twentieth century. After some time, the “bagel brunch” started to become a trend in New York City. The “bagel brunch” basically featured a bagel topped with red onions, lox cream cheese, tomatoes, and capers.

Are you craving a warm, toasted bagel after reading about the many different delicious bagel flavors available? We surely are!

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