Homemade Small-Batch Bagels

Good bagels are like good writers. There are a lot of mediocre ones out there, but when you find a good one, it’s a thing of beauty.

My local grocery store bagels just don’t measure up. So, I rolled up my sleeves and made my own.

I had a different problem when I first made bagels, though. The recipe made a whole bunch of them, way more than my wife and I needed.

Homemade small-batch bagels 16 - More finished bagels!

Thus, this recipe was born: tasty homemade (small-batch) bagels.

Quick thing: I have included affiliate links to Amazon below – it won’t affect your price to click them, but I do get a kickback. I promise that my links are only to be helpful and offer products that would be useful with the recipe.

Homemade small-batch bagels 01 - Ingredients


So, let’s start with the shopping list.

The ingredient list is surprisingly short for these at five total items. You will need active dry yeast, sugar, water, bread flour (all-purpose works, too), and salt.

I would also recommend having a measuring cup that also measures in ounces, like the oxo ones that you see in that photo. Since it’s a small batch (like this salted caramel recipe), you will need to make some slightly odd measurements (like 5/8 of a cup). There are 8 ounces in each cup, so that is an easy measurement to make.

If you don’t have any, click on that image of the three cups – it’ll take you right to Amazon to buy your own.

Homemade small-batch bagels 02 - Prepping the yeast with water and sugar

Step By Step

Now, putting it together. As with most all bread recipes, we start with the yeast. Pour 5/8 of a cup (5 ounces) of warm water (verging on steaming, but not so hot that it hurts when you touch it) into a bowl. Add a teaspoon of the yeast and 3/4 of a tablespoon of sugar. Give it a bit of a stir and let it sit about 10 minutes.

Homemade small-batch bagels 03 - Yeast is fully prepped

It should look something like this. The mix should be foamy and smell nicely like yeast.

Homemade small-batch bagels 04 - Adding flour and salt

Pour in 1 and 3/4 cups of the flour and 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt. Then it’s time to mix and knead.

Homemade small-batch bagels 05 - Preparing to mix

I am going to be using a stand mixer to do this. Of course, not everyone has one, and they can be pretty pricey. If you can afford the purchase, I would highly recommend it. I love ours very much.

For added convenience, just click on that image here to get one for yourself from Amazon.

That said, we haven’t always had our stand mixer. I made this recipe just fine, though, using a hand mixer with its own dough hook attachments.

Homemade small-batch bagels 06 - Post-mixing

Either way, mix up that dough. Once it is together, knead it (either by hand or by mixer) for 10 minutes. If you used all-purpose flour, though, add a few more minutes to that time.

Homemade small-batch bagels 07 - Cover the dough to rise

Once you are finished, cover the bowl to let the dough rise. Leave it alone for an hour (maybe make one of these other recipes).

Homemade small-batch bagels 08 - Risen dough

At the end of the hour, your dough should look something like this. Turn on the oven to preheat to 425 F. Then, get a medium saucepan, fill it over halfway with water, and start heating it to a boil on the stove.

Homemade small-batch bagels 09 - Divide the dough

While those are both heating, divide the dough and roll it into balls. This recipe includes enough dough for four bagels.

Homemade small-batch bagels 10 - Shape the dough into rings

Now, turn these rolls into bagels by pushing a thumb through the center and expanding the hole to larger than normal bagel size.

Homemade small-batch bagels 11 - Boil 1-2 minutes

One or two at a time, put the bagels in the boiling water for a minute or two.

Homemade small-batch bagels 12 - Flip over the bagels

Flip over and boil another minute or two.

Homemade small-batch bagels 13 - Transfer to a baking sheet

Transfer the fully boiled bagels onto a prepared baking sheet. You can use non-stick spray, parchment paper, or just a seasoned non-stick baking stone like you see here.

Quick note: if you want to top your bagels with something, this is the time. Just brush the top with some beaten egg and sprinkle on your topping before baking.

Homemade small-batch bagels 14 - Baked bagels

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a lovely golden brown.

Homemade small-batch bagels 15 - Finished bagels!

Try your best not to dig in before they have had a chance to cool. I actually failed at this when making this batch.

It was still worth it.

Store leftover bagels in a Ziploc bag. They don’t last for very long without preservatives, so eat up!

Homemade Small-Batch Bagels

Prep Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes; Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 5/8 cups (or 5 ounces) of warm water (not painful to the touch, but quite warm)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups bread flour (all-purpose also works, it just takes longer)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg and bagel toppings, optionally
  1. Pour the water (5/8 cups or 5 ounces) into a large bowl, then add sugar (3/4 tablespoon) and yeast (1 teaspoon).
  2. Give it a stir, then let sit for 10 minutes. At the end, yeast should be foamy, and smell nicely of yeast.
  3. Add flour and salt, the combine to make the dough.
  4. Knead the dough (by hand or mixer) for 10 minutes (add a few more minutes if you used all-purpose flour).
  5. Cover the dough and bowl then let rise for an hour.
  6. At the end of the hour, begin preheating the oven to 425 F and start boiling a medium pot of water.
  7. Divide and shape the dough into four balls.
  8. Push a thumb through the center of the dough balls to make a hole, then shape into bagels (with larger-than-normal holes).
  9. Boil each bagel in water for 1-2 minutes before flipping and boiling another 1-2 minutes.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to transfer boiled bagels to prepared baking sheet (with non-stick spray, parchment paper, or nonstick baking stone).
  11. If desired, brush the boiled bagels with egg and sprinkle on desired toppings.
  12. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.