Vonni Rhea

Written by Vonni Rhea

Modified & Updated: 06 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Seriouseats.com

Bagels are a beloved staple of breakfasts and brunches around the world. These versatile and delicious dough rings have a fascinating history and are a true culinary delight. Whether you prefer a classic New York style bagel or a unique flavor fusion, there is no denying the appeal of these chewy treats. In this article, we will delve into 20 interesting bagel facts that will make you appreciate these doughy delights even more. From their humble beginnings in Eastern Europe to their journey across the Atlantic to become a beloved American icon, bagels have come a long way. So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn some fascinating tidbits about bagels!

Key Takeaways:

  • Bagels are a versatile and beloved food that can be enjoyed at any time of day, not just for breakfast. They come in various flavors and can be used in creative ways, such as making bagel chips or mini pizzas.
  • The history of bagels dates back to Poland in the 17th century and has since become a popular staple in the United States, especially in areas like New York City. Bagels are low in fat and can be paired with a wide variety of toppings, making them a healthier and delicious choice.
Table of Contents

The History of Bagels

The history of bagels dates back to the 17th century in Poland, where it was initially known as the “obwarzanek.” These delicious ring-shaped bread products were introduced to the United States by Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century.

Bagels are Boiled before Baking

Unlike most breads, bagels are boiled briefly in water before they are baked. This unique cooking process gives bagels their chewy texture and distinctive crust.

Bagels come in various flavors

From classic plain to sesame, poppy seed, everything, and even chocolate chip, bagels come in a wide range of flavors to satisfy every palate.

The “Everything” Bagel

The “everything” bagel is a popular choice among bagel enthusiasts. It is topped with a mix of various spices and seeds, including sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic flakes, onion flakes, and salt.

Bagels are typically round

Bagels are traditionally shaped into a round circle with a hole in the center. This unique shape allows for even baking and easier spreading of toppings.

Bagels are not just for breakfast

While bagels are commonly associated with breakfast, they can be enjoyed at any time of the day. They make for a tasty lunch or snack option.

Bagels and cream cheese

Bagels are often enjoyed with cream cheese, which is spread generously on the sliced halves. This combination has become a classic favorite.

The Bagel Belt

The “Bagel Belt” refers to the areas in the northeastern United States, particularly New York City, where bagels are incredibly popular and readily available.

Bagel Brunches

Brunches featuring an array of bagel flavors and assorted toppings have become increasingly popular, especially on weekends.

Bagel Sandwiches

Bagels make excellent bread options for sandwiches. The chewy texture holds up well with various fillings and add-ons.

Bagels and Lox

Bagels and lox is a classic combination that originated from Jewish cuisine. It consists of a bagel topped with thinly sliced smoked salmon, cream cheese, and garnished with onions and capers.

Bagels are versatile

Bagels can be used in various creative ways. They can be turned into mini pizzas, used as a base for open-faced sandwiches, or transformed into delicious bagel chips.

National Bagel Day

January 15th is designated as National Bagel Day in the United States, a day to celebrate and enjoy these beloved baked goods.

Frozen Bagels

Frozen bagels are a convenient option for those who want to enjoy them anytime. They can be easily toasted to perfection.

Bagels and Coffee

Pairing a freshly brewed cup of coffee with a warm bagel is a delightful way to start the day for many bagel lovers.

Bagel Toppings

Bagels can be topped with a wide variety of spreads, including butter, jelly, peanut butter, hummus, or even avocado.

Bagels are Low in Fat

Compared to many other bread options, bagels are relatively low in fat, making them a healthier choice for those watching their dietary intake.

The Bagel Renaissance

In recent years, bagels have experienced a resurgence in popularity, with artisanal bakeries creating unique and gourmet flavors.

Bagel Varieties Around the World

Bagel variations can be found in different parts of the world, such as the Montreal bagel in Canada, which is baked in a wood-fired oven, and the beigel in the United Kingdom.

Bagels in Pop Culture

Bagels have made appearances in numerous movies, TV shows, and even songs, solidifying their cultural significance and widespread recognition.


Bagels have a fascinating history and are enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you prefer a classic plain bagel or a unique flavored variety, this circular delight never fails to satisfy. From its Jewish roots to its popularity in American culture, the bagel has become a beloved staple for breakfast and beyond.

With its chewy texture and versatile nature, the bagel has inspired countless creations, from bagel sandwiches to bagel pizzas. Its round shape and signature hole in the center make it instantly recognizable and iconic.

Whether you slather it with cream cheese, schmear it with lox, or enjoy it toasted with butter, the bagel is a versatile canvas for your culinary creations. So, the next time you reach for that delicious, satisfying bagel, remember the rich history and cultural significance behind this beloved baked good.


1. Where did bagels originate?

Bagels originated in Eastern Europe, particularly among Jewish communities in Poland.

2. What are the traditional toppings for bagels?

Traditional toppings for bagels include cream cheese, lox (smoked salmon), and various types of spreads such as butter or jam.

3. Are bagels vegan?

Plain bagels made with basic ingredients such as flour, yeast, water, and salt are typically vegan. However, some flavored bagels may contain ingredients like eggs or milk. It’s always best to check the ingredients to be sure.

4. How many calories are in a bagel?

The calorie content of a bagel can vary depending on its size and toppings. On average, a plain bagel contains around 250-300 calories.

5. Can bagels be frozen?

Yes, bagels can be frozen to prolong their shelf life. Simply place them in a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer. They can be thawed and toasted when ready to eat.

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