100% Whole Wheat Bagels — Vegan and Surprisingly Easy

[First things first, head on over and check out the current giveaway on last week’s post!] 

Fridays have become my baking experiment days.  My work schedule allows me to have every other Friday off, so I take advantage of having the house all to myself to watch trashy TV shows and try baking everything I’ve been afraid of.  First on the list: bagels.  Why did I think bagels would be so hard? True, there’s a lot of steps, but every step is an easy one.  Plus, I actually find working with yeast dough to be relaxing.  Do a little work, sit around for an hour.   Do a little more work, sit around a while longer.  It’s basically giving me an excuse to give my Netflix subscription a workout while still feeling productive.  Plus, homemade bagels have WAY fewer calories than store-bought, so I basically feel like a health nut now 😉


Another great thing about yeast doughs? They can be so basic and use only a handful of ingredients.  If you don’t count bagel toppings, there are five ingredients in these babies.  Yeast, water, sugar, salt, and white whole wheat flour.  Do water and salt even really count as ingredients? If not, you could even call these 3 ingredient bagels! Fancy, shmancy right there.  I topped mine with flax seeds, sesame seeds or poppy seeds with garlic powder, but the sky is really the limit here.  If you can’t imagine eating 12 bagels in a few days (try out, your plans might change when you see how good they are!) cut them in half, wrap each in plastic wrap, and stick them in a large container (or large plastic bag) and store in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat, just pop `em in the toaster like you would any other bagel.  Easy peasy homemade bagels at your finger tips.


Notice anything new about the pictures?  I’m trying to be a little better about backgrounds for pictures as opposed to just not cleaning off my counter top and calling it good.  I’m hoping that the different color backgrounds will help make my pictures more exciting, let me know if you have any advice on that!


5.0 from 1 reviews

100% Whole Wheat Bagels — Vegan and Surprisingly Easy

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c warm water (not hot!)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 c white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 – 1 ½ c water (warm/room temp)
  • Cornmeal (optional)
  • Bagel toppings (optional, suggestions in notes)

  1. Combine the first three ingredients and stir. Allow to sit 5 minutes, until foamy (if it’s not foamy, something happened to your yeast and the recipe will NOT work)
  2. Meanwhile, using a stand mixer combine the flour, salt, and remaining sugar.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour, while stirring with a dough hook. Add 1 c water. Allow the stand mixer to run for about a minute, and if all yeast isn’t picked up into the dough add up to ½ c water, 1 tbsp at a time. Stir using dough hook on a slow/medium speed for 5 minutes – you can knead by hand if you prefer.
  4. Spritz dough with nonstick spray, turn over and spritz again. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 ½ – 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
  5. After rising, cut the dough into 12 equally sized pieces and roll in balls. Prepare baking sheets with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 425°F.
  6. Let the dough rest for a minute or two, then work a hole into the middle of the balls with your finger, until they are bagel-shaped. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, fill a wide saucepan or skillet with water, at least 2 inches deep, and bring to boil. Boil bagels for 90 second on each side – I found it easiest to do 3 at a time, spaced about 30 seconds apart.
  8. As bagels are done boiling and while still wet, press tops lightly into desired toppings and bottoms into cornmeal (optional, helps prevent sticking).
  9. When all bagels have been boiled, bake for 8 – 10 minutes, flip an bake 8 – 10 minutes longer. Adjust time based on how dark you like your bagels.

Suggested bagel toppings: flax seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon and sugar, chocolate chips, chopped nuts

Nutritional estimate does not include any optional ingredients.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 150 Fat: <1g Carbohydrates: 32g Fiber: 4g Protein: 6g


Tagged with:

    Nel Jan 31, 2017

    I created this last week and it was yummy! I used flaxzeeds as topping. I just had to experiment with the microwave times because I use a convection oven. Other than that, super yummy! Thanks for sharing! Will make another batch this weekend but try it with additional ingredients like dried fruits and nuts to give it more texture – not that it lacks any the wheat already had texture! haha 🙂

      Kelly Mar 07, 2017

      I love the idea of throwing in some dried fruits and nuts for more texture and also a sweeter taste. Yum!

    Lexi Jan 01, 2017

    Hi Kelly…. I don’t have a stand alone mixer… can I make these without one ? Looks delicious !!!

      Kelly Jan 15, 2017

      Sorry for my slow response! You can knead the dough by hand, it will just take a little elbow grease 🙂

    Danielle Mar 29, 2016

    the recipe is perfect. tastes great. BUT HOW do you get the bagels into the water with out making them misshapen or loose their POOF.. They deflate a bit and loose that beautiful shape they had from raising. they still taste delish!… I had put them on a baking sheet to raise. then picked them up to place them in the water. im being careful…….HELP

      Kelly Mar 30, 2016

      Thanks, Danielle, I’m glad you liked the recipe. As you can see from my photos, my bagels came out a little misshapen (I like to think that’s the charm of a homemade bagel lol). Did yours loose more poof than mine? These are more of a Panera style bagel (a little denser) than a New York style bagel, so they’ll never be incredibly soft. Whole wheat flour is also working against us. I would suggest you either let the bagels rest a little while after they’ve spent some time in the water to see if they’ll rise any more or bake at a lower temperature (like 400F) for slightly longer so they have more time to puff up in the oven.

    Karen Oct 01, 2014

    I have pinned and made these at least a dozen times. They keep for a few days, if my husband and I can resist them, are absolutely delicious, and work out every time. Thank you Kelly 🙂

      Kelly Oct 01, 2014

      Glad you like them, Karen! Thanks for stopping by to let me know — it means a lot! 🙂

    yankel Aug 04, 2014

    Most recipes (and bagel stores) make sure to add a large amount of white flour to their whole wheat bagels for taste reasons. Does your recipe take care of that problem another way?

      Kelly Aug 04, 2014

      In my opinion, if you add a lot of all purpose flour, you don’t really have a “whole wheat” bagel anymore (it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine!) /endrant. It’s true — a lot of people add white flour to wheat, mainly because they don’t like the texture. I happen to love the taste and feel of whole wheat and use it pretty exclusively, so I am probalby not the best source of an un-biased answer. That being said, I think a little bit of sweetener (as added in this recipe) helps make the flavor more palatable for most people plus we’re using white whole wheat flour here. In general, white whole wheat tastes more similarly to all purpose flour (though not identical). It’s made from a different type of wheat than regular whole wheat flour, which results in a lighter taste and better texture than most people associate with whole wheat flour (if you’re interested in this topic, I can link you to some good sources of info, I don’t want to bore you! Either way, white whole wheat flour should be available in the baking aisle at any half-decent supermarket or grocery store).

      If you hate whole wheat with a passion, I’m going to be honest and say you probably won’t like this bagel — some people’s palates just aren’t at all used to it yet and it’s easier to ease yourself in. If you’re on the fence about 100% whole wheat, a bagel is a great place to start because they always have a chewier texture than bread, helping to mask the wheat texture. This is by far my most popular recipe to date and I’m consistently getting Tweets, seeing Instagram pics, and reading emails about how much people like these — which makes me believe other people like them as much as I do! Worst case scenario: if you think they taste too wheaty you can smother them in peanut butter, cream cheese, jam (or whatever your weakness is) and your whole wheat problem will be covered 😉

        Yankel Aug 24, 2014

        I am sorry for the delay. I made them that day and they were delicious. I never understood the stores’ reasoning and now I still don’t. Almost everything in my house is whole wheat and I always had a problem with store-bought bagels. This was simple and delicious and I will be making it again.
        I personally am blessed with a negligible sweet tooth and too sweet gives me a sickening feeling in my throat, so I always use less sugar than a recipe. Obviously in baking you can’t eliminate it because of the yeast, but I always err on the lower side.

          Kelly Aug 28, 2014

          I’m glad you liked them! I think stores just do it to appease the masses — at least now you have a tasty bagel recipe in your arsenal 🙂

      Ellen May 09, 2016

      Add some vital wheat gluten to your recipes—1 T per 1 cup of whole wheat flour. This will take care of the “denseness” and make your bagels “fluffier.”

        Kelly May 12, 2016

        I really love the texture of these bagels. I occasionally add vital wheat gluten to my baked goods and find that, personally, it doesn’t really improve the texture at all. There are a couple where I include it, but only when recipe testing has shown me that it’s really a marked improvement. I don’t like adding more ingredients if they don’t actually improve the final product. As always, alter the recipe to fit your own preferences 🙂

    Dagny Jun 23, 2014

    I am making these right now, and am just wondering, what is the texture of the dough supposed to be like before it rises? Mine has little lumps in it…hope they turn out well!

      Kelly Jun 23, 2014

      It should be similar to regular bread dough. I’m not sure what the lumps could be from — are they pockets of dry flour?

    Whole Wheat Bagels | Feb 23, 2014

    […] lazy Sunday was the perfect time to try out this whole wheat bagel recipe. I could get my little at-home tasks done in between steps and by midday my first batch of bagels […]

    Radiance Strathdee Feb 14, 2014

    Substitute raw honey for sugar and omit salt – healthy bagel

      Kelly Feb 14, 2014

      You can sub in any natural sweetener (not calorie free, as you need to feed the yeast) but it’s not a good call to omit the salt! Salt in a way regulates the yeast and is an important factor in rising. Omitting salt can also have a negative effect on the texture, making it very sticky and preventing the dough from coming together as a ball. If you’ve tried and had success, congrats, if not, I would suggest maybe halving the salt if you must or don’t be too let down if your efforts result in a less-than-perfect bagel.

      I personally have no issue with a reasonable amount of salt (and don’t actually know anyone who avoids it entirely) but I’m conscious that some people limit salt and will always put “to taste” unless it’s totally necessary for the recipe’s success.

      Tayla Baxter Feb 22, 2014

      These turned out so well ! I had never made bagels before and it worked perfectly so its a great simple recipe. I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds and chia seeds on top. I also didn’t need to flip them in the oven, rather I baked them on baking paper for 15 minutes. Thanks for the recipe, I’m in love with these <3

        Kelly Feb 22, 2014

        Glad you liked them, Tayla! So much better than store bought.

    Judith Feb 11, 2014

    The first time I hear a bagel having only 150 calories and 32 g of carbs! Most store bought bagels have the double amount ! Which is ridiculous.. A must try thing! I guess this recipe answers to the question “What am I gong to do this Sunday?”.
    Can’t wait to try!

      Kelly Feb 11, 2014

      Let me know how they turn out, Judith! Because these are homemade, you have less of the added sugar or oil that companies put in to make food taste better after it’s sat on a shelf a few days– I think that helps the calorie count!

    Carrie Feb 09, 2014

    Made this last night; hubby loved it! You have no idea what a compliment that is!
    Very soft and scrumptious. We plan to make it often. Thanks so much.

      Kelly Feb 09, 2014

      Thanks for the kind words, Carrie! Glad you enjoyed.

    Lis Jan 14, 2014

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I’m always trying to get my family to eat more vegan foods and its a frustrating process but they gobbled these right up!:)

      Kelly Jan 14, 2014

      Glad they liked them, Lis!

    Irina @ wandercrush Jul 24, 2013

    Store-bought bagels are incomparable (and not nearly as customisable)! I love the 100% whole wheat, so I’ll have to give this a try.

      Kelly Jul 24, 2013

      Thanks, let me know how they turn out 🙂

    Erin @ Texanerin Baking Jul 18, 2013

    Yup. Definitely go with the colored backgrounds! Always better than a dirty countertop. 🙂

    And love that these are 100% whole wheat. They sound and look amazing!

    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry Jul 03, 2013

    I am madly in love with bagels and these look awesome. Not to mention healthier then bagels made with white flour. Also, that blue backdrop makes your photos pop!

    The Domestic Rebel Jul 02, 2013

    AHHHH I LOVE BAGELS. I need to get over my fear of making them. For some reason, they have a high intimidation factor with me. Like, I am more afraid of making bagels than touching a snake. Is that weird?

    Either way, MUST CONQUER FEAR. Because dude, these look bomb.

    Reeni Jul 02, 2013

    Your bagles turned out so good! I’ve always been intimidated to make them. I bet they don’t compare to anything you can buy. Love the pretty blue background!

    Sally Jul 02, 2013

    These look amazing Kelly! I love making bagels. 🙂

    rebacox Jul 02, 2013

    I like the blue background! Bagels have been on my to do list for forever! They scare me.

      Kelly Jul 02, 2013

      No reason to be scared! They take a lot of time, but you’d have to try reallllly hard to screw them up!

    Annie @ Natural Sweet Recipes Jul 02, 2013

    These look great! They look like they have just come from a bakery! And I am in love with that blue wooden background!

    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes Jul 02, 2013

    Now I want a bagel!! I’m a huge bagel person 🙂 Never made them at home, and I’m so impressed that you did!

    Julia Jul 02, 2013

    Ohhh you’re making me crave a bagel and cream cheese right now! I’ve never made bagels homemade and they look like so much fun. Having a big batch around for breakfast or snack sounds so appealing!

    Aimee @ ShugarySweets Jul 02, 2013

    You make this look so easy Kelly! YUM!!

    Joanne Jul 02, 2013

    I made bagels once and I don’t remember them really being hard…just time consuming! Yours came out great!

    cookingactress Jul 01, 2013

    Ooooh these bagels look incredible, love the whole wheat!

    Em @ Love A Latte Jul 01, 2013

    The pictures look great making me want a bagel even more. Love love love bagels! 🙂

    Marcie Jul 01, 2013

    I love bagels, and my favorite is whole wheat with sesame seeds. These look delicious!

    Jaclyn Jul 01, 2013

    I’ve never even considered trying to make bagels until now…thanks for inspiring me! These sound great!

    cleaneatingveggiegirl Jul 01, 2013

    I would never guess that bagels would be easy to make, but you have convinced me! I love topping my bagels with sesame seeds :).

      Kelly Jul 01, 2013

      Me too! But I didn’t think the whole having braces thing through! Should’ve gone with plain until I’m done with them lol