No deli worth their bread would be caught without at least two or three types of bagels behind the counter. But wait! Before you spread plant-based butter on that bagel or stack up a breakfast bagel sandwich, have you stopped to wonder: Are bagels vegan? What’s the best vegan cream cheese and toppings? Can I make my own vegan bagels? We’ll dive into this all in this vegan bagel guide because here at World of Vegan we love bagels.
Derived from the word “bracelet” in German, these plump rings made from yeasted dough are commonly associated with Jewish culinary traditions but are beloved worldwide. Once you sink your teeth into that crusty, dense, and chewy bread, it’s easy to understand why. Even if they don’t come from NYC where it’s said the water created an unparalleled texture, a properly baked bagel is a thing of beauty.
No two bakers make them the same way, but it’s easy to uncover the truth to these timeless savory treats. Roll up your sleeves and break out the flour; we’re going to uncover the “hole” truth at the center of bagels.
All bagels are made from a very simple dough composed of flour, water, yeast, and salt. What sets them apart from basic dinner rolls is that after they’ve been shaped into rings, they’re first boiled in a lightly sweetened water bath before being baked. They critical step creates the characteristically chewy crust and dense interior crumb. It works like magic but is based in pure science.
The water bath it typically sweetened with a tiny splash of malt syrup, or sometime molasses. However, in some very rare cases, artisan bakers may use honey instead. This typically isn’t disclosed if you’re purchasing directly from a baker or café, so it, a good idea to double check just to make sure.
You’ll be delighted to hear that most bagels are vegan by default. There are a few specific varieties to watch out for that will contain animal products, though.
The following flavors should be avoided or regarded with caution:
Cream cheese is the most classic schmear to top a bagel. Plain, veggie, chive, or strawberry are the most popular flavors, and there are plenty of vegan brands out there for instant satisfaction. The top options include:
You can make your own vegan cream cheese from scratch in just 5 minutes, starting with a base of cashews and dairy-free yogurt in this recipe from Nora Cooks.
When you want to switch up your avocado toast routine, pile it high on a toasted bagel for a more substantial bite. Avocado bagels, topped with an extra sprinkle of everything bagel spice, are possibly even better than the original toast.
Vegan bagel bites are the perfect way to jazz up mini bagels for a crowd-pleasing snack. Best of all these can be made in the oven, microwave, or air fryer!
Q: Are Panera bagels vegan?
A: Panera has four vegan bagel options: Plain, Everything, Blueberry and Sesame bagels are all plant-based options at Panera Bread. There are no vegan spread, but you can ask for sliced avocado on the side to make your own avocado bagel.
Q: Are Thomas’ Bagels vegan?
A: You’re in luck! Most of Thomas’ Bagels are vegan, including the bagel thins and mini bagels. Their vegan flavors are Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Cinnamon Raisin, Everything, Onion, Plain, Plain made with Whole Grain, and 100% Whole Wheat.
Q: Are Einstein Bros Bagels vegan?
A: Of all the national bagel chains, Einstein Bros Bagels is the best one for a hungry vegan to visit. They have far more than a baker’s dozen flavors to choose from, including Ancient Grain, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry, Everything, Garlic, Onion, Plain, Poppy seed, Pumpernickel, Sesame, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, French Toast, Pretzel, Ancient Grain Thin, Plain Thin, Whole Wheat Thin, Apple Cinnamon, and Power Protein Bagel. To top it all ff, you can choose from hummus, peanut butter, or strawberry jelly.
Q: Are Noah’s Bagels vegan?
A: This California-based chain is owned by the same parent company as Einstein Bros Bagels, so all the vegan options above are available here too.
If you love baking or just want to try something new, making bagels from scratch is always an incredibly gratifying experience. Nothing compares to a fresh bagel, still warm from the oven, and made exactly to your tastes!
Chef Philip Gelb hosts private dinners and cooking classes in San Francisco’s Bay Area and has generously shared his secret formula for authentic NYC-style vegan bagels on BitterSweet Blog. Even if you’re not local, now everyone can experience the genuine article.
If you or someone you love has celiac disease, don’t despair! The Banana Diaries has a fantastic gluten-free vegan bagel recipe, and even a variation that’s yeast-free, too.
Air fryers can do anything, or so it seems. Yes, that means you can make vegan air fryer bagels, too, thanks to the super simple recipe on Healthy Helper. Best of all, these don’t even need to be boiled, which makes the process quick, easy, and much less messy.
There’s a bagel for you, too! Meat Free Keto has the healthiest recipe you can find, all completely vegan, of course!
This vegan bagel recipe and bagel brands guide was written with support from Hannah Kaminsky. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which supports our work at World of Vegan.