Every Bruegger's Bagel, Ranked Worst To Best

Bruegger's Bagels is full of "tradition you can taste." There are so many different kinds of bagels available, from St. Louis to Montreal, but the most commonly sought out is the classic New York style. It can be hard to find a source that boils and bakes those exquisite, chewy, doughy creations consistently well every time, but if you live by a Bruegger's Bagels location, you're safe and sound. And with locations in 22 states across the nation, it's definitely worth checking if there's one near you.

The menu is sometimes updated with seasonal flavors, and every location will carry slightly different options depending on availability, but we were able to get our hands on every one of the 16 flavors at ours! We were super excited to sample them all in a definitive taste test so we knew what to order next time, and the time after that, and the hundreds more times we're sure to stop by.

Once you've perused our expert list and honed in on your bagel of choice, be sure to pair it with one of the delectable made-in-Vermont cream cheeses like bacon scallion or honey walnut. That's really all you need, but feel free to dress it up with non-cream cheese, meats, and veggies in one of the breakfast or lunch sandwiches. Bruegger's Bagels are up for anything. Now grab a snack and sit back as you discover everything from plain to pumpernickel, ranked from worst to best.

16. Whole Wheat Everything

You can find a typical everything bagel basically anywhere, but finding the same flavor profile on top of a whole wheat flour base comes only once in a blue moon. Unless you're looking in Bruegger's Bagels. Much doughier and more breadlike than everything else (but one) on this ranking, the Whole Wheat Everything bagel has a nutty depth of flavor from the wheat flour but lacks the fantastic chewiness and toothsome texture of the regular one. It also was a little underbaked, but that could be a one-time thing, hopefully.

No matter what, it definitely needs cream cheese, eggs, or other schmears. We suspect it would also have the tendency to dry out when toasted. Even though we felt excited by the twist on a classic, that heavier consistency and unpleasant density just took away from the perfect chewy bagel experience. But thanks to Bruegger's inherent advantage when it comes to its quality products, the Whole Wheat Everything is certainly worth a bite when desperate for anything bagel.

15. Whole Wheat

A whole wheat bagel is never the star of the show, even when Bruegger's nails the perfect bagel shape like it did with ours. What a satisfying circle! The reason this one ranks just ever so slightly above the Whole Wheat Everything Bagel is that it's not trying to masquerade as a, to be blunt, "real" everything bagel. Maybe you really enjoy the robust, hearty taste of whole wheat and the denser texture with each bite. If so, those are your prerogatives, and you don't exactly want those prerogatives shaded by the flashy everything seasoning blend. Also, unfortunately, the whole wheat flavor doesn't shine through as much as we'd like.

Instead, Bruegger's Whole Wheat bagel merely hints at the warmth that we were hoping the alternative flour would provide. But as you can see in the picture, it is a nicely baked final product with a pleasant hue, albeit a tad tiny. We wouldn't choose it over any non-whole-wheat bagel options on our next visit to Bruegger's, to be entirely honest with you all.

14. Gourmet Five Cheese

We were prepared for a gigantic, indulgent, completely cheesy bagel experience after seeing the pics on the Bruegger's menu. You're promised food that's pretty much a whole meal, a bagel that's all about abundance. Rather than honing in on specific cheeses, the Gourmet Five Cheese bagel throws caution to the wind by piling on mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, asiago, and parmesan dairy products. You get both mild and sharp, a little nuttiness, a little savoriness, a little sweetness, a little butteriness, a little Americana, a little Italy, and basically a LOT of cheese. If you're more quantity over quality when it comes to cheese, choose the bagel whose hole is completely submerged in the cheese combo the dreams are made of, right? Alas, we have to admit, it didn't live up to its profile pic and it was sadly difficult to distinguish from the Asiago Parmesan.

Just look at this picture, then jump ahead a bit to the other cheesy one: don't they look eerily similar? Maybe it was a one-time thing, but we were rather disappointed and had a lot of leftovers since everyone took one bite and were ready to move on to the next. Be sure to keep all your leftover bagels nice and fresh, but especially ones like these Gourmet Five Cheese, the Asiago Parmesan, and the Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown since they all have perishable cheese front and center.

13. Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown

Have you ever been eating a splendidly large weekend brunch, maybe even a buffet, and enjoyed two of the best menu offerings — a bagel and hash browns — so much that everything else took a back seat? It's happened to some of us, for sure. Sometimes you're just too in love with the chewy doughiness of a great bagel alongside the shatteringly crisp, buttery perfection of fried potatoes to waste time with scrambled eggs. Bruegger's decided to do a mashup of these breakfast favorites, plus showering the whole beautiful Frankenstein creation in melted cheese. True to our word, we didn't toast up this bagel, since everyone knows that the platonic form of fresh bagel needs no tweaking or tampering with.

It was easy to tell that the Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown selection would certainly benefit from a good toast or even a quick hit in the microwave. Better yet, a brief warming in a buttery skillet to bring out the decadence of sizzling morning potatoes. Even with the extra steps, though, we agreed it was maybe a little too much of a good thing. Bagels don't need all this fanfare, especially when they're as delicious as a Bruegger's.

12. Cinnamon Sugar

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and we think this one speaks for itself. But we'll elaborate with our words anyway. Bruegger's Cinnamon Sugar bagel sounds like it should be an either/or situation: either struggling with the same issues that the Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown does, namely, too much of the flamboyant and exciting toppings that only disguise the fine bagel underneath; or capturing your senses with a no-holds-barred foray into dessert territory, along the lines of Panera's fan-favorite Cinnamon Crunch bagel. As the above picture reveals, this Cinnamon Sugar actually does neither. Instead, you get a humble and basic bagel with a barely-there dusting of that sweet yet spicy flavoring blend.

Like the Gourmet Five Cheese, it didn't live up to its full potential and ultimately fell flat. There's just not as much cinnamony flavor as we hoped to find. Still, if you like a quiet callback to childhood sweetness bedecking your bagel, you'll find it right here.

11. Poppy Seed

Does anyone order a Poppy Seed Bagel anymore? There is certainly some lore swirling around this particular choice (maybe don't eat too many before a drug test?) that keeps them on the collective radar, but otherwise, poppy seeds seem more popular in lemony muffins than Bruegger's Bagels. We're here to tell you, definitively, whether or not you should give this underdog contender another shot. Poppy seeds do add some curiosity in both taste and texture. The seeds have toasty yet fruity flavor notes, perfectly toeing the line between the age-old bagel question: sweet or savory? If you want a little of both, instead of fully committing to Cinnamon Raisin or Rosemary Olive Oil, try a bagel that can stand up to either honey butter or a full-on BEC (Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich).

We have to give it props for the versatility and the "je ne sai quois" flair. Oh, and just a heads up: Unfortunately, the minuscule seeds are extremely messy and can get easily stuck in your teeth. So it's not the best choice before a photo shoot, either.

10. Plain

Bruegger's makes its bagels with only five simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, malt, and salt. And in the practically perfect plain bagel, you can really taste every single one of those five players. Remember, when bagels are high in quality and fresh out of the oven, there's no need to toast them. And for the purest experience, just go for a nice plain cream cheese (and plenty of it). We were delighted by the way the classic, authentic New York treatment in this Bruegger's Plain bagel spoke for itself, and knew that it could hold up to any occasion at which you'd ideally find a plain bagel. Still, it could have been a little more golden brown and less bland-looking. It could also have a more distinct hole in the middle (but you're getting your money's worth this way, as one tester argued). It was a solid, upstanding pick, but definitely became somewhat forgettable after a few bites.

We'd love to zhuzh it up by turning it into a gooey, melty egg and cheese explosion like we always pick up on a trip to one of our favorite spots in the big apple.

9. Onion

Okay, we understand that putting an Onion Bagel this high on the list might be a little bit controversial. Onions themselves are controversial. Some people, and even some of our taste testers, are put off by the acidic, sour, and intensely sharp bite of raw red onion on an otherwise demure salad. But when you take a milder vegetable, like a Spanish onion, and slowly simmer it in butter or olive oil until soft and malleable, the result is actually very sweet and savory with barely any bitterness. Just think of a divine French onion soup, complete with seasoned baguette slices covered in cheese floating on top of the warming broth. That's what this Onion Brugger's bagel reminded us of.

The shreds of onion aren't overpowering or over-abundant and have a subtle buttery, fried quality to them that only emphasizes the tangy, boiled, salty notes of the base bagel. Even those of us who didn't love onions found some appreciation for this one.

8. Asiago Parmesan

These bagels get a one-two punch of fantastic flavor thanks to a duo of pretty sharp cheeses. According to Cheese.com, the first cheese, asiago, is made with cow's milk and sports a medium-firm texture, intriguing sweet and sour flavor, and buttery notes. The second, parmesan, is more of a household name, and very similar. However, it is made in a different region of Italy and leans a bit more to the sweet side rather than the sour.

Putting the two together creates a complex depth of flavor that embraces the more nutty, funky notes of this particular pair, without diluting them with other heavy hitters as Gourmet Five Cheese does. We found that, especially with the Gourmet Five Cheese falling short of its expected decadence and the Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown being more suited to picking up only when the specific craving hits, the Asiago Parmesan bagel was the superior cheesy Bruegger's Bagel. Toast it up with an additional layer of asiago and parmesan cheese (or good old Kraft Singles if that's all ya got) for even more melty, cheesy, crunchy delight.

7. Rosemary Olive Oil

Bruegger's creative Rosemary Olive Oil bagel does some things differently than the rest of the menu options. Olive oil has both fat and fruity, fresh undertones that make it an intriguing twist to any baked good. Have you ever tasted an olive oil cake that gets its moist, velvety texture from this alternative to neutral oil or butter? If not, you're missing out, and they're usually pretty easy to bake at home! But this Rosemary Olive Oil bagel certainly isn't cake-like –- it's distinctly and boldly savory, that statement punctuated by the bursts of floral yet earthy rosemary.

The herb contributes a ton of flavor that permeates the bagel before even the first bite. So if you're not a fan of rosemary, you won't be a fan of this one: But if you enjoy the subtle dance of complementary aromas and ingredients as we do, it's an absolute winner. Also, it's worth mentioning that the bagel has an alluring visual presentation. Baked to a richly burnished sepia tone and speckled with hints of green herbs, it looks fancier and more high-end than something you can pick up from the grocery store.

6. Pumpernickel

What's pumpernickel? Great question. According MasterClass, traditionally pumpernickel bread loaves are made from soaked and simmered rye berries and rye flour. Deep flavor and dark mahogany color typically come courtesy of molasses, which also lends a complex sweetness to the final product. Sometimes caraway seeds are added for yet another pop of earthiness. While you can see those fragrant seeds and the telltale color in the above picture of a Bruegger's Pumpernickel Bagel, the ingredient list is actually missing rye, so there's only so authentic it can be. Nevertheless, it still tastes phenomenal thanks to a concoction of barley flour, malt extract, wheat bran, and brown sugar.

All of those funky ingredients give it an old-world flair and peculiar, offbeat taste that goes splendidly with tangy cream cheese. While we wouldn't choose pumpernickel for every single bagel run, it's a great secret to have in your back pocket. Besides, we'd all feel a little more worldly and dashing eating one of these in public, as opposed to, say, the Cinnamon Sugar, you know?

5. Blueberry

Woah, this is definitely one of the, if not the single best, blueberry bagel we've ever had! It's much better than either the heavy, slightly artificial-tasting Thomas's blueberry bagels that sit on pantry shelves, or the vaguely rubbery and sadly thin Panera ones that really need some help from the cream cheese department. Bruegger's Blueberry bagels, meanwhile, are big and beautiful, but not at all leaden. The blueberries folded away inside don't, admittedly, taste like freshly harvested ones from your own personal berry patch might (what a dream), but they honestly never will after being put through the cooking process. Also, as the picture makes it plain, it's not a pathetically pale bake like many of the blueberry bagels available.

This one's got that good shiny hue, with auspicious little air bubbles that prove the bagel has been boiled adequately. If you're ever in the mood for a fruity bagel that still tastes like, well, a bagel, Bruegger's knows what's up. We recommend eating it with strawberry cream cheese, because why not?

4. Sesame

We have to mention it one more time: For the sake of consistency and fairness, we didn't toast any of our nice, fresh Bruegger's bagels. But we all knew going in that this one, the Sesame Bagel, would suffer more than most. Toasting brings out the beautiful, unique flavor of the sesame seeds bedecking the otherwise unassuming bagel, and without that extra step, the flavor doesn't come all the way through. Even so, we were shocked — in a really good way — by Bruegger's Sesame bagel. The seeds cling better than poppy seeds do and have even more of an impactful punch of sweet, earthy, and aromatic flavor. The dough base was satisfyingly chewy, nicely thick, and still somewhat soft.

We loved that it adds savory flair to breakfasts or a classy upgrade to lunch. Here's a brilliant idea: Toast it to bring out the nutty, multicultural flavors of the sesame seeds. Yes, we know we already mentioned that, but there's more. Then spread it with some high-quality hummus, a drizzle of tahini, and an even lighter drizzle of good honey. Now that's an idea we're excited to try with the leftovers!

3. Cinnamon Raisin

Okay, let's address the elephant in the room: Do we like raisins? Does anyone like raisins? Does anything actually benefit from a raisin, or does it mar an otherwise delicious surface? We believe we have come to an excellent, highly scientific conclusion (for this list at least) that should put your concerns to rest. If you don't want raisins, but do want a sweet, cinnamon-spiced bagel, go for the Cinnamon Sugar. Sure, it's less cinnamony and more sugary than this bagel sans raisins, but it will do the job if you really, really hate the stuff. But otherwise, give this bagel a try, even if you're on the fence about the fruit. Like in their excellent blueberry bagel, Bruegger's Cinnamon Raisin bagel benefits from the fun textural element of fruit mixed into the dough.

It only highlights the chewiness of an authentic New York-style bagel! Naturally, though, if you just don't understand the appeal of sweet bagels as a whole, you probably won't be buying this one. But if you like a changeup from your go-to garlicky Everything bagel, Bruegger's bakes up a lovely one over here. We all look forward to toasting it and adding plenty of either cream cheese or salted butter... then a dusting of cinnamon sugar for a special spin on a childhood treat.

2. Everything

The complicated origin story only strengthens the mystique of the everything bagel. Probably the most beloved way to accessorize a plain round, the hype surrounding it means that the final food product is held to sky-high standards. Many bagels on the market simply don't suffice. But the Bruegger's Everything Bagel is honestly pretty much, well, everything an everything bagel should be. Fantastically chewy with rich, yeasty air pockets inside, littered liberally in all the usual spices and especially heavy on the salt, it's burnished a nice golden brown that leans towards a bronze.

We happened to have a jar of pickles around, and couldn't help having one on the side (though sadly it wasn't dredged out of a big old-fashioned pickle barrel) because this bagel just cried out for an all-in deli experience. If you need a good, reliable New York Everything Bagel resource, you can count on Bruegger's. It's so much better than those bags of 'em at the grocery store, definitely a step above Panera, and probably a lot better than the bagels at random corner stores. Nothing to complain about!

1. Salt

And we have a winner! Let's give a big round of applause to the Bruegger's Bagels Salt bagel, a stunning ring of golden-brown goodness. From the very beginning, we were utterly impressed with the appearance of this particular pick. No one had really given the simple Salt bagel much thought until we opened the bags in our order and saw it in person. The attention was previously focused on the always popular Everything bagel (which was fully justified), the chic Rosemary Olive Oil (which was pretty darn great), and the Gourmet Cheesy Hash Brown (it was definitely creative, at least.) One of the final bagels we tasted, we were a little bageled-out, but those boulders of salt brought us back to life.

For one thing, the visual contrast between the beautifully baked base and the snow-white topping was quite gorgeous. But it's all about taste, and while some bagels get dull after a few bites no matter how fun the flavor, the moreish quality of salt kept us hooked until the last bite. And hey, if there's too much salt for anyone, feel free to brush some off until you have your personal ratio perfected! The salt bagel is a sneaky partner to subtly sweet plain cream cheese — or anything else you want to spread or sandwich — because it brings out the best in the flavor teamwork. Well done, Bruegger's!