Tasting Table Finds Out What Bagel Fans Think Is The Best Topping - Exclusive Survey

According to five-time Olympic-winning Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, there's a saying in Romania that goes, "Not every dog has a bagel on its tail." It means, says Comaneci, that not every street is paved with gold. But, when it comes to bagel mania in the U.S., it seems like every dog might just be able to get its paws on one. In 2020, just over 202 million Americans ate bagels and during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Grupo Bimbo was the top bagel seller in the U.S. with sales near $800 million – and that's just one brand.

If you live in New York City, there's probably a good chance that bagels have taken on something of a "holiness" to you (pun intended). It's no secret that bagels are inextricably interwoven into the city's socio-cultural zeitgeist. At the H&H on 2nd Avenue, you can get a fresh bagel as early as 6 a.m., but, if you happen to live nearby, then you know that folks start lining up outside the door well before then. 

U.S. consumers take their bagels seriously and dig into all different types: everything, poppyseed, onion, egg, salt, plain, you name it. There are also numerous topping options, and that's why Tasting Table asked 588 bagel fans about their preferences to find out, once and for all, what is the best bagel topping. 

Cream cheese is the reigning champion

Bringing up the rear with 4.42% of the vote, peanut butter is the lowest-ranked bagel topping on our list. Looks like breakfast foodies might be waiting to satisfy their craving with a PB&J at lunchtime. Next up, 8.5% of voters said they're stacking their bagels with lox, capers, and onions. The cinnamon raisin bagel might have its appeal, but bagel fans are digging this smoky, salty stack. 

On the flip side, however, 11.73% of voters say they prefer to air on the simpler side — about as simple as it gets. Their fave bagel topping? Just a smear of butter. In second place, nearly ⅕ of voters are loading up their bagels as much as possible and turning them into breakfast sandwiches: 18.71% will be shouting "baconeggandcheese" across their deli counters this morning.

Without further ado, the moment we've all been waiting for. We asked, and our readers answered. With more than half of the vote, the best bagel topping of all time is cream cheese. A whopping 56.63% of voters said they're hungry for a toasted bagel with a healthy smattering of cream cheese. From flavors like plain to savory sun-dried tomato, sweet pumpkin, and more, it's arguably the most diverse bagel topping in our lineup. You can even whip some up at home to smear across your homemade bagels.