The Best DIY Everything Bagel Seasoning Lies In The Salt

On the breakfast table, the bagel is a morning meal rockstar. On busy mornings, driving too fast, or barreling haphazardly down the sidewalk, bagels are the ultra-portable breakfast designed for foodies on the go. Since their U.S. debut in Jewish communities in the Lower East Side, bagels have secured a lasting home in foodies' hearts for lots of reasons, but today, we're talking about the everything bagel and its humble yet most important ingredient: salt. 

"Salt" is even a bagel flavor on its own, after all, and the salt bagel at Murray's in Greenwich Village will make a believer out of you. Salt is especially important when it comes to creating a good everything bagel seasoning, which is typically a combination of salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion, and dried garlic. And when crafting your own homemade everything bagel seasoning, opt for flaky salt over coarse salt — it's a small choice that makes a big difference. The bright, snappy pockets of saltiness add a crunchy texture and impart huge flavor as they melt on your tongue.

Flaky salt brings a crunchy texture and is pleasing to the eye

Trader Joe's iconic Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend uses flaky sea salt, and your local bagel shop probably does, too. To nail that same textural complexity at home, try using Maldon salt flakes, or for an added boost of flavor, Maldon also makes smoked sea salt flakes, which would work especially well for seasoning a lox bagel. For a subtler taste, you could use these French Fleur De Sel sea salt flakes from Selefina. Similarly, spice giant McCormick recommends using coarse Sicilian sea salt in your everything bagel seasoning. Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt also has a large grain that achieves a similar texture to flakes, and it's readily available in most regular grocery stores.

Nailing the saltiness of your homemade bagel seasoning is essential, especially when you're using that bagel as the vehicle for other salty ingredients like capers or bacon. As you assemble your everything bagel seasoning, gently separate any big clumps of salt flakes by rubbing them between your fingers. And, no matter what you do, avoid table salt and other ultra-fine grain salts at all costs. Fine sea salt is typically used for seasoning, and we're looking for a crunchy, pleasing texture here — not a salt lick. You can use your bagel seasoning for non-bagel dishes too, like marinating steaks or garnishing bowls of soup.