Homemade Cranberry Bagels Recipe

When it comes to starchy, portion-sized goods, bagels stand out with their fun shape and unbeatable texture. The subtle golden crunch on the exterior encases a chewy interior, making this ring-shaped bread a great option to munch on solo or slice in half for a sandwich. While both sides of the great New York vs. Montreal-style bagel debate have their fair share of supporters, homemade bagels win every time. 

Tasting Table recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse shares this homemade cranberry bagel recipe that highlights everything we love about these bready delights. Studded with dried cranberries and enhanced with a zesty orange and cinnamon fragrance, these make a delicious treat whether you're serving them for breakfast or as a midday snack. 

"The best part of this recipe is that it's a great base for making homemade bagels, no matter what flavor you prefer," Rosenhouse shares. "Feel free to leave out the cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon for a plain bagel base, then finish with any classic toppings you love." Once you've mastered this version, there's plenty of space to experiment.

Gather the ingredients for homemade cranberry bagels

For this homemade bagel recipe, you'll need light brown sugar, a packet of instant yeast, bread flour, and kosher salt. Next, get dried cranberries (roughly chopped), ground cinnamon, orange zest, baking soda, and a large egg white (beaten). If desired, pick toppings such as quick oats, poppy seeds, and everything bagel seasoning to garnish.

Step 1: Combine the dough ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine 2 teaspoons brown sugar, yeast, bread flour, salt, and 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water.

Step 2: Knead

Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and supple, 8-10 minutes.

Step 3: Add the flavorings

Add cranberries, cinnamon, and orange zest, and knead for 1 more minute to combine.

Step 4: Cover the dough and let it rest

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 ½-2 hours until dough has doubled in size.

Step 5: Prep a sheet pan

Line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.

Step 6: Portion out the dough

Once risen, transfer dough to a clean surface and divide into 8 equal sections.

Step 7: Roll it into balls

Use your hands to roll each section into a smooth ball.

Step 8: Transfer the dough balls to the pan

Place balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least a few inches apart.

Step 9: Cover and rest

Cover the baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

Step 10: Simmer some water

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with at least 3 inches water and bring to a simmer.

Step 11: Add baking soda and sugar

Add baking soda and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar to the pot. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.

Step 12: Roll the dough into ropes

Roll each dough ball into a 10-inch rope tapered on both ends.

Step 13: Make rings

Link the ends of each rope to create a ring.

Step 14: Seal

Place your hand inside a ring and roll against the table to seal the seam. Repeat with the rest of the ropes.

Step 15: Prep the bagels for cooking

Transfer dough rings back to the baking sheet.

Step 16: Preheat the oven

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Step 17: Add the bagels to the pot

Add a few bagels at a time to the simmering liquid.

Step 18: Cook and flip

Cook on the first side for 1 minute, then flip and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer back to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining bagels.

Step 19: Add egg white and toppings

Brush bagels with egg white and sprinkle with toppings, if desired.

Step 20: Bake

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until deeply golden brown.

Step 21: Serve

Serve warm.

How should you serve and store homemade cranberry bagels?

If you're an avid bagel eater, chances are you already have a selection of spreads to smear over each half. Rosenhouse shares her favorite recommendations to go with this subtly sweet version. "I like serving cranberry bagels with whipped cream cheese and smoked salmon for a sweet and salty combination, or with a cinnamon or walnut spread to lean into the fall flavors." Whether you go for heartier fare to fill you up for several hours or something more delicate for a lighter snack, there's plenty of room to play with the flavors. 

To ensure your bagels retain their freshness, Rosenhouse says, "Store bagels at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days." Alternatively, if you want to prep a batch to keep for several weeks, she says you can freeze them — "sliced in half for quick toasting" — for up to 2 months.

What's the secret to great homemade cranberry bagels?

If you've never made homemade bagels, the prospect can feel intimidating. Thankfully, as long as you follow the instructions and Rosenhouse's tips, you should be successful. For starters, Rosenhouse emphasizes, "Make sure to knead and rest the dough for the amount of time written." While you can make this recipe either by hand or with a stand mixer, she points out: "Note that if you're kneading by hand versus in a stand mixer, the time may need to be increased to reach a smooth, supple consistency."

Another element that can play a significant role in the outcome of your dough is the weather. "Yeast will be more active in warmer temperatures, meaning it will rise more quickly. In colder months, it may take longer for the dough to double in size, but it's important to wait until that point is reached, no matter how long it takes," Rosenhouse notes. Finally, don't skip the baking soda and brown sugar bath, which she uses to "create a caramelized, crisp crust that rivals any bagel you'll get at a bagel shop."

Homemade Cranberry Bagels Recipe
4.9 from 13 ratings
Perfect for weekend brunch, this foolproof bagel recipe has a hint of cinnamon and citrus and can be paired with either sweet or savory toppings.
Prep Time
2.67
hours
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
8
bagels
assorted bagels in bowl
Total time: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 (¼-ounce) packet instant yeast
  • 3 ¾ cups bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
Optional Ingredients
  • Quick oats, for topping
  • Poppy seeds, for topping
  • Everything bagel seasoning, for topping
Directions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine 2 teaspoons brown sugar, yeast, bread flour, salt, and 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water.
  2. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and supple, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add cranberries, cinnamon, and orange zest, and knead for 1 more minute to combine.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 ½-2 hours until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  6. Once risen, transfer dough to a clean surface and divide into 8 equal sections.
  7. Use your hands to roll each section into a smooth ball.
  8. Place balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least a few inches apart.
  9. Cover the baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with at least 3 inches water and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add baking soda and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar to the pot. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.
  12. Roll each dough ball into a 10-inch rope tapered on both ends.
  13. Link the ends of each rope to create a ring.
  14. Place your hand inside a ring and roll against the table to seal the seam. Repeat with the rest of the ropes.
  15. Transfer dough rings back to the baking sheet.
  16. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  17. Add a few bagels at a time to the simmering liquid.
  18. Cook on the first side for 1 minute, then flip and cook for 30 more seconds. Transfer back to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining bagels.
  19. Brush bagels with egg white and sprinkle with toppings, if desired.
  20. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until deeply golden brown.
  21. Serve warm.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 279
Total Fat 1.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 58.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 10.4 g
Sodium 193.2 mg
Protein 8.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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