Homemade Sourdough Bagels New York Style

by Kaitlynn Fenley
slices sourdough bagel surrounded by other sourdough bagels on a white background.

I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like bagels. I’ve met many anti-carb people, but no one can deny that bagels are delicious and the best bread product. Can we talk about the deliciousness of these New York-style sourdough bagels, though? I’ve NEVER had a bread product this good. If you love sourdough and you love bagels, you must try this recipe.

Start with our Sourdough Starter Recipe

Sourdough starters are the most forgiving fermentation project. If you need a full-length recipe, CLICK HERE. Our sourdough starter recipe blog is easy to follow, and we included an option for a quick 2-day sourdough starter. With the quick option, you can have your starter ready to use in just 48 hours!

I say that sourdough starters are the most forgiving because measurements aren’t “too” important once you get the hang of feeding a sourdough starter. I know what starter consistency works best in my recipes, and I’ve fed my starter for years. I now discard a little bit of starter, add rye flour, and water until the consistency is right. It takes practice to get to this level of comfort with a starter, so use a recipe until you’ve had enough practice.

The Best Flour for Making Sourdough Bagels

I make so many fun bread products with my sourdough starter these days. I’m most impressed with these bagels. When making sourdough bagels, the type of flour you use is significant. Please use bread flour for this recipe. All-purpose can work, but for a true bagel texture, you’ll want to use bread flour. I have not tried this with whole wheat flour. I think using whole wheat flour will result in bagels that are too dense and a little too chewy.

hand holding half of buttered sourdough bagel with a bite taken out.

How to Make Homemade New York Style Sourdough Bagels

It may seem like bagels are a tough product to make, but I promise it’s easy. It’s especially easy if you have experience working with sourdough. Allow me to summarize the process. You start out with a big, relatively dry dough ball. To clarify, the dough will be of less hydration than a traditional sourdough loaf. Then you’ll let the dough rise for a few hours, stretching and folding once. Next, you’ll divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each of the pieces just as you would a loaf. Next, you’ll allow the small dough balls to rise for one hour, and then final shape them into bagels.

After shaping the dough goes into the fridge overnight. In the morning, each bagel gets dipped into boiling water, then gets a sprinkle of toppings before baking.

hand reaching in to take a black and white sesame seed sourdough bagel.

My Favorite Bagel Toppings

For this recipe, it’s important to prep all of your toppings before you get ready to cook the bagels. I like to get a few small bowls and fill them with the toppings I like so that I’m ready to sprinkle the sourdough bagels.

My favorite toppings for bagels are poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, and onion flakes.


Sourdough Bagels New York Style

slices sourdough bagel surrounded by other sourdough bagels on a white background.
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I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like bagels. I’ve met plenty of people who are anti-carbs, but no one can deny that bagels are delicious. Can we talk about the next level deliciousness of these New York-style sourdough bagels, though? I’ve NEVER had a bread product this good. If you love sourdough, and you love bagels, you must try this recipe.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Bagels
  • Category: Fermentation
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 6 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 Cup Sourdough Starter
  • 1 1/4 Cups Water, Cold
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water, Set Aside

For the Boiling Water Bath

  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda (or baking powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

For the Toppings

  • 2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds 
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Minced Onion


  1. In a large bowl, combine the starter, flour, salt, maple syrup, and cold water. 
  2. Knead the ingredients together until a uniform dough ball forms. Use the extra 1/4 cup of water if necessary. 
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 1 hour. 
  4. Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet. 
  5. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Do another wet stretch and fold at this point and let the dough rest for another one or two hours.
  7. Next, sprinkle some flour on the surface of your counter. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured surface.  
  8. Stretch the dough into a rectangle that’s a little bigger than a sheet of paper. Be gentle with the dough!! You don’t want to flatten it. Just lightly pull the sides until it’s a rectangle about the size of a sheet of paper. 
  9. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 even squares. (you can cut into 9 squares for smaller bagels) 
  10. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle flour on top of the parchment paper. 
  11. Grab a single square, and fold the in the corners of the dough over each other, forming a small round dough ball. Place the dough ball on the floured parchment paper. Repeat for the other squares. 
  12. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough balls with flour. Cover the dough balls with a towel and let them rise for 1 to 2 hours.
  13. Flour your hands and pick up a dough ball. Place it in your right hand. Using your thumb on the top of the dough ball and middle finger on the bottom, squeeze a hole through the center of the dough ball. Bring your index finger and ring finger through the hole in the dough to touch your thumb. 
  14. Use your other hand to guide the donut-shaped dough through your right-hand palm and fingers that are held in a circular shape. This is how you create a nice bagel shape. 
  15. Place the shaped bagels back on the floured parchment paper. (lightly sprinkle more flour if you need to)
  16. Let the shaped bagels proof at room temperature for 2 hours.
  17. Place the bagel dough in the refrigerator for a final proof of 12 hours. 
  18. After 12 hours, preheat your oven to 450° F. 
  19. Gather your toppings and add them to small bowls for easy use.
  20. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the baking soda and the maple syrup. 
  21. Using a slotted spoon, place each bagel in the boiling water for about a minute, flipping at 30 seconds. 
  22. Remove the bagel from the water, place it back on the parchment paper, and sprinkle on the toppings. 
  23. Repeat for the remaining bagels. Once they all have toppings, place the bagels in the oven. 
  24. Bake for approximately 20 minutes* until golden brown. Rotate the bagels at 10 minutes for even baking. 
  25. Remove and allow to cool for 30 minutes. 


*While kneading, you can add 1/4 to 1/2  cup more water to the dough to help it come together. 

*Bake time may vary. I usually end up baking for 35 minutes total. You can check the bagels every 5 minutes to ensure you do not overcook them. 

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram


Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary. We are not liable for any damages caused by your use of this content.

close up of black sesame seed sourdough bagel

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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Tina May 27, 2020 - 11:50 am

Great and simple recipe, but the bake time is off. Perhaps the temperature also. I do not have a gas oven, first time making them at 450 degrees they were a tad too overdone at 23 minutes.

Kaitlynn Fenley May 27, 2020 - 1:44 pm

Thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry the bake time was off for you. I bake these bagels every week since Jon eats them for breakfast, and that’s what I bake them at every time. Every oven is going to be slightly different. That’s why I included that “the bake time may vary” in the notes. I’ll add in a direction to check the bagels at 20 minutes.

Nancy January 14, 2021 - 6:56 pm

I will try this soon but have a question: on steps 16 and 17, should I cover with a towel again while proofing?

Kaitlynn Fenley January 15, 2021 - 8:36 am

You can cover them with a towel to place them in the fridge, but you don’t have to.

Kyle January 24, 2021 - 5:47 pm

You mention that the ball of dough will be pretty dry, but just how dry? When I do my folds I really have to pull at it.

Kaitlynn Fenley January 24, 2021 - 6:03 pm

yep, that sounds right. It gets easier to work with as it rises.

Michelle Jensen January 28, 2021 - 7:07 pm

I keep my sourdough starter in the fridge and feed once per week, so it is not super active, can I make these with discard or do I need to make sure my starter is very active?

Kaitlynn Fenley January 28, 2021 - 7:08 pm

No, the starter needs to be active.

Cindi August 18, 2022 - 6:08 pm

I have tried bagel recipes from other websites that have not turned out so well, but this recipe was fantastic! My family thought they looked like I could sell them in a New York bagel shop! They were simply delicious. I used a great quality bread flour (Better Basics Milling) but I’m sure there are other great flour sources as well. Next time I plan to mill my own flour. You can’t go wrong with this recipe. The only thing I will note is that I need to use the top shelf in my oven as baking them on the bottom shelf will cause the bottoms of the bagels to burn a bit. If you love bagels, you will love this recipe!

Kaitlynn Fenley August 18, 2022 - 6:47 pm

So glad you loved the recipe! When I run out of my flour I want to try better basics milling too!

Emma August 29, 2022 - 6:16 pm

So easy! Lots of steps seemed overwhelming but they’re soooo helpful, not long, and easy to complete!!!!!

Lauren November 27, 2022 - 7:27 pm

The. Best. Bagels. I’m from New York and now live in Florida. I had basically given up on trying to find good bagels here until this recipe. It’s now a household favorite. Fresh out the oven they are just heavenly and they freeze/re-heat really well too so we can enjoy them all week! Don’t hesitate to make these!

Julia December 10, 2022 - 1:58 pm

Amazing bagels! I was so exicitng taking these out of the oven the first time I made them. Making these for Christmas breakfast gathering. 🙂

Maddy December 13, 2022 - 6:53 pm

If I wanted to ferment these overnight (more convenience sake) which step should I do that? After creating the bagel shapes?

Kaitlynn Fenley December 13, 2022 - 7:20 pm

Step 17. Where it says “place the bagel dough in the refrigerator for a final proof of 12 hours”

Jacquelyn February 4, 2023 - 4:43 am

These are delicious! I used honey instead of maple syrup and a mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour and they came out beautifully. I also only needed to bake them for about 15-18 min with my oven. I live over in Germany and bagels are hard to come by so I will definitely be making these again. So yummy!

Emma February 10, 2023 - 3:35 pm

Love love love this recipe. Made it multiple times. While making it this time, I noticed the notes mention it makes 12 bagels and the recipe says 8 or 9. Thoughts?

Kaitlynn Fenley February 10, 2023 - 5:00 pm

It just depends on the size of bagel you want. if you cut the dough into 12 bagels, they will be mini bagels. 8 bagels will be regular-sized.

Irene January 10, 2024 - 6:11 am

Could you freeze the bagels for a later time? If yes, is it best to freeze them unbaked, cooked and pre baked or fully baked?
Thank you for this great recipe!!!

Kaitlynn Fenley January 11, 2024 - 10:53 am

you can freeze fully baked!