Homemade Vegan Onion Bagels

This homemade vegan onion bagel recipe is just as delicious as it is fun to make! Peppery onion plant-based bagels are fantastic served as a vegan bagel sandwich for breakfast with tofu scramble or lunch with dairy-free cream cheese and all the fresh vegetables. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make your own egg-free bagels at home with step by step photos and instructions!

This homemade vegan onion bagel recipe is just as delicious as it is fun to make! Peppery onion plant-based bagels are fantastic served as a vegan bagel sandwich for breakfast with tofu scramble or lunch with dairy-free cream cheese and all the fresh vegetables. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make your own egg-free bagels at home with step by step photos and instructions!


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Recently, I got back into baking and learning the science of new bread and pastry recipes. I started to tackle almost everything imaginable: breads, cakes, doughnuts, etc. I realized I hadn’t baked too much since going vegan some years ago and had forgotten how much I love it, and how rewarding it is!

At one point, B and I really wanted bagels. Good bagels! I love a good chewy New York style bagel and a light schmear. But all the bakeries were closed, and I’m not a huge fan of those bagged bread-aisle bagels from the store. 

So, since I had been a teacher, I decided to learn and teach myself how to make homemade vegan bagels! It was A LOT easier than I expected…and it was actually really fun! I may never buy a store-bought bagel again. You might not either!

The process of making homemade vegan onion bagels is a bit involved, but it is SO worth it! And, it’s actually kind of simple once you get the hang of it, even after just making them once or twice.

Why We Love Homemade Vegan Bagels:

  • These homemade vegan onion bagels cost pennies to make compared to what you would pay in a shop.
  • This eggless bagel recipe is a fun, almost meditative recipe that rewards with absolutely delicious results.
  • The looks on our friends’ faces when they ask where we got them and we tell them we made them! (This may be the most rewarding.)
Overhead shot of the ingredients you need to make homemade bagels: all-purpose flour, baking soda, active dry yeast packet, warm water, olive oil, salt, and light brown sugar.

Homemade Bagel Ingredients

You only need 7 simple ingredients + toppings to make your very own homemade vegan onion bagels! 

In this recipe, we’re also using some minced onion, ground black pepper and coarse salt for our vegan bagel toppings, but you can feel free to be as creative with your toppings as you’d like!

Substitution Tips for Vegan Onion Bagels

Baking is very much a science as well as an art, so substitutions can be less forgiving; but we do still have options.

For the active dry yeast:

You can use instant yeast in this and add it directly to the flour, but it is suggested that the water temperature be hotter for instant yeast than active dry yeast. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise. Recommended temps for active dry yeast are between 105-115F/40-45C; and for instant yeast, recommended water temp is 120-130F/50-55C. 

For the brown sugar:

I like to use light brown sugar. You can use barley malt syrup (if you have THAT sitting around!); you can also use just white sugar or white sugar blended with a little molasses (which is what brown sugar is); molasses on its own, maple syrup and agave will also all work. Yeast just needs its sweetie to help it bloom its fullest.

For the wheat gluten:

The wheat gluten is used to give the bagel that signature chewy texture. It gives it that “give.” If you have bread flour on hand, you can sub that for the wheat gluten AND the all-purpose flour. If you don’t have bread flour or wheat gluten around, you can just use all-purpose flour and knead it a few minutes longer (approximately 3-5 more minutes) to process the gluten in it further. It won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be close.

For the flour:

You can make this with whole wheat flour, but just know that whole wheat flour requires more water than regular all-purpose flour because the germ and bran present in whole wheat flour soaks up more. I’ve read that gluten-free all-purpose flour can be subbed for all-purpose flour and the wheat gluten 1:1 for a gluten-free option. But, I have not yet tried it myself. Let us know if you do!

For the olive oil:

The sole purpose of the oil is to help aid the dough in not sticking to the bowl as it rises. While I wouldn’t recommend losing it completely (unless you don’t mind scraping sticky dough from a bowl), you could cut the amount and brush a minor amount (“just enough”) on the bottom and sides of the bowl or on the dough itself just before proving.

How to Make Vegan Bagels

Making these homemade vegan onion bagels, though involved, is actually pretty easy. The hardest part is waiting: waiting for the dough to prove and waiting for the finished product to cool properly so you can eat it!

Step 1: Make the eggless bagel dough.

3 step by step shots showing the process of making homemade vegan bagel dough. Mix the warm water sugar and yeast, combine dry and wet ingredients, stir until the sides of the bowl aren't floury.

1. ACTIVATE THE YEAST: Activate the yeast by putting the brown sugar and yeast in a small bowl or measuring cup and stirring in the 1.5 cup very warm water. (* Water should be very warm/hot, between 105-115F/40-45C.) Let sit for approx. 10 min as yeast “blooms.”

2. MAKE THE BAGEL DOUGH: Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add yeast/water mix to the dry ingredients and mix together well until the side of the bowl is relatively clean of flour. You may need to add another tablespoon of water during this process. 

2 side by side photos showing the process of kneading eggless bagel dough for homemade bagels

3. KNEAD THE DOUGH: Transfer to a lightly floured counter and knead the dough well for 3-5 minutes incorporating all ingredients and activating gluten. 

Add oil to the sides of the bowl so it runs down. This will help the dough from sticking to the bowl as it proves and rises. Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm dry place to prove 60-90 minutes. Mixture should double in size.

4. PROVE THE DOUGH: Add oil to the sides of the bowl so it runs down. This will help the dough from sticking to the bowl as it proves and rises. Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm dry place to prove 60-90 minutes.

Step 2: Roll and shape the bagels.

1. PREP FOR BAKING: Preheat your oven to 425F/218C. Get a large pot of water on the stove and add the baking soda. When it starts to boil, this will be your “bagel bath.”

Step by step photo tutorial showing how to shape homemade vegan bagels
Step by step photo tutorial showing how to shape homemade vegan bagels
Step by step photo tutorial showing how to shape homemade vegan bagels

2. SHAPE THE BAGELS: Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured counter. “Punch down” dough mixture to release the extra air. Split your dough into 8 semi-equal portions. 

Our Process for Shaping Homemade Bagles:

  1. Tuck – Take a piece in the palm of one hand, and with the other, tuck/push the back of the dough gently inward with your fingers so a rough ball is formed. 
  2. Roll – Roll the dough on the counter between your hands in a circular motion to smooth it out and form ball.  You may hear small squeaks as you press out air bubbles.
  3. Pinch – Flour your index finger and pinch the center of a ball between your thumb and index finger until you break between the surface, creating a hole.
  4. The “whoop-de-doo”! –  Insert your index finger in the hole and twirl it in a “whoop-de-doo” fashion (lol…see photo), stretching the bagel and creating the hole. The dough is not fragile, so don’t be afraid to give it a good whirl.
  5. Final stretch – Then, gently stretch the bagel further into a uniform size by putting your thumb(s) through the hole until they meet your fingers and pulling/stretching the dough lightly and evenly as you rotate it. The hole should be about the size of a US nickel or UK pound coin.

Step 3: Bathe and bake the bagels!

Place on a baking sheet to prove for another 3-5 minutes and repeat this shaping process with the remaining 7 bagels. Let them prove on the baking sheet for another 5-7 minutes. You can cover them, but I like to leave them exposed so the tops dry ever so slightly: this will help in the bagel bath.

Two photos showing the process of boiling bagel dough in a bagel bath

1. BOIL THE BAGELS: By the time you finish rolling your bagels and having them prove, your water should be at a rolling boil. Gently drop each bagel into the boiling water bath for one minute each side. I find if you place the bagel topside down in the water first, they don’t stick. Don’t overcrowd your water in the pot. In the “pot” I use, a 5 quart shallow saute with 4” walls, I fit four at a time.

This homemade vegan onion bagel recipe is just as delicious as it is fun to make! Peppery onion plant-based bagels are fantastic served as a vegan bagel sandwich for breakfast with tofu scramble or lunch with dairy-free cream cheese and all the fresh vegetables. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make your own egg-free bagels at home with step by step photos and instructions!

2. TOP AND BAKE: Top your bagels after the bath and before baking and bake at 425F (218C) for 20-25 minutes. Tops should be nice golden brown. (I almost always go 22 minutes.) Let rest at least ten minutes before serving. (The rest aids with the chewiness.)

Can I make homemade bagels ahead of time?

Absolutely. You can make these homemade vegan onion bagels the day before if serving them fresh, or make them and freeze them for up to three months!

How to Serve Eggless Bagels

Here’s where you and your creativity take over! From the simple to the extreme, there are SO many ways to serve your homemade vegan onion bagels. Allow us to offer a few ideas:

How to Store Leftover Bagels

Store leftover bagels at room temperature in an airtight container. They’ll be at their best for up to three days.

How to Freeze Bagels

To freeze these eggles bagels, pre-slice and let the bagels cool completely. Freeze bagels in a ziplock bag for up to three months. To make it simpler to pull them apart for toasting, place a square of parchment between. You can put them directly in the toaster/toaster oven or let them defrost at room temperature.

This homemade vegan onion bagel recipe is just as delicious as it is fun to make! Peppery onion plant-based bagels are fantastic served as a vegan bagel sandwich for breakfast with tofu scramble or lunch with dairy-free cream cheese and all the fresh vegetables. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make your own egg-free bagels at home with step by step photos and instructions!

More Vegan Bread Recipes

Let us know if you give these bagels a whirl. Get it?? A whirl…because that’s how you’ll make the hole! 

And when you do, tell us EVERYTHING. What did you think? What toppings did you choose? How did you serve it? How much did you love it?

Leave a comment and rate the recipe below, or tag us in your photos on Instagram. If you’re not already hanging out with us over there, we are @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.

Enjoy!

Yield: 8 bagels

Homemade Vegan Onion Bagels

This homemade vegan onion bagel recipe is just as delicious as it is fun to make! Peppery onion plant-based bagels are fantastic served as a vegan bagel sandwich for breakfast with tofu scramble or lunch with dairy-free cream cheese and all the fresh vegetables. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make your own egg-free bagels at home with step by step photos and instructions!

2 hr, 45 Prep Time:

25 minCook Time:

3 hr, 10 Total Time:

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

    For the bagels
  • 11/2 cup warm water (355ml)
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (7g / 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (500g) - Plus a little extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (30g)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil (for proving bowl)
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda (for boil water)
  • For the toppings
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion (fresh or reconstituted dehydrated)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Course sea salt - a couple pinches for each

Instructions

  1. ACTIVATE THE YEAST: Activate the yeast by putting the brown sugar and yeast in a small bowl or measuring cup and stirring in the 1.5 cup very warm water. (* Water should be very warm/hot, between 105-115F/40-45C.) Let sit for approx. 10 minutes as yeast “blooms.”
  2. MAKE THE BAGEL DOUGH: Measure and mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add yeast/water mix to the dry ingredients and mix together well with a gloved hand or a wooden spoon until the side of the bowl is relatively clean of flour. You may need to add another tablespoon of water during this process.
  3. KNEAD THE DOUGH: Transfer to a lightly floured counter and knead the dough well for 3-5 minutes incorporating all ingredients and activating gluten.
  4. PROVE THE DOUGH: Add oil to the sides of the bowl so it runs down. This will help the dough from sticking to the bowl as it proves and rises. Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm dry place to prove 60-90 minutes. Mixture should double in size.
  5. PREP FOR BAKING: Preheat your oven to 425F/218C. Get a large pot of water on the stove and add the baking soda. When it starts to boil, this will be your “bagel bath.”
  6. SHAPE THE BAGELS: Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured counter. “Punch down” dough mixture to release the extra air. Split your dough into 8 semi-equal portions. Take a piece in the palm of one hand, and with the other, tuck/push the back of the dough gently inward with your fingers so a rough ball is formed. Form a “C” with one hand so you can cup the dough between your palms. Roll the dough on the counter between your hands in a circular motion to smooth it out and form a better, smoother ball. Pinch the center of a ball between your thumb and index finger until you break between the surface, creating a hole. Insert your index finger in the hole and twirl it, stretching the bagel and creating the hole. Stretch the bagel further into a uniform size by putting your thumb(s) through the hole until they meet your fingers and pulling/stretching the dough lightly and evenly. Place on a baking sheet to prove for another 3-5 minutes and repeat this shaping process with the remaining 7 bagels.
  7. BOIL THE BAGELS: Gently drop each bagel into the boiling water bath for one minute each side. I find if you place the bagel topside down in the water first, they don’t stick. Don’t overcrowd your water in the pot.
  8. TOP AND BAKE: Top your bagels with the onions, black pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Then bake them at 425F (218C) for 20-25 minutes. Tops should be a nice golden brown. Let the bagels rest at least ten minutes before serving.

Notes

Use weight measurements when available. They’ll be more consistent than cup measurements.

If your water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise properly.

Although baking is scientific, it’s never exact. Weather, altitude, etc will all play a part on the recipe EVERY time you make it.

Place the air-exposed side of the bagel into the water bath first to decrease the possibility of sticking to the bottom.

Make sure your oven is fully preheated before placing the bagels in for baking.

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