Soft pumpkin spice bagels with a swirl of cinnamon and paired with a spiced cream cheese. This is the ultimate autumn breakfast.
Why it Works
Making homemade bagels is such a joy. Not only is it surprisingly easy to do, but they taste amazing.
It is an easy way to impress everyone around you, while also making sure you always have fresh bagels in the house.
These autumnal-themed pumpkin bagels are especially delicious. They are perfectly spices and delightfully soft with a slight crunch from the topping. It is great with a spiced cream cheese - although, I also believe just a schmear of butter would be equally as good.
If you skip the sweet aspects of the topping, you can also use the bagels for a savory bagel sandwich.
The dough can be made ahead of time and frozen, so you can bake them later when a last minute bagel craving hits - it also means you can make multiple batches of bagels to last you all autumn and winter-long.
To make amazing bagels, it starts with the ingredients. Let’s go over some of the key ingredients and why we use each one, and whether or not there are any substitutions.
- Flour - Bagels should be pillowy-soft, yet delightfully chewy. To get that, we need a high-protein flour. This is why we need Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. It has just the right amount of protein to give us the exact texture we need. I do not recommend substituting it, but if you absolutely have to, Bob’s Red Mill’s All-Purpose Flour would be the best option.
- Yeast - This recipe calls for instant yeast because there are more live yeast cells. It also allows you to mix everything together without proofing, and shortens the proof time. If you do not have instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast, I will go over the differences in how you make the bagel with the active dry yeast below.
- Pumpkin - You need pumpkin to make pumpkin bagels! You should use pure pumpkin puree because anything else may have sweeteners and spices already added to it. You can use store-bought or homemade pumpkin puree.
- Honey - The honey does a lot in this recipe. It adds a wonderful flavor as well as acts as food for the yeast. It also adds a wonderful golden crust to the bagels when we boil them.
You can find the full ingredient list and measurements in the recipe card below
Making Your Bagels
The process of making homemade bagels may seem daunting at first, but it is actually very simple - and a lot of fun!
- Make your dough. Mix your ingredients and knead until the dough feels soft, smooth, and just a little sticky. It usually takes about 15 minutes, but don’t worry if it takes you longer.
- Let your dough rise. Oil your bowl so the dough won’t stick. Cover the top, and leave it in a warm place.
- Cut your dough and shape. You need 8 pieces of dough. Add cinnamon sugar to your dough pieces and form it into balls. Stick your thumb or finger through the middle of the ball and gently stretch it out.
- Boil and bake. After you let the shaped bagels rise, dip them in honey-infused boiling water, then dunk in the topping. Bake until they are golden brown.
Shaping and Swirling
I've had a lot of questions about how to form your bagels and get the cinnamon swirl. It can get a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, the process gets easier.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. If you want to be exact, you can weigh the total weight of the dough, and then divide that number by 8. Weigh each ball and you should end with bagels that are exactly the same size.
- Flatten each piece and coat the two sides with cinnamon sugar.
- Go to the edge of the dough and roll the dough down on each side as though you are turning the dough inside out so you do not see any of the cinnamon sugar on the outside of the dough anymore. Form it into a ball, pinching the bottom to help it hold its shape. This will create swirls of cinnamon sugar inside the dough.
- Starting from the bottom where the pinched ends are, use a thumb or finger to poke a finger through the ball. Gently use your fingers to stretch out the dough until you get a nice sized hole in the center.
Using Active Dry Yeast
If you use active dry yeast, you need to proof the yeast first. I also recommend using a full teaspoon of active dry yeast as there are fewer live yeast cells. Add the yeast to the hot water along with the honey.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until there is a layer of foam on top of the water, then add the remaining ingredients such as the flour, salt, spices, and pumpkin.
Continue on with the recipe as directed.
Patience is key! Take your time with each step, especially if this is your first time making bagels.
These bagels tend to take longer to knead until they are ready. This actually makes this a great first-time yeast baker recipe as it is hard to over-knead the recipe. When in doubt, knead a little longer than you think.
The window pane test is great to see if you are done kneading. Pinch off a piece of dough and gently stretch it out. It should stretch until you can very nearly see through it without it tearing. If it tears before this, knead for longer.
You can make the dough for these pumpkin bagels ahead of time. Work on the recipe up until it reaches its first proof. Instead of leaving it to prove in a warm area, cover it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. It will allow the dough to slowly rise and really help the flavor develop in the bagels. In the morning, resume the recipe as normal - you may need to let the dough warm for a few minutes first.
There are so many fun ways you can customize your pumpkin spice bagels.
- Add raisins. They will go wonderfully with the bagels. I like to rehydrate my raisins with vanilla and apple cider for added flavor.
- Add cocoa with the cinnamon. The addition of chocolate is great with pumpkin and gives really beautiful cocoa swirls.
- Add a touch more honey. Another couple of tablespoons of honey really helps the flavors shine without changing the texture of the final bagel much. A little goes a long way and really takes the bagels to a new level.
- Experiment with spices. I like adding chai spices to my pumpkin-flavored recipes for a slight twist.
It is very likely that the yeast was not good. You should always use fresh yeast. I recommend checking your batch of yeast by leaving a pinch in warm water with a bit of sugar. It should foam on top after 5 - 10 minutes. If it does not foam, your yeast needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that hot water can kill your yeast, so ensure your water is not too hot.
Absolutely! Simply divide the dough into 16 pieces instead of 8. The baking time should also be reduced.
You should leave them in an airtight container for about a week. The bagels freeze well in an airtight container for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Pumpkin Spice Bagels
- 3 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Bread Flour plus ⅓ cup
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin puree room temperature
- ⅔ cup hot water 120°F/49°C to 130°F/54°C
- ½ cup honey plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats chopped
Spiced Cream Cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 3 1⁄2 cups flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, yeast, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves by hand. Add pumpkin, 2⁄3 cup hot water, and 1 tablespoon honey; using the paddle attachment, beat at low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until dough is smooth and slightly tacky and pulls away from sides and bottom of bowl, about 14 minutes, stopping halfway through mixing to scrape sides of bowl and turn dough over in bowl; add up to an additional 1⁄3 cup (42 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft- free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a large piece of parchment paper on a work surface in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C), and dust with flour. Mix together 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
- Divide dough into 8 portions (about 105 grams each). Roll each portion in the cinnamon sugar. Shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place 1 ball in your hand. Using the thumb of your other hand, poke a hole in center of ball; stretch hole to about 3 inches. (Once the dough contracts, the hole should be about 1 to 11⁄2 inches.) Place on prepared parchment. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until puffed, 15 to 30 minutes.
- Make the Oat topping by pulsing the pecans until they are finely ground. Stir them together with the remaining ingredients for the topping in a plate or shallow bowl.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat. (Alternatively, lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.)
- In a large stockpot, pour water to a depth of 21⁄2 inches. Stir in remaining 1⁄2 cup honey, and heat over medium-low heat just until bubbles form around edges of pot. (Do not boil.)
- Working in batches, carefully drop bagels, bottom side down, into honey water. Cook for 10 seconds per side. Remove bagels from honey water, letting excess water drip off, and place, top side up, on a large piece of parchment paper. Place 1 bagel, top side down, in Oat Cinnamon Sugar Topping, and swirl bowl to help coat top of bagel. Lift out, and place, bottom side down, on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining bagels.
- Bake until lightly golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers 205°F (96°C), 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks. Serve toasted and warm or at room temperature with Spiced Cream Cheese which you make by whisking all the ingredients for the cream cheese together until smooth
- Water for the yeast should be about the temperature of a hot bath, it should not be scalding. Lean toward warm over being too hot.
- Check if your yeast is good by adding a pinch to a few tablespoons of water and a pinch of sugar. Foam should form on top. If foam does not form, buy new yeast.
- Honey adds a nice brown color to the outside of the bagels, and it adds more depth to the flavor. You can substitute it with brown sugar, if needed.