Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Corinne Schmitt
These Air Fryer Bagels are easy to make and come out dense and chewy on the inside with the perfect golden, crispy outside.
Homemade bagels aren’t hard to make and they’re ready in a fraction of the time in an air fryer (compared to traditional bagels baked in the oven).
Once you learn how to make bagels in an air fryer, you’ll be making them all the time for an easy on-the-go breakfast!
Are These Bagels Weight Watchers Friendly?
NO. If you’re looking for the 2-ingredient weight watcher bagels, this recipe isn’t it. Recipe Girl has great instructions for those in this post.
I don’t have anything against self-rising flour or Greek yogurt (in fact, I love Greek yogurt and enjoy it dozens of different ways), but when it comes to bagels I want the full experience.
Is It Necessary to Boil Bagels Before Air Frying?
If you’ve made homemade bagels before you know that you’re supposed to boil them before baking them. Some recipes give you tips for cheating on this step, but the result is not the same.
For the best result, you’ll still need to perform the sweet water boil to get that beautiful, shiny, crispy crust when you air fry.
However, if bagel boiling is a deal breaker for you, you can brush the bagels with an egg wash before air frying for a golden sheen and fairly satisfying crunch.
Ingredients for Homemade Bagels
You won’t need much to make up a batch of delicious air fryer bagels. In fact, if you do much baking, you’ll likely have everything you need in your pantry already.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cup warm water
- 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
- Seasoning (optional)
For the best homemade bagels, we’ll be boiling them before air frying. For that step you’ll need:
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, honey or baking soda
Active Dry Yeast: If you have it or can easily get it, this recipe works best with active dry yeast. In a pinch, you can use Instant Yeast instead in a 1:1 ratio (use 2 tablespoons in this recipe to replace the 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast). You can also use 1 tablespoon of baking soda plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to create a similar leavening effect.
Water: You can use regular tap water here, but the temperature is extremely important in order to activate, but not kill it. 110ºF is ideal. Use a thermometer or use this trick to test the temperature without a thermometer.
Flour: Bread flour will give your bagels the perfect chewiness and density. If you don’t have it, you can use all-purpose flour. If you go with all-purpose flour and happen to have some wheat gluten on hand, add 4 teaspoons to get a result as close as possible to the bread flour version.
Barley Malt Syrup: For authentic New York bagel color and flavor, use barley malt syrup. You’ll get decent results by using honey and/or baking soda. These will help you get the color, flavor, and texture pretty close.
Seasoning: If you prefer to jazz up your bagels with toppings, you may want to skip the seasoning and make plain bagels. However, if you want to enjoy them plain or with a simple smear of butter or cream cheese, here are some seasoning options:
Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools
- Air fryer: We’ll be air frying the bagels so they’re ready to eat in half the time (otherwise, you can bake them in the oven)
- Stand mixer with dough hook or bread machine: To make kneading the dough easier
- Large mixing bowl: For holding the dough
- Kitchen towel: To cover the dough bowl while the dough rises
- Pastry cutter: To make it easy to divide the dough (you can also use a sharp knife or simply pull the dough apart with your hands)
- Pot: For boiling water
- Spider strainer (aka skimmer spoon): To remove the bagels from the boiling water
How to Make Air Fryer Bagels
Making bagels at home does include several steps but none of them are difficult so it’s a simple recipe. This is a really fun recipe to make with someone else so recruit the kids or a friend and enjoy the process!
Step 1: Prepare the yeast
The trickiest part of making homemade bagels is getting the dough to rise well. And that relies entirely on getting this first step right.
Heat your water to 110°F, then add the sugar and yeast. Stir to combine, then let it sit for 10 minutes until it starts to bubble and froth.
Step 2: Prepare the dough
Next, add the flour and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir the mixture lightly to combine.
Then, use your hands to gently knead the dough. Or, if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine, you can use those to knead the dough.
Grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the dough inside the bowl, rolling it around in the bowl to coat it.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap if you prefer). Go do something fun for an hour or two while the dough rises.
We need it to double in size before we move onto the next step.
Step 3: Divide dough
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl. Punch it down to force out air.
Then, using a pastry cutter or knife (or the brute strength of your bare hands), divide the dough into 8 roughly equal pieces (or 16 if you want miniature bagels.
Roll the portions into balls on a floured surface.
Step 4: Shape the bagels
To get the traditional bagel shape, we won’t need fancy tools, just your fingers! Use your fingers and/or thumb, to create a hole in the center of each dough ball.
Then, still using your fingers, pull at the sides to enlarge the holes. We’re aiming for a 1-inch opening in the center of each bagel.
Step 5: Boil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium high and add the barley malt syrup, honey and/or baking soda.
Add 2 to 3 bagels to the pot — as many as you can fit without cramming them together or causing them to overlap. Boil for one minute, then flip the bagels over and boil for another minute.
If you REALLY don’t want to boil them (even though this step makes the bagels amazing!), you can beat an egg in a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash onto the bagels with a pastry brush in lieu of the water bath.
Step 6: Season and Air Fry
Before placing your bagels in the air fryer basket, spray it with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Air fry at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown.
Blueberry Bagels: Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2/3 cup blueberries to the dough before letting it rise.
Cheese Bagels: Gently press shredded cheese into the top of each bagel before air frying (Asiago or cheddar are popular choices)
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 cup raisins to the dough before letting it rise.
Chocolate Chip Bagels: Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the dough before letting it rise.
One of the great things about bagels are that they’re a blank canvas for all sorts of delicious flavor combinations. Choose as many toppings as you want to create the ultimate bagel experience!
- Apple butter
- Peanut butter
- Marshmallow fluff
- Banana slices
- Sliced strawberries
- Cinnamon sugar
- Plain cream cheese
- Smoked salmon
- Fried egg or scrambled eggs
- Bacon or sausage
- Ham or turkey
Make a pizza bagel by topping with marinara sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese!
More Air Fryer Recipes You May Enjoy
- Easy Cinnamon Sugar Air Fryer Donuts
- Air Fryer Deep Fried Oreos
- Air Fryer Hash Browns
- Air Fryer Copycat Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Donuts
Easy Air Fryer Bagel Recipe
Ready to get cooking? Simply print off the recipe card below.
Or, save a tree and follow along on your phone or tablet. Just toggle on “Cook Mode” to keep your screen from going dark while you’re cooking.
Air Fryer Bagels
- Air Fryer
- Stand mixer with dough hook or bread machine
- Large mixing bowl
- Kitchen towel or plastic wrap
- Pastry cutter
- Spider strainer
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- Seasoning optional
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, honey and/or baking soda
- Heat water to 110°F, then add the sugar and yeast. Stir. Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Add flour and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Gently knead the dough using stand mixer with dough hook, bread machine or by hand.
- Grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil or cooking spray. Place dough inside the bowl, rolling it around to coat in oil.
- Cover bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Wait one hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl. Punch it down to force out air.
- Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Shape dough portions into balls.
- Use your fingers to create a hole in the center of each dough ball. Pull at sides to widen holes to 1 inch.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and add the barley malt syrup, honey and/or baking soda.
- Add 2 to 3 bagels to the pot (do not crowd). Boil for one minute, then flip the bagels over and boil for another minute.
- Season bagels (if desired).
- Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray. Add bagels to air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.
Need to run to the grocery store for a few ingredients first? Don’t forget to pin this recipe so you can find it when you’re ready to cook!