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How to toast a bagel in the oven

Toaster broken? Here’s how to toast a bagel in the oven. 

Chewy, soft, yummy bagels make a breakfast sandwich to die for, or piled high with smoked salmon, capers, and onions. 

How about an oversized, glorious rainbow bagel from that little shop in NYC? Yes, yes, and yes. 

Even these end up waiting to be eaten the next day.

Toasted or fresh from the bakery, pulled from your Thomas’ Bagels bag or from the Lender’s Bagels shelf in the grocery, bagels are versatile, hearty, and a blank slate just waiting for some of your finest toppings!

Your leftover bagels from your favorite bakery or out of the bag deserve to be revived in a way that keeps them tasty.

There are ways to reheat bagels that help keep yours tasty, crispy, chewy, and fresh, and we will cover them below.

Should you toast a bagel at all?

Should you toast a bagel? Toasting bagels will revive the bagel and make the outside crunchy and warm up the center, helping it achieve that chewy texture that we all love.

But there’s also your own preference. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether you should toast a bagel or not toast a bagel. 

There are chefs and New Yorkers who believe that toasting a bagel ruins the texture of a fresh bagel. 

But not all bagels are created equal. 

If you’re fortunate enough to have fresh bagels right out of the oven you shouldn’t need to toast it.

However, if you just brought home a bag of bagels from the grocery store they will likely taste much better if they are heated up and toasted. 

You can toast bagels in a toaster oven or a regular oven and enjoy delicious bagels.

Why moisten a bagel before toasting?

Moistening a bagel before toasting it will help bring it back to its original state when it was first baked. 

If you have a stale bagel, dipping it in water before toasting it may help bring it back to life.

The moisture will evaporate and make the outside of the bagel crispy again. 

The best way to moisten the bagel is to dunk it in a bowl of hot water right before you put it in the oven. Drain off excess water, especially if you are using a toaster.

Do I cut the bagel before toasting?

If you are toasting the bagel in an oven or a toaster oven, it is best to toast the bagel whole.

This will help it stay crusty on the outside and still chewy on the inside.

Then cut the bagel right after you have fully heated it. 

If you are using a toaster you will need to cut the bagel prior to toasting it so that it fits in the slots without getting stuck.

Can I toast a frozen bagel?

I don’t recommend toasting a frozen bagel. If you allow the bagel to defrost before you toast it, it will have a much better texture.

A microwaved bagel becomes too hard and chewy when heated too long, but in a pinch, give a frozen bagel 15 seconds on high, turn, give it another 15 seconds. Then toast.

However, if you are in a hurry you can toast a frozen bagel. The best way to toast the frozen bagel is to run it under hot water before you toast it.

How to revive a stale bagel

Getting your mouth ready for a delicious bagel breakfast and discovering a stale bagel is a bummer. A hard bagel is so disappointing.

 The best way to revive a stale bagel is to moisten it. An easy way to do that is to allow it to sit in a bowl of water for a minute or two prior to toasting it. 

You can also revive a stale bagel in the microwave oven.

Step 1: Place the bagel on a microwave-safe plate.
Step 2: Add several drops of water to the plate.
Step 3: Place the plate in the microwave, cover the plate with a microwave splatter cover, and microwave on high for 15 seconds. 
Step 4: Turn the bagel once.
Step 5: Heat in the microwave for another 15 seconds.

Note: The microwave splatter cover helps keep the moisture in and around the bagel so that it softens. 

You could use a microwave-safe bowl that you put upside down to cover the plate instead.

How to eat a bagel

A perfectly toasted bagel is flat-out delicious. No one can deny that! 

Also, bagels are so versatile. You can top them with just about anything such as good spreadable cream cheese. 

Here are a few inspiring topping ideas that are super simple.

  • Slice of cheese Yep, just pile on the cheese and enjoy.
  • Slice up some fresh fruits such as strawberries and bananas on top of cream cheese. 
  • Slice the bagel and then top it with peanut butter.
  • Make a bagel sandwich with a hard fried egg, bacon and cream cheese.
  • Add a thin layer of butter and then top it with your favorite jam or honey.

How to toast a bagel in the oven

The best way to toast a bagel in the oven is to toast the bagel whole and then cut the bagel. 

To toast the perfect bagel, you want to dip it in warm water and then toast it. This will help you recover that crunchy crust and that perfect chewy interior.

Step 1: First thing, preheat your oven to 375° F. You want the oven nice and hot before you put your bagel in it. 

Don’t proceed to step two until your oven is preheated. 

Step 2:
Then, dunk your bagel in warm water. 
You can run the bagel under a stream of hot water from the faucet. 
I prefer to heat up some water in a bowl and immerse the bagel in the bowl of water. Leave the bagel in the water for about one minute.

Step 3:
Toast the bagel. Place the bagel directly on the middle rack of the oven. 

You can use a baking sheet if you would prefer. 

Step 4:
Toast the bagel in the oven for four minutes. Carefully check to see if the bagel is crispy and hot. 

Because you moistened the bagel you may notice tiny blisters on the outside of the bagel. 

This will add to the crunchy texture that fresh-baked bagels are famous for and that is just a sign that your bagel is well toasted. 

Step 5:
Enjoy that bagel with a delicious bagel topping.

The bottom line

There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy a leftover bagel. Hot or cold, toasted or untoasted, bagels are blissfully delish no matter how you slice ‘em! (Or eat ‘em.) 

Let us know if you just now discovered that a wet bagel toasted whole is the best revived bagel EVAR. And if you try it, snap a pic and tag us #cookingchew on the socials. 

Enjoy! And be well, friends.

How to toast a bagel in the oven

How to toast a bagel in the oven

Yield: 1 bagel
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Toasting a bagel in the oven is a simple method for getting that perfect crispy crust.


  • 1 bagel


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Dunk the bagel in a bowl of warm water for one minute.
  3. Place the moist bagel in the hot oven, directly on the rack.
  4. Toast the bagel for 4 minutes.
  5. Serve hot!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 443mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g

Did you make this recipe?

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Sunday 29th of May 2022

Water ruined mine, like the other fellow experienced. I had to bake it for nearly 20 mins to get golden on the top, and even after that long, the middle was like a sludgy paste.

Andi Reis

Thursday 7th of July 2022

Ugh, we need to revisit this, then. You aren't the first to mention it.


Tuesday 28th of December 2021

This straight up does not work. Much like the other commenter here my bagels were left completely soggy as if never cooked. Do not try this.


Tuesday 16th of November 2021

This recipe assumes the bagel has not been sliced at any point in its life (and so should include a caveat to that effect). I just tried this with a pre-sliced Thomas's bagel and it came out of the oven soaking wet - the consistency of much of the inside was like dough that had never been baked in the first place. I've separated the halves and put it back in the oven cut-side-down in hopes of resurrecting it...fingers crossed...

If that doesn't work I can always just throw it away and toast one of the other five bagels in the bag without the water bath. Just seems a shame to waste what was once a good bagel (as Thomas's-style bagels go).


Nope...the cut sides look lovely but parts are still wet and pasty. Going to just trash it and start over without the water.

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