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Are bagels vegan?

orange carrots on brown wooden chopping board

Are bagels vegan?

Bagels are a popular breakfast food that originated in Jewish communities in Poland. They have since become a beloved staple in many cultures around the world. However, for those following a vegan lifestyle, the question arises: are bagels vegan? In this article, we will explore the ingredients commonly used in bagel recipes and discuss whether they align with vegan principles.

Understanding veganism

Veganism is a lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animal products for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans choose to avoid consuming meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal-derived ingredients. Instead, they focus on a plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts.

Traditional bagel ingredients

Traditional bagel recipes typically include flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar. These basic ingredients are vegan-friendly and do not pose any ethical concerns. However, some variations of bagels may contain additional ingredients that are not suitable for vegans.

Potential non-vegan ingredients in bagels

While the core ingredients of bagels are vegan, there are a few potential non-vegan ingredients that may be added to certain types of bagels. It is important for vegans to be aware of these ingredients and check the labels or inquire about their presence when purchasing bagels. Some examples include:

  • Egg wash: Some bagels are brushed with an egg wash before baking to give them a shiny appearance. This practice is more common in traditional Jewish-style bagels. Vegans should look for bagels that are specifically labeled as egg-free.
  • Honey: In some sweet bagel recipes, honey may be used as a sweetener. As honey is derived from bees, it is not considered vegan. Vegans should opt for bagels that use alternative sweeteners like maple syrup or agave nectar.
  • Cheese: Certain types of bagels, such as cheese bagels or bagels topped with cheese, obviously contain dairy and are not suitable for vegans. However, many bagel shops offer vegan cream cheese as an alternative.

Vegan-friendly bagel options

Fortunately, there are numerous vegan-friendly bagel options available for those following a plant-based diet. Many bagel shops and grocery stores now offer vegan bagels that are free from animal-derived ingredients. Additionally, homemade bagels can easily be made vegan by substituting non-vegan ingredients with plant-based alternatives. Here are some vegan-friendly bagel options:

  • Plain bagels: Plain bagels made with just flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar are typically vegan.
  • Whole wheat bagels: Bagels made with whole wheat flour instead of white flour are a healthier option and are often vegan.
  • Seeded bagels: Bagels topped with seeds like sesame, poppy, or sunflower seeds are usually vegan, as long as no non-vegan ingredients are added.
  • Flavored bagels: Many bagel shops offer a variety of flavored bagels, such as cinnamon raisin or blueberry. These can be vegan if they are made without non-vegan ingredients like eggs or dairy.


While some variations of bagels may contain non-vegan ingredients, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options available. By checking labels and asking about ingredients, vegans can enjoy delicious bagels that align with their ethical choices. Whether plain, whole wheat, or flavored, vegan bagels can be a satisfying and nutritious addition to a plant-based diet.