Definitive Ranking of the 11 Most Popular Bagel Flavors, From Worst to Best
Having spent a huge chunk of my upbringing in New York, you better believe I consumed bagels the way people in L.A. inhale kale.
The cliché is true: New Yorkers love a good bagel—and yes, they will judge any that aren't made with magical NY water. You know, the kind with low concentrations of calcium and magnesium, making these gluten-filled delights impossibly soft and scrumptious.
My late grandma loved her bagels scooped out and burned to a crisp; I like mine toasted just right; my brother and my cousin would grab the first one they spotted straight from the bag and eat it haphazardly.
While there's truly no wrong way to eat a bagel (as long as you have a good time doing it), there are, in fact, some questionable choices when it comes to the flavors you consume.
Keep reading for my definitive ranking of the 11 most popular bagel flavors, from worst to best.
Bagels are magical, so to have them tainted with the gooey, gross addition of raisins is a sacrilegious act! And even though cinnamon never did anyone any harm, I love the creamy, savory flavor association I have with bagels. If I wanted something cinnamon-y and sweet, I'd munch on a snickerdoodle. Needless to say, cinnamon-raisin slides into the bottom spot with flying colors.
I didn't know bagels were synonymous with zero flavor, so I'm not quite sure where egg fit into the mix. There's really nothing you can do to improve the bland "flavor" of an egg bagel. Nothing. Why, bagel gods, why?
When it comes to other types of bread that aren't the traditional wheat or white (sourdough, for example), sometimes all it takes is a good toasting to tickle the taste buds. But in the case of pumpernickel, the flavor falls flat. While not gross like raisins (see above), it's definitely not exciting in any way.
Wheat is my go-to for turkey sandwiches, CPK pizza crust, and even occasional pastas—bagels, on the other hand, not so much. I'm not eating a bagel for its nutritional value, nor am I eating it to get anything but the utmost amount of flavor. So, no, I'm not turning to wheat to fulfill any of my bagel-bingeing needs.
While plain is certainly not packed with flavor, it's classic—and with the right amount of time in the toaster, piled high with cream cheese and lox, you really can't go wrong. While there are certainly flavors I prefer, I'm not going to shun a plain bagel.
6. Poppy Seed
Don't be fooled by the dark pigment of poppy seeds—they really don't pack much punch. But, they do provide texture, adding some excitement to an otherwise basic bagel.
5. Sesame Seed
Sesame seeds don't contribute a whole lot more than poppy seeds do, but they are, in fact, tastier. Toasted just right, these can do wonders for those taste buds. Still, however, I crave flavor that's a bit more pungent.
Okay, now we're gettin' to the good stuff! Onions give a regular ol' bagel the kick it needs without going overboard. I'll never turn down anything covered in one of my favorite veggies, so consider me totally onboard with this addition.
What adds even more flavor than onion? Garlic, of course! And dried garlic is just the best. I'll happily risk having questionable breath the rest of the day if it means indulging in a decadent garlic bagel. Yum!
2. Jalapeño Cheddar
While garlic is great, jalapeño is another level! Oh, and combined with melted, dried cheddar? There really are no words. Throw that bad boy in the toaster, slather on a heaping of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and you basically have heaven on a plate. No need for lox or extra fixin's—the flavor of the bagel alone speaks for itself.
If everything bagels aren't your favorite, who even are you? Who raised you? Serious question here. And no, it's not up for discussion. Much like its name suggests, an everything bagel combines a handful of poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and salt. Not only does it taste divine, it pairs well with any topping. Whether you eat it plain, with chive cream cheese, with lox, tomatoes, red onion, you name it—you seriously cannot go wrong. Brb, heading to The Bagel Nook now!
Do you serve up bagels for a living? HERE's what I wish I knew before I started a job in fast food!