Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels

Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels

There is a strong and steady love for Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, and this recipe is our best attempt to turn that fast-casual breakfast into a homemade delight. The sweet topping is loaded onto bagels inspired by our 2022 Recipe of the Year before they’re baked, forming a crackly, craggy crust — and filling your kitchen with a cinnamon bun aroma in the process. The addition of Cinnamon Sweet Bits in the dough itself hammers home the cinnamon flavor, while coarse sparkling sugar in the topping contributes to the extra crunchy texture. 

45 mins
18 to 22 mins
8 hrs
6 bagels
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels - select to zoom
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels - select to zoom
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels - select to zoom
Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels - select to zoom


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  1. To make the starter: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. 

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the starter ingredients to make a shaggy dough, then use your hand to knead gently until thoroughly combined. (This may take about a minute; it's quite stiff.)

  3. Cover the bowl and let the starter rest at room temperature for 4 to 14 hours; it should expand. (To see what the dough should look like and for a full walkthrough of the recipe, see our video on how to make Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels.)

  4. To make the dough: Add the remaining dough ingredients in the order listed to the bowl with the starter, except the Cinnamon Sweet Bits. Mix to bring the dough together, by hand or at low speed of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Next, knead the stiff dough until it’s supple and elastic. This will take up to 15 minutes by hand or 8 to 10 minutes at medium-low speed with a mixer.  

  5. Add the Cinnamon Sweet Bits during the last 2 minutes of kneading. 

  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest, covered, until it doubles in bulk. This will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the warmth of your kitchen. 

  7. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, gently deflate it, and divide it into 6 equal pieces (about 120g each). 

  8. To pre-shape the dough: Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the edges into the center. Pinch to seal and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. 

  9. Starting with the first piece of dough you shaped, place it seam-side down on an unfloured surface. Use your cupped fingers and palm to roll the dough into a tight ball, moving your hand in a circular motion. The dough should stick slightly to the surface in order to create tension to yield a smooth exterior. If the dough is unmanageably sticky, add a very light dusting of flour; if the dough slides around on the surface without tightening, use a damp towel to clean and moisten the surface and try again. 

  10. Once shaped into a tight ball, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. 

  11. Cover the pre-shaped dough and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. 

  12. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly grease the parchment; or sprinkle the parchment lightly with cornmeal, semolina, or farina, to prevent the bagels from sticking. 

  13. To shape the bagels: Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your finger to poke a hole through the center. Gently rotate the dough to expand the hole to 2” to 3” in diameter, forming a ring shape. Place the shaped bagel onto the prepared baking sheet. The hole will close up a bit; that’s OK. 

  14. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, then cover the bagels with a reusable cover or lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rest until they feel slightly puffy to the touch, about 30 minutes. 

  15. While the bagels are resting, preheat the oven to 450°F. 

  16. To make the topping: In a small bowl, whisk the sugars, flour, and cinnamon together. Add the vanilla and melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. 

  17. To boil the bagels: Combine the water bath ingredients in a wide, shallow pot; the water should be at least 1 1/4" deep. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add bagels to the water two or three at a time to avoid crowding. Boil for 60 seconds, then use a dough whisk or slotted spoon to turn the bagels over. Boil for another 60 seconds before removing from the water and placing on the prepared pan. 

  18. Brush each bagel with egg wash and sprinkle with the topping, distributing evenly across the 6 bagels. For even more cinnamon crunch, sprinkle the tops of the bagels with more Cinnamon Sweet Bits and/or sparkling sugar. Press down on the toppings to fully adhere them to the bagel, ensuring that everything stays put. 

  19. Bake the bagels for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Rotate the pan (front to back, back to front) halfway through baking to ensure even browning. If at any point the topping is becoming too dark, tent with foil and continue baking.

  20. Remove the bagels from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. 

  21. Storage information: These bagels are best enjoyed the day they’re made. Store any leftover bagels in a paper bag for up to 2 days; freezing is not recommended, as the sugary topping will become sticky upon thawing. To re-crisp, bagels can be toasted or wrapped loosely in foil and placed in a 350°F oven until warm. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • To bake your bagels first thing in the morning: Prepare the dough up through step 5 (complete the kneading process) and allow it to rise for just 1 hour. Continue following the recipe through step 12 (shaping the bagels). Immediately place the baking sheet with the prepared bagels, covered, into the refrigerator overnight (8 to 12 hours). The next morning, continue the recipe as written starting at step 14 (preheating the oven). Leave the bagels in the refrigerator until the water bath is boiling and the oven is preheated.

  • Substitute 1/4 cup (43g) raisins for the Cinnamon Sweet Bits in the dough, if you want an elevated cinnamon-raisin bagel. Soften the raisins by soaking them in hot water for 15 minutes before kneading into the dough. Bake as directed.   

  • Bake it better! Watch King Arthur baker/blogger Kye Ameden demonstrate some of the techniques from this recipe: Make Your Own Panera-Style Cinnamon-Sugar Crunch Bagels.