A Bagel Recipe For Bagel Balls

by Pamela

A Bagel Recipe For Cream Cheese Filled Bagel Balls

Oprah put bagel balls on her “Favorite Things” list last year. Some New Yorkers are in an uproar over bagel balls (they’re not the same as doughnut holes, cuz bagels don’t get holes punched in them, and they’re causing lines to form like the cronut did). But rather than spend $1.30 for one of these bagels, I’ve got a bagel recipe that will let you make your own bagel balls in the comfort of your own kitchen.

If you watch Shark Tank, you may have seen Bantam Bagels make their pitch to the sharks. Ultimately, they signed on with Lori to take their brand nationwide. Good for them! But why should you be stuck ordering, or standing in a long line, for some bagels, sorry bagel balls, filled with delicious cream cheese when there’s an easy bagel recipe you can make and have them at home anytime you want.

A Homemade Bagel Recipe for Cream Cheese Filled Bagel Balls

What are bagel balls? Well, they’re round balls of bagel dough that are filled with a cream cheese filling. They’re great for eating on the go. Have you ever tried eating bagels schmeared with cream cheese when you’re driving? I gotta say…for as goofy as these things sound, they taste fantastic and actually make sense!!!!

The bagel recipe that I used as my base for these bagels is from Artisan Breads Everyday. It’s a straightforward recipe and isn’t hard to make at all. And the flavor of the bagels? Out of this world delicious. While Bantam Bagels appears to fill their bagel balls after they’ve baked, I baked my bagels with a chunk of cream cheese already inside. This is where you can get creative too. Craig only likes plain cream cheese on his poppy seed bagels (BOR-ING), but you could go crazy and mix up whatever flavor you like. You just need to freeze it in small pieces so you can wrap the dough around it before baking.

Cream Cheese Filled Bagel Recipe

Even if you decide not to make your bagels into balls, you owe yourself to at least make this bagel recipe into regular round bagels…it’s just that good.

A Bagel Recipe For Bagel Balls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bagel balls look to be the new cronut. Why not make these delicious bagels at home? This easy bagel recipe will have you noshing in no time.
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
  • For the Dough
  • 1 Tablespoon Barley Malt Syrup, Honey, or Rice Syrup (I used rice syrup)
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Yeast (this is NOT a full packet so make sure you measure it)
  • 2½ Teaspoons Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Water (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 3½ Cups Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1 Beaten Egg White
  • Toppings (if desired)
  • For Filling
  • 1 8 Ounce Package of Cream Cheese (cut into 16 equal pieces)
  • For Poaching liquid
  • 2 -3 Quarts Water
  • 1½ Tablespoons Barley Malt Syrup, Rice Syrup or Honey (optional-I used rice syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 1½ Teaspoons Coarse Kosher Salt
  1. For the Filling
  2. Drop the cut up cream cheese into the freezer so that it has time to freeze before you need it.
  3. For the Dough
  4. Stir the malt syrup, yeast, and salt into the warm water and set aside. Place the flour into a mixing bowl, make a well in the center of it, and pour in the malt syrup mixture. If your using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix on a low speed for 3 minutes. If your mixing the dough by hand, use a large wooden spoon and stir for about 3 minutes so the dough is well blended. The dough should form a stiff, coarse ball, and the flour should be fully hydrated; if it's still a bit dry, stir in a bit more water (a tablespoon at a time). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Begin mixing the dough again with the dough hook on a low speed for an additional 3 minutes or, if working by hand, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 3 minutes to smooth out the dough and develop the gluten. The dough should be stiff yet supple, with a satiny, barely tacky feel. If the dough seems too soft or overly tacky, mix or knead in a little more flour (a tablespoon at a time).
  6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour. (If the room is too cold, you can set your oven to proof mode and proof the dough in there.)
  7. When you’re ready to shape the bagel balls, prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or a silpat. Lightly coat the paper or silpat with a fine coating of oil. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, then cut each of those pieces in half (you'll have 16 pieces). Use your fingers and palms to work the dough into a disc by pulling the dough under itself (this gives you a smooth top). Drop a piece of the frozen cream cheese into the center of the dough. Use your hand to cup the edges and bring them together treating the dough like it's a bag. Now twist the edges together to close the opening and roll the dough ball in your hands to smooth it as best you can.
  8. Place each of the shaped bagels onto the sheet pan then mist the bagels with spray oil or brush with a light coating of oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the bagels overnight or for up to 2 days. You'll still need to let them rest for 60 to 90 minutes and make sure they pass the float test (see below) before baking them.
  9. Baking the Bagels
  10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 60 to 90 minutes before you plan to bake them Immediately check whether the bagels are ready for baking by using the “float test”: Drop one of the bagels into a small bowl of cold water. If it sinks and doesn’t float back to the surface, shake it off, return it to the pan, and wait for another 15 to 20 minutes, then test it again. If the bagel floats, you're good to go with the baking. You only need to test one. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and get your toppings together.
  11. To make the poaching liquid, fill a pot with the 2 to 3 quarts of water, making sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Bring water to a boil then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt.
  12. Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will fit in the pot without crowding the pan. They should all float to the surface within 15 seconds. After 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to turn the bagels over. Continue cooking for another 30 to 60 seconds, then use the slotted spoon to transfer it back to the oiled baking sheet, roundest side up. (It’s important that the parchment paper or silpat be lightly oiled, or your bagels will stick to the pan.)
  13. If you're topping the bagels, brush them with a beaten egg white before sprinkling your toppings on. This will help them stick better and give you a nice shiny finish to your bagels.
  14. Slide the bagels into the oven and lower the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  15. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels. If they’re getting too dark, place another pan under the baking sheet. (This helps to insulate and keep the bottoms from darkening too much) Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes or until the bagels are golden brown on top. If you notice the tops are getting too brown, just drape a piece of aluminum foil over top of the bagels. Don't wrap the foil, just tent it over the top of the bagels.
  16. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before eating. Remember, that cream cheese inside is really hot.
Get creative with your fillings and make any flavor of cream cheese you like. Just be sure ti freeze it in small pieces so that you can put it inside the dough.


Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Ken Krohn December 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Absolutely awesome! Next time I’m gonna add a clove of garlic in with each chunk of cream cheese! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Pamela December 31, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Oh, that sounds like a nice addition. Maybe roast the garlic so it’s good and sweet. 😉 Now I’m drooling. Glad you liked the recipe Ken.

Janice May 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

also…how would you put the cream cheese in after it’s baked?

Pamela May 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

Hi Janice, in the instructions it tells you how to put the cream cheese into the dough before you bake them. It’s much less messy to put it in before you bake then after.

Janice May 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

GREAT! Want to try these…could you give me some ideas on fillings? I saw they had egg and bacon ones…cinnamon ones…vegetable cream cheese filling with onion, etc. Thanks!

Pamela May 17, 2015 at 10:37 am

Janice, you could mix up a batch of vegetable cream cheese or even a berry cream cheese to put into the bagels before you bake them. Just follow the instructions and you’ll have delicious bagel balls in your own kitchen. And they taste divine!

Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg February 10, 2015 at 10:11 am

thanks for sharing these. Going to try them! 🙂

Pamela February 10, 2015 at 10:43 am

Thanks Rabbi Issamar, I can’t wait to hear what you think of them.

ChipotlePotato January 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

I want to come over too! 😉 Those looks delicious! Beautiful cozy photos as well!

Pamela January 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Thanks! They’re quite addicting…and cute too.

John@Kitchen Riffs January 21, 2015 at 9:11 am

Bagel balls are new to me (I obviously don’t get out much!). Really like the idea — definitely should try this — they look amazing. Thanks.

Pamela January 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

I don’t get out much either John. I found these online then TV. LOL I really should get out more though.

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious January 21, 2015 at 7:16 am

You said balls! (Was that too sophomoric?)

Pamela January 21, 2015 at 7:39 am

I knew someone would go there Dorothy, but I never suspected it would be you. Welcome to the gutter!!!! 🙂

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 20, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I have never heard of bagel balls but at first glance I think I’m in love.

Pamela January 21, 2015 at 7:38 am

These are hard not to love Maureen.

Bunkycooks January 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

Just another reason you need to come and visit us. You can make these! 😀

Sippitysup January 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

I’d choose bagel balls over donut holes any day. I guess that says something about me, huh? Something I know you already knew. GREG

Pamela January 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

You think like I do Greg! You and Ken need to come for a visit. These will def be on the table.

Leave a Comment