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Best Montreal Bagel Recipe (Step-by-Step, 1 hour)

This Montreal bagel recipe is exceptional – straight from the iconic St.-Viateur bagel company in Montreal. In about 1 hour, you will be feasting on soft, warm, chewy and slightly sweet bagels covered in seeds. 

Bagels are not difficult to make with clear step-by-step instructions. After the first time, you’ll be a pro. Shmear on the cream cheese, toast them or eat them plain. All delish!

pile of sesame seed bagels on cutting board

Montreal bagels are, hands down, the best bagels anywhere. (Full disclosure – I’m an ex-Montrealer.) This is an authentic Montreal bagel recipe – except for the wood oven part. It comes from St.-Viateur Bagel, founded by Myer Lewkowicz, and has been operating in Montreal for over 60 years.

I learned to make Montreal-style bagels from Chef de Volpi of McGill University. He was demonstrating a traditional lox and bagel spread for a McGill fundraiser. The bagels came out great – er, all 3 times I made them in the past month 🙂

Bagels originated in Jewish communities in Poland. They were traditionally formed by hand, boiled then baked, just as they still are at St-Viateur Bagel.

Think about it. Hot fresh bagels right out of the oven. Perfect every time!

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

flour, sesame seeds, water, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, maple syrup, brown sugar, oil.

The ingredients for this Montreal bagel recipe are pretty much typical bread ingredients – flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt. The bagels are boiled in water with honey (or brown sugar) before baking. The recipe includes an egg, but it’s not essential.


  • Leave out the egg if you can’t eat them.
  • For the honey water (to boil the bagels), you can substitute brown sugar which is cheaper.
  • Toppings: Use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, no seeds or all dressed e.g. everything bagel seasoning blend (homemade) or store-bought which you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Amazon.

Step-by-step instructions

water, yeast and sugar in bowl
Proof the yeast in warm sugared water in a large mixing bowl.
all bagel ingredients in bowl forming dough
Stir the rest of the ingredients to make dough.
kneaded dough on cutting board
Transfer to a flat clean work surface, and knead dough for 12 minutes until smooth
dough covered with bowl on cutting board
Cover and let the dough rest and rise for 10 minutes.
proofed dough cut into 12 pieces
Cut dough into 12 pieces.
dough rolled into 12 logs
Roll pieces into 12 logs
dough shaped into bagels on cutting board
Shape the soft dough into bagels (roll the overlap to smooth it)
4 bagels boiling in sugared water
Boil in batches 45 seconds per side. This is what gives them that classic crisp outer surface when baked. They will puff up.
boiled bagels dipped in sesame seeds in bowl
Dip the boiled bagels into sesame seeds
seeded bagels on lined pan
Place bagels in a single layer on a lined baking sheet (or two)
baked bagels on pan
Bake for 14-16 minutes, turning once halfway through, until golden brown
toasted split bagel with butter
Eat with cream cheese or toast the bagel and spread with butter.

Make Ahead

  • To store: Allow the hot bagels to cool completely and keep them in a sealed container or a sealed plastic bag for a few days at room temperature.
  • To freeze:
    • Once cooked: Cool bagels, then freeze them for up to 3 months. Tip: I slice them before freezing so I can toss the frozen halves right into the toaster. 
    • When raw: After shaping the dough into bagels, freeze them. When ready to use, defrost them, boil and bake as per instructions. 

Bagel FAQs

What kind of bagels are there?

Bagels are made and sold worldwide, in bagel shops and grocery stores in a wide variety of flavors. The most popular (about 85%) are sesame seed bagels. A distant second are poppy seed, also called black seed bagels. Then you have various seasoning blends such as ‘everything bagel’, onion, garlic and the specialty bagels like gluten-free, cinnamon raisin, chocolate chip and pumpernickel. Did I miss a few? Probably. 

What is the difference between a Montréal bagel and New York bagels?

A Montreal bagel is hand-rolled, smaller, thinner, chewier, sweeter (they are boiled in honey water), have a bigger hole and are wood-fired. A New York-style bagel is puffier, softer, doughier, mostly machine-made and baked in a traditional oven.

How do you eat a bagel?

That depends on where you come from and who introduced you to bagels. New Yorkers typically love their bagels sliced, warm, fresh and shmeared with a thick layer of cream cheese. No toasting! Montrealers also like their bagels plain and fresh, but out of the wood burning oven – sometimes with cream cheese (and lox) or egg salad. Am I the only one who loves a bagel toasted and slathered with butter?

Are bagels healthy?

Not exactly. The size is usually the issue since one bagel is equivalent to 3- 31/2 slices of bread, making them pretty high in calories and refined carbs. According to, If you control the portions (eat half or a mini bagel), there’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

What do you eat with bagels?

Typically, people eat bagels with cream cheese or toasted with butter. They are also fantastic served with smoked salmon/gravlax/lox, tomatoes, capers and red onions – along with the cream cheese of course.

Easy homemade no-pectin jams for your bagels

sesame seed bagels piled on cutting board p1

Other homemade bread recipes

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!

pile of sesame seed bagels on cutting board
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4.85 from 45 votes

Best Montreal Bagel Recipe (Step-by-Step, 1 hour)

In about 1 hour, you will be feasting on soft, warm, slightly sweet and chewy bagels covered in seeds. Montreal bagels are, hands down, the best bagels anywhere. (Full disclosure – I'm an ex-Montrealer.)
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
rest time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 12 bagels


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 95-100F/ 35-37.8C)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 g active dry or instant yeast (1 package)
  • 1 egg (you can leave this out if you want)
  • 2 tablespoons oil canola or vegetable
  • 4 cups all purpose or bread flour, Note 1 plus an extra 1/2 cup/62g as needed

For boiling and baking

  • 12 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup/170g honey
  • 1 cup sesame seeds or poppy or everything bagel seeds


  • HEAT OVEN TO 425F/217C. [for mini bagels, heat oven to 450F/232C]. Line a large pan or two smaller ones with parchment paper.
  • MAKE DOUGH BY HAND: To use mixer instead, Note 2. In large bowl, mix warm water, sugar and maple syrup. Add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. It will froth up a bit. Stir in egg, oil, salt and flour until dough begins to come together. Pull dough onto a sheet of parchment on the counter or a cutting board, lightly dusted with flour. Begin kneading, adding up to an extra 1/2 cup/62g of flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead for about 12 minutes. Here's a video on how to knead dough. The dough will lighten up a bit in color.
  • REST DOUGH: Cover smooth dough with a bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • SHAPE BAGELS: Cut dough into 12 equal parts for regular bagels (or 24 for mini bagels). Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a log 8-10 inches long (20-25cm). Curve each log into a bagel shape, overlapping 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm). Roll the overlapped part on the counter to smooth it or just pinch the dough together. No need for perfection – mis-shaped bagels are just fine. The dough will puff up when boiled.
  • LET BAGELS REST FOR 10 MINUTES. While they are resting, put sesame seeds in a bowl. And Fill a large pot or frying pan with about 2 1/2 to 3 liters of water, add brown sugar or honey and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer.
  • BOIL BAGELS: Put in 3-4 bagels at a time and boil for 45 seconds. Flip over and boil another 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel.
  • DIP IN SEEDS: Don't wait too long to dip each bagel in seeds (top, bottom, sides) and place them in a single layer in the prepared pan(s).
  • BAKE: Bake bagels for 8 minutes. Turn over, then bake another 6-8 minutes until a light golden brown. A total of 14-16 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. If doing a second batch, they will bake quicker. Cool on a rack. For mini bagels, Note 3.

Recipe Notes

  1. Flour: you can use half white flour and half whole wheat flour. Let the dough rise for 20-30 minutes before cutting and shaping it. How to measure the flour: Either measure flour by weight or use the scoop and level method. This means scooping flour into a measuring cup and leveling it off with the back of a knife. 
  2. To knead the dough in a stand mixer, place warm water, salt, maple syrup and yeast in the mixer bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes, starting slow, then speeding up (to about medium). Add flour as needed until the dough is firm and smooth and not sticky. 
  3. To bake mini bagels, place in 450F/232C oven for a total of 12 minutes, turning half way through. 
  4. Make ahead:
    • To store: Cool bagels and keep in sealed container or bag for a few days at room temperature.
    • To freeze:
      • Once cooked: Cool bagels, then freeze them for up to 3 months. Tip: I slice them before freezing so I can toss the frozen halves right into the toaster. 
      • When raw: After shaping the dough into bagels, freeze them. When ready to use, defrost them, boil and bake as per instructions. 
Nutrition values are estimated for one regular bagel with all-purpose flour and a sesame seed topping. 


Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. They turned out all alright and fairly tasty (a bit dense maybe?), but I also ran into some problems like other people mentioned, and I’m also a bit doubtful the recipe is St. Viateur’s.
    1. I meticulously weighed everything and it was like an extremely sticky wad before the 62g of flour was added, after which it was still a bit sticky. Can’t tell if this was intended…
    2. I didn’t see much noticeable rise in either of the 10 minute resting periods. I am an amateur baker but I’m not sure if this was intended or if I did something wrong, especially cause the end result was a bit dense.
    3. I saw some of the video you linked and skimmed the transcript, and as far as I can tell, de Volpi doesn’t say it’s a St. Viateur’s recipe. He just shows the end product at 5:51 and says “if that’s anything that looks like St. Viateur’s then I’ve accomplished something”–does he actually say somewhere he got it from St. Viateur’s? Also, as far as I can tell, he’s the chef in charge of food for McGill (e.g. at residences, cafeterias etc), but no known affiliation with St. Viateur’s. Lastly, as you’ve mentioned, St. Viateur’s doesn’t use salt in their ingredients, they say the ingredients for their sesame bagel are “Wheat flour, Water, Sesame seeds, Eggs, Sugars (sugar, honey), Malted barley flour, Canola oil, Yeast” (

    1. Hi Sally, You are right that a few people have had issues with the sticky dough. As per the recipe, you can add up to an extra 1/2 cup flour until the dough is no longer sticky. As for the recipe and where it is from…Chef de Volpi as you mentioned is from McGill University in Montreal and not associated with St. Viateur’s. He did an online webinar as a fundraiser for McGill on how to make bagels which is where I learned how to make these bagels. I took copious notes and tested the recipe several times. The recipe he said he used was directly from St. Viateur’s but he may have taken a bit of license as chefs do. Perhaps the salt is an example of this and of course, the bagels we are making are not done in a wood oven. I hope that helps clarify things. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  2. 4 stars
    I’ve managed to make them and they are pretty good but I had to use a lot more flour (about a cup and a half to the 4 cups and a half of the recipe). The dough was very sticky with the original amount. I’m not sure why as I followed the quantities indicated for the other ingredients. They are very chewy/doughy which I’m guessing is from the excess flour, but I’m not sure how I could have manipulated the dough without adding more ???

    1. I think you’re right May when you say you used too much flour. If you are not weighing the flour, it is best to use the scoop and level method. This means, spooning the flour into a measuring cup and leveling it off with the back of a knife. It’s ok to add some extra flour in this recipe, but an extra 1 1/2 cups would likely be way too much. I hope that helps for next time. Thanks for raising the issue – I will go back and add that tip to the recipe notes.

    1. Hi Stan, It’s true that many Montreal bagels do not include salt. I guess the highly popular iconic St-Viateur bagel company didn’t get the memo since they do use salt in their bagels! You can certainly leave it out if you like. Thanks for picking that up.

      1. Actually St Viateur bagels don’t contain salt, or very little, since the official nutritional values listed on their bags states that each bagel only contains 5mg sodium (vs the 411mg in your recipe).
        St Viateur bagels are also way lower in fat than your recipe.

        1. Hi Flaoua, Thanks for sharing the nutritional values. As mentioned in the post, Chef de Volpi said he got the recipe directly from St.-Viateur Bagel in Montreal. I am sorry that I can’t explain the difference between the bag label and the values in this recipe. Perhaps the Chef made a few tweaks? I did check a few other Montreal bagel recipes, though, and the sodium levels were in the 200-340 mg range (including Marcy Goldman’s bagels posted in the New York Times). The fat values varied widely. I wish I had a better answer for you.

    1. Hi Andrea, I can’t tell you why other recipes are different. This one is from a chef who got the recipe from an iconic bagel place in Montreal. There are two short 10 minute resting times for the dough, one of which is before boiling the bagels. All I know is that the recipe works! I hope you will give it a try – I don’t think you will be disappointed. I would love to hear how you liked the bagels if you do decide to try them 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This is the perfect bagel recipe. My family can now enjoy bagels every weekend and I don’t even have to drive to St. Viateur! Now I just have to make sure we have cream cheese in the house.

  4. My husband and I usually buy the bags of these, but I tried this recipe for the first time & we will probably never buy them again!! It is SO close its almost scary!

  5. 3 stars
    Whole wheat sucks up a lot more water than AP so if you do substitute you may need to increase the amount of water in the recipe.

    1. Hi Joe, You’re right that substituting all the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour can alter the taste and density of the bagels. That’s why the recipe note (Note 1) says “you can use HALF white flour and HALF whole wheat flour” – a suggestion from the Chef who created the recipe. He thought that ratio would not affect the taste and texture of the bagel. Hope that clarifies it.

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you so much for sharing this amazing bagel recipe! I just made some today….and they are so good 😋😋😋 This recipe is the best! Merci!!!

  6. 5 stars
    I made these today. First time ever using yeast! It was so EASY, I don’t know what I was so worried about! Thank you for this recipe. The bagels turned out AMAZING and I’m feeling very proud of myself!!!! Thanks for giving me the guts to go for it! Now….how do I stop myself from gobbling them all up?! Haha!

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for this perfect recipe. I made them with vegan (no egg/brown sugar in the water) and they turned out amazing (I used bread flour). I am a Montrealer now living in the US and was looking to recreate the Montreal-style and this WAS EXACTLY IT! Thank you!!

    1. I would like to try the vegan option and was wondering if you had to make any other changes (increase liquid or something else)?

      1. Hi Emilye. You don’t need to do anything else when you leave out the egg. Many bagels are made without eggs. You will just be losing a bit of protein and iron. Hope that helps.

  8. 5 stars
    First time bagel maker also and these turned out awesome! Followed the recipe and instructions exactly and they soo remind me of the bagels I used to get in Montreal. YUM. Definitely will be making again! Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    They were so good and really fun to make!! The directions were very easy to follow for a first time bagel maker like me!!🥯

  10. 5 stars
    GREAT recipe, first time bagel maker here! Tasted just like how I remember having them in Montreal! 🥯 I baked for 16 minutes in total. Every oven is a little different. This recipe is a keeper for sure. 🙏

  11. Great recipe. It was my first time and I enjoyed following the recipe. Although I baked them for 22 minutes. 14 minutes wasn’t enough as they were very soft. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Naveenta. So glad you enjoyed them. Oven temperatures can vary a lot so you have to learn what’s best for yours. Thanks for leaving a comment.