I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with baking. I was 7 years old.

My Mom decided that we would make a homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays. We spent hours deseeding and roasting pumpkins. I always enjoyed our time together in the kitchen because she gave me the best tasks.

On that particular day, I was in charge of making the pie crust look beautiful and fancy. Using my small hands, I tried my best to mimic the pie crust I had seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table, which of course resulted in something unsymmetrical and pretty funny looking. Nevertheless, Mom was beaming at my accomplished pie crust and I was too! Eating the pie was the best part though; each bite brought me comfort and happiness knowing that I helped create a little slice of magic.

And so my love affair with baking began.

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These days I find myself so busy that baking seems like a daunting task. It’s time-consuming, and sometimes a little bit complicated BUT I have to remind myself the results of home-baked goods are always unmatched. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to real baking, the kind that is more like a project. And what’s more fun and interesting than making bagels from scratch? Seriously!

Now surprisingly, I don’t own bread machine, so I kneaded the dough by hand (talk about a calorie burner!); I felt accomplished and proud. Although, using an electric mixer (such as a KitchenAid) would also work with this recipe.

Spreading cinnamon honey butter on homemade pumpkin bagelsIngredients in homemade pumpkin bagels

I’m here to convince you to make homemade (handmade?) pumpkin bagels. I’ll take you step-by-step through the recipe so that you can make these too! It’s a wonderful weekend project and great to do with kids. These bagels are deliciously chewy and toast perfectly. It’s some serious magic. Here’s what you need to make them:

  • Warm water: you’ll want to use water that’s around 110° F to 115° F in order to activate the yeast.
  • Yeast: you’ll want to use an active dry yeast so that these pumpkin bagels rise properly.
  • Pumpkin: feel free to use canned pumpkin puree or make your own pumpkin puree using this tutorial!
  • Brown sugar: we’re sweetening these pumpkin bagels a bit with some dark brown sugar. The sugar also helps to activate the yeast.
  • Bread flour: using bread flour makes these pumpkin bagels extra fluffy and delicious.
  • Spices: we’re using cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice & salt to give these bagels the perfect pumpkin spice flavor.
  • Olive oil: you’ll want to use olive oil to grease a bowl where the bagel dough will rise.
  • Egg: after first boiling the pumpkin bagels, you’ll brush them with an egg wash and bake them so that they’re nice and golden brown.
  • For the cinnamon-honey butter: this topping is options (but so delicious). You’ll just need butter, honey & a bit more cinnamon.

Ingredients to make pumpkin bagels

How to make homemade pumpkin bagels

First, proof the yeast (basically activate it)! Begin by placing warm water in a large bowl and adding the yeast along with brown sugar. The yeast essentially feeds off the sugar.

Step-by-step making homemade pumpkin bagel dough

After a couple of minutes: add the pumpkin, spices, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix until a sticky dough forms (pictured above).

collage of making homemade pumpkin spice bagel dough

Next, add another cup of bread flour: it’s time to get your hands dirty! Begin kneading the dough; it’s going to be difficult but you want to make sure that all of the flour is absorbed into the dough. Tip: coat your hands with a small amount of olive oil to reduce getting sticky dough all over your fingers.

Add in more bread flour: It’s going to seem like a lot, but trust me, the dough will absorb it all, especially with the moisture of the pumpkin in it. Continue to knead so that the dough absorbs the flour.

homemade pumpkin spice bagel dough

Now… we knead, knead, knead: do this on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes. Simply fold the dough over and over. If you are unfamiliar with how to roll dough, you can check out this video for great tips.

The dough will feel elastic but not sticky when you are finished. If you feel as though it is sticky, continue to add a tablespoon or two of flour and fold it into the dough.

homemade pumpkin spice bagel dough in a bowl

Next, let the dough rest: you’ll want it to sit for 5 minutes and then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour.

Rolling out and shaping easy pumpkin bagels

Time to shape: after an hour, the bagels are ready to be shaped. Line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper or flour a surface and punch down the dough and shape into 12 balls (pictured above). I make sure they are even by stretching the dough into a rectangle and dividing them into 12 squares. Then I roll each square into a ball.

Shaping homemade pumpkin bagels

How to shape homemade bagels

  1. Roll each dough ball into a rope, about 8 inches long.
  2. Wrap the dough around to form a complete circle and overlap the dough.
  3. Seal the two ends together completely; this is an important step or the ends will come apart when you boil them. Alternatively you can push your thumb through the center to form a 2 inch hole and stretch the dough to form an even ring.

Do not worry about making perfectly round bagels! They will still be delicious even if they aren’t perfect.

Next: Place the bagels on a baking sheet (greased or lined with parchment paper), cover again with plastic wrap and let rise for 15-20 minutes more.

Homemade pumpkin spice bagels on a tray ready to bake

Then: you’ll boil the bagels to help set the crust and create a gel exterior. This also gives the bagels a dense, chewier crust.

Boiling homemade pumpkin spice bagels

How to boil bagels

Each bagel should be boiled for about 45 seconds on each side, then removed with a slotted spoon and patted well with paper towels. Transfer the bagels immediately to a greased baking sheet.

Brushing a homemade pumpkin spice bagel with egg wash

Next comes the egg wash: brush each bagel with a lightly beaten egg. This helps crisp up the crust and turn it a gorgeous golden brown once the bagels are baked.

Finally, bake the bagels: pop the bagels into the oven for about 20 minutes until they are golden and beautiful!

A homemade pumpkin bagel with a knife of cinnamon honey butter

I could barely wait to slice a bagel in half, toast it a bit, and spread it with cream cheese, peanut butter, or… this amazing cinnamon honey butter I whipped up. It reminds me of all things Fall and is perfect on top of the slightly sweet pumpkin bagels.

A homemade pumpkin spice bagel with a knife of cinnamon honey butter on the side

How to store & freeze homemade bagels

To store: keep your bagels fresh by storing them in a brown paper bag at room temperature. If you find that they get a bit chewier or start getting a bit hard, simply pop them in the toaster and enjoy a nice, toasty bagel.

To freeze: simply let the homemade pumpkin bagels cool completely before storing them in a freezer-safe bag. When you’re ready to eat them, you can just add them straight to the toaster for perfect, toasty perfection!

homemade pumpkin spice bagel with cinnamon honey butter

These are actually pretty easy to make when you get down to it. It’s a great project and quite satisfying to know that you made your own bagels. I keep them in my fridge for a quick breakfast or snack on the go since they’re a bit smaller than the typical bagels the size of your face.

So what do you think? Want to get back to real handmade baking with me? Let’s spend some time in the kitchen and have fun. The result is sure to be delicious.

More pumpkin recipes you’ll love

Fluffy Whole Wheat Healthy Pumpkin Waffles

Coconut Double Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins with Macadamia Nut Crunch

I hope you love these easy homemade pumpkin bagels! If you make them be sure to leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!