Filed Under: Bread | Breakfast

How to Make Bagel Bombs

Recipe By Tessa Arias
August 10th, 2016
4.34 from 3 votes
4.34 from 3 votes

How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.

Yield: 16 balls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Cream cheese stuffed bagel HEAVEN!!! He said he wants these every week! They practically vanished :)

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like a bagel-flavored explosion with every bite.
Texture: The bagel itself is slightly crusty on the outside, chewy throughout, with that smooth and rich cream cheese filling.
Ease: These definitely take some time and patience, but are so worth it! Feel free to let the dough rise in the fridge overnight before filling, shaping, etc.
Pros: Such a fun twist on a classic beloved breakfast.
Cons: This is definitely a hands-on recipe.
Would I make this again? Oh yes! I’ve made these twice already and they practically vanish – that’s how good they are!

Traveling is the best source of inspiration.

How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.

Last month I visited NYC for business but had enough time to sneak in a day of eating and exploring with my BFF Ashley from Baker by Nature. I finally went to Milk Bar and sampled their cereal milk ice cream and compost cookies. YUM.

I also saw their Bagel Bombs behind the counter. I had been enlightened by my foodie friend Mallory about this stroke of breakfast genius, but never got to try one.

I already had an amazing bagel breakfast sandwich from Tompkins Square Bagels that was about as big as my face that morning. And we still had more eating (and a little drinking) to do. So I decided that I would make a batch of bagel bombs the second I had time when I got home!

How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.

I don’t know how mine compare to the Milk Bar version, but man these are good. Jared wanted to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No joke. Needless to say, they didn’t last long. Be sure to check out my post on How to Make Bagels before making these.

Feel free to get creative with the filling AND the toppings! Add in bacon, green onions, or use a different kind of cheese altogether. You could even go sweet and mix the cream cheese with powdered sugar and/or jam, and coat the balls in cinnamon sugar before baking.

How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.

I made my bagel bombs ‘everything’ flavored, but again feel free to do whatever you want.

Everything topping:

1 egg white, beaten
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons onion flakes
2 teaspoons garlic flakes or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.

If baking with yeast intimidates you at all, you’ll really enjoy my free bread guide:

4.34 from 3 votes

How to make
Bagel Bombs

Yield: 16 balls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
How to Make Bagel Bombs, or cream cheese-stuffed bagel balls that can be made ahead for a perfect portable breakfast on-the-go.


For the dough:

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups (482 grams) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

For the water bath:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

For the filling & topping:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 egg white
  • Desired toppings


Make the dough:

  1. Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes (or knead vigorously by hand for 12 to 15 minutes). The dough will be stiff and hold its shape without spreading. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Place on a lined baking pan or lightly greased baking pan and cover. Let them rest for 30 minutes. They may puff up slightly.
  3. While the dough rests, form cream cheese into sixteen 1-tablespoon balls. Freeze.

Prepare the water bath:

  1. Heat the water, malt powder, and sugar to a gentle boil in a large, wide pan. Preheat the oven to 425ยฐF.
  2. With your hands, stretch and flatten each piece of dough place a frozen cream cheese ball into the center. Enclose the cream cheese with the dough, pinching to seal and rolling into an even ball.
  3. Boil the bombs for 30 seconds per side then remove to a baking pan.

Top and bake:

  1. Brush with the egg wash, coating with desired toppings, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

To make ahead:

  1. Individually wrap each bagel bomb in plastic wrap, then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. For best results, let thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a 350ยฐF oven until warmed through.

Recipe Notes

If you donโ€™t have instant yeast, you can always substitute with the same amount of active dry yeast. Simply add the active dry yeast to the warm water and let it proof for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
If you can't barley malt syrup (which I find on Amazon or at Whole Foods), use brown sugar.
Inspired by Milk Bar in NYC
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Robin — August 10, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Thank you for the recipe. I am excited to try it out. You are right there are so many possibilities with these.

  2. #
    Lena — August 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Tessa,
    thank you for this recipe, it sounds amazing! I just moved and have to sort through tons of boxes tomorrow, so I thought I might make the bagel bombs to keep me entertained ๐Ÿ˜‰ One question though: How would you recommend to store them? Do they need to be kept in the fridge so the cream cheese doesn’t go bad?

    • #
      Tessa — August 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you! Good luck unpacking! Yes, in the fridge is fine. Just reheat in the oven or toaster oven until warmed through for the best texture ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. #
    Jan — August 12, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Registered with your site,jumped in to recipes,then I remembered I am not in Midwest anymore. I live in New Mexico,high desert. I joined your site because I made my favorite chocolate chip recipe,tweaked by me, it wasn’t right at all. Not soft,not chewy no flavor. Sooooo. the question. Are your recipes high altitude? Any consideration for the dryness? All the stuff I am learning about cooking and baking out here. Very depressed about favorite chocolate chip recipe,gave the whole batch to friend who loved them she and her dog,Rosie, loved them. Love cookie perfect or chart,will that help me?

  4. #
    Ashley — April 24, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Would it be possible to incorporate blueberries into the bagel itself?

  5. #
    Deirdre — September 23, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    These were a big hit and I’m sure I will be making them often. I was wondering if I would be able to use the water with the barley malt syrup used for boiling them over again? If not, is there a suggestion for using less liquid for the boiling process and what ratio of syrup to water would I use?
    Thank you

  6. #
    Tina — March 28, 2018 at 9:27 am

    My husband loves cinnamon raisin bagels… should I add the cinnamon and raisins to the dough, or the filling?

  7. #
    Desi Mahdi — July 2, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Tessa, I recook this recipe, and end up with the dough open up after boiling, even though I boiled just less than 1 minute for each. Also, after I am done with baking, the center is still runny/soft, not like bread that has been baked perfectly. I add 10 more mins with lower temperature at 375F but it still soft in the inside. FYI, my cream cheese was not totally frozen when put it inside the ball. What do you think is the cause of my failure ? Thank you

    • #
      Joey Shreve — October 27, 2020 at 10:47 am

      I recommend freezing the cream cheese for at least 1 to 2 hours make sure it is very hard. As far as opening up, make sure you pinch the openings closed and roll. You may need to pinch a couple times. This is to ensure that it doesn’t open. I have done this many times and it only opens if I haven’t pinched it closed well.

  8. #
    Joey Shreve — October 27, 2020 at 10:44 am

    I have made these at least 12 times and each time I remember how yummy they were and can’t wait to make them again. This is a staple in my cookbook, I can’t imagine not making these at least every month or so. They never last either. My favorite is to add Asiago cheese to the top just enough to add a yummy flavor. I may try another cheese this time. I plan to make these again this week.

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