Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gluten-Free Bagel Recipe (vegan, xanthan gum-free)

I have a very fun recipe for you today. One that your children will love to participate in making......gluten-free bagels! I've been making these ever since my oldest daughter asked me to create a gluten-free bagel recipe about four years ago. I had just published the first edition of Nourishing Meals, which contained plenty of amazing gluten-free, vegan bread recipes, but no bagel recipe! She encouraged me to test out my breadstick and bread recipes in bagel form and they worked great. We've had fun making these together to send on her school camping trips throughout the years.

The big difference between bagels and a roll or a breadstick is that the dough is boiled after rising. This creates the chewy bagel texture that we all know and love. I've created a photo tutorial for you below to help make the bagel-making process very easy to understand.

There are so many variations to this recipe! Cinnamon-Raisin (my Buckwheat Cinnamon-Raisin variation will be posted soon), Garlic-Herb, Sesame, Poppy Seed-Sea Salt (pictured here), and more! Please let me know in the comments what types of flavor variations you created using my recipe.

This gluten-free bagel recipe is nearly identical to the Rosemary-Sea Salt Breadstick recipe on page 121 in my Nourishing Meals book. I've just changed the way in which they are made, and switched out one of the flours for another. I hope you enjoy!

Gluten-Free Bagels

Once the bagels are baked and completely cool you can slice them in half and freeze for later use. To reheat, simply toast your frozen bagel halves in the oven or a toaster. I like a to make a few batches of this recipe at a time so some can go into the freezer. My children love to make sandwiches out of them....such as turkey-lettuce-mustard-raw cheese for their school lunches, or a fried egg and avocado sandwich for breakfast!

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon maple syrup or organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup ground golden flax seeds
¼ cup whole psyllium husks

Dry Ingredients:
1 ½ cups sprouted brown rice flour*
¾ cup raw buckwheat flour*
¾ cup tapioca flour
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

coarse ground sea salt
poppy seeds
sesame seeds
garlic powder
onion powder

1. Place the warm water in a bowl or 4-cup liquid glass measure. Add the yeast and maple syrup, whisk together. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast. The mixture should get foamy or bubbly. If not, dump it out and start over.

2. While the yeast is activating, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. After the yeast is activated whisk in the olive oil, ground flax seeds, and psyllium husks into the water-yeast mixture. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes to let the flax and psyllium release their gelatinous substances. Whisk again.

Bagel dough after kneading in extra flour so the dough is not too sticky.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with a large wooden spoon until thick. Turn dough out onto a floured wooden board. Add more flour (rice, buckwheat, or tapioca) a little at a time, until the dough holds together and isn’t too sticky. 

Dough divided into equal-sized balls, a little extra flour kneaded into each.

5. Divide dough into six to eight equal-sized balls. Knead in a little extra flour to each dough ball if it is still too sticky. Gently flatten each ball and place in the palm of your hand. Use your thumb to make a hole in the center and then stretch the hole using both hands so it is a little larger. Place the bagel onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough balls. 

Each dough ball formed into a bagel shape. 

6. Cover bagels with another piece of parchment paper and place cookie sheet in a warm place to rise. I like to place the cookie sheet on top of a large glass baking pan filled with very hot water or into a warm oven (set to the warm setting for about 15 minutes and then turned off). Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes. 

Bagels after rising for about an hour on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 

7. Place a large pot of water on the stove. Bring to a boil. Place 3 to 4 bagels into the boiling water at a time (they should have space to move so don't overcrowd them). Boil for 2 minutes, then flip each bagel over and boil for 2 minutes on the other side. Using a large slotted spoon, remove each bagel and set back onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels. 

Bagels boiling for 2 minutes on each side. 

8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Boiled bagels getting sprinkled with toppings. 

9. Sprinkle any toppings you would like on the wet bagels (just after boiling). In these photos I am using coarse ground pink Himalayan salt (I use my salt grinder set to coarse), poppy seeds, and a very small amount of organic onion powder. 

10. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy warm with butter or coconut butter! They are also delicious spread with mashed avocado and smoked salmon! Cool bagels and slice in half before freezing if desired. Extra bagels can be stored in an airtight glass container for 3 to 4 days. Lightly toast before serving for the best texture. 

Yield: About 6 to 8 bagels

*Note: Use sprouted brown rice flour if you can find it, if not, regular brown rice flour works just as well. Make sure you are using "raw" buckwheat flour, or flour made from raw buckwheat groats. Roasted buckwheat flour will NOT work in any of my recipes. To make raw buckwheat flour all you need to do is to grind raw buckwheat groats in your high-powered blender or coffee grinder until a soft, fine flour forms. It's really easy and quick. You can search through all of the recipes on this blog tagged with "buckwheat" to learn more about how I use this lovely flour!

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Thank you so much! I'm so excited to make these tomorrow. I've been waiting for a bagel recipe for so long! Any chance you can recreate a dairy free recipe for cream cheese similar to Kite Hill?

    1. Thank you! I do have a Cashew Sour Cream recipe in my Nourishing Meals book. I will have to check out Kite Hill's sour cream....I've never had it. :)

  2. I am so excited to try making these bagels! I we own both your cookbooks and refer to them weekly for inspiration.

    1. Aww thank you Nellie! Let me know how they turn out. :)

  3. Thank you!! I'm excited to try these very soon. I cook and get ideas from your recipes all the time. Thanks for being such an inspiration :)

    1. You are very welcome Pavia! I hope you enjoy these bagels! :)

  4. Thank you Ali! These are excellent. I made them today with my son. Really looking forward to that cinnamon raisin version as well. :-)

    I added white sesame seeds to mine today, but if I wanted to make a garlic herb version how would I go about it? Herbs on the inside or sprinkled on top? Chunks of fresh garlic or garlic granules?

    Thanks again for this delicious bagel recipe!

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Thank you for the feedback! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe.

      As far the the garlic herb bagel can add dried herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, and parsley to the dry ingredients and then sprinkle the tops of the boiled bagels with the garlic granules and some coarse ground sea salt OR you could add some minced fresh garlic to the wet ingredients along with the dried herbs already in the dry ingredients.

      I plan on posting my Buckwheat Cinnamon Bagel recipe within the next few weeks. :)

  5. Can sprouted brown rice flour be made by grinding up Lundberg's sprouted brown rice, the same way that buckwheat is ground up? It's hard ordering things to Hawaii, but our local store sells sprouted brown rice flour.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Yes if you have a very powerful grain grinder! The Vitamix can't grind up brown rice into a fine flour....only a fine meal perfect for creamy rice cereal. Buckwheat is so soft so it is able to grind up quite easily in a Vitamix.

  6. I made these today and after baking 45 minutes they came out of the oven very gooey inside. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi there,

      I'm sorry they did not work out for you! It sounds like you did not knead in enough flour. Next time keep adding flour, and kneading, until each dough ball is not sticky at all.

  7. Hi Ali, I test highly reactive to baker's yeast, is there a way to make these using a gluten free sourdough starter?

    1. Hi there,

      I'm sure there is a way, I would just need to figure out the ratios of starter to flour. I have a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter recipe (and GF sourdough breads) written out in detail in my Nourishing Meals book:

      I might start with 1 cup of GF starter (at least 3 weeks old and in its active and bubbly stage), Then add 1 cup of warm water and the rest of the wet ingredients (syrup, oil, flax, psyllium). Then mix in enough flour for the dough to be kneadable. Follow the remaining directions although rising time will be much longer (3 to 6 hours). I'd need to test this a few times to figure out exact amounts but if you are familiar with making GF sourdough already then this will give you a good starting point. Let me know how it goes! :)

  8. Ali, I was so excited when I saw these in my inbox. I made them this evening with the following modifications and they were superb. Next time I will make a double batch and freeze as you suggested.

    Modifications: Replaced the buckwheat flour with 1/2 cup teff flour + 1/4 cup quinoa flour. Kneaded in extra teff and brown rice flour (maybe 1/2 cup or more?) to the dough until it was not sticky anymore. My experience baking gluten-full bagels years ago taught me that bagel dough requires more flour than traditional bread does.

    Next time I will search for raw buckwheat groats and try grinding them in my dedicated coffee grinder for chia and flax. I do not own a vita-mix yet, but it is on my list! I do look forward to experimenting with your other Buckwheat recipes. They sure look delicious. --Elaine R.

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you so much for your feedback! :)

      So glad you enjoyed them and that you have shared your modifications. I think you'll love buckwheat flour once you give it a try. I used a coffee grinder for years to grind buckwheat and it worked really well. We were then gifted a Vitamix through a client about 11 or 12 years ago, and I was able to make larger batches of raw buckwheat flour all at once. It is so much easier this way too! :) They are a great investment when you are ready to take the plunge! Check Amazon. They seem to continually change the price, but you can find them there for less. Here is the link:

  9. Hi Ali,
    I made these earlier this week and they turned out great, every one is asking for more so I am going to make a bigger batch and put some in the freezer this time. They are so easy and quick! The only thing I did a little different was use a little less yeast (2 1/4 TBS instead of 3) because I used a packet that has that amount. They were plenty fluffy and chewy. I do look forward to experimenting with a sourdough version too starting with your recommendations in an earlier comment. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Thank you Coleus for the feedback! I will have to try less yeast next time. That's great for other people to know since packets are more common. Let me know how the sourdough version works if you try it. 😊

  10. My little doesn't like buckwheat so I used teff and millet to replace it. She LOVED the bagels.

    1. Hi Richelle,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! I'm glad they turned out so well using teff and millet flours. 😊

  11. These bagels are delicious! Thank you. I also tried the recipe recently as a pizza crust in our wood-fired pizza oven and it worked really well. I divided the dough into four parts to rise and obviously skipped putting a hole in them. It rolled out really nicely. I pre-baked the crust and then added toppings and baked again. I think it will become my regular pizza dough recipe. Thanks again.


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)