Toasting a Bagel in a Toaster – Exactly How to Do It

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Fresh bagels cannot be beaten, and having some bagels at home to enjoy when you need a quick and easy breakfast is such a great idea. However, keeping bagels fresh can be tough, and sometimes, popping bagels in the toaster can crisp them up beautifully, and soften them up inside.

How do you toast a bagel in the toaster?

The best way to toast a bagel in a toaster would be to use the bagel function on the toaster, but if it does not have one, then you will have to lower the toasting setting to gently toast the bagel without burning the outside.

Toasting a bagel in a toaster is great, but a proper way of doing it is crucial!

Knowing exactly how to toast a bagel in a toaster is the best way to keep its best quality, and to make sure it is deliciously soft and toasted to perfection, without it burning or becoming too hard. Keep reading to find out the best way to toast a bagel.

Should You Toast Bagels?

Before we move on and explore how to toast bagels in a toaster, we thought we should cover whether or not bagels should be toasted.

There is some debate on this, and it is because bagels go through a unique kneading, raising, boiling, and baking process which gives them the chewy texture and shiny exterior that is so loved.

Many believe that toasting a bagel ruins this chewy texture, and changes what a bagel is. However, this really is only true for fresh bagels.

If the bagel was baked the day before, or even 6 hours previously, then it should ideally be toasted, as it will likely be harder and staler than it would have been fresh.

So, unless the bagel is fresh and still chewy and soft, then it is a good option to toast it slightly.

How to Toast a Bagel in the Toaster

Toasting bagels in a toaster is simple enough to do, but you do have to make sure that you do not leave the bagel in the toaster for too long,  or have it at too high a setting so that the bagel burns.

toasting bagel in the toaster

Here is exactly how to toast a bagel in the toaster:

  1. Place the bagel onto a cutting board, and slice it down the middle.
  2. Place the bagel halves into the toaster, each into its own toaster slot. Place the bagel halves in the toaster with the sliced sides facing in.
  3. Choose your desired level of toasting, but remember that you cannot leave the bagel in the toaster for too long as you do not want the bagel to burn.
  4. Lower the bagel halves into the toaster, and leave to toast.
  5. Check the bagels halfway through, to make sure they are not burning.
  6. Once the bagels are crisp on the outside and warmed through, pop them up from the toaster and remove them.

Some toasters have a bagel function, but what the function actually does differs between brands, so you will have to read the user manual to find out exactly what the bagel function does!

How to Toast a Bagel in a Toaster Oven

If you do not have a toaster, but rather a toaster oven, you can still toast bagels evenly, it might just take a little bit longer.

Like with a toaster, some toaster ovens come with a bagel function, but how this bagel function works will depend on the brand, so once again, read the user manual to find out exactly how to make the most of this function.

Here is how to toast a bagel in a toaster oven:

  1. Before switching on the toaster oven, move the rack to the middle of the oven (doing this before switching on the toaster oven reduces the chance that you burn yourself).
  2. Once the rack is placed in the middle of the oven, switch the toaster oven on. If it does not have a bagel function, switch it to bake, toast, or broil functions. Toast and broil functions are best for bagels, but bake works if there are no other options.
  3. Turn the heat on the toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow it to preheat for up to 15 minutes, depending on the model.
  4. Once preheated, place the bagels into the toaster oven, either directly onto the rack or onto a baking sheet. 
  5. Close the toaster oven door and leave the bagels to toast for between 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. Check the bagels after 2 minutes to determine if they are done or not. If not soft enough yet, leave them in for another 2 minutes.
  7. Once the bagels are golden brown and softer, remove them from the toaster oven, slice them in half, and serve with your favorite toppings.

Can You Toast Frozen Bagels?

One way to keep bagels fresher for longer, and to prevent them from becoming too stale and even spoiling, is to freeze them.

Freshly baked bagels actually freeze really well, and if stored properly, they can taste almost as fresh as when they were first baked. They do need to be placed into a resealable freezer bag, or wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for added protection when frozen.

The problem with frozen bagels is that they are frozen, and you can’t just eat them as is. Luckily, you can toast frozen bagels, and toasting them from frozen works well.

  1. Remove the bagels from the freezer.
  2. Carefully, slice the bagel in half.
  3. Place the bagel halves into the toaster, with the sliced side facing inwards.
  4. If your toaster has a defrost function, switch it on to this and allow the bagels to defrost for a set amount of time.
  5. If there is no defrost function, choose a low heat setting or light browning setting, and push the bagels down.
  6. Keep a check on the bagels, but they should be defrosted by the time they pop up.
  7. The bagels might need a little longer in the toaster to soften further and turn golden brown, so you can pop them back down until they are toasted golden brown and heated throughout.

If possible, you might want to slice the bagels before placing them in the freezer. Once sliced, you can put the bagels back together again, but it saves you from having to slice the bagels when they are frozen, which can be quite difficult.

You can also defrost bagels in a toaster oven, but it will take slightly longer, but the benefit is that you can defrost numerous bagels at one time. With the toaster, you are limited to how many slots the toaster has.

Can You Toast Bagels in the Microwave?

If you do not have a toaster or toaster oven, but your bagel has gone hard and you want to soften it slightly, then you can try to toast the bagel in the microwave.

bagels in the microwave

Toasting bagels in the microwave is not ideal as the bagels will not crisp up, but it is better than nothing, and you can warm your bagels up and soften them in the microwave.

First, you should cut the bagel in half, and place the bagel cut side up on a microwave-safe plate. You can lay a paper towel down under the bagels to absorb any moisture.

Put the bagels into the microwave and microwave them on medium-high for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, check to see whether the bagels have softened and heated through. If not, place them back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.

Once reheated, put your favorite toppings onto the bagel and enjoy!

Toasting a Bagel in the Toaster

Toasting a bagel in the toaster is a quick, easy way to crisp up the outside of the bagel a bit, and ensure it is soft and chewy on the inside. You do not need to toast freshly baked bagels, but bagels that have been kept for a day or so could do with some toasting to soften them a bit.

Some toasters come with a bagel function, and this can be really handy to toast your bagels to perfection. If the toaster doesn’t have a bagel function, you can set the toaster to your preferred toast setting, and keep an eye on the bagels as they toast.

Toasting a bagel is ideal to get it soft and chewy again, and ready for your favorite toppings.

Related Questions

Can Bagels Be Eaten Untoasted?

Bagels can definitely be eaten untoasted, but they are really only good untoasted when they are fresh and just out of the oven. If they were toasted a day or so ago, they could do with some toasting to soften them up a bit.

What Is the Best Way to Toast a Bagel?

The best way to toast a bagel is in a toaster oven where you have the most control on how the bagel is toasted.

What Are Some Good Bagel Toppings?

There are so many toppings you can choose for your bagel. Some of the best bagel toppings include cream cheese, smoked salmon, avocado, fried egg, bacon, and cheese.

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