Which bagel is vegan?

What Ingredients Make a Bagel Not Vegan?

Bagels are a popular bread item that can be found in many grocery stores, bakeries, and coffee shops. While many bagels are vegan, some contain non-vegan ingredients like eggs, honey, or milk products. Here are some of the main ingredients that would make a bagel not vegan:

  • Eggs – Some bagel recipes call for eggs as a binder and for texture and color. Egg yolks give bagels a golden yellow tint.
  • Honey – Honey is sometimes used to sweeten bagels instead of or in addition to sugar. Honey is not vegan since it comes from bees.
  • Milk/Butter – Milk, butter, and other dairy products are commonly used in bagel recipes for flavor and richness. Buttermilk in particular helps give a tangy flavor.
  • L-cysteine – This dough conditioner derived from feathers or human hair is sometimes used in commercial bagel production.
  • Shellac – A resin from beetle secretions is used as a glazing agent on some bagels.
  • Animal-derived vitamins – Vitamin D3 derived from lanolin (sheep wool) and vitamin A derived from fish are sometimes found in enriched bagels.

So in summary, the main animal-derived ingredients to watch out for are eggs, dairy products, honey, L-cysteine, shellac, and certain vitamins. Vegan bagels avoid all of these.

What Makes a Bagel Vegan?

For a bagel to be vegan, it must completely exclude any animal-derived ingredients. Here are some examples of vegan ingredients that should be used:

  • Flours – Wheat, whole wheat, rye, sprouted grain, etc. Look for flours that do not contain any dairy-based vitamins.
  • Leaveners – Yeast, baking powder and baking soda are all vegan.
  • Sweeteners – Cane sugar, maple syrup, agave, fruit juice, etc. are vegan alternatives to honey.
  • Binders – Soy milk, plant-based yogurt, apple sauce, banana and flax eggs can bind and add moisture instead of eggs.
  • Fats – Vegetable oil, coconut oil, vegan margarine and vegan shortening are vegan alternatives to butter.
  • Flavors – Onion, garlic, herbs, spices, seeds, vanilla, and extracts flavor bagels instead of dairy products.
  • Toppings – Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, kosher salt, onion, garlic all make tasty vegan bagel toppings.

As long as no animal products are used during the production process, the resulting bagels can be considered vegan. Common vegan bagel varieties include plain, sesame, poppy seed, everything, onion, garlic, cinnamon raisin, blueberry, and many more.

Are Store-Bought Bagels Usually Vegan?

Unfortunately, most commercially produced bagels found at grocery stores and bagel shops are not vegan. Here are some reasons why:

  • Eggs are commonly used – Mass-produced bagels rely on eggs for binding, lightness, and that signature bagel chew.
  • Milk/dairy is often included – Butter, buttermilk, whey, and milk solids provide richness and moisture.
  • Honey sweetens some varieties – Honey makes an appearance in honey wheat and cinnamon raisin bagels.
  • L-cysteine speeds production – This dough conditioner derived from duck feathers helps bagels retain their shape.
  • Shellac provides shine – The shiny glaze on an “everything” bagel likely contains this insect-derived resin.

Major bagel brands like Thomas’, Lender’s, and Sara Lee use at least one of these animal ingredients in their bagels. Always check the full ingredient lists to be sure, as formulations can change. Some brands will indicate “vegan” directly on vegan-friendly varieties.

How to Find Vegan Bagels in Stores

Despite most big brands having non-vegan bagels, there are still some store-bought options for vegans:

  • Check natural food stores – Brands like Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Dave’s Killer Bread, and Udi’s offer vegan bagel options.
  • Look for “egg-free” on labels – Egg-free is a good indicator that a bagel may also be dairy/honey/animal additive-free.
  • Seek out vegan specialty products – Brands like Mikey’s, Sami’s, and Bleubird make exclusively plant-based bagels.
  • Check the bakery for un-enriched options – Some grocery store bakery bagels are vegan if they don’t contain enrichments.
  • Scan ingredient lists carefully – Even aid seemingly vegan flavors may have hidden animal products.

The best places to find guaranteed vegan-friendly bagels are natural food stores, co-ops, and specialty markets like Whole Foods. Mainstream grocery stores may have vegan bagels, but read labels thoroughly before purchasing.

Popular Vegan Bagel Brands

Here is a table of some of the most popular store-bought vegan bagel brands:

Brand Details
Dave’s Killer Bread Offers organic vegan plain, everything, sesame, and raisin cinnamon bagels.
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Has a Vegan Variety Pack of plain, sesame, and everything bagels.
Udi’s Features gluten-free vegan cinnamon raisin and everything bagels.
Samis Specializes in vegan/gluten-free bagels in flavors like blueberry, chocolate chip, and jalapeno cheddar.
Mikey’s Offers classics like plain, sesame, and everything in vegan versions.
Bleubird Organic, nut-free vegan bagels in cinnamon raisin, everything, and more.

These are just a few of the top vegan bagel brands available. Smaller local bakeries may also offer vegan bagels not found in big stores. Check your area for vegan-friendly bagel shops.

Are Einstein Bros Bagels Vegan?

Einstein Bros is a popular nationwide bagel chain, but unfortunately their bagels are not vegan. Here’s a look at why:

  • Most contain eggs – Einstein Bros uses eggs in their plain, wheat, sesame, poppy, onion, and cinnamon sugar varieties.
  • Some have honey – The honey in their honey wheat bagels makes them non-vegan.
  • Most include milk and butter – For richness and moisture, butter and milk products are standard in their recipe.

The only Einstein Bros bagels that may be vegan are their blueberry, chocolate chip, and jalapeno varieties if ordered without butter or cream cheese. However, ingredients can vary by location so these cannot be guaranteed vegan. Your best bet is to avoid Einstein Bros if seeking vegan bagels.

Can You Make Vegan Bagels at Home?

Absolutely! Making your own vegan bagels at home is totally doable. Here are some tips:

  • Use flax or chia eggs – Ground flax or chia seeds whipped with water replace eggs as a binder.
  • Swap in plant-based milk – Non-dairy milk like almond or soy adds moisture instead of dairy.
  • Experiment with flavors – Get creative with mix-ins like blueberries, cinnamon, sunflower seeds or everything topping.
  • Boil before baking – Boiling before baking gives homemade bagels an authentic chewy texture.
  • Top with vegan favorites – Finish off your bagels with hummus, smashed avocado, coconut bacon, or vegan cream cheese.

Homemade vegan bagels may take some trial and error to perfect, but you can customize them to your taste and dietary needs. Bake an big batch on the weekend so you can grab and go vegan bagels all week long.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian Bagels

What’s the difference between vegan and vegetarian bagels? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Vegan – Contains no animal products whatsoever, including eggs, dairy or honey.
  • Vegetarian – Excludes meat but may contain eggs, dairy or honey.

So while vegetarian bagels avoid meat ingredients, they are not necessarily vegan. For example, a “vegetarian” cinnamon raisin bagel likely contains eggs and honey, making it non-vegan.

Always check ingredient labels closely and look for the designations “vegan” or “dairy-free/egg-free” to find bagels without any animal products. Don’t assume vegetarian bagels will be vegan-friendly.

Ingredients to Watch Out for in Bagels

When buying bagels, watch out for these tricky non-vegan ingredients:

  • Eggs – Often used for binding, color, moisture. May be listed as albumin, globulin, lecithin, etc.
  • Dairy – Butter, milk, whey, casein and curds add fat and texture. Watch for caseinates.
  • Honey – A sweetener in flavors like honey wheat and cinnamon raisin.
  • Shellac – A shiny glaze made from beetle secretions.
  • L-cysteine – Dough conditioner that may be animal-derived.
  • Natural Flavors – Can come from animal sources. Opt for plant-based flavors.

Scan ingredient lists carefully looking for these animal-derived additives. Call the manufacturer if you have any doubts or questions. Being an informed consumer helps ensure your bagels are vegan.

Delicious Vegan Bagel Topping Combinations

Bagels pair beautifully with all types of toppings. Here are delicious vegan bagel topping ideas to try:

For a breakfast bagel:

  • Smashed avocado, sautéed kale and sunflower seeds
  • Tofu “egg” salad made with crumbled tofu
  • Peanut or almond butter with banana slices
  • Coconut bacon with vegan cream cheese

For a lunch bagel:

  • Hummus, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato and cucumber
  • Baked marinated tempeh, roasted sweet potato, arugula and tahini sauce
  • Vegan pizza sauce, dairy-free mozzarella, mushrooms and basil
  • Smoked apple tempeh “lox”, capers, red onion and dill cream cheese

Feel free to mix and match your favorite vegetables, plant proteins, nut butters, hummus and vegan cheeses for an endless variety of mouthwatering vegan bagel toppings.

Best Vegan Bagel Brands in the UK

Vegans in the UK have plenty of store-bought bagel options. Here are some top brands to look out for:

  • The Bagel Factory – Offers several vegan flavors including plain, wholemeal, seeded and gluten-free.
  • New York Bakery Co – Their Original Mini Bagels are vegan.
  • Asda – Their own brand Free From bagels are vegan.
  • Tesco – Most of their own brand plain bagels are vegan, just check labels.
  • Sainsbury’s – Some of their Wheatiebagels are vegan.

Many UK supermarkets have store-brand bagels that happen to be vegan even if not labeled. Checking online vegan product lists can help identify which ones to look for. Local bakeries also may offer specialty vegan bagels.

Where to Buy Vegan Bagels in Australia

Vegans in Australia have an increasing number of options when it comes to finding animal-free bagels. Here are some ideas:

  • Check bakeries like Sonoma, Baker Bleu, or Kurtosh for specialty vegan bagels.
  • Vegan online stores like The Cruelty Free Shop or Vegan Store Australia sell vegan bagels.
  • Keep an eye out for private vegan bakeries selling bagels at markets or cafes.
  • Contact local cafes to ask if their bagels are vegan or can be made vegan.
  • Look for vegan-labeled options in the bakery section of stores like Woolworths or Coles.

Large grocery store chains in Australia may carry some standard vegan plain or everything bagels. For more variety, seek out specialty bakeries catering to the growing vegan community.

How to Veganize Bagel Recipes

Many common bagel recipes call for eggs, dairy and honey. But it’s easy to adjust these recipes to make them vegan. Here’s how to “veganize” bagel recipes:

  • Replace eggs with flax, chia or banana eggs. Use 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground flax or chia seed whisked with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water for each egg.
  • Swap out dairy milk with non-dairy milk like soy, almond or oat milk in equal amounts.
  • Use maple syrup, agave or date paste instead of honey. Reduce liquid in recipe by 2 tablespoons (30 ml) for each 1/4 cup (85 g) honey.
  • Use vegan butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil instead of butter.
  • Sour the non-dairy milk with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute for buttermilk.

With a few simple ingredient tweaks, you can enjoy your favorite bagel flavors in vegan form. Bagels lend themselves well to vegan adaptations.


Finding the perfect vegan bagel may require a bit of sleuthing and label reading. Homemade allows for total control over ingredients. When buying packaged, natural food stores have the best vegan bagel selection from brands like Dave’s Killer Bread, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Udi’s. Standard grocery stores may offer some vegan options too with careful label checks. Top with hummus, vegan cheese, avocado and more for an easy and delicious vegan meal any time of day. With all the varieties available now, vegans don’t have to miss out on enjoying a warm, freshly baked bagel.

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