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Can You Freeze Bagels?

Bagels are a staple for me during marathon training.

Right before my long runs, I eat one or two fresh bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese, and that quick breakfast gives me enough energy to beast that run.

My problem is this: A standard package of bagels at the grocery store has 6, and I only eat 1 or 2 a week. So how do I keep the extra bagels from going bad and creating food waste? The expiration date is usually a few days away!

I freeze them! You can absolutely freeze store-bought bagels and homemade bagels. I know there are many types of bagels too, and the good news is they all freeze the same way.

A group of bagels with text "How to freeze bagels"

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how I freeze them, along with some other useful tips and tricks.

A package of bagels on a stovetop

Can I freeze bagels in its original packaging?

I recommend you take the bagels out the packaging. That’s not an airtight bag, which means frozen air can get inside and make your bagels freezer burnt.

I used to do this but definitely regretted it! Once I defrosted the bagels, they became soggy thanks to all the ice crystals.

What’s the best way to freeze bagels?

Freezing bagels is super easy!

4 bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Step 1. Lay out bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Make sure the bagels are in a single layer and not touching each other. This is called “flash freezing”, and ensures that the bagels don’t freeze together in one big clump.

Step 2: Place in the freezer for 3-5 hours

I have a big chest freezer which makes laying the baking sheet in there pretty easy. But if you all you have is the small freezer in your refrigerator, you’ll probably need a smaller baking sheet.

The freezing process takes 3-5 hours, but I usually leave them overnight before the next step.

4 frozen bagels in a gallon-sized freezer bag

Step 3: Place bagels in a gallon-sized freezer bag

Once the bagels are completely frozen, place them inside a freezer bag and squeeze out the excess air. Get out as much air as you can.

Another optional step is to wrap each bagel in plastic wrap before putting them in the bag. I don’t do this because I use my bagels pretty quickly, but this can give the bagels an extra layer of protection. And wrapped bagels can reduce the risk of freezer burn.

There is no one right way- just do whatever works for you!

How long are frozen bagels good for in the freezer?

With proper storage, most baked goods stay fresh 3-6 months in the freezer. They’re still safe to eat after that, but they do have a bigger risk of getting freezer burn. Your best bet is to just eat them before the 3-month mark.

For foods you plan to keep for long-term storage, stick them far back into the freezer. Every time you open the door, warm air gets inside. And anything right up front can very slightly defrost, which can leave ice crystals.

How can you tell if a bagel has gone bad?

Sometimes that can be hard to tell, especially with blueberry bagels where you don’t know if that’s mold or just a blueberry!

Check around the outsides for any white or blue/green mold. Also see if there’s an off smell to it.

Honestly- if you’re in doubt, it’s a good idea to just toss it. No need to risk getting sick.

4 frozen bagels in a gallon-sized freezer bag

Should I freeze the bagels whole or sliced?

I always freeze sliced bagels. Actually, the only bagels I’ve bought have been pre-sliced!

If you have whole bagels though, you can easily slice them before freezing. Just place them on a cutting board and use a serrated knife to cleanly cut them in half.

One thing to note is that bagel halves have a bigger surface area that the cold air touches, and more risk of freezer burn. A whole bagel has less of a risk.

How to defrost frozen bagels

Defrosting bagels is super easy! I take out a frozen bagel and place it in a regular plastic bag (Or airtight container if you want), and let it sit on the counter overnight.

When I wake up the next morning, the bagel is ready to go in the toaster oven! The texture of the bagels remains the same and they still taste like a freshly baked bagel.

If your bagel is still frozen, you can use the defrost function on your microwave! Place the bagel on a plate and loosely wrap it with a damp paper towel and defrost for 30 seconds at a time.

Bagel sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap

Can you freeze bagel sandwiches?

With the shelf life of bagels being so short, you want to do SOMETHING with them before they go bad.

I’ve made breakfast sandwiches before and frozen them, and they work great!

It doesn’t take much time to assemble a sandwich and freeze for later. Get the full instructions in this post!

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