If you’re a fan of pizza bagels you’ll absolutely love this combo of crushed tomato bagels with a creamy cheese filling! The dough is made with bread flour, almond flour, yeast, salt, sugar and crushed tomatoes (from the can). It’s so easy to make and can be prepped in advance –all you have to do is mix the ingredients and let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. No kneading required.
The shredded cheese filling melts into a beautiful crescent-moon center after the bagel is boiled and baked. It’s highly recommended that you wait for the bagels to cool before slicing to get that clean C-shaped cut, but I won’t judge if you decide to tear it apart before the cheese has a chance to set 🙂
Needless to say, these bagels scream for cream cheese and pepperoni.
Here’s why I love this recipe
- The tomato bagel dough does not require any eggs, milk or butter and is vegan-friendly! The mozzarella cheese filling can be easily replaced with vegan cheese. (More details on the substitution section)
- The added almond flour gives these bagels a rich, buttery flavor.
- Minimal kneading is required, and you can get really creative with the fillings.
- There’s a good source of nutrients and fiber, thanks to the crushed tomatoes in the bagel dough and the added almond flour
Ingredients Used to Make Stuffed Pizza Bagels
**I’ve linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the baking aisle, or the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour – Bread flour is highly recommended for this recipe for the best texture and structure. TIP: For the best texture and chew, use a higher protein bread flour like King Arthur Bread Flour. Please read the note in the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Almond Flour (optional)- I used blanched almond flour, but if you want, you can substitute the almond flour with more bread flour (more details on the recipe card).
Why almond flour? Almond flour is not a traditional ingredient for bagels, but I like adding it for the extra boost in flavor and nutrition. It also produces more tender (easier on your jaws) bagels which my family prefers.
- Instant Yeast – you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast in this recipe since active yeast needs to be activated in water.
- Sugar – I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars. Sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder can be used in the filling, but for what goes inside the bread, I would NOT RECOMMEND using sugar-free substitutes since they can cause the bread to not rise properly.
- Salt – Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Italian Seasoning – I used a pre-mixed Italian seasoning blend which was a mix of dried basil, oregano, and thyme. To substitute, use 1/3 tsp each of dried basil, oregano and thyme.
- Cayenne Pepper Powder (optional) – I love spicy foods, so I couldn’t resist adding this in. 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper adds just the right amount of heat and spiciness.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes – you’ll need 3/4 cups of crushed tomatoes in this recipe. I haven’t tried making this recipe using fresh tomatoes, but based on my experience I think the sub will work just fine. The only little tip I’d add here is that you should use San Marzano Tomatoes for the best flavor, like below:
What are San Marzano tomatoes?
San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomatoes that first originated in Naples, Italy. These tomatoes are prized for their deep red color and thicker flesh–they create the best authentic-tasting Italian sauces and have a rich, robust flavor that is less acidic than other tomatoes.
- Diced or Shredded Cheese of Choice – You can use any kind of cheese you have at home. But the best cheese filling for these bagels are cheeses that melt easily, like mozzarella, provolone, gouda or fontina. I also tried making these bagels with shredded vegan mozzarella cheese, and had no issues (see pic below: the vegan cheese is on the left, and swiss cheese–the only other cheese I had at home at the time–is on the right)
More Breakfast Recipes (HERE)
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Stuffed Pizza Bagels
In a clean mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the bread flour, almond flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Also add the spices and dried herbs here.
Add the crushed tomatoes, and use your hands or a danish dough whisk to combine it with the dry ingredients best you can.
*the bagel dough is supposed to be firm, since bagels require a lower water-to-flour-ratio. You can add additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water if there are still dry ingredients, but be sure to add one tablespoon at a time, so you don’t overhydrate the dough.
Loosely cover the dough with a clean wet towel or plastic wrap. Let rise, at a slightly warm place, for 60-90 minutes, until puffy.
After the first fermentation stage, choose ONE of two methods:
For no-knead (overnight) method: gently deflate the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap loosely so that air can escape. Transfer the bowl to the fridge and chill overnight, at least for 8 hours and up to 48 hours.
For kneaded (quick) method: continue to knead the dough by hand or using a stand mixer, until the dough becomes smooth, supple, and pulls easily away from the bowl. The kneading should not take too long (about 3 minutes by hand) since we allowed the dough to relax and hydrate in the previous step.
Gently place the prepared dough onto a floured surface. If you chilled the dough in the fridge overnight, let the dough first come to room temperature (about 3-4 hours) before proceeding to the next step.
Shape the dough into a ball, and divide into 4 equal sized pieces
1. Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of the bagel dough into a thin, 5 x 7 inch rectangle (thinner the better!)
2. Spread about 2-3 Tablespoons of the filling onto the bagel dough.
3-4. Roll the bagel dough over the filling.
5. Seal the ends by pinching the seams of the dough with wet fingers.
6. Bring together the two ends of the bagel dough by inserting one end of the rolled dough into the other end.
7. Pinch the seams together so that they won’t fall apart during the boiling process.
8. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with plastic wrap or a clean wet paper towel. Let rise for 40-60 minutes, until the bagels look slightly puffed up.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Bring the heat down to medium-hot so that it’s gently boiling. Cook the bagel for just 30 seconds on each side.
TIP: If the bagel won’t float up to the surface by the end of the 60 seconds, it probably means the bagel needs to proof longer. I usually try this with one bagel first before cooking the other bagels in batches.
Bake the boiled bagels in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are glossy and slightly browned.
Let the bagels cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
Here are some awesome ways you can make this bagel recipe your own 🙂
- Make it extra spicy! Instead of 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper powder, add more (up to 2 tsp) for extra spicy pizza bagels. You can also sprinkle the topis with red pepper flakes.
- Add more texture! Adding chopped nuts, seeds, or whole grains like oats is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and flavor in breads, including this one. For a savory dough like this pizza bagel, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and chia seeds are good add ins.
- Want to add more fiber? Substitute white whole wheat flour for up to half of the bread flour called for in this recipe. You’ll need to add a few more tablespoons of water to adjust the hydration since whole wheat flour absorbs more water than white flour.
- Go Unstuffed! If you prefer bagels without any stuffing you can always just make these bagels without any filling. Making unstuffed bagels are also really easy to do since all you have to do is push your thumbs into the center of the divided bagel dough, then stretch into the characteristic shape (guide below!)
More Bagel Stuffing Ideas:
- In addition to cheese, you can add chopped onions, veggies, or mushrooms. Meat options work too, like diced chicken, ham or pepperoni. Anything goes.
Note on Substitutions
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe (at least, I haven’t tried this yet).
- If you don’t have bread flour, you can also use All Purpose Flour instead. AP flour has less protein than bread flour, so it will yield softer bagels with less chew/ bite.
- As I mentioned in the Ingredients Section, almond flour makes these bagels more flavorful and more nutritionally balanced, but it also makes the bagels less chewy (and more tender). If you prefer a traditional bagel texture, use 1/4 cup of bread flour instead of 1/2 cup of almond flour.
- The almond flour can be subbed with other nut flour like pecan, cashew and walnut flour.
How to Store
- For unstuffed bagels, you can store these bagels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
- For bagels with cheese filling, these bagels can be out at room temperature for a maximum of 1 day. For longer storage, you can place the bagels in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, toast inside an air fryer or toaster with the filling side up.
Final Tips for Stuffed Pizza Bagels
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you’ll end up with more flour than what’s called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
Gamechanging Stuffed Pizza Bagels – Overnight Tomato Bagels
Bagel Dough Ingredients
- 1 3/4 cup bread flour 210 g
- 1/2 cup almond flour 54 g, or use 1/4 cup of bread flour for traditional bagel texture. READ NOTES!*
- 1 tsp instant yeast 3 g
- 2 Tbsp sugar 37 g
- 1/2 tsp salt 3 g
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder (optional)
- 1 tsp italian seasoning spice , or use 1/3 tsp each of dried oregano, basil and thyme
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes about 190 g
- 6 oz diced or shredded cheese , such as mozzarella (can also use vegan mozzarella cheese)
Combine the Dough Ingredients
- In a clean mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the bread flour, almond flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Also add the spices.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, and use your hands or a danish dough whisk to incoporate it into the dry ingredients best you can.
- *the bagel dough is supposed to be firm, since bagels require a lower water-to-flour-ratio. You can add additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water if there are still dry ingredients, but be sure to add one tablespoon at a time, so you don’t overhydrate the dough.
- No kneading is required at this time. Loosely cover the dough with a clean wet towel or plastic wrap.
- Let rise, at a slightly warm place, for 60-90 minutes, until puffy.
After the First Rise (Choose ONE method below)
- For no-knead (overnight) method: gently deflate the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap loosely so that air can escape. Transfer the bowl to the fridge and chill overnight, at least for 8 hours and up to 48 hours.
- For kneaded (quick) method: continue to knead the dough by hand or using a stand mixer, until the dough becomes smooth, supple, and pulls easily away from the bowl. The kneading should not take too long (about 3 minutes by hand) since we allowed the dough to relax and hydrate in the previous step.
Shaping the Dough
- Gently place the prepared dough onto a floured surface. If you chilled the dough in the fridge overnight, let the dough first come to room temperature (about 3-4 hours) before proceeding to the next step.
- Shape the dough into a ball, and divide into 4 equal sized pieces
Filling the Bagel Dough
- In a clean mixing bowl, mix the filling ingredients. Set aside.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of the bagel dough into a thin, 5 x 7 inch rectangle (thinner the better!)
- Spoon about 2-3 Tablespoons of the filling onto the bagel dough.TIP: For a thick cresent-shaped filling, place the filling towards one end of the rectangle. For a swirled effect, spread the filling throughout the dough so that it is evenly distributed.
- Roll the bagel dough over the filling, and seal the ends by pinching the seams of the dough. TIP: wet your fingers with some water to help with the sealing
- Bring together the two ends of the bagel dough by inserting one end of the rolled dough into the other end and pinching the seams together so that it won't fall apart during the boiling process.
- Place the stuffed bagels on a parchment lined baking pan, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or clean wet paper towel.
- Let rise for 40-60 minutes, until the bagels look slightly puffed up.
Boil the Bagels
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Bring the heat down to medium-hot so that it's gently boiling.Also, preheat the oven to 350F
- Use a wide slotted spoon or spatula to gently transfer 1 bagel into the water.
- Cook the bagel for just 30 seconds on each side. TIP: If the bagel won't float up to the surface by the end of the 60 seconds, it probably means the bagel needs to proof longer.
- Take the bagel out of the boiling water using a wide slotted spoon or spatula and back to the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Repeat the boiling process for the rest of the bagels.
Bake the Bagels
- Bake the boiled bagels in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are glossy and slightly browned.
- Let cool to room temperature before serving. TIP: If slicing the bagels crosswise, you'll get the cleanest cut if the bagels (and the filling) are completely cooled.
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