Bread, Recipes

Rainbow bagels

Rainbow bagels have been a goal of mine ever since seeing them crop up on social media – made famous by The Bagel Store in New York. These took a few attempts to get right but after combining a few different recipes, I have created this one which has worked every time for me.

By adjusting the colours, you can create a huge range of options. I tried yellow, blue and pink to create cotton candy bagels, black, purple, blue, pink and glitter spray to create galaxy bagels and red,orange, yellow, green, blue and purple to create rainbow bagels.


  • 470ml water (warm)
  • 10g active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 800g strong white bread flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil (plus more for greasing)
  • Food colouring paste (I recommend using Wilton’s colour gel pastes as these will keep their colour when baked)

Step 1 – mixing the ingredients

Mix warm water and sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast and leave for about 10 minutes to allow it to begin to foam and bubble.

Add the flour, the rapeseed oil and salt to the yeast mixture.

Mix the ingredients until you have a rough sticky dough.

Step 2 – kneading and rise #1

Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. You want a dough that is soft and smooth.

When your dough is soft and smooth, put it into an large oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel.

Leave until doubled in size. This should take between 1 and 2 hours.

Step 3 – colouring, shaping and rise #2

This stages takes quite a long time and is quite tedious, but worth it.

Remove the risen dough from the bowl and knock out the air.

Divide the dough into as many portions as colours you are wanting to use.

Add a little food colouring paste to each portion of dough and – this is the tedious bit – knead each portion for about 10 minutes to incorporate the colour.

Tip: keep the portions you aren’t working on covered to keep them from drying out.

Once all your portions are coloured, roll each one into a rectangle and place on top of one another.

Slice longways, about half an inch wide, and roll along the length. Each strip should be rolled out to about 30cm long. Wrap the strip around the palm of your hand so that both ends are underneath your palm and cross over. Roll your palm over the join until you end with a circle.

Tip: if this is your first time using this technique, it may take a few attempts to get right.

Place each of the circles on to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and leave to rise for about 10 minutes.

Step 4 – boil and bake

Preheat your oven to 230ºC (fan oven 210ºC) and bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.

Drop the bagels into the water (depending on the size of your saucepan, you may be able to add more than one at a time) and boil for 30 seconds on each side.

Let the bagels dry out on a cooling rack (this stage is key to avoid a soggy bagel).

Once dry, place your bagels on the lined baking sheet(s) and and bake for around 15 minutes or until it is cooked through. You can test this by tapping the base of the bagels, if they sound hollow, they’re baked.

Cool on a wire rack.

Step 5 – enjoy

Perfect served with lots of cream cheese and sprinkles.


When I was invited to be a part of the baking audience for An Extra Slice, I was so pleased to be on bread week and to get a chance to show off my rainbow bagels.


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