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Are Bagels Vegan? Exploring Plant-Based Bagel Spreads

Vegans are people or things who avoid any animal food or product in their diet or preparation. Similarly, vegan food excludes all the products involving animal products, such as milk, meat, and eggs, and their bi-products, like cheese, canned items, and other preservatives.

You cannot simply recognize what foods (mostly prepared) are vegan or what foods are not because of the way they are prepared and presented. Bagel preservation methods can also camouflage its properties. Let’s dive in to evaluate that are bagels vegan.

Does that Make Bagels Vegan?

If you’re a bagel enthusiast and a vegan, you might wonder if your favorite breakfast treat fits into your plant-based lifestyle. The good news is that it is possible to make bagels vegan by excluding the eggs, dairy, and honey often used in their preparation.

This article will discuss what makes a bagel vegan, what makes a bagel not vegan, what kinds of toppings might make a bagel not vegan, and how to tell whether a bagel is genuinely vegan.

Ingredients of Bagels

Let’s start with the fundamentals of bagels before we get into the vegan vs. non-vegan debate. Commonly found in a bagel are:

  1. Bagels’ basic ingredient, wheat flour, is suitable for vegans.
  2. Bagel dough relies heavily on water, a key component and, therefore, cruelty-free.
  3. Yeast is a plant-based microbe that leavens the dough and causes it to rise.
  4. Most bagel recipes call for sugar for two purposes: feeding the yeast and sweetening the dough. Sugar is often vegan; however, you should verify that it wasn’t prepared using bone char.
  5. Vegan salt is added to improve the bagel’s taste.

Although these are vegan-friendly ingredients, it is important to be aware that other additions may render a bagel non-vegan.

Non-Vegan Bagel Ingredients to Look For


Non-Vegan Bagel Ingredients
Source: healthline.com

To ensure your bagels are without gluten, keep an eye out for these potentially non-vegan ingredients:

  1. Dairy Products: Some bagel recipes or store-bought bagels may contain dairy ingredients like milk, butter, or cheese. Check the label or inquire about bagel ingredients, especially if you’re purchasing them from a bakery.
  2. Eggs: Traditional bagels may include egg wash for a shiny, golden crust. Look for egg-free options or inquire if egg wash is used.
  3. L-Cysteine: This amino acid is often used as a dough conditioner and can be derived from duck feathers or human hair. Vegan alternatives are available, so be sure to ask about the source if you’re concerned.

Toppings that Could Make Your Bagel Non-Vegan

Toppings are where things can get tricky for vegans. While many classic bagel toppings are plant-based, some may not be. Watch out for these non-vegan toppings:

  1. Cream Cheese: Traditional cream cheese is dairy-based, but numerous vegan cream cheese options are made from ingredients like tofu or nuts.
  2. Butter: Butter is not vegan, but you can easily find dairy-free butter alternatives.
  3. Meat and Fish: Bacon, lox, or other animal-based proteins are non-vegan toppings. Opt for vegan-friendly alternatives like tempeh bacon or smoked tofu.
  4. Honey: Some people enjoy honey on their lox and bagels, but it is an animal product. Choose maple syrup or agave nectar for a vegan-friendly sweetener.

How to Ensure Your Bagel is Vegan?

Poppy Seed Bagels menu is 100% vegan if you want to be sure. However, we have still broken down the factors that could help you understand your bagel. To guarantee your bagel is 100% vegan, here are some tips:

  1. Read Labels: When buying bagels at the store, carefully read the ingredient list. Look for dairy, eggs, and any other non-vegan ingredients.
  2. Ask Questions: If you’re at a bakery or cafe, don’t hesitate to ask the staff about the ingredients and preparation methods. They can often guide you to vegan options or customize your order.
  3. DIY Bagels: Consider making your own bagels at home. This way, you have complete control over the ingredients and can ensure they’re vegan.

Plant-Based Bagel Spreads

Once you’ve secured a vegan bagel, the next step is to explore a variety of plant-based spreads to elevate your bagel experience. Here are some delightful vegan options:

  1. Vegan cream cheese has come a long way and now comes in various flavors and brands that are almost indistinguishable from their dairy-based counterparts. Find alternatives that use plant-based proteins, such as tofu, cashews, or almonds.
  2. A smear of mashed avocado makes a delicious and healthy spread for bagels. Spruce up the taste with a dash of salt, crushed red pepper, or a splash of lemon juice.
  3. The Middle Eastern dip known as hummus is a fantastic addition to bagels. You may go with the tried-and-true, like traditional hummus, or branch out and try something new, like roasted red pepper, garlic, or olive tapenade hummus.
  4. Nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and others are packed with protein and healthy fats, making them a delicious and filling addition to a bagel. Ensure no hidden sugars or non-vegan additives exist when purchasing flavored nut butter.
  5. Add some fruit preserves or jam to your bagel for a sweet treat. Some fruit spreads include non-vegan components like gelatin or honey; choose an alternative that does not.


If you’re careful about the fillings and spreads you put on your bagel, it’s possible to enjoy it as part of a vegan diet. You may have your favorite morning delight without guilt now that you know vegan alternatives exist. Enjoy your favorite vegan spread on a bagel without guilt!

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