National Bagel Day is January 15. Bagels have a history that is richer than your favorite cream cheese spread! These dough rounds can be found anywhere: breakfast joints, coffee shops, supermarkets, or even your kitchen pantry. 2018 saw more than 354 million bagels sold.
History Of National Bagel Day
Bagels have a long and highly documented history that travels from the Jewish families of Poland in the 1600s to wrapped up in parchment paper in your hands today. And, unlike many things created nearly five hundred years ago, bagels are remarkably unchanged. Sure, cream cheeses, butter, flavors, and toppings may have evolved, but bagel is a Bengal.
Bagels jumped to America with massive Polish-Jewish immigration in the 1800s that firmly entrenched itself in New York City, where it thrived. An entire union was created in the early 1900s called Bagel Bakers Local 338 to support the growing, immigrant-led industry. That also begat the “bagel brunch,” that we still enjoy with little to no changes: lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and red onions.
While bagels were hugely popular in New York City almost immediately, they didn’t make their way to the national scale until the mid-20th-century when automation and bread slicing (the coolest thing!) made mass manufacturing much more efficient. Since then, bagels have taken off to include a variety of flours, toppings, dips, and smears but remain – by and large – exactly as they were in the 1600s.
National Bagel Day Timeline
The First Bagel Appears
The beginnings of the modern bagel can be traced to the Polish obwarzanek, a thin, boiled, baked ring of dough.
New Baby, New Bagel
The first known written records about bagels appeared in Krakow, Poland, which dictated that bagels should be gifted to women soon after childbirth.
The early 1900s
New York Icon
Over this century, the popularity of bagels spread through the growing Eastern European and Jewish-immigrant communities in New York City.
Bagels Become An American Staple
Bagels are sold in national supermarkets and surpass the donut as an essential breakfast item.
Traditions Of National Bagel Day
Eat a bagel
Pretty easy! Head to your local bakery and take a big ole bite into a yummy, warm, crispy, doughy bagel with your favorite toppings!
Bake a bagel
Surprisingly simple and rather enjoyable, there’s nothing that tastes or smells better than freshly baked bagels straight out of the oven—a great activity for you and your loved ones.
Give a bagel
Considering that the initial written context of bagels came as a traditional gift for pregnant women, this will go great in any maternity ward! Or, give it to someone you know who lives bagels.
National Bagel Day Stats
54% like them fresh
Americans eat fresh bagels. While it may be convenient to stock up on store-bought, it’s clear that we have a preferred palate for freshly baked bagels.
77% make them a meal
Bagels are eaten as the main dish for whichever meal that may be. These hardy rings of fresh dough are sustainable enough to
75% like them toasty
Bagel eaters prefer theirs warmed up and will gladly buy a fresh, hot one over anything cold. However, with nearly 90 percent of users putting cream cheese, butter, or some topping on it, it’s clear that the contrast between hot and cold is the desired method of bagel consumption.
National Bagel Day Faqs
When is National Bagel Day?
National Bagel Day is every year on January 15.
Should I eat a bagel on National Bagel Day?
We recommend eating bagels as often as possible, especially on National Bagel Day.
What’s the difference between a bagel and a donut?
Bagels are a type of bread different from a donut, a type of fried dough.
National Bagel Day Activities
- Have a bagel at every meal
- Take this day as an opportunity to appreciate the versatility of the bagel, and feel free to use it as an excuse to try as many flavors as you would like!
- Share the bagel, love.
- What office, classroom, or group of friends doesn’t love bagels? Scope out your local bagel shops for exclusive National Bagel Day deals and spring for a dozen delicious bagels to share.
- Find the best bagel in town.
- Everyone has their favorite bagel place, so maybe it’s time to figure out which one is the best. Maybe each place has its specialty bagel — be adventurous and try it out!
Why We Love National Bagel Day
- There are countless varieties.
- Have you ever walked into a bagel shop and noticed all the different flavors? From bagels weaved with cinnamon raisin swirl to the classic everything bagel, there is always a variety to satisfy your sweet or savory cravings.
- Bagels are versatile
- Many of us have had bagels for breakfast, but how about a deli sandwich or maybe a pizza bagel? The chewy and dense texture makes bagels a perfect vehicle for toppings, spreads, and anything else delicious you can think of!
- They are convenient
- You can find bagels at grocery stores, coffee shops, and gas stations. You can eat them toasted or just plain. Either way, they are still a delicious and easy choice when you are on the go.