What to Serve With Bagels: 25+ Best Side Dishes and Topping Ideas

Want to know what to serve with bagels? Bagels are like blank canvases waiting for your culinary artistry.

You’re not just limited to cream cheese – the world of bagel accompaniments is wider than you might think.

This guide will walk you through the best sides to serve with your bagels for a bagel brunch, from classic spreads to exotic toppings.

You’ll discover a variety of safe and delightful pairings that’ll transform your favorite breakfast into a gourmet delight. 

So, let’s dive into the flavorful world of bagel sides. Trust us, your breakfast or brunch game is about to get a major upgrade.

Here’s the scoop on what to serve with savory bagels and your ultimate bagel topping guide!

Types of Bagels to Include in Your Bagel Bar Brunch

an assortment of bagels on a platter

There are a plethora of delicious ideas when it comes to the types of bagels that you can buy at a bakery or grocery store.

You can even buy mini bagels and bagel thins to add to your bagel brunch board.

Don’t forget to look up a Kosher bagel recipe if you’re looking to make a delicious bagel that is chewy and crusty. 

Depending on whether you prefer sweet or savory, there is something for everyone to kickstart their Sunday brunch.

Tip: For the best authentic bagels, prioritize visiting a bakery or a gourmet shop.

  1. Plain Bagel: The traditional and simple bagel, often used as a base for various toppings and spreads.
  2. Everything Bagel: Encrusted with everything bagel seasoning, which may include a mix of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and salt, giving it a distinctive and flavorful profile.
  3. Cinnamon Raisin Bagel: Sweetened with cinnamon and studded with raisins, making it a delicious choice for both sweet and savory toppings.
  4. Sesame Seed Bagel: Coated with sesame seeds, providing a nutty flavor and a slight crunch.
  5. Poppy Seed Bagel: Similar to the sesame seed bagel but covered in poppy seeds, adding a unique texture and taste.
  6. Whole Wheat Bagel: Made with whole wheat flour, offering a nuttier and heartier flavor compared to traditional bagels.
  7. Blueberry Bagel: Infused with blueberries for a sweet and fruity twist, often enjoyed with cream cheese or butter.
  8. Pumpernickel Bagel: Made with a combination of rye flour and molasses, giving it a dark color and distinct flavor.
  9. Asiago Bagel: This type of bagel is typically made with a combination of wheat flour and enriched with Asiago cheese, a semi-hard Italian cheese with a distinct savory and nutty flavor. You can also add ground black pepper.

Bagel Toppings and Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Bagels

bagels with dipping sauce

Setting up a bagel bar brunch doesn’t have to be complicated if you have boards or platters.

Include a bagel board or a charcuterie board to show off the different toppings alongside regular-size bagels or mini bagels.

From fresh herbs to plain cream cheese, there is a garnish for everyone. You can even include a plate of bacon for added protein!

Take your brunch theme to the next level with twists on the bloody mary or a mimosa bar to showcase a variety of different flavors.

Classic Cream Cheese Spread for Homemade Bagels

Your appreciation for a fresh bagel isn’t complete without the indulgence of a classic cream cheese.

Delve into the rich cream cheese history, dating back to 1872 when a New York dairyman first made it.

Add the cream cheese at room temperature or when it’s cold, it is your preference!

Today, you’ve got a myriad of options. Love a fluffy texture? Try whipped cream cheese.

Elevate your bagel with a savory cream cheese like garlic herb.

If you’re health-conscious, consider cream cheese alternatives like scallion cream cheese. Vegan cream cheese, for instance, offers a dairy-free option without compromising on taste.

Or, get creative with homemade cream cheese, infusing it with spices or fruits. Don’t forget about cream cheese nutrition, though!

Whether it’s spiced or fruit-infused, your bagel companion matters.

Smoked Salmon Delight for Brunch

A bagel with smoked salmon and onions.

Often, you can’t go wrong with a topping of smoked salmon on your bagel for a delicious breakfast. It’s a delightful pairing that’s enjoyed worldwide.

When considering salmon quality, it’s important to ensure safe and sustainable salmon sourcing. Opting for high-quality smoked salmon enhances the flavor combinations and benefits your health.

There are various ways to elevate your bagel toppings. Here are three suggestions:

  1. Explore bagel varieties: Whole grain or everything bagels can add an exciting twist.
  2. Consider cream cheese alternatives: Avocado or hummus offer a healthier option.
  3. Experiment with seafood pairings: Try adding capers or red onion.

For breakfast ideas, smoked salmon on a bagel is a classic for bagel lovers. You can even make DIY spreads to customize the taste.

This simple, yet refined pairing is sure to delight your palate!

What to Serve with Bagels: Scrambled Eggs and Chives

Switching from a seafood pairing, a scrambled eggs and chives combo offers a hearty alternative for your morning bagel.

Egg cooking techniques vary, but for this breakfast combo, a soft scramble keeps things tender.

Chives, star players in this dish, are easy to cultivate at home, amplifying their appeal. Beyond their vibrant color and subtle onion-like flavor, chive health benefits are noteworthy, including antioxidants and vitamins.

Consider potential egg allergies when serving this to guests. If clear, jazz it up with chive recipes like chive-infused butter or chive cream cheese.

Pair this with your favorite bagel and you’ve got a satisfying, nutritious breakfast.

Adding Gourmet Avocado Smash to Your Favorite Bagel

stack of blueberry bagels

Leaning towards a plant-based option, you’ll find gourmet avocado smash a refreshing and healthy choice to pair with your bagels.

The superfood benefits of avocados are numerous, with avocado nutrition packing a potent punch of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and vital nutrients.

Here’s how to make your own:

  1. Choose from varied avocado varieties, each lending unique flavors.
  2. Learn smash techniques for the perfect consistency.
  3. Add spice additions for an extra kick.

You can experiment with vegan options and breakfast pairings, offering versatility beyond traditional toast alternatives.

Remember proper avocado storage to maintain freshness. Safety is key, so follow DIY recipes closely.

Exotic Fig Jam Topper

If you’re looking for a sweet alternative to pair with your bagels, an exotic fig jam topper might just be your next go-to choice.

Fig cultivation has a rich history, and the resulting jam varieties offer a gourmet topping unlike any other. The jam-making process is simple and safe, turning fig harvesting into a delightful spread that’s perfect for bagel pairings.

Fig recipes are abundant, but the exotic fig jam stands out due to its unique flavor and impressive fig nutrition.

The fig jam benefits include high fiber and essential minerals, adding a healthy twist to your breakfast.

Explore the world of figs, from its ancient history to modern gourmet toppings, and indulge in the sweet, complex flavors of fig jam.

Sweet Cinnamon Butter Spread for Brunch or Breakfast

For a decadent treat, you’ll love slathering your bagels with sweet cinnamon butter.

It’s a delightful blend of butter varieties, specifically chosen for their creaminess, and cinnamon sources from different origins, each providing a unique flavor profile.

  1. Sweetness Balance: Aim for a perfect harmony between the butter’s richness and the cinnamon’s spice. Too much sweetness can overpower the cinnamon.
  2. Cinnamon Infusion Techniques: Gently heat the butter, then stir in cinnamon and sugar. This infuses the butter with a deep, warm cinnamon flavor.
  3. Storage and Uses: Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s perfect for bagels, but don’t limit yourself. Explore other sweet butter uses like pancakes or toast.

Nutty Peanut Butter Spread

crusty bagels

You’ll find that a nutty peanut butter spread offers a satisfying protein-packed option for your bagels.

Originating from the humble peanut, this spread brings a high nutritional value to your breakfast table. But beware, peanut allergies are common and serious, so always ensure it’s safe for everyone.

There’s a wide range of peanut butter brands, from organic to conventional.

The consistency of the spread can vary too, from creamy to crunchy. If you’re adventurous, try homemade recipes for a personal touch.

Alternative spreads like almond or cashew butter can be great substitutes. Additionally, pair this spread with sweet jams or fresh fruits for a balanced taste.

What to Serve with Bagels: Healthy Hummus Dip

After enjoying a nutty peanut butter spread, you’ll love diving into a healthy hummus dip next time you have a bagel.

Hummus, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, is an easy side that is loaded with chickpea nutrition and offers immense hummus health benefits.

  1. Homemade Hummus: Making your own hummus allows you to control the flavors and ingredients. Experiment with hummus variations like garlic hummus or spicy hummus.
  2. Tahini Uses: This sesame seed paste adds richness and boosts the nutritional profile of your hummus.
  3. Hummus Storage and Pairing: Store hummus in an airtight container in the fridge. Pair it with vegetables for an extra health kick.

Decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

If you’re looking to jazz up your bagel, why not slather on some decadent chocolate hazelnut spread? This spread’s history dates back to when hazelnut farming in Europe combined with chocolate sourcing from the Americas.

The result? A glorious, creamy delight that’s not just delicious, but packed with hazelnut health benefits.

It’s a perfect breakfast suggestion, adding a touch of indulgence to your mornings.

There are numerous variations to explore, from homemade recipes to store-bought options.

Plus, the culinary uses extend beyond bagels – try it in crepes or as a cake filling. Pair it with beverages like coffee or hot chocolate to enhance the flavor.

Tangy Orange Marmalade

a bagel with cream cheese and orange marmalade

Next up on your bagel adventure is the tangy delight of orange marmalade. This citrus preserve, with its rich marmalade history, brings a refreshing zing to your morning meal.

Consider these three points:

  1. Marmalade Variations and Pairings – Gourmet marmalades come in many forms, from traditional orange to exotic grapefruit or lime. They pair well with cream cheese, butter, or even on their own.
  2. DIY Marmalade – Safety-conscious foodies can make their own sugar-free marmalade, controlling the ingredients and the preservation process. You can look up how to make your own marmalade with easy recipes.
  3. Serving and Storage– Serve your marmalade at a range of temperatures, but always store safely in a cool, dark place.

What to Serve with Bagels: Bacon and Egg Combo for Breakfast Fans

Switching gears from the tangy delight of marmalade, let’s dive into a hearty classic: the bacon and egg combo.

This breakfast pairing is a staple in many morning routines due to its satisfying nutritional content and versatile cooking techniques.

Bacon varieties range from smoky hickory to sweet maple, each adding a unique flavor profile.

In terms of egg preparation, your choices are endless. Scrambled, poached, or sunny side up, each method offers a different texture to your meal.

Consider planning your ideal bagel topping combo. Perhaps a crispy bacon and soft scrambled egg bagel?

Let’s not forget the food origins of this pairing, tracing back to traditional English breakfasts. This classic combo offers a hearty start to your day.

Tempting Tuna Salad with Different Flavors

a breakfast sandwich with tuna

Diving into the realm of delightful seafood options, you’ll find that a tempting tuna salad recipe can truly elevate your bagel experience.

Tuna varieties offer a spectrum of flavors, from the mild Albacore to the richer Bluefin. Tuna sourcing is crucial too; trusted brands ensure quality and minimize health risks.

Now, let’s make your salad irresistible with these three tips:

  1. Salad Dressings: A tangy vinaigrette or creamy ranch can transform the tuna’s flavor profile.
  2. Salad Add-ins: Experiment with crunchy celery, sweet grapes, or even spicy jalapenos.
  3. Salad Pairings: Consider complementing your bagel and tuna salad with crisp lettuce or ripe tomatoes.

The nutritional benefits make this a smart choice. If seafood’s not your thing, explore seafood alternatives for your sandwich.

What to Serve with Bagels: Fresh Fruit Salad Pairing

Often, you’ll find that a fresh fruit salad makes a refreshing and nutritious pairing with your bagel. Cherry-pick your berry selection according to the seasonal fruits available, ensuring peak freshness and flavor.

Enhance your salad presentation with exotic combinations like kiwi and pomegranate, offering a visual feast before the first bite.

Your fruit preparation should aim for bite-sized pieces, easy to scoop and eat.

You can also consider dressing options, like a honey-lime drizzle, to add a tangy twist. The nutritional benefits of this breakfast pairing are numerous, from vitamins to fiber.

Moreover, a fruit salad offers a hydration boost, perfect for starting your day. Explore various salad variations, mixing and matching fruits for an ever-changing, delicious side to your bagel.

Honey and Almond Spread

almond spread

A honey and almond spread is another scrumptious option you’ll love on your bagel. This is one of our favorite ways to add flavor and health benefits to our bagels.

This delicious combination has the sweetness of honey, with its honey health benefits, and the nutty flavor of almonds, boasting some amazing almond nutrition facts.

The almond harvesting process and beekeeping basics are meticulous, but they ensure the safety and quality of the ingredients.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Spread Variations: There are many variations to try, and for those with almond allergies, alternatives are available.
  2. Almond Farming Impact and Honey Production Challenges: These contribute to the price, but also its sustainability.
  3. Honey Infused Drinks and Honey Based Desserts: These are other ways to enjoy honey’s health benefits.

Traditional Lox and Capers

Looking for a classic bagel topping that’s both savory and satisfying? You can’t go wrong with traditional lox and capers.

Lox, a staple in Jewish bagel tradition, comes in various varieties. Its preparation involves curing salmon in a salt-sugar mixture, enhancing its nutrition and flavor.

Lox history traces back to the Scandinavian regions, and it pairs well with cream cheese and capers.

Now, let’s talk about capers to serve with lox and bagels. These tangy buds offer incredible benefits; they’re rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Capers sourcing is meticulous, requiring careful cultivation and preservation. This ensures you’re getting the best quality, safe for your consumption.

Tart Apple and Cheddar

six bagels on a tray

Switching from savory to sweet, you’ll love the unexpected yet delightful pairing of tart apple slices and sharp cheddar cheese on your bagel.

This bagel topping isn’t just a tasty breakfast option but also a nutritious one. The Cheddar nutrition is high in protein and calcium, while the Apple benefits include dietary fiber and essential vitamins.

Here’s a quick guide that will assist you in creating this flavor combination:

  1. Apple Preparation: Choose from apple varieties such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp for a tart bite. Wash and thinly slice them.
  2. Cheddar Pairing: Opt for sharp or aged Cheddar. For Cheddar alternatives, try Gouda or Swiss.
  3. Serving Suggestions: Layer apple slices and cheese on a toasted bagel. For extra flair, sprinkle cinnamon or drizzle honey on top.

Enjoy this unique balance of flavors as one of your bagel toppings!

What to Serve with Bagels: Delightful Dill Pickles

Moving on from the sweetness of apple and cheddar, you’ll find that pairing your bagel with delightful dill pickles brings a tangy twist to your breakfast.

The fermentation process always involves brine, pickling spices, and time. Dill pickles, a healthy snack rich in probiotics, owe their distinct flavor to dill benefits and the unique blend of pickling spices.

They’re also a great vegan option.

Consider the pickle’s history and cultural significance; it’s a timeless staple in many cuisines worldwide.

As for serving sizes, a couple of pickle spears alongside your bagel should do. They’re also perfect for sandwich pairing, providing a refreshing crunch to balance out your meal.

Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta

bagel topped with tomato balsamic bruschetta

Often, you’ll find that a balsamic tomato bruschetta offers a delectably tangy yet sweet accompaniment to your bagel.

This Italian antipasto has a rich history and numerous variations, brimming with the nutritional value of fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil.

DIY Bruschetta: It’s simple to prepare at home using safe, straightforward cooking techniques. Just ensure your ingredients are fresh for the best taste and nutritional value.

Bruschetta Presentation: Serve it on a colorful platter, making your meal visually appealing. You can also try seasonal versions, adapting ingredients according to the time of year.

Wine Pairings: For a complete experience, pair it with a light-bodied, dry white wine.

Fresh Mozzarella and Pesto

For a creamy and savory twist on your bagel, you’ll love the pairing of fresh mozzarella and pesto. The Italian influence is evident in this combination, catering to your taste buds with complementary flavors.

Pesto varieties can vary, from basil to sun-dried tomato, each offering unique pesto nutrition benefits.

Opt for fresh mozzarella, with its sourcing critical to taste and mozzarella health benefits.

Bagel textures range from soft to crunchy, and either will work with the softness of the cheese and the thick, aromatic pesto. Adjust the spices in your pesto to match your preference.

Make sure to serve at room temperature to maximize flavor. Pair with a crisp white wine or fresh juice to balance the richness.

a sandwich with eggs and sausage

Occasionally, you might crave a heartier, meatier side with your bagel, and that’s where savory sausage links come in. From sausage origins in various regions, each variety brings unique sausage spices and flavors.

Consider these three items:

  1. Sausage Varieties: Explore options from spicy Italian to sweet apple-infused. Regional preferences may guide your choice.
  2. Cooking Techniques: Whether you’re grilling or frying, use appropriate techniques for safety and best taste. Grilling tips include using low heat and turning regularly.
  3. Breakfast Pairings: Sausages pair well with eggs, cheese, and even vegan alternatives.

Remember, sausage storage is key for health benefits. Keep them refrigerated and consumed within the use-by date.

Enjoy your bagel breakfast with a delightful sausage side.

What to Serve with Bagels: Spinach and Feta Wrap

If you’re looking for a lighter, more refreshing side, a spinach and feta wrap is a fantastic choice to pair with your bagel.

Packed with Mediterranean flavors, this healthy wrap delivers a burst of spinach nutrition in every bite. The feta adds a tangy contrast, but there are plenty of feta alternatives if you prefer, such as cottage cheese or tofu.

Wrap recipes are flexible, allowing for a host of wrap variations. Try adding olives, tomatoes, or cucumbers for an extra crunch.

This quick breakfast is a portable meal, making it perfect for those on-the-go mornings.

The combination of versatile bagels and savory wraps creates a satisfying breakfast pairing. Enjoy this tasty, nutritious option as part of your balanced diet.

Crunchy Granola Topping

Switching gears to something sweet, you can’t go wrong with a crunchy granola topping on your bagel. This breakfast combo opens a world of granola varieties, each offering unique nutritional benefits.

DIY granola is a great alternative, allowing you to tailor your mix to your dietary needs, making vegan, gluten-free granola, or any other granola alternatives you desire.

  1. Granola History: Originating in the 19th century, granola has been a healthy, versatile food staple for decades.
  2. Pairing Beverages: Complement your granola-topped bagel with a smoothie or fresh juice for a balanced breakfast.
  3. Granola Bar Ideas: Save leftover granola to make bars, a handy, nutritious snack.

Safe, delicious, and nutritious, granola is a versatile topping that’s perfect for your morning bagel.

Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Jelly

bowl of jalapeno jelly

Why not spice up your regular bagel with some sweet and spicy jalapeno jelly? This delightful spread is born from careful jalapeno cultivation, ensuring the perfect balance of heat.

There are numerous jelly variations, and the spice levels can be adjusted to suit your preference. It’s a sweet pairing for your bagel, and the health benefits are a bonus, thanks to the capsaicin in jalapenos.

You can explore various jelly uses, from slathering it on your morning bagel to jazzing up your sandwich for lunch.

The breakfast combinations are limitless and food pairings extend beyond bagels. So, expand your palate and enjoy the sweet heat of jalapeno jelly.

Homemade Strawberry Preserves

After trying the exciting heat of jalapeno jelly, you’ll find a delightful contrast in the sweet, rich taste of homemade strawberry preserves on your bagel.

You’ll appreciate the preserving techniques that intensify the flavor of different strawberry varieties, making these DIY preserves a must-try.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Preserves vs. Jellies: Unlike jellies, preserves retain the fruit’s texture, enhancing your bagel experience.
  2. Uses for Preserves: Use them for jam and cheese pairings at your next jam-tasting event.
  3. Storage Tips: To maintain your seasonal fruit jam’s freshness, always keep it refrigerated.

What to Serve with Bagels: Delectable Corned Beef Hash

Dive into the savory world of corned beef hash, a hearty side that’s sure to transform your bagel breakfast into a feast.

This hash variety, with its corned beef origins, offers a whirlwind of flavors, complementing your bagel delightfully.

With various cooking techniques at your disposal, you can personalize your hash recipe to suit your palate.

Choose your beef cuts wisely, as traditional methods favor brisket or round cuts for their flavorful profiles.

Spice blends can range from simple salt and pepper to an adventurous mix of paprika and cayenne. Hash toppings like poached eggs or cheese not only enhance the taste but also add texture.

Cultural variations of this dish exist globally, each with its unique twist. Enjoy the culinary adventure!


a stack of different types of bagels

Incorporating yogurt into your bagel bar provides a creamy and tangy element that complements various toppings and spreads.

Whether used as a base for sweet options with fruits, honey, or granola or as a savory component with herbs and spices, yogurt adds a delightful twist to your breakfast and lunch.

Final Thoughts: What to Serve with Bagels

So, there you have it! 25 delicious sides to make ahead of time and take your bagel game to the next level.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic cream cheese or crave a gourmet avocado smash, there’s a topping to tickle your tastebuds for your next brunch.

For the best bagels, consider using an air fryer or toaster for that extra crunch if you don’t prefer a chewy bagel.

Creating the ultimate bagel bar for special occasions such as Mother’s Day brunch, bridal showers, or baby showers is an easy, entertaining way to cater to diverse tastes and preferences.

Bagel bar ideas not only offer a variety of options but also allow guests to pick and choose as well as personalize their culinary experience by selecting from an array of delicious toppings to enhance an easy breakfast.

Get the scoop on more below:

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