Which gluten-free bagels are best?
If you or someone you love struggles with celiac disease or has non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), you know how challenging it can be to find a great-tasting bagel. Bread products are difficult to replicate in gluten-free form because flour needs the consistency and bonding that comes from gluten. But don’t despair; many companies recognize the need for delicious, gluten-free bagels that will satisfy your cravings. Several have created a chewy, crispy bagel that’s perfect with a thick spread of cream cheese.
For a gluten-free bagel that mimics traditional bagels in size, flavor and texture, reach for a Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Everything Bagel.
What to know before you buy gluten-free bagels
As with traditional bagels, gluten-free bagels come in various flavors. The most popular ones seem to be everything bagels, which have a combination of salt, seeds, garlic and onion. But fruit-flavored options with blueberries and raisins are also a hit.
Neutral flavors offer the most flexibility when it comes to toppings. Think whole-grain or plain bagels.
Gluten-free bagels are notoriously small, but many bakeries have figured out how to use gluten-free flours and proteins to remedy this situation.
However, if you prefer less bread, there are many delicious bagel thins out there, too. Bagel thins comprise of a toasty crust with just a hint of chewy bread in the middle and all of the same great toppings you’d find on a full-size bagel.
It may seem counterintuitive, but gluten-free bread often costs more than its gluten-packed counterpart. Gluten-free products generally come in smaller packages or with fewer items in each package, too. This makes it even more important to get the most bang for your buck by choosing the best gluten-free bagels you can find.
What to look for in quality gluten-free bagels
Free from common allergens
If you are eliminating other foods in your diet, such as eggs or dairy, take a look at the ingredients list first. Luckily, even if you have food allergies, some of the best gluten-free bagels are also free from common allergens, including dairy, corn, soy and nuts.
Another ingredient that can be challenging for some people is gums. Xanthan gum is a common additive in gluten-free bagels. If this is not an option for you, look for bakeries that use psyllium instead.
Delicious fresh or frozen
If you struggle with celiac disease or have been gluten-free for a long time, you know that freshness is key for gluten-free bread. Nothing is worse than opening up a pack of bagels and finding them dry or crumbly.
The best gluten-free bagels use stay-fresh packaging that keeps them fresher for longer in the fridge or freezer.
Pre-sliced bagels are best if you plan on storing them in the freezer. No need to defrost — simply pop them into the toaster for a quick, crunchy snack.
How much you can expect to spend on gluten-free bagels
Like most gluten-free products, gluten-free bagels are not cheap. Prices may seem random, but they often vary based on ingredients, bakery and quantity. Expect to spend $6-$8 on a pack of four or five bagels.
Gluten-free bagels FAQ
What does gluten actually do for bread?
A. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). Breadmakers rely on its stretchy nature to help them build a chewy texture into bagels and bread. Gluten allows the dough to stretch without breaking, which means the yeast can ferment and create air bubbles in an artisan loaf without collapsing in on itself.
Without gluten, bakers have to find alternative flour combinations that closely resemble the lightness and net-like structure that gluten provides.
Are gluten-free bagels healthier than regular bagels?
A. For celiac sufferers, eating anything with gluten can mean either a debilitating stomach ache or even a trip to the hospital. When it comes to those who want to eliminate traditional bread products from their diet, it really depends on moderation. For many, a healthy diet is one that balances plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains and lean protein. In moderation, processed and packaged foods such as gluten-free bagels can be a part of a healthy diet, especially if they use whole grains.
What are the best gluten-free bagels to buy?
Top gluten-free bagels
What you need to know: The traditional topping of garlic, onion and poppy combines with sunflower seeds on a deliciously chewy bagel that is very close to the original.
What you’ll love: The bagels in this four-pack are the same size as most regular bagels. They capture the chewy texture of gluten bagels, especially when toasted. Not a fan of everything bagels? Choose from other flavors like plain, cinnamon raisin and blueberry.
What you should consider: Four bagels per pack is not very much for the price.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top gluten-free bagels for the money
What you need to know: Add a little fresh fruit to your breakfast on the go.
What you’ll love: They have a great chewy texture and good exterior crunch when toasted. The blueberries are fresh, not dried. These are also free of soy, dairy and nuts.
What you should consider: Using fresh blueberries means strict expiration dates. Make sure to check them when you purchase.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is the best choice if you want great bagel flavor but are watching your calorie intake.
What you’ll love: It comes with three packs of six that are ready to toast and eat at any time. You can also store them in the freezer. Other popular flavors include sesame, pumpernickel, whole grain and plain. The flavor is identical to gluten bagels, and these are also egg-free and milk-free. Toast lightly to achieve a great texture.
What you should consider: These are very thin and not a good choice for hearty sandwiches.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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