Vegan Rainbow Bagels

vegan homemade rainbow bagels

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Servings: 8

Prep Time: 01:15

Cook Time: 00:20

Main Ingredients

2 - 4 2 cups water (110 degrees), divided, plus more tbs as needed

2 1/3 packet active dry yeast (or tsp)

1 tablespoon white sugar

6 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

2 tsp vegetable oil, divided

food coloring

vanilla (optional)


1In a large bowl, combine your yeast, sugar, and one cup of the water. The water MUST be 110 degrees - any more and it will kill off your yeast and any less and it won't even activate the yeast. Let this mixture sit for 10-12 minutes until it bubbles up and foams a little. It will smell like yeast, don't worry.

2While you are waiting for your yeast, measure out your flour and salt in another bowl. Have your oil, another cup of warm water and vanilla (if using) nearby.

3When the yeast is ready, add your flour, salt, oil, water and vanilla and mix with a rubber spatula or your hands. Once everything is sticking together, place it on your counter top and start kneading with your hands for about 8-11 minutes. (If you have a stand mixer, do all of this with a dough hook. At this point, you want to mix on low speed for about 5 minutes for everything to really incorporate well, then knead by hand for another 5 minutes. ). You will know it's done with it starts forming a smoother ball of dough.

4In a separate large bowl, grease the inside with some oil on a paper towel. You want it to feel oily if you run your fingers along the edge but you do NOT want it to be dripping oil or pooling in the bottom of the bowl.

5Place your dough ball in this oiled bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure you also grease the bottom of the plastic wrap either with your oiled paper towel or with cooking oil spray. Let the dough sit in this bowl in a warm area, covered, uninterupted, for 60 minutes. The yeast will do it's job and the dough will rise and double in size. Don't poke at it or lift the plastic wrap to peek at it while it's rising as you will disrupt the process. Just be patient and let the dough do its thing.

6Once the dough has finished rising, separate into 6 even sized pieces and color each one. I did the colors of the rainbow (except violet) but you could do whatever combination you want. It may seem pretty tough to get an even color throughout the ball but with enough food coloring and kneading, it will happen! You could even just marble the colors in the dough if you wanted to go for that look. Work with only one dough ball at a time and keep the rest covered in your oiled bowl so that they don't dry out.

7Once all dough is sufficiently dyed, start rolling them out into layers no less than 1/4 inch thick. Stack them on top of each other as you are rolling them out then roll them together a little to ensure they become one giant piece and not several separate layers.

8Very carefully, use a knife to cut strips from your layers of dough. You can either roll these out into a strip and form a circle or you can twist them like I did. Bring the ends together and roll that part of the circle to really solidify that connection. Be aware that however big you make the hole in the middle, that's how they will be after baking so if you like a practically solid bagel to pile up the toppings on, then make a thicker cut on the dough stack to be able to make a thicker bagel with a smaller hole.

9Set each finished bagel roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and keep it covered while working on rolling the rest. You should be able to make 8-12 bagels depending on how big or small you make them.

10Now it's time to boil them! Boiling bagel dough is what makes bagels chewy, with a shiny crisp exterior. Without the boiling part the whole bagel will just be tough and....not chewy (blek). Fill a large pot with water and a sprinkle of salt and bring it to a boil. At the same time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and pull your cooling rack out.

11Once the water is boiling, drop your bagels in 1-3 at a time (depending on the size of your pot) and boil for about 30 seconds on each side. Use a spatula to flip your bagels and take them out. Once they are all done and on your parchment lined baking sheets, bake for about 15 minutes - or until slightly crispy to the touch. If you have enough to fill more than one baking sheet, rotate the pans halfway through cooking to ensure they cook evenly.

Additional Notes

I would recommend using some sort of plastic cutting board or plastic wrap on your work surface while coloring the dough. The food coloring WILL leave color everywhere - your counters, your hands, your clothes, etc. Just be aware of this. The color will come off your hands after a few good washes though. If you don't have a cooling rack, don't fret. You can just set your freshly boiled bagels on another plate to dry and cool off a little before you put it back on the baking sheet.

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