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The best bagels in Boston

Fresh, chewy bagels make for a quick snack or filling meal at these can’t-miss options around Boston

Written by
Time Out Boston Staff
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You’ll find extreme loyalty when it comes to favorites, but the common denominator of the best bagels in Boston is that they are satisfying in both texture and flavor—dense and chewy, with a slightly crispy exterior. Flavors run the gamut from classic plain to flavor-bomb everything to more extreme options like chocolate chip or jalapeno-cheddar. Top it off with a cream cheese spread or go all in with a bagel sandwich. These bagel spots know how to stuff theirs with delicious ingredients that are sure to satisfy. If you’re looking for a heartier breakfast option, check out the best breakfasts in Boston. For different sort of circular treat, try one of Boston’s best donuts. Or for something different yet equally carb-o-licious, peruse our list of the best bakeries in Boston.

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Best bagels in Boston

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A decades-old sourdough starter plus 24 hours of fermentation put these handmade bagels above the rest, which explains the frequent lines. From plain and pretzel to olive and everything, the chewy texture and crackly crust make each variety perfect as-is, untoasted, but you can top with a number of classic or unusual spreads including honey rosemary cream cheese, mustard butter and beet hummus.

Soft, chewy bagels serve as the foundation for delicious sandwiches at Jamaica Plain’s Exodus Bagels. Varieties include sesame, jalapeño-cheddar, egg, and a very seedy “everywhere” bagel. You can top with housemade spreads, build your own sandwich, or go for a favorite like the Monumental, comprised of egg, greens, caramelized onion jam, and avocado or bacon.

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Slightly hidden below street level in Newton, this unexpected gem has been baking bagels (certified kosher) since 1973. The modest entrance belies the huge selection of bagels on offer, including the likes of potato, sunflower, caraway and marble. Smoked fish and cream cheese spreads are equally plentiful—how about mocha chip for a sweet treat?

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Classic and reliable, Kupel’s—which has endured for generations near Coolidge Corner in Brookline—is a go-to bagel spot without the hubbub. Choose from a range of straightforward varieties like poppy, cinnamon raisin, onion, rye, pumpernickel or blueberry. There are also plenty of cream cheeses to slather on your chewy bagel, plus an extensive menu of bagel sandwiches named after Boston-area neighborhoods. Kupel’s earns bonus points for its rugelach and classic Jewish pastries.

From popup to mini-chain, Bagel Table is a local success story. Bagel varieties include all the classics plus the “Chestnut Hill”, a challah bagel, honoring the chain’s roots. A menu of specialty sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches make this spot a great one any time of day.

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This old-school bagel bakery in Chelsea has been family-run since 1938. It’s a classic joint producing super-fresh, classic bagels that hit the spot. Aside from its longevity, Katz’s is notable for its claims to have been the first to create the pizza bagel (definitely worth a try) and introduce bagels to China.

This local coffeehouse chain serves up dense, chewy bagels alongside fresh-roasted specialty coffees. The kettle-boiled bagels come in all your standard varieties, with tasty spreads like sun-dried tomato or diablo. A range of vegan spreads are available as well as a full menu of bagel sandwiches.

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Over in the Boston Public Market, this spot bakes up varieties like pepper jack, herb cheddar, and sourdough. Their hot and fresh bagels are delicious, but what stands out at Levend is their frozen bagels. Order a dozen for pickup or delivery and you’ll have a fresh bagel on hand any time you want it.

This former pop-up is now the Seaport’s bagel spot, a place to grab a bagel and a coffee or a sandwich to go. Better Bagels has your plain, poppy, sea salt, and other standards plus whipped cream cheese spreads such as Cajun, strawberry and garlic scallion. Bagel sandwiches like the Deluxe with bacon, egg, hash brown and cheddar provide fuel for busy morning meetings.

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Finagle is not as big a company as you might think! While these bagels are available in grocery stores, it’s really just a small local chain. And when you stop in an actual store, the fresh bagels are surprisingly delicious, even without toasting. In addition to the classics, try out-of-the-ordinary varieties like onion honey grain, asiago, French toast or chocolate chip.

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