Do bagels have dairy in them? Here’s everything you need to know

baked bread in beige ceramic bowl

If you eat dairy free, you’re probably wondering: do bagels have dairy?

We know everything bagel seasoning is having a moment in the food industry, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love a good bagel – especially when it’s topped with such a flavorful mix of spices?

Of course, there are a ton of other bagel flavors out there to try: poppy, onion, pumpernickel, sesame, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, blueberry, chocolate chip, whole wheat, plain… We’ll be here all day if we list them all, though we wouldn’t mind because we love bagels that much.

In this post, we’ll dig into everything you need to know about bagels as a dairy free person. Let’s go!

Do Bagels Have Dairy?

Some bagels have dairy, and some do not. Generally speaking, to make bagels you just need flour, water, salt, sugar, and yeast. With that being said, plain bagels are almost always dairy free. We run into issues when people start adding toppings. If you ask us, toppings are the best part – so let’s discuss what you can eat and what to steer clear of.

(Almost) Always Dairy Free Bagels

The bagel recipe varies from baker to baker, so when we say a certain bagel is always dairy free, it is about 99% of the time. It’s always best to read the ingredients label, check for nutrition facts online, or ask your server. With that disclaimer out of the way, these bagels are always dairy free:

  • Plain
  • Onion
  • Everything
  • Garlic
  • Poppyseed
  • Sesame
  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Blueberry
  • Whole Wheat
  • Whole Grain

Bagels To Beware Of

For the most part, other bagels tend to contain dairy due to their toppings. If your Spidey senses are tingling, it’s probably for good reason. In other words, if you think something contains dairy, it probably does. Again, it’s best to read the ingredients, ask your server, or check for allergen facts online when possible. Generally speaking, you should steer clear from the following bagel types, however delicious they might look:

  • Chocolate chip
  • Asiago
  • Parmesan
  • Cheesecake
  • Cinnamon sugar (with glazed topping)
  • French Toast

The Best Dairy Free Toppings for Bagels

With more than 202 million Americans eating bagels last year, there’s no reason for us dairy free folks to be left out on the fun. In addition to dairy being in bagels, they’re also often topped with cream cheese or butter. There are plenty of options to avoid the dairy and still enjoy a delicious bagel. Check them out below:

  • Dairy free cream cheese – There are a ton of options for cream cheese replacements on the market, and that number is growing as more people go dairy free and vegan. Everyone has different preferences, but we are big fans of Kite Hill’s chive cream cheese. For a plain option, check out Miyoko’s.
  • Dairy free butter – A warm, toasted bagel with butter spread on it is super comforting. Earth Balance is one of the OGs of dairy free butter and you can find it in most major grocery stores, even at Target. We’re fans! Check it out here.
    • Learn more about lactose free butter here.
  • Avocado – Honestly, avocado on a toasted bagel is way better than avocado toast. Season it up with salt and pepper, or go wild with everything bagel seasoning and a twist of lemon juice.
  • Hummus – Hummus is another hearty, warming option. It also adds a bit of protein to an otherwise low protein meal.
  • Peanut butter – Another way to add protein to your bagel is by adding peanut butter. Just make sure you have a big glass of water or almond milk to wash it down!
  • Honey – For a sweet twist, throw honey onto your toasted bagel. You can get the same effect with agave or maple syrup.
  • Jam – Jelly or jam, whatever your preference is – you can’t go wrong with this classic topping.
  • Fresh fruit – Sliced bananas or strawberries are our favorite fruits to top bagels with. A healthier alternative to jam, without all the added sugars!
  • Mix & match – Listen, we don’t make the rules and you can do whatever you want with your bagel. As Drake says, you only live once – so go crazy with the toppings! We especially love using the following pairings: avocado & hummus, plain cream cheese & jam, peanut butter & fresh fruit, honey & peanut butter, and butter & jam.

Dairy Free Bagels On The Go

If you’re out running errands and are in need of a quick snack, bagels are a great option. If you’re able to swing by a chain restaurant, you can take advantage of their easy-access allergen information online. Here are a few of our favorites:

Starbucks: Sprouted grain, plain, blueberry, and walnut are all dairy free.

Panera Bread: Cranberry, blueberry, walnut, poppyseed, and plain are dairy free options.

Dunkin Donuts: Garlic, onion, everything, poppyseed, plain, salt, sesame, and cinnamon raisin are a safe bet.

Einstein Brothers Bagels: Einstein has a huge selection of dairy free donuts – all classic bagels are safe, and so are most signature bagels. The list includes: ancient grain, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, everything, garlic, onion, plain, poppy, pumpernickel, blueberry, chocolate chip, french toast, potato, pretzel, apple cinnamon, and power protein.

Final Thoughts

So, while some bagels have dairy, some do not. Use your gut – if something seems like it has dairy in it, it probably does. Avoid bagels that are topped with cheese, chocolate chips, and traditional cream cheese. Go for plain or fruity bagels to be safe. Most of the time, you can also go for everything, onion, garlic, poppyseed, or sesame bagels. Most importantly, have fun with the toppings! With so many alternatives on the market, you can have a lot of fun with trying various brands and mixing and matching toppings.

What are your go to bagel options? Are you a toppings person, or do you prefer them plain (and boring)? Drop a comment below and share your recommendations!

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