I promise I am not obsessed with candy canes. Really, I promise.

I just happened to be obsessed with Christmas, that’s all.

Before we moved to Colorado, we lived in a normal civilized town were kids go to school (like all day 7:45-3:15), malls within 15 miles, and Einstein Bagels. The last Christmas we were in Ohio we discovered the ‘Holiday Candy Cane Bagels”. We ordered a whole 3 dozen for our big Christmas Eve party…….. OMG, covered in butter and salt these things were good! Not to mention adorable and so festive!

My family loves bagels. My younger brother Kai, who is 17 could survive of Einsteins Sesame Seed Bagels. No seriously, he eats them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, he LOVES his bagels! So we’d order those cuties up and eat them with our annual beef tenderloin dinner on Christmas Eve.

They were a hit! I mean how could they not be? Bagels, butter, salt, candy canes, what is not to love? I am pretty sure the bagels were the best food at the party!

So, the next Christmas we were in Colorado. The closest Einsteins was in Denver……2 hours away. We. Were. Sad.

I got on the internet found a simple bagel recipe, changed a few things, added some red to the dough and twisted them up into candy canes! Fit for our Christmas Eve feast! Man they are good! Dare I say better than Einsteins? They definitely put a smile on my face!

And even though we do now have an Einsteins up here in our mountain town (Yay! Kai is back to eating more than his weight in bagels!) I will still be making these this Christmas Eve! It has become a tradition and I have a jolly old-time doing it anyway! Plus, they really are just so good! Homemade is always better. Smear them with cream cheese for breakfast, top with some cheese and egg, make a candy cane bagel sandwich or just slab on some butter and eat them with dinner!

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Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

The Recipe

Candy Cane Bagels

By halfbakedharvest

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bagel, christmas

These are just so good! Homemade is always better. Smear them with cream cheese for breakfast, top with some cheese and egg, make a candy cane bagel sandwich or just slab on some butter and eat them with dinner!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 15 Bagels
Calories 181 kcal


  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 15-20 drops red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar for the water bath
  • 1/2 tablespoons stick butter melted, 4
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling


  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine water, yeast and honey, stir to combine, then let sit until foamy, about 10-15 minutes. Once foamy, gradually add in salt, 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of bread flour with the mixer on low speed. After 5 minutes or so, if the dough is still sticky, add the remaining bread flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and mix until combined. Remove the dough from the bowl (it should be thick and stiffer than most yeast breads) and knead a few times with your hands, forming it into a ball. Add the remaining all purpose flour if the dough is still sticky.
  2. Brush 2 large bowls with oil. Divide the dough in half (about 20 ounces) and place half the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover. Return the other half of the dough to the mixer and add the red food coloring. Kneed the dough until the red is mixed throughout and there are no streaks. Place in the second greased bowl and cover. Allow both doughs to rise in a warm place until they are double in size – about 1 hour.
  3. Once doubled, punch down both dough's and place them on your counter, using a little more flour if needed to prevent them from sticking. Divide each dough into 14-15 pieces that are about 1.3 ounces each. A kitchen scale is very helpful here. Roll both the red and white dough into ropes (about 8 inches each). Take one white and one red rop and twist around each other. Shape the twist into a candy cane and place on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ropes. Do not over crowd you pans. The bagels will rise and you do not want then to be touching. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, fill a large pot with water and add brown sugar, letting it come to a boil.
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Grease another baking sheet to place the bagels on once they are boiled.
  6. Once boiling, add 2 bagels at a time. Let cook for 2 minutes on one side, then using the end of a wooden spoon, flip the bagel and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove bagels one at a time and place one the greased baking sheet. Repeat.You may need to reshape the bagels back into a candy cane. Once all the bagels are finished, brush each bagel with butter and then sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 500 degrees and then turn the oven down to 400 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Let bagels cool completely before serving, then toast or eat as desired.

Another option? Straight out the oven, because everything taste better right out of the oven!


*I am entering these Candy Cane Bagels in the Creative Holiday Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups!