Boiled and baked, a proper New York City bagel is like the city itself: dense, a bit tough on the outside, but will keep you coming back for more. Thankfully there’s no shortage of great NYC bagels to choose from, but Brooklyn seems to have the cream of the crop. So, whether you’re visiting NYC for the first time (or consider yourself a tenured local), these are the joints I consider essential. Let’s dive in!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The 10 Best Neighborhoods & 3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s my favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Ordering Bagels in Brooklyn (Local’s Advice)
Know what you want beforehand: Grabbing a bagel is meant to be a quick thing. The lines are already long so you never want to be the guy who holds everyone else up. Most bagel shops have large displays of schmears and bagels on offer, so unless you know what you want, stay off your phone and rehearse your order before it’s your turn.
Try to avoid rush hour: When searching for some of the best bagels in Brooklyn, lines are going to be inevitable. There’s no way to guarantee you won’t have to wait, but you have a better shot if you avoid the lunchtime rush. I suggest stopping by first thing in the morning or after 2PM. Visiting on weekdays helps too.
List of the Best Bagels in Brooklyn
(Table of Contents)
Brooklyn Best Bagels (Table of Contents)
- Ordering Bagels in Brooklyn (Local’s Advice)
- List of the Best Bagels in Brooklyn
- The Best Brooklyn Bagels (Post Summary)
- Map of Brooklyn Bagel Shops
Shelsky’s of Brooklyn
Shelsky’s of Brooklyn takes you back to the golden era of New York delis. Established in 2011, Shelsky’s is much younger than some of the historic bagel joints in Brooklyn, but it’s made a huge impact in a short time.
The bagels? A nod to time-tested traditions, each bagel is hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, and then baked. Plus, their commitment to quality is unparalleled – they source the finest ingredients for their spreads and fish, ensuring every bite is a memorable experience. In a city where bagels are a dime a dozen, Shelsky’s stands out for offering some of the best bagels in Brooklyn.
Location: 141 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
I don’t gate-keep good food. When it comes to sharing great finds, I’m the first to chime in. Offering all the standard fixings of a typical Jewish deli, Frankel’s house-cured salmon is hard to forget. Each bagel sandwich is a masterpiece, but my favorite item on the menu is the signature lox sandwich, the Frankel #1. Made with house-cured pastrami lox, scallion cream cheese & dill cucumber salad, it’s a fun twist on a classic.
Opened in 2016 by two brothers, Frankel’s oozes endearing New York delicatessen vibes. The bagels are an homage to the classic New York style – perfectly chewy, just the right amount of crust, and not too big, maintaining that ideal balance of crust and interior. There’s no denying that Frankel’s serves some of the best bagels in Brooklyn. Note: Frankel’s appears in our roundup of the best bagels and lox in NYC.
Address: 631 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Bagel Hole is historical landmark in the world of Brooklyn bagels. What sets them apart is their adherence to traditional bagel-making methods. Each bagel is hand-rolled, boiled, and then baked to perfection, a technique honed since Bagel Hole opened its doors to the public in the 1985.
But here’s the kicker: Bagel Hole’s bagels are smaller and denser than the average NYC bagel, a nod to the old-school style. They weigh in at about 4 ounces each, which is surprisingly lighter compared to the 6-ounce bagels you might find elsewhere.
This size isn’t just for show; it creates the perfect crust-to-chewy-interior ratio, giving the bagel a unique texture and subtle flavor. These popular Brooklyn bagels are considered some of the best bagels in New York City as a whole.
Address: 400 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Court Street Bagels
Nestled in the charming Cobble Hill neighborhood, Court Street Bagels has been serving the best bagels in Brooklyn for more than two decades. Sticking to tradition, each bagel is hand-rolled, boiled, and then baked to golden perfection, a practice that harks back to the old-world techniques brought over by Eastern European immigrants.
But it’s not just the process that makes them special, it’s the size and texture. These bagels strike the perfect balance between being satisfyingly dense yet chewy, and they’re slightly smaller than the more commercial, oversized versions. Simplicity is the name of the game here, I’m partial to the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, why make it more complicated than it needs to be, right?
Location: 181 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Bagel Pub has a few bagel shops in Brooklyn, a testament to the city’s enduring love for quality bagels. Offering an impressive variety of flavors and toppings, from classic sesame to more adventurous options, this local gem caters to a wide range of tastes.
They’re known for generous servings, ensuring each bagel serves as a hearty meal. Beyond the delicious bagels, it’s the endearing community feel that makes Bagel Pub a favorite among locals, making it a true Brooklyn staple.
You know when you ask a parent who their favorite kid is and they can’t really answer but you can tell they have a favorite? Well that’s how I feel about Terrace Bagels.
This Brooklyn bagel shop has been serving some of Brooklyn’s best bagels since opening in 1991. What makes them a standout in the bagel-heavy landscape of Brooklyn? Their unwavering commitment to traditional bagel baking methods. Each bagel is hand-rolled and boiled in water to achieve that iconic New York chewiness, and then baked to a golden brown.
Terrace Bagels is known for perfectly balanced bagels that are not too dense, just right for the ideal bite. These delightful concoctions keep both locals and visitors coming back often, making it a true gem in the Brooklyn bagel scene.
La Bagel Delight
With roots firmly planted in Brooklyn since 1986, La Bagel Delight is renowned for sticking to the authentic, time-honored process of bagel making. This results in a crispy exterior with a satisfyingly chewy interior. The bagels strike a perfect balance in size – substantial but not overwhelmingly large, ensuring each bite delivers a perfect mix of crust and softness.
There’s four bagel shops in Brooklyn to choose from, all independently owned and operated. I tend to swing by the 7th Ave. location since it’s a 10 minute walk from Prospect Park. I opt for an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and then head to the park to enjoy one of the best bagels in Brooklyn in solitude.
This charming family-owned Brooklyn bagel shop has carved out a reputation as a go-to spot for locals. While it’s a newer player in the game, Knickerbocker Bagel quickly distinguished itself by perfecting traditional NYC-style bagels in Bushwick.
I’m partial to their sandwiches and recommend ordering the Loxury bagel sandwich (smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion & capers). I find that Knickerbocker is one of the few bagel shops in Brooklyn that’s generous when it comes to toppings like smoked fish. Highly recommend!
Location: 367 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
This Brooklyn bagel shop punches above its weight in the breakfast sandwich arena. While New Yorkers love to debate between breakfast sandwiches (bacon, egg and cheese vs. sausage, egg and cheese), you can catch me in the corner eating both!
Sam’s has quickly established itself as a must-visit spot for authentic New York bagels. Each bagel here is handcrafted with meticulous care, boiled to achieve that iconic, chewy texture, and then baked to a perfect golden-brown. There’s no denying that these are some of the best bagels in Brooklyn.
But the real charm of Sam’s lies in the unassuming, friendly atmosphere, a hallmark of true Brooklyn establishments. Sam’s Bagels has managed to create a small community of bagel-lovers (which I am very much a part of).
Location: 7715 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
H&L Bagels makes some of Brooklyn’s best bagels, sure, but it’s the top-notch service that keeps me coming back. It’s hard not to feel taken care of when the owner is behind the counter working alongside his team. From the counter you can catch a glimpse of bagels being rolled and pull out of the oven, piping hot.
All of this just serves as extra assurance, it doesn’t get fresher than this. My favorite item on the menu is the flagel (a flat bagel), which pairs perfectly with the chilled schmear. So, if you’re visiting Bay Ridge, popping into H&L Bagels is non-negotiable, they’re some of the best bagels in Brooklyn!
Location: 8818 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Please note: H&L Bagels is a cash-only establishment but there is an ATM in the shop.
Why Are New York City Bagels So Good?
The million dollar question: What exactly makes New York bagels so damn good?
I can sit here and regale you with all the conspiracies theories I’ve heard over the years, but — simply put — I think it’s the water (and that’s the hill I’m ready to die on). The water in NYC has a low mineral content (like calcium and magnesium), making it “soft.”
Since water is a key ingredient in bagels, the soft water affects the gluten in the dough, creating a chewier, and fluffier bagel than anywhere else. The math checks out to me but hell, what do I know. Look, I’m not a scientist, merely a hungry local.
The Best Brooklyn Bagels (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best bagels in Brooklyn:
- Bagel Hole
- Terrace Bagels
- H&L Bagels
- Frankel’s Delicatessen
- Shelsky’s of Brooklyn
- Sam’s Bagels
- Knickerbocker Bagel
- La Bagel Delight
- Court St. Bagel
- Bagel Pub
Map of Brooklyn Bagel Shops
And there you have it, a quick roundup of the best bagels in Brooklyn. I hope you enjoyed the post!