Copycat Panera Cinnamon Crunch Bagel Recipe

If you've ever tasted the cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera, you know what a masterpiece this creation really is. Not only are these bagels topped with a crispy, cinnamon sugar streusel-inspired topping, but the dough itself is infused with cinnamon spice, making it a fantastically comforting dish to enjoy with a morning cup of joe.

However, you don't necessarily have to go to Panera to enjoy these. Patterson Watkins developed this recipe for copycat Panera cinnamon crunch bagels to prove it. The caveat is that these bagels do take two days to make at home. "I fall into this trap all the time...I want homemade bagels and I want them now," Watkins says about the recipe, adding: "You've got to want those bagels tomorrow and dedicate some time the day before to a little bit of prep." The consolation? When you pull these bagels out of the oven, you'll have a fragrant feast to share with your brunch buddies or save in the freezer for every day of the week.

Gather your ingredients for copycat Panera cinnamon crunch bagels

To make these copycat Panera cinnamon crunch bagels, start by gathering your ingredients. You'll need granulated sugar, warm water, dry active yeast, bread flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, coarse or sanding sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, baking soda, and eggs.

At this step, it's also important to clear your schedule for these well-worth-the-effort bagels. Watkins notes that "this recipe is ideal for the home baker, or folks who've had some experience with multi-step baked goods." However, "beginner bakers can be successful with this recipe if they really read through the instructions and get to know the dough," she adds. No skimming here, folks! This recipe requires your full attention.

Make the bagel dough and let it rise

Now for the dough. Stir the granulated sugar and warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set the bowl aside so the yeast has time to activate. You'll notice the water get foamy in about 5 minutes. This is good! It means the yeast is alive and will create nice air pockets in the dough.

In the meantime, add the bread flour, salt, and cinnamon to the large bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Then, pour in the seasoned flour and the half of the yeast mixture and, using the paddle attachment, mix until combined. Then, add the remaining yeast mixture before switching the attachment to the dough hook and kneading the dough for about 10 minutes. Watkins says you'll know that the proteins in the flour have been activated, "creating bouncy stretchy bonds that give bagels their texture," when the dough bounces back when poked and stretches (rather than tears) when tugged. The dough also shouldn't be sticky, but if it is, Watkins says you can add a tablespoon or 2 of extra flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise for 8 hours.

"Waiting is the longest part," Watkins says about the rise, but she warns that if you aren't patient, "you might end up with bagel bricks."

Shape and rest the bagels, then make the topping

Once the bagel dough has risen for 8 hours, remove the bowl from the fridge and let it sit out for 1 hour. Then, punch down the dough — it should have tripled in size while rising — and separate it into 12 equal portions. Form into bagel shapes by poking a hole into each dough ball, then stretching the sides to form a ring, and place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the bagels with plastic wrap and allow them to rest for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cinnamon crunch bagel topping by adding the sugars, cinnamon, melted butter, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Stir the mixture together and set it aside. (Resist the urge to taste a spoonful! We know it's hard.)

Boil and bake bagels

Next, bring a large pot of water to boil and add the baking soda, and preheat the oven to 425 F. Poach 3-4 bagels in the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side, then return them to the baking sheet. Repeat this with the rest of the bagels, working in batches so as not to crowd the pot.

Once they all have been boiled, brush the tops of the bagels with egg wash and sprinkle on the cinnamon crunch topping. Be sure to gently press the cinnamon mixture into the bagels so the sugar adheres. Bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes, until the topping caramelizes and the dough's internal temperature reaches 190 F. Remove the bagels from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before diving in.

As for how to enjoy your finished bagels, Watkins says they "do not need much muss or fuss," as the "sweet, crispity-crunchity exterior needs little adornment." She opts for plain cream cheese or salted butter, though we agree that these sweet, buttery, warmly spiced bagels speak for themselves.

Copycat Panera Cinnamon Crunch Bagel Recipe
5 from 46 ratings
Save time on your morning commute with these copycat Panera cinnamon crunch bagels, which are just as sweet, caramelized, and satisfying as the real thing.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cinnamon crunch copycat panera bagels with cream cheese
Total time: 9 hours, 50 minutes
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 ½ cups warm water (at 110-120 F)
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup coarse or sanding sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten, for egg wash
  1. To begin the bagel dough, combine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture with yeast and set aside for 5 minutes until the yeast activates and becomes foamy.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in the large bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  3. Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and add half of the yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix with the flour until shaggy.
  4. Replace the paddle with the dough hook attachment, add the remaining liquid, and knead at low speed to form a cohesive dough ball.
  5. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is springy and no longer sticky. (Add 1-2 tablespoons additional bread flour if necessary.)
  6. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic and place in the refrigerator to rise for 8 hours; the dough should triple in size. (You can also refrigerate the dough overnight, but be sure to transfer it to a larger bowl to account for the additional rising.)
  7. Once risen, remove the dough from the refrigerator and set aside to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  8. Meanwhile, combine the remaining cinnamon and granulated sugar, brown sugar, coarse sugar, melted butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  9. Once rested, punch down the dough, divide into 12 even portions (approximately 3 ounces each), and roll each portion into a ball.
  10. To shape a bagel, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough ball and poke a hole in the center. Gently stretch the dough from the hole outward to form a ring shape. (It helps to spin the ring around your index fingers to evenly create the bagel shape.) Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  11. Place the shaped bagels on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  12. While the bagels are resting, fill a large pot ¾-full with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the baking soda.
  13. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  14. Working in batches of 3-4 bagels (do not overcrowd the pot), add the bagels to the boiling water and poach for 30 seconds per side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the pot, letting any excess water drip off, and return to the baking sheet.
  15. Once all of the bagels have been poached, generously brush the tops with egg wash.
  16. Divide the topping between the bagels and gently press to adhere. Once the oven has preheated, bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes or until the sugars have caramelized and the bagels are cooked through to an internal temperature of 190 F.
  17. Remove the bagels from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.
Calories per Serving 282
Total Fat 5.4 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 36.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 51.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 17.3 g
Sodium 644.9 mg
Protein 6.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe