The Absolute Best Bagels In The US

Breakfast is amazing in all its forms, but if you ask us, there's one breakfast food that beats any basic brunch: bagels. ]When done right, these glorious pillows are perfectly designed to deliver cream cheese, lox, capers, and whatever else you like on your bagel directly to your mouth in the most magical way. And while, sure, you could buy a package of mass-produced bagels from the grocery store, toast it, and call it a day, you just can't deny that a freshly made bagel by a top-notch shop is pretty much always going to do it better.

These shops often rely on decades-old recipes, dedicated kitchen workers, and the freshest ingredients — and the reputations to prove it. While there are countless amazing bagel spots in the U.S., some stand out from the rest. These shops are known for offering their customers fantastic bagels with all the fixings, and they're spread all across the country. If you're wondering where to go to get your next bagel fix, check out this list and make your way to one of the best bagel shops in the U.S. There's no better way to start your day.

Kupel's Bakery - Brookline, Massachusetts

Massachusetts may not have the same stellar reputation for bagels as does New York, but that doesn't mean the state is lacking when it comes to drool-worthy bagels. If there's one place you visit in the state, it should be Kupel's Bakery in Brookline, Massachusetts. Visit Kupel's on a weekend morning, and you'll see that we're not the only ones who feel this way — the shop regularly has a long line trailing out the door and onto the street where weary-looking customers sip their coffee, waiting for their bagel orders.

The wait is worth it: Kupel's firm, dense bagels come topped with astonishing amounts of the ingredients of your choice. The smoked salmon is the obvious choice, but the whitefish and egg salads are also something to behold. Add all the veggies you want for some extra crunch, but don't overlook the cream cheese — that's where the real magic happens. You'll be treated to an absolutely massive serving of cream cheese (we like the chive variety). It may look like too much, but take one bite, and you'll see that the team at Kupel's knows exactly what they're doing.

The egg, poppy seed, and garlic bagels are some of our favorites, but to be honest, pretty much anything you get here is going to hit the mark. Don't forget to grab a chocolate danish, muffin, or hamantaschen before you leave.

Absolute Bagels - Manhattan, New York

Walk into Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and it may not seem like you're in for anything special. But little do you know that you're about to experience the breakfast treat of a lifetime. Absolute Bagels clearly prizes quality above all else: These bagels are the perfect texture, and they even have a slight sweetness to them that plays well with the spices and seeds they're drenched in. The Infatuation writes that the everything seasoning is salty and garlicky, which is exactly what you want first thing in the morning when your stomach is already rumbling.

We love that this place is understated, affordable, and just generally laid-back. Their bagels are the perfect pick-me-up on an otherwise dreary day. If you ask us, the egg bagels are the best, but don't be afraid to try everything on the menu the next time you're in Manhattan — you won't regret it.

Ripple Bagel and Deli - Indianapolis, Indiana

Who knew you could find such amazing bagels in Indiana? If that sounds surprising to you, then you surely haven't visited Ripple Bagel and Deli in Indianapolis, Indiana. This spot popped up in 2003, and it's been serving its patrons high-quality bagels ever since. In fact, it boasts that it's the "home of Indiana's original steamed bagel sandwiches," and that's definitely enough to lure us in the door.

This shop's bagel sandwiches are towering, piled high with every ingredient you could ever dream up. Some of their bagel sandwiches are seriously out of this world. How could you not want to try the Slug-O's Bowler (which comes with corned beef, smoked cheddar, onion, horseradish, lettuce, tomato, and mayo)? And the Loxy Lady, with its classic combo of smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, is a clear winner for those who want to keep things simple.

Indiana may not be home to the most illustrious bagel culture in the country, but take one bite of a bagel from Ripple, and you'll see why this shop made our list of favorites.

Lenore's Handmade Bagel Co. - Dallas, Texas

The South has its fair share of amazing bagel spots, and Lenore's Handmade Bagel Co. is proof. The shop says it's "on a mission to make the best bagels in the world, right here in Texas." That may be a lofty goal, but we have to admit that they're making a concerted effort — and maybe even succeeding. They've been recognized by major media outlets for their bagels, so clearly, they're doing something right. While some bagel spots outside of New York may compare their goods to the Big Apples', Lenore's isn't trying to be something it's not. The company is proud of its Texas-style bagels, which may be why it's such a hit.

Visit Lenore's, and you'll be blown away by the quality of their bagels. If you choose an everything, poppy, or sesame bagel, your bagel will come out covered in seeds — they're really not skimping here. Try their gravlax (smoked salmon) cream cheese for something special, or go the sweet route and opt for the strawberry cream cheese instead. Oh, and you can't go wrong with the spiced pumpkin cream cheese during the fall months.

Forage Market - Lewiston, Maine

Head to Forage Market in Lewiston, Maine, for some of the best bagels in the Northeast. The bagels here are all made by hand, so you know you're only getting the highest quality. Plus,  they work directly with local farmers, which means you're aware of exactly where your food is coming from (via Forage Market). That's not something you're going to get at most restaurants, which is just one of the reasons this bagel spot is such a hit.

The other, perhaps more notable, reason is because their bagels are downright mouthwatering — and a lot of work goes into making sure they are. According to the company's website, the bagels are rolled by hand and then aged for two days before they're baked by a hardwood fire. The people here don't take baking lightly, and it shows in the taste. These bagels come out of the oven with the perfect texture and consistency, making them ideal candidates for smearing whatever you want on top. In fact, Saveur even says, "the wood-fired sourdough specimens at Forage Market are good enough to melt the heart of the most hardened New York bagel snob." Need we say more?

Yeastie Boys Bagels - Los Angeles, California

"Yeastie Boys" may not sound like the most appealing name ever, but take one bite of these bagels, and you won't really care where they came from, they're just that good. These Los Angeles-based food truck bites are some of the best on the West Coast, and we'd venture that they'd even blow away a New Yorker far away from home. The bagels themselves at this spot are delicious, and you could easily eat them plain or toasted with some butter or some cream cheese. But the real magic happens when you try the sometimes-strange, always-genius combos Yeastie Boys offers.

The frozen pizza bagel is a clear winner, even if it may not win over the most diehard of bagel purists. The PB&J may be unconventional, but we think it's creative enough to wow most bagel lovers out there. And the mini bagels with schmear? They're cute enough that we'd buy a whole bag to share with friends on a weekend morning. Not only is this place focused on quality, they're having fun pushing the boundaries of bagels as we know them, and we're huge fans of the result.

Emerald City Bagels - Atlanta, Georgia

Texas isn't the only Southern state that's going to get its due in our bagel roundup. After all, how could you possibly go wrong with a trip to Emerald City Bagels in Atlanta, Georgia? Emerald City is a local Atlanta legend located in the heart of one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, East Atlanta Village. You won't find anything too out of the ordinary here — the bagel spot offers classics like whitefish salad and gravlax (per The Infatuation) — but they go above and beyond to ensure that every bagel is cooked and prepared to perfection.

There are a few sidewalk seats available if you want to enjoy your bagel on the spot and people watch as tattoo-clad locals pass on the street, but we also love that Emerald City is now offering delivery services (which it aptly calls The Bagel Fairy). Atlanta may not seem like the place to go for some of the best bagels in the country, but Emerald City is a gem hidden amongst an outpost of dive bars and record shops.

The Bagel Factory - St. Louis, Missouri

The Bagel Factory may not look like anything special, and you may even be surprised to learn that it's cash-only. But anyone who knows good food knows that sometimes the spots like these deliver the most amazing you've ever had, and that's exactly the case here. Reviewers on Yelp rave about these New York-style bagels, and many say that this place has the best bagels in all of St. Louis.

Be warned: Your ideal type of bagel may not be available when you visit, as there's often a line that goes out the door because so many customers are trying to get their hands on these spectacular rings of dough. Is it the most upscale, convenient bagel place you've ever been to? Definitely not, but that's part of its charm. They have amazing bagels and not much else, but they're so good that we can bet you're going to go back and get more.

Brooklyn Water Bagels - Delray Beach, Florida

The Sunshine State deserves its fair share of bagels, and that's just what Florida chain Brooklyn Water Bagels delivers its hungry patrons. The spot claims that it uses special water that mimics the kind you'll find flowing from the taps in Brooklyn, and it results in bagels that are "crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside." We're not sure how much the type of water used in the bagel-boiling process really matters, but we love that this restaurant is going all out to deliver the very best product to its customers. And if you ask those customers, that extra effort shows.

One TripAdvisor reviewer wrote, "This is the best bagel around. Fantastic, just a notch below the greats in NYC. I like that they will cut them for you too when you buy a dozen" and called the workers here "bagel pros." Delray Beach, Florida, is a long way from New York, and we're sure Floridians are happy they can indulge in the very best bagels without having to leave the state.

Rosenberg's - Denver, Colorado

If you're on the hunt for truly luxe bagels in the Mile High City, you can't get any better than Rosenberg's Bagels and Delicatessen in Denver. This place is the ideal spot to grab a breakfast to remember, and it's a great spot to go to with friends on the weekend. Once you see the bagel menu, you'll see why it's made our list of the best bagel spots in the U.S. Here, they don't just do bagels, but rather, they put together heaping sandwiches topped high with the best bagel toppings imaginable.

For those who aren't bound by any dietary restrictions whatsoever, there's The Heart Attack, piled with bacon, sausage, ham, fried eggs, and both cheddar and American cheeses. It all comes on a top-notch everything bagel that'll have you pining for more. We like The Frenchie, which has a touch of added sweetness you won't find on every bagel sandwich. For those who want something out of the ordinary, though, the Wings of Pastrami has to be your go-to choice. A bagel of your choice is dressed up with a pastrami omelet — how fun is that?

Oh, and don't forget to stop by in the evenings either — that's when this place transforms into a pizza spot. We happen to like the bagels more, but we don't mind a hearty pie either.

Bagel Hole - Brooklyn, New York

Looking for the crustiest of crusty bagels? Look no further than Brooklyn, New York — you're not surprised, are you? Bagel Hole is one of the city's premier outposts for quality bagels, and we're happy to report that it's one of our favorites on this list. The shop claims to be "one of the few remaining old-fashioned bagel bakeries," and it was even ranked as the number one bagel in New York City by Serious Eats, according to the company's website. Sounds promising, right?

Take a bite of one of their bagels, and you certainly won't be disappointed. These things are fresh — like, so fresh you'd think that they prepared it specially for you, just waiting for you to walk in the door. They'll pile on just about anything you want to pair with your bagel, from scrambled eggs to lox. And our favorite part? These bagels aren't expensive at all, so you don't have to break the bank just to get your morning carb fix. This is the kind of place we wish we lived right next to because we would have a bagel from here every morning if we could.

Proper Bagel - Nashville, Tennessee

Some of the spots on our list offer straightforward, no-nonsense bagels in a humble atmosphere, and we love that. But others, like Proper Bagel in Nashville, Tennessee, are going for a more modern, trendier vibe — and for this Music City outpost, it works. When you order a bagel at this place, it comes with a side of microgreens or sweet potato mash, so you can feel like you're eating something healthy while you scarf down a fluffy, dense bagel topped with avocado and egg or rosemary garlic cream cheese.

The bagels with custom cream cheese are something special, with  options ranging from classic (like the scallion dill — a real winner) to the absolutely novel (lavender honey or cookie dough cream cheese, anyone?). Pair your bagel with rosewater Greek yogurt and granola, and you're guaranteed to start your day on the right foot. While this place may not please a hardened New Yorker used to their signature corner bagel shop, it's sure to wow those who want more of an upscale bagel experience.

Rise Bagel Co. - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rise Bagel Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, takes its bagels seriously. According to the company's website, the bagels are all made from scratch, boiled to perfection, and have the perfect chewy-crisp bite you're looking for when you bite into a bagel. Plus, they only use organic ingredients, so you can feel good about where your bagels are coming from. The shop started at a farmers' market, but it's now a booming brick-and-mortar bagel stop for every carb-lover in the city.

You can keep it simple and opt for a bagel with cream cheese, of which there are countless varieties available. The lemon dill, salted maple, and honey rosemary are some of the most exciting flavors of the bunch. Or you could go with something more substantial and opt for a sandwich. Rise has a ton of vegan options, so if you don't partake in the consumption of animal products, you'll have plenty to choose from.

Kaufman's Bagel and Delicatessen - Skokie, Illinois

Who would have guessed that Skokie, Illinois, could boast some of the best bagels in the entire country? It's true, but you have to visit Kaufman's Bagel and Delicatessen to find them. First of all, you should know that this place doesn't just serve bagels. It's a deli full of delicious sandwiches, so you definitely shouldn't stop at the breakfast offerings. We were excited to see that they even have chopped liver on the menu, so if that's your kind of thing, you should definitely check this place out.

As far as the bagel menu goes, what's impressive about this place isn't the selection. You can get your bagel topped with cream cheese or lox, which is pretty much all we want anyway. The real magic here is in the quality. Each bagel is crisped to perfection and delivered at the perfect temperature. It's the ideal way to get your day off to the best possible start. If you're in the Chicago area hunting for a bagel, you now know where to go.

BB's Bagels - Alpharetta, Georgia

The thing that stands out the most at BB's Bagels in Alpharetta, Georgia? It has to be the rainbow bagels. They're brightly colored and marbled to look as magical as possible, and it's not just the kids who are going to want to get their hands on these. While it might look like BB's is all about appearances and not about substance, that's not the case at all. Take one look at their menu, and you'll see that this bagel spot caters to all customers equally. Whether you want to go all out with a rainbow bagel and tuna salad or prefer to keep things simple with a sesame bagel and a single egg, this place has you covered.

It's no wonder this place is considered the number one spot to snag a bagel in the Atlanta area, per USA Today. See what the hype is all about the next time you make your way to the South.