Filed under: Breads / Rolls
June 13, 2019

Jerusalem Bagel Bombs

These combine the best of both bagel worlds: a quick and easy dough using ingredients you already have in your pantry and are exploding with as much cream cheese as your heart desires. Toppings and fillings can be manipulated to your liking.

5 from 13 votes
Yield: 8 to 10 bagel bombs
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bagel bombs


For a very long time I was really intimidated by the process of bagel making – how could something so perfect be made without some special machinery or experienced talent?? The first bagel recipe I tried making was a Jerusalem style bagel which was very approachable and didn’t require boiling. As I gained more confidence I tested a few more recipes that promised me something more like the new york bagel. One of my favorites from those trials was from Alexandra Cooks which was oh, SO good (definitely make it if it is the NY bagel you desire). I then went down a bagel hole, read about the different types, learned how ny and jerusalem styles were different, how the boiling process locked in more chew, and that a special ingredient was necessary for that unique bagel taste. I stumbled upon and totally recommend this hilarious article, which tickled the picky foodie in me, even if I do not agree with the idea that there could ever be too much cream cheese. And as I kept on through this homemade bagel journey, I kept coming back to the Jerusalem bagel.

Recipe Origins

This recipe is based on Reem Kasis’ Jerusalem bagels from The Palestinian Table. Aside from the obvious change of turning them into ‘bombs’, I made two changes to the dough itself. First in the form of the yeast and how it is activated and second in the flour. Bread flour produces a chewier bagel and has more in common with the NY bagel on which the bomb is based.

Jerusalem’s Kaak

A jerusalem bagel, or Palestinian Kaak Al Quds (the arabic name) have been around for centuries (read more about their origins here), is different than its new york counterpart in a few ways – it is softer, more bread-like in texture, and most importantly for home bakers, a hell of a lot easier. There’s no special ingredients, you need only a 1-2 hour first rise and a tiny rest after shaping, and there is no need to boil. I love it for its simplicity and its ability to produce a delicious baked good with little time and effort.

Kaak Bombs! 

I got the idea to turn these bagels into ‘bombs’ after visiting this yummy place, although there I could taste that they had been previously frozen (as expected with a customer base as large as theirs). I wanted to try making them fresh – after all, a bagel is best 30 minutes after it has come out of the oven.

I made them again, and again. I tried them with a boil and without, with whole wheat flour, ap and bread flour. I tried them with different toppings (including zaatar, yum!), and basically they have made a regular appearance at our brunch table and we are all so glad I finally found my way here.


Recipe Ingredients

Bread Flour: The higher protein content in bread flour gives the bagel bombs more ‘chew’. If you don’t have it you can use an all purpose flour but not a low protein type.

Milk: Whole milk, be sure to warm it JUST to touch. If the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise.

Yeast: Active dry or rapid rise will work here.

Sugar: granulated sugar, just a bit it helps the dough rise and gives it a tad bit of sweetness.

Salt: fine sea salt. If using table salt halve the amount.

Baking powder: This helps with the browning of the dough.

Olive oil: A little bit of the oil goes into the dough and then we’ll use it to oil the bowl and the dough for rising.

Cream Cheese: a full fat firm brick (not whipped!)

Egg: for the egg wash. You can use just the white if you like (and reserve the yolk for some cookies 😉 )

Seeds or Zaatar: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, nigella seeds or some palestinian zaatar are all wonderful on top.

How to make Jerusalem Bagel Bombs

Start by warming the milk to touch, then mixing it with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Leave the yeast to dissolve and activate for a few minutes.

Add the baking powder, salt, rest of the sugar, olive oil and flour then affix the dough hook attachment.

Knead until the bowl is clean and you have a smooth, tacky dough.

Set the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

For the first rise, the dough should almost but not quite double in size.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces.

Roll them into balls then let them rest for a few minutes.

Use your thumbs to press into the middle of the dough ball and place the cream cheese in the center

Pinch the dough together to seal the cheese into the ball.

Then roll it on the counter to smooth it over. Repeat with the remaining balls.

The second rise should be about 45-60 minutes (the longer time if your kitchen is very cold).

Preheat the oven and brush the egg white over the tops of the dough then sprinkle on your chosen topping.

Bake until golden.

jerusalem bagel bombs


Recipe for Jerusalem Bagel Bombs

Jerusalem Bagel Bombs

An easy dough made in the style of a Jerusalem bagel, stuffed with cream cheese and covered with all the seeds.
bagel bombs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 bagel bombs
5 from 13 votes


  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 360g or 1 ½ cups whole milk warmed to touch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 480g or 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 oz cream cheese cold, one brick
  • 1 egg white for brushing before baking
  • 2 tablespoons Nigella seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame seeds


  • Warm the milk until just warm. Add the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer then pour the warm milk over it along with a pinch of the sugar. Let sit for a few minutes so the yeast can dissolve.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt, oil and remaining sugar to the bowl then affix the dough hook attachment.
  • Knead until dough comes together in a ball, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Place dough in a bowl covered in olive oil, turn a few times to cover the dough in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1.5-2 hours, until it's almost doubled in size.
  • When your dough is ready, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Divide the dough into 10 pieces (you can also do eight for larger rolls) and then one by one, shape the dough into balls. Let them rest for a few minutes.
  • Press down the center with your thumbs and place about 1 tablespoon cold cream cheese in each. Pinch the edges together to close the ball and roll it gently to shape. Place them seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Cover the pan with a tea towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Prepare the toppings by mixing the seeds in a bowl and whisking the egg with a bit of water to make a wash.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Gently pick up each ball and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle the toppings over the tops of the dough.
  • Bake for 18 minutes, until edges just turn golden.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    SO GOOD! And so, so easy. I made it with a toddler at my feet and it took me no time, such satisfaction for the amount of effort. Very fluffy and delicious. Would be so nice for a brunch spread .Will definitely make again!!

  2. 5 stars
    absolutely loved these! the dough has an incredibly soft and springy texture and was a dream to work with. i topped them with sesame seeds because that was what i had on hand, but i will definitely hunt for some nigella to use the next time i make them. i was also feeling adventurous tonight and made them in a cast iron skillet and they still turned out great. definitely a new favorite here

  3. 5 stars
    Perfect for make ahead breakfast!! So easy to make and fail proof!!
    Planning to make more with everything bagel toppings! Thanks For sharing this recipe and always responding to our queries 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    These are delicious. I was surprised how easy they came together. I topped with Everything but the Bagel seasoning – YUM!!
    My partner tried one, and said he’d be ok if I made these again.
    Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    These were so easy and impressed everyone who saw them! Delicious. I followed Sam’s recommendation to increase the yeast to 2.5 tsps if using active dry, and the dough turned out perfect. Made the dough on a Saturday morning when I woke up, and they were ready to shape and bake by the time I got ready. Topped with a variety of sesame seeds, za’atar, and everything bagel seasoning. Thanks for this recipe and the detailed instructions and notes!

  6. 5 stars
    These are incredible!! I couldn’t believe how soft and springy the dough was. Tucking the cream cheese inside is such a clever idea, too! I used aquafaba in place of the egg for the wash to keep them egg-free and topped them with a homemade everything-but-the-bagel seasoning blend. So good! This recipe is an absolute slam dunk. Thank you!!

  7. How do you recommend storing these and then serving them in the following days of making them? I want to try to mimmick the “fresh out of the oven” quality of them and so I would guess popping them in the oven or toaster oven to warm? But maybe you have a perfect reheating method? Thanks!

    • Hi Lauren, most home baked breads (or even bakery bought) aren’t great the next day so they won’t have that ‘fresh out of the oven’ quality you seek.You could gently reheat them in the microwave but they won’t taste as good as the day of!

  8. 5 stars
    I want to say that this is my favorite recipe on this site, but I have so many! I will just say that I make these at least twice a month and my husband always asks me to make them more often. Such a simple, yet satisfying, recipe that can fuel breakfast for a few days in a row. Thank you, Sam!

  9. 5 stars
    These were legit the! I loved how simple these were to put together and that the topping and filling flavors are easily customizable! Plus these stay soft even after a few days, which has always been my gripe in the past with the bagels I’ve made before. Highly recommend these to any bagel lover who wants to take the fuss out of bagel making!

  10. 5 stars
    These are heavenly bagels! Very easy to make and Sam you are right, the Nigella is a must. I coated a couple with Zaatar and that was just delicious.