Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Orange Bagels


I teased you all on Facebook and Instagram earlier this week with a rough camera shot of these gluten-free vegan cranberry orange bagels straight from the oven so I think it’s only fair that I don’t make you wait any longer. Friends, can we chat for a second? I want to be honest with you. I have been skirting around the gluten-free vegan bread issue for a very long time now because my experience has been full of utter failures. You can’t just combine gluten-free flour, water, and yeast together and expect to get good results–sadly it just doesn’t work like that. You end up with a very dense, very not tasty food item that is trying to act like bread. I remember the first time I tried my hand at making gluten-free vegan bread. Ooof. Bricks. I even tried creating a gluten-free vegan bagel recipe about 2 years ago which I am still getting some-what good reviews on them (I reiterate some-what) however there were a few issues with them: They were heavy (like, physically heavy), yeasty, dense, and they weren’t pretty. They were close just not close enough and when we are talking bagels they need to be close enough, you know what I mean?
 Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Orange Bagels - Fork & Beans

So when I created this gluten-free vegan bread loaf with not only GREAT success by me but by the majority of all of you who made it and commented back to me, I got bit by the bread bug. My fear of it all dissipated because I figured out the damn science behind it all and I got back to work in the kitchen. This time bagels were on the mind because let’s be real, bagels are always on the mind.  Am I right or am I right?

Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Orange Bagels - Fork & Beans

Friends, this recipe was serendipitous because I got it in ONE attempt. That rarely happens for a recipe that is of this caliber. These gluten-free vegan bagels are light (like, it doesn’t feel like you are holding rocks in your hand), airy, they have the most chewy bite, and they taste so close to the real thing I cannot even believe it. Did I mention that they are xanthan gum free too?

Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Orange Bagels - Fork & Beans

I already had breakfast this morning but I’m heating one up right now just because I want to eat another one…and just because I can.

Update: They still taste JUST as great once frozen and then re-heated! 

Slather them with some non-dairy Greek yogurt or even make a spreadable cashew cream cheese (use whatever add-ins you think would pair nicely with cranberries and orange).

Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Orange Bagels
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gluten, egg, dairy, soy, nut, AND xanthan gum-free!
Serves: 5
Wet mixture:
  • ½ c. warm water
  • 1½ tsp. dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. ground white chia seeds (or black--there is no flavor difference)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • ¼ c. dried cranberries
Dry mixture:
For "egg wash"
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch + 3 tsp. water - whisk until fully combined
Other ingredients:
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 2 pieces of parchment paper
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 c. water
  • baking sheet
  • Large slotted spoon (to pull out and drain bagels from boiling water)
  • pastry brush (to coat the bagels with the "egg wash")
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and granulated sugar. Allow to froth for 10 minutes. Add the remainder for of the wet mixture ingredients and allow to sit another 5 minutes for the chia seeds to expand.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the dry mixture. Pour the wet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  3. Create 5 even balls of dough, roll in between your hands to create a smooth dough and then flatten slightly to make into 4" bagel shapes--these fit the size of the palm of my hand (What you are looking for in your dough: When you shape the bagel, it will be a little sticky but should be easy to work with. Also it should stay intact when left alone. It might spread mildly but shouldn't lose shape).
  4. Using your thumb create a hole in the middle and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet lightly covered in corn meal. Cover and allow to rise 45 minutes in a warm, non-drafty area in your kitchen.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  6. In a medium saucepan get the water to a rapid boil. Turn heat down to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. baking soda and stir until dissolved. The sugar creates a little gloss in the crust and the baking soda creates a barrier that keeps the water from absorbing into the bagel.
  7. Drop one bagel at a time into the boiling water, allowing it to sit in the pot for 30 seconds on each side (making a total of 1 minute per bagel). Please note that boiling the bagels prior to the baking them enables a chewy texture on the inside while nicely coating the exterior crust.
  8. When you take the bagels out of the water, make sure you have drained the water from them and place on a baking sheet lined with a clean piece of parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle the tops with cornmeal and then brush with the "egg wash" mixture. Bake for 20-23 minutes and allow to cool before cutting.
Before eating: Slice in half and toast until browned along the edges. Serve with non-dairy cream cheese or topping of choice.
To store: slice in half, place a piece of wax paper in between each bagel, and store in a bag or container of choice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 5 Calories: 175 Fat: 0.7g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 38g Sugar: 5g Sodium: 365mg Fiber: 5g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg



Feel free to use whatever gluten-free flour blend you like to use or if you need help with substituting out flours and/or starches to create your own blend, please use this post as a great guide.

Oh and let me know how they turn out for you!

Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed



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  1. mmm i’d love to try these :) Could I sub the sugar for maple syrup or honey do you think? Thanks for sharing 😀 Looks DELISH!!!

  2. Just made these and they came out great! thanks!!!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I have an allergy to oranges but no other citrus. I also have a high allergy to wheat so eat gluten free. Bagels are one of the things I really miss. Do you have any suggestion as a substitute for the orange zest and juice? I want to keep the cranberries as I love them.

  4. They look amazing. Made them this am but they dissolved into clumps when I put them in the boiling water. Not sure what went wrong…maybe my flour composition was’t right? I used rice, cocnut, tapioca and potaoe starch. Thanks!!!

  5. I love to bake and experiment with food and flavor. I am also gluten/dairy free. I made these this evening, and they tasted amazing! I substituted lemon zest for orange and golden raisons for cranberries and the end result was delicious. I am excited to play around with others flavors with this bagel recipe. Thank you!

  6. Your hard work and determination definitely paid off- these look so incredible!

  7. Cara – are the chia seeds a must? Can I substitute ground flax seed?

    • They really are Karla! The viscosity of the chia seeds actually allows for the recipe to not have flax seed. Do you have problems with chia or is it more of an issue of what you have on hand? You can always try it with flax however I’m not sure if it will give the same results. If you do try it, let me know–I would love to share with the readers if it does work :) xo!

  8. YES YES YES YES YEEEEESS!!! I love bagels and never buy them because wheat free varieties are stupidly expensive. I had no idea where to start with making them. Thank you! I’m making these asap.

  9. AWESOME! will have to try this, thanks! :)

  10. Looks great! Not much of a baker here, but may need to get more into for these, thanks!

  11. These look DELICIOUS!! 2 years into blogging and I’m still afraid of baking bread lol but I definitely want to try these :)

  12. Ok… SERIOUSLY?! You are amazing! I bought a canister just to keep your flour blend in and I have baked at least four loaves of your bread so far. And guess what? My wheat eating teen son prefers it over the homemade (organic) white bread I bake weekly for the family! I have a feeling these are going into our weekly (or daily) rotation…off to the kitchen I go! You are blessing and a gluten free vegan genius. True story. :-)

    • WHAT?! I cannot even believe it–really??? That is so cool to hear Lisa. You just gave me goosebumps. Thank you for your comment, for reals. Means so much to hear this! xo

  13. SO beautiful! You really have outdone yourself, my dear. I’ve never made bagels (period), but I would definitely be tempted to make these!

  14. Wow Cara these look and sound amazing! I’m gonna give these a try on the weekend, they are perfect for my allergy needs… GF, no eggs and no damn veggie gums.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with all of us, you are amazing!

    • Yeah, I think the fact that whenever I get xanthan gum on the kitchen counter and try to wipe it off with a wet towel and then that nasty thing happens–you know, it gets disgustingly slimy–has just turned me off from using gums. It’s my mission now to figure out how to not use them! xo

  15. Megyn Jefferson says:

    Oh my goodness!!! I have made your bread at least half a dozen times since you posted it! Getting some oranges ASAP!! Thank you!!!

  16. Oh my Gosh Cara! Stop! Don’t! Don’t stop! I am loving your recipes and haven’t had one turn out poorly! I had to give up my fresh, chopped garlic and evoo on bruschette with my pasta. :( Yea, I know feel sad for me…ok don’t! I used the garlic and oil on your bread recipe and it was WONDERU+FUL! I feel like an ole’ friend came back into my life! I think this recipe will be sooo good. Thank you, thank you! Hugs!

    • I won’t! I won’t! I won’t! 😉 I am SO HAPPY to hear of your success with the recipes you are finding over here, Debbie. That is just the best news ever. Much love to you–may you feel back all the love you give to me. xo

  17. awesome!! the bagels look gorgeous! great going with the experiments in the kitchen! i love oats in the flour mix, they make gf baking just a bit more predictable :)

  18. That is Pinworthy to the max!!!!

  19. Incredible, Cara! Congrats on coming up with this recipe, it sounds perfect. I’ll have to give these a try — I love bagels, but I eat them so rarely… would be great to have a “healthier” option! :)

  20. Rats. No oranges. Now what? Does the world really need a lime, coconut and ginger bagel? While I’m waiting for the orange tree I just planted to grow and bear fruit I’m also adding them to the shopping list. Those babies look absolutely scrumptious and that’s part of your genius, isn’t it. Send me one while I’m awaiting the groceries, or tree or whatever, ‘kay? <3

  21. Thank you for doing all of the experimentation to come up with these great recipes! Some of us don’t have the creativity, time, and money to do it on our own, and It is a great kindness on your part.

    • You know what Kate? It is SO my pleasure! I love doing this–I’m more than happy to have this as my job to help you out. From the bottom of my heart, you are so welcome! xo

  22. these are beautiful! congratulations!

    • Thank you so much Caitlin! You out of everyone knows how tricky gf/vegan break-making is so I take this compliment to heart. xo

  23. These look and sound so yummy!

    I have no need for gluten free (except for my wheat-allergic dogs)- but I know so many who do!

    I want your bagels. NOW! :)


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