No Toaster? No Problem! Creative Ways to Toast Your Bagel

Toasting a bagel is more than just a step in your breakfast routine—it’s a transformative process that can take a stale or dry bagel and turn it into a warm, flavorful treat.

A vegan brunch - toasted bagel with cream cheese, avocado, organic cherry tomatoes and poached egg

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from being able to toast a bagel without a toaster. It’s a testament to your ingenuity and adaptability. So, why not start toasting today?

Why Toasting a Bagel is Important

When you toast a bagel, you’re not just adding warmth.

You’re also rehydrating the bread, reviving its texture, and making it more enjoyable to eat.

The heat from toasting works to release the flavors locked within the bagel, enhancing its aroma and taste.

This is why a toasted bagel often smells and tastes better than its untoasted counterpart.

And here’s a fun fact for you: the history of bagel toasting goes back to the early 20th century when bagel vendors would sell them fresh and hot from their street carts.

If the bagels went stale, they’d toast them to revive their appeal. So, toasting is not just about taste—it’s also a nod to the bagel’s rich history!

Ways to Toast a Bagel Without a Toaster

Toasted poppy seed bagel cut in half in a white saucer plate placed on a table

Now, you might be thinking, “But I don’t have a toaster!” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people don’t have toasters, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a perfectly toasted bagel.

It just means they need to get a little creative and resourceful. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

1. Oven

Bagel stuffed with chicken and veggies on a plate ready to be served

The oven method is a great way to toast a bagel without a toaster.

Start by preheating your oven to 365°F(185°C). While it’s heating up, grab a baking sheet or tray. You don’t need anything fancy—a simple cookie sheet will do.

Once the oven is preheated, place your bagels on the top rack.

You’ll want to toast them for about 5-8 minutes. Be sure to flip them at the 3-4 minute mark to ensure even toasting.

Keep a close eye on your bagels during this process to avoid drying them out!

Remember, we’re aiming for a toasty exterior and a soft, warm interior.

2. Stovetop

If you don’t have an oven, or if you’re just looking for a quicker method, the stovetop method is a great alternative. You’ll need a pan—preferably a non-stick or cast iron one.

Start by preheating your pan over medium heat.

If you like, you can lightly butter your bagel for some extra flavor and a nice, golden color.

Once the pan is hot, place your bagel in the pan, cut side down.

Toast your bagel for about 2-3 minutes, then flip it over to toast the other side.

Just like with the oven method, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your bagel to prevent it from burning.

And there you have it—a perfectly toasted bagel, no toaster required!

3. Broiler

Cream cheese and salmon bagel on a plate ready to be served

This method uses the broiler setting on your oven, which provides direct, high heat from above.

It’s important to use the low broil setting to prevent your bagel from burning.

Before you start, adjust your oven rack’s position so it’s in the center of the oven.

To achieve an even toast on your bagel, start by slicing it in half. Next, set your oven to the low broil setting and let it warm up.

Once the oven is ready, place each bagel slice directly on the wire rack.

Broil your bagel for 30 seconds to one minute on each side, keeping a close eye on it to prevent burning.

Once it’s toasted to your liking, remove it from the oven and add your desired toppings. Voila!

4. Microwave then Oven

This method involves using the microwave to warm the bagel and then transferring it to the oven for toasting.

Start by placing your bagel in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. This will make it soft and warm.

Then, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Once it’s heated, place your warmed bagel in the oven for 5-8 minutes. This will give your bagel a nice, crisp texture.

And just like that, you’ve toasted a bagel in record time!

5. Air Fryer

Air fryer on a kitchen counter

Air fryers work by evenly cooking food with hot air, which makes them perfect for toasting bagels.

One of the benefits of using an air fryer is that it can make your bagel extra crispy.

For this technique, set your air fryer to a temperature of 375°F (190°C) and let it heat up. Once it’s heated, place your bagel in the air fryer.

Based on your air fryer’s design, consider turning the bagel midway to achieve a uniformly toasted surface.

In just 2-3 minutes, you’ll have a perfectly toasted bagel. Enjoy!

6. Sandwich Press

A quick homemade late night snack featuring sliced sesame bagel toasted with cheddar cheese right out of the sandwich press, served with a cup of freshly made mixed berry smoothie

The sandwich press or panini press method is a convenient and effective way to toast a bagel without a toaster.

A sandwich press can achieve even toasting on both sides of the bagel, giving it a nice, crisp texture.

Start by heating up your sandwich press or panini press. Once it’s hot, place your bagel halves in the press.

Cook them for a few minutes until they reach your desired level of toasting.

The toasting time will hinge on your press’s specifics and your desired crispness. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a beautifully toasted bagel.

7. Waffle Iron

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to toast a bagel, why not try to use your waffle iron? This method can add an interesting texture to your bagel, making it a fun twist on the traditional toasted bagel.

Begin by warming up your waffle iron to a moderate temperature.

Once it’s heated, place your bagel halves on the waffle iron. Close the lid and cook your bagel for about 4-5 minutes, or until it’s toasted to your liking.

Then, remove your bagel, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

8. Grill

Bagel halfs and slices of bread on a grill

Grill is a great way to toast a bagel without a toaster, especially if you’re already grilling.

This method involves using a grill rack to achieve a toasted and crispy bagel.

It works well with both gas and charcoal grills.

To use this method, start by preheating your grill.

When grilling a bagel, it’s generally recommended to slice the bagel in half first, then apply butter to the cut sides before placing it on the grill.

The butter will help to prevent the bagel from sticking and will also add a nice flavor.

However, be sure to watch the bagel closely, as the butter can cause it to brown or burn more quickly.

Grill them for a few minutes on each side, keeping a close eye on them to prevent burning.

9. Fireplace or Campfire

If you’re out camping or simply enjoying a cozy fire at home, the fireplace or campfire method is a fun and practical way to toast a bagel.

This method involves setting up a cooking implement, such as a skillet or grill rack, over the flames.

Start by preparing your campfire. Once it’s ready, place your skillet or grill rack over the flames.

Then, place your bagel halves on the skillet or rack. Toast them for a few minutes on each side, flipping them halfway through the process.

This method can add a unique smoky flavor to your bagel, making it a delicious treat to enjoy outdoors.

10. Blowtorch

Wrapped bagel with grilled meat, tomatoes and lettuce

For those who enjoy a bit of culinary adventure, the blowtorch method offers a quick and even way to toast a bagel without a toaster.

However, it’s important to note that safety precautions are necessary when using a blowtorch in the kitchen.

To use this method, start by setting up a safe workspace.

Then, light your blowtorch and adjust the flame to a medium size. Hold the blowtorch about 3-4 inches away from the bagel and move it slowly over the surface.

Brown each side of the bagel for roughly 30 seconds, or until it reaches your preferred level of crispiness. Remember to always turn off the blowtorch when you’re finished.

11. Popcorn Maker

Yes, you read that right—a popcorn maker! This method involves preheating your popcorn maker and setting it to a high temperature, around 400°F (200°C), for best results.

Once your popcorn maker is heated, place your bagel halves directly on the popcorn maker grill rack.

Toast them for about 5-6 minutes, or until they’re toasted to your desired level. This method is a fun and creative way to use a popcorn maker, and it results in a perfectly toasted bagel in just a few minutes.

12. Iron

Believe it or not, you can actually use a clothing iron to toast your bagel.

It is particularly useful when you’re traveling and have limited kitchen resources. All you need is a clothing iron, some aluminum foil, and a little bit of olive oil.

Start by plugging in your iron and setting it to a medium heat.

While it’s heating up, place your bagel halves on a heat-safe surface and lightly coat them with olive oil.

Then, cover the bagels with a sheet of aluminum foil.

Once your iron is hot, press it on top of the foil-covered bagels for about 1-2 minutes on each side.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your bagels to prevent them from burning.

Once they’re toasted to your liking, remove them from the foil, add your desired toppings, and enjoy. You’ve just toasted a bagel with a clothing iron!

Closing Thoughts

Toasting a bagel without a toaster requires a bit of creativity and resourcefulness.

Whether you’re using an oven, a stovetop, a waffle iron, or even a clothing iron, there are plenty of ways to toast a bagel.

But remember, the key to a great toasted bagel starts with proper storage.

To prevent your bagels from going stale or spoiling, store them in a bread box or airtight container. And always check for signs of spoilage before toasting.

If you come up with your own creative method or have results to share after trying these methods, we’d love to hear about it!

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