English Muffin Vs. Bagel | What’s The Difference?

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

We all love starting our day with a hearty breakfast. Most of us prefer at least one form of bread for this breakfast. English muffins and bagels are both preferred types of breakfast bread. However, is there a difference between the two? Let us learn all about English muffins v/s bagels in this article! 

English Muffin Vs Bagel

If you look at these two types of bread just as they are, it would be very easy to say they are different by their shape. However, if that parameter isn’t kept in mind, it could be a little more difficult to distinguish between the two unless you’re a baker! However, there are a lot of differences between the two that are worth considering! 

English muffins and bagels are very different from each other, starting with their appearance. While bagels have a hole in the middle and a chewy texture, English muffins, on the other hand, have tinier holes to soak up the spreads and have a cake-like texture, as compared to the chewy texture of a bagel. 

At first glance, it is very easy to tell the two apart. But, many may think of bread as just bread and can’t fathom that there are more differences between the two! There are differences, even though they are both huge breakfast staples in the United States. 

So, other than the outer appearance of the two and the texture, is there any other significant difference between these breakfast staples? Well, there are quite a few, and we will learn all about them and some more in this article. So, let’s get started! 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | The Difference Table

Later, we will explore the differences between an English muffin and a bagel. However, before that, let us look at this difference table, which will determine some basic differences. 

Basis Of DifferenceEnglish MuffinBagel
IngredientsFlour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk, and eggsFlour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water
ShapeFlat and RoundDonut Shaped
TextureCake LikeBread Like
AccompanimentsFruit preserves, butterCream cheese smoked salmon

What Is An English Muffin? 

English muffins are a staple in many American households. It’s considered one of the most perfect and versatile types of bread that goes with almost everything. While that might not necessarily be the case everywhere, it is in many places. 

Most of us may have tried an English muffin before or at least looked at one. But is an English muffin just a savory version of a regular sweet muffin? Not exactly! Even though they share names, there are a lot of differences between them! Let us discover what an English muffin is. 

An English muffin is made with flour, yeast, sugar, milk, butter, and even eggs. This breakfast muffin has ingredients that are similar to that of a cake batter and also has a soft and spongy texture like a cake. However, it isn’t as sweet and can be paired with savory accompaniments. 

English muffins also tend to have air pockets, which is seriously a boon! These air pockets help soak the preserves or accompaniment much better than any other form of bread. Hence, that is one of the reasons why people love them! 

What Is A Bagel? 

Bagels are another breakfast staple for many in the United States. This breakfast bread is surprisingly not an American invention but is originally from Poland and then was popularized in the US.

However, now, it is such an important part of people’s diets that many probably wouldn’t even know they aren’t an American invention! Around the east coast, especially in New York, bagels are considered one of the best breakfast treats on the go.

Pairing up a bagel with many delicious toppings makes it a hearty meal! However, is a bagel just like any other bread? 

At first glance, a bagel looks like a donut that hasn’t been glazed. Bagels are made with simple ingredients like flour, yeast, water, sugar, and salt. However, what sets them apart is that they are poached in boiling water before baking, giving them their standard texture and flavor. 

Unlike English muffins, bagels don’t have any air pockets. However, they still taste well when smothered with several spreads and fillings. Bagels are also unhealthy, as most calories you get from them are just pure carbohydrates. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Differences Between The Two

Earlier with the table, we looked at some of the basic differences between these two breakfast bread. In this section, I have discussed every one of these differences, all in detail! 

1. Ingredients

Both bagels and English muffins are a type of bread, so some ingredients remain the same. The base ingredients make them both up: flour, yeast, sugar, water, and salt. 

However, certain added ingredients to an English muffin dough make it much richer than a bagel. English muffins tend to have added butter and even eggs to their dough, which gives them a softer texture. 

These added ingredients also create air pockets in the muffins while baking and give them a delicate texture. On the other hand, bagels are much harder on the outside, with a chewy center, because of the simple ingredients. 

2. Shape

Another thing that sets English muffins apart from bagels is their basic shape. Technically with bread, the shape isn’t immediately coming to our mind. It is because bread can be versatile when it comes to shapes. 

However, this versatility applies only to some types of bread, where you can find them in different shapes and sizes. However, English muffins and bagels have been known forever due to their respective shapes. 

An English muffin is flat and round. On the other hand, Bagels have that distinctive round shape with a hole in the middle. Bagels look a lot like donuts that have not been glazed. 

3. Size

Size is yet another factor where bread can be versatile. You may have seen regular bread rolls or dinner rolls of various sizes. However, these factors don’t necessarily apply to the bread we discuss. 

Bagels and English muffins are made per portion; hence, they tend to have a specific size guide that most bakers follow. Bagels are mostly larger than English muffins, in most cases. 

On average, if you see an English muffin, it should be 2-3 inches in diameter. However, bagels, on the other hand, are much larger, at least 4-5 inches in diameter. 

4. Texture

In the ingredients section, I did mention a little about the textures of these two types of bread. Yes, the ingredients set their textures apart, but that isn’t all! It also has much to do with each breakfast bread’s production method. 

With English muffins, once the dough is formed, it is fermented for some time and then shaped and baked. All the fermentation process does is create air pockets in the muffin and give them a soft texture that isn’t ready. 

On the other hand, bagels are usually poached in boiling water for a few seconds before they are baked. This helps lock the moisture in and creates a chewy inside with a somewhat hard outer texture, more bread-like. Bagels taste more like bread, whereas English muffins taste like a less sweet cake. 

5. Accompaniments

Who is to decide what accompaniment goes well with which sort of bread, right? Most of us have grown up eating whatever we like, with our choice of bread. It is a common occurrence with regular bread slices and rolls. 

However, English muffins and bagels, of their textures and flavors, can’t be enjoyed with any accompaniment. Certain ones fit perfectly with each of these. 

As far as bagels are concerned, due to their chewy texture and more of savory flavor, they go much better with savory accompaniments, like cream cheese, salmon, dill, and even hummus. On the other hand, English muffins go much better with fruit preserves, butter, and even honey. 

6. Origin

As I mentioned, you may have seen and experienced that bagels are a staple in places like New York City! So, like many other things, people may think bagels are an American invention. 

However, that isn’t the case! Bagels are a Polish invention. They were brought to America and made popular there by Jewish immigrants! With English muffins, it is indeed easy to guess where they are from, as the name gives it away! 

Yes, these little breakfast treats are from the United Kingdom and Wales. They weren’t as popular in America initially. However, since McDonald’s came up with their Egg McMuffin, their demand has skyrocketed in the United States! 

7. Nutrition

Lastly, another thing that distinguishes an English muffin from a bagel is its nutritional value. Considering that English muffins have many more added ingredients than bagels, one may think that bagels are the healthier option. 

But sadly, that isn’t the case at all! Bagels are much higher in calories and fat than an English muffins. Bagels are filled with carbohydrates; most extra calories come from empty carbohydrates. 

English muffins are also higher in certain macronutrients than bagels and have a lower amount of carbohydrates. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Similarities Between The Two

We discussed the fact that there are a lot of differences between an English muffin and a bagel and, well, even looked at the differences in detail. However, there are also some minor similarities between the two, which we will discuss here. 

1. Ingredients

There are differences between the two regarding certain ingredients, mainly because English muffins have added ingredients. However, the base ingredients for both do remain the same. 

These base ingredients are flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. These ingredients make the base for both English muffins and bagels and are irreplaceable from both recipes. 

2. Shape

Again, considering their shape, there are some major differences between an English muffin and a bagel. But there is also the fact that they are both always round in shape! 

You may have seen other types of bread in various shapes. However, with bagels and English muffins, a standard shape set is almost always round. This is also one of the reasons why sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between the two. 

3. How They Are Served

Another similarity between a bagel and an English muffin is how they are both served. They are both considered a breakfast staple and are sometimes, almost exclusively served only for that meal. 

Moreover, another similarity between the two is that they are both served alongside accompaniments. They are not saying that you cannot enjoy a bagel or an English muffin on its own. However, in most cases, people prefer them with some spread. 

4. How They Are Cooked

Finally, the last similarity between an English muffin and a bagel is how they are both cooked. Bagels are poached in boiling water right before they are baked. This helps them get their chewy texture and also maintain their shape. 

English muffins don’t go through the process of poaching before baking. However, the eventual cooking process for both these types of bread remains the same: they are baked in an oven. 

Top English Muffins Recipes To Try

In this section, I have mentioned some wonderful recipes you can try out with some English muffins, to have the perfect breakfast. 

1. English Muffin French Toast

Many of us consider french toast one of the best breakfast recipes. Now, you may have tried french toast with several breads. But none of that compares to french toast made with English muffins! 

English muffins have an advantage over other types of bread, which, you guessed it, are tiny holes. These holes help soak up the batter, making your french toast extremely flavorful! 

2. English Muffin Egg Breakfast Sandwich

McDonald’s was the chain that made English muffins popular in the United States with their Egg McMuffin. You can easily make a version of this breakfast muffin sandwich at home! 

Top the muffin with some of your favorite sauces, a poached or fried egg, and even some bacon to make it hearty. You can also toast the muffin a little before adding all the toppings! 

3. Eggs Benedict

Another way to amp up your breakfast with English muffins is to make classic egg benedict. Eggs Benedict is truly delicious and gives you a completely classy taste for breakfast! 

Just toast the English muffin a little and slather some butter on it. Then, top the muffin with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce to give it a creamy finish! 

4. English Muffin Breakfast Pizza

Who said pizza has to be limited to a regular pizza base? With breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and burgers being introduced, why not start your day with a delicious breakfast pizza? 

An English muffin breakfast pizza is exceptionally easy to put together. All you have to do is toast the English muffin, top it with all your favorite breakfast toppings and cheese, and finally, bake until the cheese is melted! 

5. Cranberry English Muffins

Lastly, if you are one of those who would rather make their English muffins at home than buy them from a store, some variations can be followed. One such variation for an English muffin is adding cranberries. 

Here, the process is pretty simple. All you have to do is add chopped cranberries to your muffin dough and bake. Serve with some butter and cranberry preserve to make this meal completely irresistible! 

Top Bagel Recipes To Try

Here are some simple and classic recipes you can try out at home with fresh bagels! 

1. Classic Cream Cheese and Salmon

One of the most traditional ways to enjoy a bagel is with the simplest ingredients. One staple that always goes with bagels is cream cheese. Cream cheese adds just the right amount of moisture to a chewy bagel. 

Moreover, add a few slices of smoked salmon if you feel extra fancy. Finish off with some capers and dill, and that’s all it takes to enjoy a fancy breakfast! 

2. Breakfast Bagel

English muffins make a great base for breakfast sandwiches. But, despite their chewy texture, bagels are a great option! If you prefer chewy bread rather than a soft one, then a breakfast bagel sandwich is something you should surely try out! 

This sandwich is simple to put together and does not need fancy ingredients! You can toast the bagel a little bit, then add cream cheese, poached or fried egg, and a few strips of bacon to make this creation! 

3. Bagel Chips

Another way to enjoy bagels is to convert them into chips. This is something that I recommend even more if you have stale bagels lying around. This is indeed the best way to use up those leftovers. 

Although it may sound like a task, it is very easy to make bagel chips. Just slice your bagels up thinly, then toast them in the oven until they are crispy. Dip in your favorite sauces and enjoy! 

4. Bagel Pizza 

Yet again, pizzas have many variations; surprisingly, bagel pizza is a lovely combination that works well. Bagel pizzas make a great breakfast and are a good appetizer to serve at parties. 

The best part about this is the fact that you can choose to add whatever toppings you like! Slice a bagel in half and slather it with pizza sauce, toppings, and some cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, and serve! 

5. Fruit Bagel

If you want to try a slightly different combination of toppings with a bagel that isn’t necessarily savory, you should try making a fruit bagel. This one isn’t even overly sweet, so it won’t make as much of a difference to the flavor. 

You can slice a bagel in half and then top it with some cream cheese. Finally, add some of your favorite fresh fruits on top. I recommend strawberries and blueberries, as they work well with this combination. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Which One Is Healthier? 

Both English muffins and bagels are a type of bread. This means they are loaded with carbs and are not the healthiest of foods out there. However, they are both still packed with several nutrients! 

Although one may think an English muffin should be the unhealthier one out of the two, that isn’t true! Yes, it does have added butter and eggs to it. However, the compositions of both these doughs are different! 

In most cases, English muffins are much healthier than bagels. If you compare a standard-sized English muffin to a Bagel, the latter will have about double the calories compared to an English muffin, making it the unhealthier option. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Which One Is More Versatile? 

Versatility is another thing that we look out for in most foods. Of course, it is indeed an important factor to consider when cooking. You may buy a lot of breakfast bread and then wouldn’t know what to do with them! But one is more versatile and can be used for many different recipes! 

The muffin would be much more versatile than an English muffin and a bagel. This is because it has a buttery crust and a more neutral flavor. This accounts for English muffins being used for both sweet and savory recipes. However, bagels taste slightly savory and bread-like, making them taste much better with savory toppings and spreads. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Which One Is More Expensive? 

With all the price inflation everywhere, almost everything is just really expensive. We can all agree with that. Of course, this also does depend on where you end up buying either of these bread from! However, certain factors still make one a little more expensive than the other. 

In most cases, English muffins are more expensive than bagels. It is because bagels are made with the simplest ingredients. However, English muffins use the same base ingredients as bagels but have added milk and fat, which means extra cost. This eventually makes the English muffin slightly more expensive. 

English Muffin Vs. Bagel | Which Is Better? 

We have all grown up in different parts of the world. Hence, our flavor preferences can be very different from each other. It isn’t just the case with different parts of the world, but even within the same country! So, taste and flavor can be very subjective to discuss. 

So, in my opinion, I wouldn’t be able to pick one over the other as the better option. Both English muffins and bagels have very different properties. This, in turn, makes them have different textures too. So, it all comes down to personal preferences and what one would prefer over the other. 

Can One Of Them Be Used As A Substitute For The Other? 

Regarding breakfast food, there isn’t anything right or wrong! As I mentioned earlier, this is very subjective; hence, it comes down to what one prefers. However, you may still wonder if one can be used in different recipes as a substitute for the other. 

The short answer to that question is yes. One can easily be used as a substitute for the other in almost every recipe. However, that also means you would have to be prepared because both these types of bread have different textures; hence, they will change the final product’s flavor slightly compared to what it was originally supposed to be. 


As we have come to the end of this article, I hope it helped you understand everything you wanted to know about the differences between English muffins and bagels. Although they are both a type of bread that is a breakfast staple, many things set the two apart, making them different. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are English muffins and bagels the same? 

No, English muffins and bagels are two different types of bread, each having its own set of ingredients and different textures. 

Is a bagel always chewy? 

Yes, bagels are made so that the inside is always chewy. 

Are bagels an American invention? 

Although popular in America, bagels are a Polish invention popularized in the United States by Jewish immigrants. 

Can English muffins be paired with sweet toppings? 

Yes, English muffins can also be paired with sweet and savory toppings. 

Is either of them healthier than the other? 

Yes, in most cases, English muffins are healthier than bagels. 

Why are bagels poached in boiling water before baking? 

Bagels are poached in boiling water before baking to retain their shape and get a chewy texture. 

Why are English muffins more expensive than bagels? 

English muffins, as compared to bagels, have certain added ingredients like milk and butter. Hence they are more expensive in most cases. 

Is it easier to make English muffins or bagels at home? 

Because bagels must be poached, English muffins are much easier to make at home as the process is very simple compared to others. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *