Top Of The Toppings

Only a sociopath would smear scallion cream cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel.
With this truism in mind, it is time to explore the perfect pairings for bagels. From cream cheese to butter to something else entirely, every bagel has a preferred flavor mate.

Plain Bagel

Pure texture and chew factor, the plain bagel is the gold standard of bagel stores. For this reason, a simple schmear of plain cream cheese or butter is the best way to go.

Sesame Bagel

The nutty crunch of sesame seeds marries particularly well with the sweet smoothness of strawberry cream cheese. Scallion cream cheese also adds character to sesame bagels.

Poppy Seed Bagel

The seeds that seem to pop in your mouth complement a bagel with “the works,” lox, capers, onion and plain cream cheese. On the sweet side, the combination of strawberry jelly and plain cream cheese fits finely with the mild earthiness of the seeds.

Egg Bagel

For anyone who thinks a plain bagel is too plain, the egg bagel comes in with its yellow hue and an extra richness that is only elevated when it is cut with the garden bouquet of veggie cream cheese.

Salt Bagel

The oft-forgotten bagel is reminiscent of a chewy pretzel, with a sharp-saltiness that adds zing to any topping—but go the extreme route and add a smoky whitefish salad spread for an oceanic spray.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

There are few more satisfying bites than a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter that sits in that perfect temperature between solid and melted. Kick up the sweetness with walnut raisin cream cheese spread.

Everything Bagel

The good thing about everything bagels is that they literally taste great with everything. The loaded bagel adds bite to plain cream cheese or butter, but it is also sturdy enough to stand up to strong schmears like whitefish or lox spread. But perhaps the greatest addition to the everything is the classic breakfast combo of bacon, egg and cheese.


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Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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