I tried every bagel from Einstein Bros. Bagels, and the best ones were sweet

Paige Bennett
·13 min read
bagel ranking
I tried all 22 bagels from Einstein Bros. Paige Bennett for Insider

Einstein Bros. Bagels is a US-based chain that serves up 22 varieties of bagels.

With so many options — not to mention its wide selection of cream cheeses and other toppings — ordering can be an intimidating experience.

To settle this once and for all, I taste-tested every bagel the chain offers and ranked them from worst to best.

To give each bagel a fair shot, I tried it as is and then I tried the bagel toasted with cream cheese, then toasted with butter. 

Here's how each bagel held up in the ranking:

The topping overwhelmed the poppy-seed bagel

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The poppy-seed bagel was my least favorite. Paige Bennett for Insider

I don't think poppy seeds have a great flavor, so a plain, un-toasted bagel covered in the black seeds wasn't a winner.

This bagel had a weird taste, and the texture was a little tough on the outside.

Adding cream cheese and butter didn't help

Even with creamy spreads, the poppy-seeds flavor was too strong to mask.

I wasn't really a fan of this bagel, but I bet it would work well for breakfast sandwiches loaded with flavorful fillings.

The honey whole-wheat bagel was just too dry

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Even with butter, the honey whole-wheat bagel was dry. Paige Bennett for Insider

Honey whole wheat is a pretty bland flavor. There was the slightest hint of sweetness from the honey, but otherwise, it didn't leave a great taste in my mouth.

This bagel was also drier than any of the others I tasted.

The cream cheese helped to bring out some flavor, but just barely

Even with butter, the honey whole-wheat bagel was still bland, and unless you really slather it with the spread, it was still pretty dry.

Cream cheese made it better, but there still wasn't anything special about the flavor. 

The sesame-seed bagel was chewy and had a weird flavor

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I thought the sesame-seed bagel tasted a bit funny. Paige Bennett for Insider

Unsurprisingly, this tasted like sesame seeds. The texture was definitely chewy, and it was strange to eat it un-toasted and without any spread. 

This bagel was just fine, even with butter and cream cheese

The toasted sesame-seed bagel with butter was fine, if a little flavorless. It was slightly better with cream cheese, but it still left an off-putting aftertaste.

I think this bagel would work well as part of a breakfast sandwich, but regular old spreads didn't do it for me. 

The green-chile bagel was way too spicy for me

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The green-chile bagel was spicy. Paige Bennett for Insider

From the first bite, I noticed how soft the texture was, which was quite different from the chewier ones I'd eaten so far. The second thing I noticed, was how incredibly spicy this bagel was.

I like a little heat, but this was really overwhelming. 

Cream cheese helped, but this was still too spicy for my taste buds

Once I toasted this bagel, the cheese flavor came through a little more.

With just butter, this bagel was still very spicy. I preferred it with cream cheese, which definitely brought the heat down to a more tolerable level.

The garlic bagel's flavor was off, but the texture was soft

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The garlic bagel was better with cream cheese. Paige Bennett for Insider

This was — unsurprisingly — very garlicky, but the texture was good. It was soft inside and not tough or hard outside.

The abundance of sesame seeds sprinkled on top also helped tone down the garlic flavor a bit.

Cream cheese and butter made this more palatable

I enjoyed the taste of the cream cheese and garlic together, which made for a tangy-and-savory flavor combo.

The butter was also a good pairing, but it definitely amped up the garlic taste.

The overcooked-spinach flavor overpowered the spinach-Florentine bagel

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The spinach flavor overpowered the bagel. Paige Bennett for Insider

The toppings were well spread out across the top of this "gourmet" bagel. However, I mostly just tasted spinach. 

I like spinach but this was a little much — I think this could use more cheese or garlic.

Toasting this bagel brought out its cheesy flavor

I really enjoyed the texture of the toasted spinach-Florentine bagel. After a few minutes in the toaster oven, it became nice and crisp across the top with absolutely no sogginess.

The cheese flavor comes out a bit more once it's heated, but I still wasn't crazy about the cooked-spinach flavor.

I wanted to see more berries in the blueberry bagel

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I was expecting more from the blueberry bagel. Paige Bennett for Insider

I typically love blueberry bagels, but this one, at least un-toasted, left much to be desired.

The texture was tough, making it hard to bite into, and the blueberries were few and far between.

I wasn't a fan of butter or cream cheese with the blueberry bagel

The exterior became slightly crispy upon toasting, but the interior was still pretty chewy.

I didn't think the butter worked at all. The addition of cream cheese was OK, but the bagel still needed more blueberries.

The chocolate-chip bagel was too chewy and needed more chocolate

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The chocolate-chip bagel was just OK. Paige Bennett for Insider

This bagel was very chewy.

The chocolate chips themselves were pretty good, but the bagel definitely could've used some more because the bites without chocolate were rather bland.

Cream cheese worked well with this bagel

Adding cream cheese seemed like an odd combination to me, but it actually tasted great. It reminded me of a cannoli.

Butter, on the other hand, was a weird addition. It just didn't taste right with the chocolaty bagel.

The pretzel bagel tasted more like a plain one

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The pretzel bagel could've passed as a plain one. Paige Bennett for Insider

It was pretty hard to tear a bite off of the pretzel bagel. Flavor-wise there was a slight saltiness, but it was pretty plain. 

I think it could've used more salt and longer in the oven, but the company's menu shows a darker-looking bagel, so I also might have just gotten a dud. 

This bagel was improved by both butter and cream cheese

It took on a more savory profile with the addition of cream cheese, and the butter worked especially well on this salty bagel.

I was excited about the cheesy hash-brown bagel

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I thought the hash-brown bagel was going to be more exciting. Paige Bennett for Insider

I couldn't wait to try the "gourmet" cheesy hash-brown bagel, which was topped with crispy potato slices, but it was chewy and a bit tough to bite into.

Despite the texture issues, the hash browns were extra crispy and had a peppery flavor.

It didn't live up to my expectations

Toasting this bagel helped to crisp the hash browns even more.

With butter, this reminded me of a good plate of diner hash browns. And with cream cheese, it reminded me of a hash-brown casserole.

Either way, this was good, but not as delicious as I'd expected it to be — it would probably be great for a breakfast sandwich, though.

With just a hint more spice, the cinnamon-raisin bagel would be much better

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I think the cinnamon-raisin bagel would pair nicely with peanut butter. Paige Bennett for Insider

The cinnamon-raisin bagel had a good flavor on its own.

I tasted more raisin than cinnamon, which I would have liked more of, but I liked that it was soft. 

I think this would be best with a nutty spread, not butter or cream cheese

I didn't love this bagel with cream cheese because there were too many competing flavors. The butter was fine, but I honestly think I'd prefer it with a nut butter.

I loved the earthy flavor of the ancient-grain bagel

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The ancient-grain bagel was surprisingly good. Paige Bennett for Insider

This was the softest of all the bagels I tried.

It had a pleasant, earthy flavor, and the seeds coating the top added a nice crunch. Despite that, I think this bagel would definitely taste better with some type of spread.

The bagel stayed soft, even after toasting

Even after toasting, this bagel still had a nice, soft texture. 

At first, the cream cheese tasted a little weird, but then it mellowed out to a better flavor. The butter helped the earthy flavor shine through, however, it made the dough a little too soft.

Everything bagels are typically my go-to order, but this was lackluster without schmear

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Everything bagels are usually my favorite. Paige Bennett for Insider

These are typically my favorite kind of bagels, but this one was way too onion-y for my liking. 

Butter was fine, but the cream cheese was better

Adding butter was fine for complementing the savory flavor of this bagel, but the onion was still overpowering. On the other hand, cream cheese helped balance the flavor of the bagel really well. 

The pumpernickel bagel was tough but had great flavor

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The texture was off, but the pumpernickel bagel tasted great. Paige Bennett for Insider

The bagel was definitely tough to bite into, but the savory, earthy flavor sold it for me.

It had a really nice rye flavor that reminded me of eating a Reuben sandwich in the best way. 

Butter wasn't a great addition, but cream cheese was the perfect companion

I found that the butter actually detracted from the rye flavor. But the cool, smooth cream cheese was a perfect contrast to the crunchy, toasted pumpernickel bagel.

I liked that the jalapeño-cheddar bagel had just a hint of spice

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There was just the right amount of spice. Paige Bennett for Insider

Compared to the green-chile bagel, this option had more cheese and far less spice — but it definitely still brought the heat.

Toasting this and adding cream cheese to it was a delicious decision

I toasted the jalapeño-cheddar bagel and tasted it with butter first, which didn't really add anything to the flavor. 

I think this bagel was really made to go with the cream cheese. The combination tasted a lot like a jalapeño popper.

The plain bagel was fine, but it definitely needs a spread

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As far as plain bagels go, this one was pretty good. Paige Bennett for Insider

The classic plain bagel at Einstein Bros. was very chewy.

Aside from that, there was a good yeasty, bread flavor, but it definitely needs a spread to make it enjoyable to eat.

Unsurprisingly, it went well with cream cheese, but butter didn't add much

Butter didn't do much to amplify the flavor of this bagel, but it paired well with cream cheese.

Luckily the chewiness wasn't as bad once it was toasted. It actually gave the bagel a nice, crispy exterior and a slightly soft interior.

The cheesy exterior of the Asiago-cheese bagel was crisp, even before toasting

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The Asiago-cheese bagel held up well. Paige Bennett for Insider

The un-toasted Asiago-cheese bagel was slightly crisp, not chewy.

I also liked that the cheesy flavor was apparent even without any kind of added spread.

Both butter and cream cheese paired well with this bagel

The buttered, toasted bagel had a crunchy texture with an even more prominent cheese flavor.  And with cream cheese, it was still quite savory and really yummy.

The six-cheese bagel was perfectly blanketed in the topping

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The six-cheese bagel was good, but there could've been more flavor. Paige Bennett for Insider

Unlike some of the bagel options, the six-cheese variety had a full layer of topping — almost like a pizza.

This bagel, un-toasted, had a slightly chewy texture and a good, cheesy flavor. Considering this had six kinds of cheese, though, I think the flavor could've been stronger.

It was creamy, crispy, and extra cheesy with cream cheese

When toasted, the six-cheese bagel got crispier on top, and the cheese flavor came through more.

It tasted delicious with both the butter and the cream cheese, although I did prefer it with the latter.

I loved the cranberry bagel, even without toasting it or adding a spread

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I would gladly eat the cranberry bagel again. Paige Bennett for Insider

This cranberry bagel was so sweet and delicious. The berries weren't overly chewy, and I really loved the flavor they added. 

Butter didn't do much, but cream cheese took it to the next level

Butter didn't really add or subtract from the flavor, but cream cheese made it taste like a deliciously creamy pastry.

I could eat the French-toast bagel on its own every day

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I loved the French-toast bagel. Paige Bennett for Insider

Even plain and un-toasted, the French-toast bagel rocked my taste buds.

The exterior was crispy and very sweet, and the interior was soft. In addition to a crunchy, cinnamon topping, there were little cinnamon clusters dispersed throughout the dough so every bite packed the flavor.

Truthfully, it was better plain 

Butter didn't change the taste of the French-toast bagel, but it did give it a nice, moist texture.

The cream cheese, on the other hand, almost overpowered the flavor, which I think tasted best on its own.

The cinnamon-sugar bagel had a nice buttery flavor

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The cinnamon-sugar bagel was a worthy runner-up. Paige Bennett for Insider

This one was so good plain. It tasted buttery without any spread, and the texture wasn't too tough or chewy, even un-toasted. 

Adding butter made me a bit nostalgic

Adding cream cheese made the bagel a little too rich for me. The flavor was good, but the texture was overwhelming.

However, the addition of butter was pretty great. It reminded me of the cinnamon-sugar toast that I ate all the time as a kid.

The apple-cinnamon bagel somehow had a gooey yet crispy center

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The flavors blended together nicely. Paige Bennett for Insider

Another item on Einstein's "gourmet" menu, the apple-cinnamon bagel was yummy on its own. The topping featured a cinnamon-sugar crunch paired with soft baked apples.

My only complaint is that all of the toppings were in the center of the bagel.

Un-toasted, toasted, with cream cheese, or with butter, this bagel was a winner

apple cinnamon bagel
The apple-cinnamon bagel was my favorite of the bunch. Paige Bennett for Insider

Adding butter gave this bagel an apple-crisp vibe, and it was even more delicious with the cream cheese.

Even though warming it up made the bagel a little soggy from all of the toppings piled in the center, I really loved this cinnamon-y, sugary apple combination.

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