Many many years ago, children of two of my friends were diagnosed with Celiac disease. And I watched closely as they began the search for delicious, gluten-free replacements for all of their favorite foods.
It was not easy.
Back then, options were few, often hard to find, and that “delicious”? Not so much, thanks to weird flavors, gummy textures, and limited varieties.
But today is a different story. Restaurants, both major and specialty grocers, along with food bloggers have all jumped on the bandwagon, and there is not a food you could think of that does not have dozens of delicious, almost-identical, gluten-free alternatives.
And that’s a good thing for my family. My now 9-year-old does not have Celiac disease, or even a gluten sensitivity. But a medical issue led us down a road of some dietary changes, and we noticed a real difference when we started keeping him mostly gluten-free. It’s so easy to do these days that it didn’t feel like a hardship at all, especially since we were able to find gluten-free versions of his one of his favorite foods — bagels!
As a life-long New Yorker, I take my bagel cred very seriously. So I did extensive “research” before landing on a few varieties — that are readily available — that passed our high standards. Here are our five favorites.
Udi’s is our #1 choice. Texture is so tricky when baking gluten-free, and bagels pose their own unique challenge, as they should have just the right amount of tenderness and “chew.” Udi’s knocks it out of the park, and we are in love with both the plain and cinnamon-raisin varieties (available at Amazon and most grocery store chains).
2. Canyon Bakehouse
A very close #2. Spot-on flavor and texture, and they come pre-sliced (always appreciated). Another nice feature is their size — larger than the typical GF bagel (available on the Canyon Bakehouse website and most national grocery stores).
3. Katz Gluten-Free
These bagels have a really nice texture and toast up beautifully. We are particularly fond of the poppy seed variety (available on the Katz website, Amazon, and both national and specialty grocery stores).
4. Trader Joe’s
TJ’s doesn’t mess around — they don’t stop till they get it right and their GF bagels are no exception. Bonus points for being slightly less expensive than other GF brands (available at Trader Joe’s stores).
5. Odd Bagel
So you’re gluten-free AND vegan? Good luck. It’s hard enough finding decent gluten-free breads, bagels, and the like — but when they also have to be free of dairy and eggs, it’s virtually impossible. While traditional bagels typically don’t contain eggs, they are often used in GF products to help bind ingredients. Odd Bagels are a great option for anyone who needs to avoid both gluten and dairy (available on the Odd Bagel website, select locations and Amazon).