There Is A Right Way To Put Bagels In Your Toaster

Though you may not think it makes any difference how you put a bagel in the toaster, we're here to tell you that it does matter — and in a big way. The next time you go to toast a bagel, don't just toss the halves in any which way. Instead, make sure your toaster is set to its "bagel" function, and position each half with the cut sides facing inward for the perfect result.

Here's why it works. The bagel setting lowers the temperature of the outermost heating elements, effectively only warming the outside of the bagel. Meanwhile, the innermost elements get hotter, toasting the cut sides. This contrast in cooking temperatures ensures that the top of your bagel slices are crispy while the bottom stays chewy.

That being said, if your toaster doesn't have a special bagel setting, prepare your bagel at a lower temperature all-around, so you don't overcook the outside. While you won't be able to get as nice of a toast on the top, at least the bottom won't be burnt to a crisp. Should it somehow still burn, you can uncover the secret layer of perfection beneath by grating away the char on top.

Choose the right bagel size for your toaster

When it comes to toasting a bagel, size matters too. Those jumbo bagels may look fun, but the reality is they might not fit into your toaster well enough to properly cook. Toasting too large of a bagel can cause the sides to press against the heating elements, in turn burning the inside while barely heating the outside. These giant bagels may also take longer to cook all the way through, as they're thicker than their average-sized counterparts, so you likely wouldn't even be able to use the bagel setting's timer.

However, none of this is to say you can't buy jumbo bagels; you'll just need to cut the halves a bit thinner so they fit. Similar to a scooped bagel, you'll be removing a good chunk of carby goodness from the middle, but at least the end result will cook more evenly than it would if crammed inside. Alternatively, if you toast a lot of jumbo bagels, you may want to consider upgrading to a toaster with larger slots or even a toaster oven to do the trick.

Dunk stale bagels in water before toasting them

Even if they're stored in a sealed container, bagels tend to go stale after a few days. You can still toast and eat a bagel that's well on its way to becoming stale, but it won't have the same textural contrast as a fresh one would.

Instead, you can revive even the driest, stalest bagel by first dunking it in water. This method returns some moisture, but more importantly, it helps create steam when you put the bagel in the toaster. Steam, in turn, assists in cooking the bread from the inside out. It's worth noting that giving your bagel too generous of a dunking can impact how crispy it gets in the toaster, but it's probably worth the tradeoff.

Likewise, a few drips of water shouldn't harm your toaster, but it's still a good idea to let your dunked bagel rest for a minute or two before toasting so you can minimize the risk of any short-circuiting. After all, that's not the kind of crispy bagel you'll want.