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Bagel vs. Doughnut — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Updated on May 14, 2024
Bagels are dense, boiled-then-baked bread with a chewy texture, often topped with seeds, while doughnuts are sweet, fried pastries, typically glazed or sugar-coated.
Bagel vs. Doughnut — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Bagel and Doughnut


Key Differences

Bagels are traditionally made by boiling dough before baking, which gives them a dense and chewy texture, whereas doughnuts are deep-fried, resulting in a soft and airy texture.
Bagels often have a savory flavor and can be topped with seeds, salt, or garlic, while doughnuts are usually sweetened with various glazes, sugars, or fillings.
Bagels are typically consumed as a part of breakfast or a savory snack, often topped with cream cheese, butter, or smoked salmon. On the other hand, doughnuts are generally considered a dessert or sweet treat, commonly accompanied by coffee or milk.
Nutritionally, bagels provide a more substantial feeling due to their dense composition and lower sugar content, whereas doughnuts tend to be higher in calories and sugar due to their frying process and sweet toppings.
In terms of variety, both bagels and doughnuts come in numerous flavors; however, bagels often feature more savory options like onion, whole grain, and everything seasoning, while doughnuts frequently showcase sweet variations like chocolate, vanilla frosting, and fruit-flavored fillings.

Comparison Chart


Boiled then baked


Dense and chewy
Soft and airy

Common Flavors

Savory (e.g., plain, onion)
Sweet (e.g., glazed, jelly)

Typical Toppings

Seeds, salt, garlic
Glazes, sugars, fillings

Serving Occasion

Breakfast, savory snack
Dessert, sweet snack

Compare with Definitions


Associated with Jewish cuisine and New York City's culinary scene.
Authentic New York bagels are known for their perfect chewy texture.


A sweet, fried pastry usually circular with a hole in the middle.
He bought a dozen glazed doughnuts for the office meeting.


Typically high in carbohydrates and served as a substantial meal component.
After her run, she refueled with a whole wheat bagel.


Varieties include cake, yeast-raised, and specialty creations like cronuts.
She prefers cake doughnuts because they're denser and more filling.


Often savory and can be topped with various seeds and seasonings.
He ordered an everything bagel with extra onions on top.


Served as a dessert or a snack, commonly enjoyed with coffee.
They stopped at the café for coffee and doughnuts in the afternoon.


A dense, ring-shaped bread made by boiling dough before baking.
She enjoyed a sesame bagel with cream cheese for breakfast.


Often glazed, sugared, or filled with jams, creams, or custards.
Her favorite treat is a chocolate doughnut with custard filling.


Commonly split and filled with ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and spreads.
For lunch, she had a bagel sandwich filled with turkey and Swiss cheese.


A doughnut or donut (IPA: ) is a type of leavened fried dough. It is popular in many countries and is prepared in various forms as a sweet snack that can be homemade or purchased in bakeries, supermarkets, food stalls, and franchised specialty vendors.


A bagel (Yiddish: בײגל‎ beygl; Polish: bajgiel), also historically spelled beigel, is a bread product originating in the Jewish communities of Poland. It is traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, roughly hand-sized, that is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked.


A small ring-shaped cake made of rich, light dough that is fried in deep fat.


A glazed, ring-shaped roll with a tough, chewy texture, made from plain yeast dough that is dropped briefly into nearly boiling water and then baked.


Something whose form is reminiscent of a ring-shaped cake.


A toroidal bread roll that is boiled before it is baked.


A fast, tight 360° turn made in a motor vehicle or motorized boat.


A score of 6-0 in a set (after the shape of a bagel, which looks like a zero).


A deep-fried piece of dough or batter, commonly of a toroidal (a ring doughnut) shape, often mixed with various sweeteners and flavourings; or flattened sphere (a filled doughnut) shape filled with jam, custard or cream.


An overly materialistic and selfish young Jewish man.


Anything in the shape of a torus.


(tennis) To achieve a score of 6–0 in a tennis set.


(attributive) A circular life raft.


(sports) To hold an opponent to a score of zero.


(physics) A toroidal vacuum chamber.


A glazed leavened doughnut-shaped roll with a hard crust.


(North America) A peel-out or skid mark in the shape of a circle; a 360-degree skid.


(Yiddish) glazed yeast-raised doughnut-shaped roll with hard crust


A spare car tyre, usually stored in the boot, that is smaller than a full-sized tyre and is only intended for temporary use.


A kind of tyre for an airplane.


(slang) A vulva; (by extension) a woman's virginity.


A foolish or stupid person.


A small cake (usually sweetened) fried in a kettle of boiling lard.


A toroidal shape;
A ring of ships in the harbor
A halo of smoke


A small ring-shaped friedcake


Can be found in countless flavors and styles globally.
For his birthday, he chose a box of assorted mini doughnuts.

Common Curiosities

Are bagels healthier than doughnuts?

Bagels can be considered healthier due to their lower sugar content and more filling nature, but both can be part of a balanced diet.

Can bagels be sweet or are they only savory?

While traditionally savory, there are sweet versions of bagels, such as cinnamon raisin.

What is the main difference in texture between a bagel and a doughnut?

Bagels are dense and chewy due to being boiled then baked, whereas doughnuts are soft and airy from being deep-fried.

What makes a bagel different from regular bread?

The boiling process before baking gives bagels their unique texture and taste.

How did doughnuts become popular in America?

Doughnuts were popularized in America by Dutch settlers and evolved over time into the varieties we see today.

Are there any dietary restrictions associated with bagels or doughnuts?

Both can contain allergens like gluten and dairy, and many are not suitable for vegan diets unless specifically made to be.

What are common doughnut toppings?

Doughnuts are commonly topped with glazes, sugar, chocolate, or sprinkles.

How are doughnuts typically served?

Doughnuts are typically served as a dessert or snack, often alongside a beverage like coffee.

What are the most popular doughnut flavors?

Popular flavors include glazed, chocolate, and jelly-filled.

Can bagels be frozen for later use?

Yes, bagels freeze well and can be toasted straight from frozen.

How do the calories in a bagel compare to those in a doughnut?

Generally, doughnuts may be higher in calories due to sugar and fat content, though this varies by size and toppings.

What is the origin of bagels?

Bagels originated from Jewish communities in Poland.

What are doughnut holes?

Doughnut holes are small, round pastries made from the dough cut out of the middle of ring doughnuts.

Is it common to fill a bagel with sweet ingredients?

It's less common, but sweet fillings like fruit jams and honey are sometimes used.

How are seasonal flavors incorporated into bagels and doughnuts?

Seasonal flavors can include pumpkin spice for fall or peppermint for winter in both bagels and doughnuts.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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