Host The Perfect Summer Bagel Brunch!

Sunday lunch is out, bagel brunches are in!

Sunday lunches are out and brunches are in! Sophie Farrah chooses a relaxed, fun way to entertain this summer, and brings you Toast’s tasty guide to hosting your very own bagel brunch…

Lunch or brunch – Sundays are a dreamy day to entertain. But it doesn’t just have to be about roast beef and red wine.

Summer calls for something different. The mornings are brighter, the days are longer and there might even be some sunshine, if we’re lucky. So instead of dedicating your entire Sunday to a long lunch, why not throw a Summer Bagel Brunch?

Bowls of shiny bagels, piles of fresh, tempting fillings and a fun, DIY element are all ingredients for an informal, inventive and entertaining way of getting together with friends and family.

A Bagel Brunch can also be a ideal for the morning after a traditionally boozy affair - perfect for a hen or stag do or a birthday party, curing hangovers and adding the perfect finishing touch to a really good night before spent with friends.

Without further ado, here is Toast’s guide to throwing a truly brilliant Summer Bagel Brunch…

What you’ll need

A big bowl of bagels

2 per person is usually more than enough and remember… it’s always better to have too many than too few.

The traditional bagel is made by letting the dough rise very little and then plunging it into boiling water before baking, which is what gives the distinctive taste, chewy texture and shiny appearance. Today, supermarket versions usually skip the boiling process and it’s difficult to find a bakery that still follows the traditional technique. Don’t worry about this too much – freshly baked (boiled or not) bagels can be found in most independent and in-store bakeries – for taste you really want to buy bagels freshly baked that morning, as opposed to the long life supermarket versions, if you can.

You can grab some tasty varieties from your local bakery or artisan bakery Bagel Nash based in Huddersfield send fresh bagels with a variety of flavours on request. Choose from plain and poppy seed, multigrain and sesame to cheese and onion or jalapeno, sundried tomato and olive to raisin and cinnamon. 

A Bagel Guillotine

Yes a knife would also do the job, but a guillotine adds to the fun and theatre of your Bagel Brunch. Plus, there’s far less risk of any accidents! You can pick one up from Lakeland for less than £20 and we also love this cute Ironwood Bagel Miter from Amazon for £37.

Smoked Salmon 

Smoked salmon and cream cheese is a bagel match made in heaven; the fish is really the star of the brunch show. Supermarket-bought is fine but if you can get it from a local fishmongers then even better, as it will be fresher and tastier. Online offers up some really good options to; we love H. Forman & Son - Britain’s oldest original salmon curer and one of the world’s oldest existing producers of smoked salmon. Their website Forman and Field offers a variety of smoked fish goodness; and aside from their exceptional trademark London Cure (no salt, no sugar, just a very specific amount of smoke), you can also order a whole smoked salmon side ready to carve at home -  although you might want to invest in one of their salmon carving classes first!

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese. A big bowl of cream cheese with a sprinkling of dill on the top is a must. Pick up a few large tubs from the supermarket – full fat is best, and make sure you serve it at room temperature, not straight from the fridge.

Black pepper 

A crucial seasoning for any bagel combination, which you can serve up in these lovely pinch bowels from Culinary Concepts 'Pinch Me' Salt and Pepper Holder.

Green Stuff

A selection of fresh vegetables adds crunch and freshness; radishes and cucumber work well. Gherkins are a must, look for large dill flavoured ones. As well as being great bagel fillers they are also good for nibbling on, and look lovely when sliced up and laid out on a serving platter. A little bowl of capers also adds a nice salty kick that goes well with the oily fish.

Fresh Herbs

Parsley and dill are perfect to add a fresh, herby lift. You can pick up living herb plants quite cheaply from most supermarkets and garden centres. Pop them on the table - not only do they look and smell gorgeous but your guests will be able pick their own herbs, which really adds to the fun, DIY element of your Bagel Brunch. Make sure you have bowls of chopped herbs to garnish as well.


Fresh lemons in a beautiful bowl – place a few whole ones at the bottom and some sliced into quarters, scattered on top ready to squeeze over your fresh fish and pop in your drinks as needed. For good-looking lemons pop to your local greengrocer and pick up a few with their waxy green leaves still attached.

Fish Alternatives

In the event of any non-fish eaters, include a small platter of cold meats such as thick cut ham and salamis – both are delicious in bagels and go really well with the sliced gherkins and capers. We like this selection from Market Porter. For veggies put a bowl of hummus out, which is great with the greenery and also makes a delicious bagel filling.

Sweet Treats

A bowl of Nutella, peanut butter - some sliced banana and apricot, rasberries and blackberries or fruti preserve to create the perceft cheesecake bagel  – always a big hit with children and grown-ups who have a sweeter tooth! 

Sweet Bagels

To Serve

Lay all your ingredients out along a table buffet-style (inside or out, depending on the weather. You can style it up by using a summer table runner and popping some of your bagels in these country style cotton linen baskets from Linenme.

Spread your ingredients in a variety of different sized bowls and on marble chopping boards like these ones from Conran at M&S Home mixed with a couple of these Stlit Serving Platters with Ash Stands from LSA to add some levels to your table, and let your guests get stuck in!  It’s always nice to use a few of your herbs bunched together in class vases and some lemons for display; these glass pots with decorative leather handles from LSA are perfect, to add some style summer scents to the table. If you want a little more colour, order The Charlie, from Bloom and Wild; a freshly cut selection of delicate alstroemerias accented with bright yellow craspedia to bring a little sunshine inside and out.

Don’t forget a pile of plates and napkins at one end, and make sure there are enough places for your guests to sit.

Add some fresh juices and pots of fresh Pact Coffee tailored to your tastes, iced vodka shots or for that hangover cure how about a large jug of Bloody Mary, with Virgin Mary’s for those feeling weak? Take a look at our recipe.

Tableware Items and Prices 

Linen Works, Runner Arles, Navy Stripe Table Runner £28.00

Culinary Concepts 'Pinch Me' Salt and Pepper Holder £29.95

Cotton Linen Baskets from Linenme £6.49

Cotton Linen Napkins from Linenme £3.99

Stlit Serving Platters with Ash Stands from LSA £70

Conran at M&S Home £25

Glass pots with decorative leather handles from LSA £30.00

Tall Glass pot with Decorative Handle from LSA £45.00

The Charlie Bloom and Wild £20


Leftovers? For a wickedly indulgent treat why not try making a bagel bread and butter pudding or some mouth-watering bagel French toast?