New Yorkers claim their bagels are the best, but that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t enjoy a good bagel in the morning! Whether you get them fresh from the bagel shop or throw them into the toaster on the go, bagels are one of the best breakfast options for a quick (and delicious) bite.
Bagels remain a classic breakfast item you can enjoy in several ways — with lox and capers, bacon and egg, or garden veggie cream cheese — the options are endless! But do residents in each region take their bagels differently? What about each state? We surveyed Americans across the country to find out.
Shane Co. surveyed 3,037 Americans in June 2022 to determine how residents in each state take their bagels. We surveyed respondents about their favorite bagel flavors, cream cheese flavors, and bagel toppings. We collected the most popular response in each category to determine how each state builds its perfect bagel. Additionally, we determined the average bagel consumption in each state and the average cost an American will spend per bagel sandwich. Insights from Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are not included in the study due to a small pool of survey respondents.
How Each State Builds Their Bagel
Whether you love a simple combination or a unique array of flavors, your bagel order says a lot about you. Minnesotans prefer to keep things simple with a plain bagel and plain cream cheese, while Colorado residents prefer a more savory experience — smoked salmon, capers, and garlic and herb cream cheese on an everything bagel.
The Big Apple is well known for its exemplary bagels, and New Yorkers take pride in their bagel consumption as a result. According to respondents, the go-to New York bagel order is bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel with plain cream cheese. If you’re a New York City native, visit some of Eater magazine’s treasured New York bagel shops and see what all the buzz is about!
America’s Favorite Bagel Toppings
Building a bagel sandwich is a fun way to customize your breakfast and the options are unlimited. Some like their bagels nutritious with egg whites and avocado, salty with salmon and capers, or sweet with cinnamon and sugar. However, 72% of respondents prefer savory bagels over sweet bagels!
Unsurprisingly, 65% of respondents ranked eggs as the most preferred bagel protein. The runner-up proteins are bacon, sausage, and smoked salmon. Residents in Colorado and Massachusetts enjoy smoked salmon paired with cream cheese and capers. Chicken salad and tuna salad bring up the rear, as a smaller portion of respondents prefers these mixtures on their bagels.
The avocado craze that’s swept the nation in recent years isn’t slowing down. We aren’t complaining about this delicious and healthy trend! According to survey results, avocado is the most popular fruit or vegetable topping on bagels, overall. One out of every three respondents say it’s their favorite bagel topping. Give it a try — it pairs particularly well with lemon and everything bagel seasoning!
Cheese is a preferred bagel topping for 45% of Americans. Cheese types like American, provolone, Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar all help to take your bagel sandwich to the next level. What’s more, nearly 40% of respondents say everything bagel seasoning is a must for their bagel sandwich, and in our opinion, Trader Joe’s does it best.
America’s Favorite Bagel & Cream Cheese Flavors
The everything bagel reigns supreme as the number one most popular bagel flavor, according to over a quarter of respondents, and honestly, who can blame them? This spice mix creates an explosion of flavor that cannot be denied. No wonder it’s a best-selling bagel flavor across the U.S.
The most popular cream cheese flavor among 40% of respondents is plain cream cheese, followed by chive and onion (10%). For sweet bagel lovers, strawberry is the third most popular cream cheese flavor. We’re salivating just thinking about it slathered on a fresh, plain bagel!
Next, we asked respondents which breakfast carb they crave most. Bagels were the top choice (33%), followed by croissants (17%), donuts (16%), and biscuits (12%), proving that this donut-shaped yeast roll is the most desired breakfast staple of them all.
Where you buy your bagels will determine the quality of the bagel sandwich. Grocery store bagels are great to have as a quick morning grab, but the majority of respondents (54.2%) prefer bagels made in a restaurant to those made at home. Chain restaurants and fast-food chains sell bagels on their morning menus; however, 70% of respondents prefer bagels from a locally owned restaurant rather than a chain restaurant. If you enjoy grocery store bagels, the most popular brands among respondents are Thomas’ Bagels (31%), Einstein Bros (16%), and Trader Joe’s (9%).
Which States Eat the Most Bagels?
To close out our study, we asked respondents in each state to estimate how many bagels they eat each year and how much they’re willing to spend on their favorite bagel order. According to survey results, the average American consumes 38.73 bagels each year and is willing to spend up to $7.12 on their preferred bagel. Thus, the average American could spend up to $276 each year on just bagels alone! At least it is money well spent — no shame in the bagel game!
Maine is the most bagel-obsessed state, boasting an average annual consumption of 73.37 bagels. This means bagel lovers in Maine could spend over $500 on bagels each year. For context, Maine’s preferred bagel order is an everything bagel with garden veggie cream cheese topped with bacon, egg, and cheese. Other states obsessed with their bagels are Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan, all averaging 55-plus bagels consumed each year.
Mornings can be perfectly relaxed or perfectly chaotic, but a bagel sandwich in hand can help alleviate the anxiety of the morning rush. If you’re like our survey respondents, then an everything bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese should be the perfect start to your day. Found someone special you’re ready to share your bagel with? Shop our selection of engagement rings or take our style finder quiz to find the ring best suited for your breakfast partner.