No, Scooped Bagels Are Not The Same As Flagels

Bagels are a simple and no-nonsense food, especially if you're in someplace like New York: you order it untoasted if it's fresh, with cream cheese (and lox if you're willing to spend a little extra) and you've got a fluffy, filling breakfast. But if you know where to look, you can discover different kinds that exist outside the spectrum of plain bagels to everything bagels. These include, among others, scooped bagels and flagels aka flattened bagels


Flagels are like a regular, ordinary bagel except the dough is pressed down and baked so that the result is flatter, crunchier, and has a greater surface area. This is different from a scooped bagel, which is an ordinary bagel, except the interior breading has been scooped out after baking, leaving mostly the crust. The idea is that a scooped bagel can fit more cream cheese or fillings inside, but many purists balk at the notion of removing so much of the bagel bread.

Flagels, great for flat fillings

Bagels date all the way back to Europe in the Middle Ages, where they were made from pretzel bread; much later, they were brought to America by Polish-Jewish immigrants. But flagels first began popping up in New York bagel shops in the mid-1990s. It's thought that they were invented by the family-owned Tasty Bagels in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, although the owner of the shop denied this when speaking with New York Daily News. Even though flagels started as a trend in the 90s, other flat and bagel-like pastries have existed for much longer, such as Lebanese kaak or Turkish simits.


Since flagels are flat and crunchy, it's slightly tougher to slice in two than a regular bagel if you don't have a bagel slicer. It's certainly not impossible, but it requires slightly more effort to smear cream cheese on the inside. However, the flatter dough means that flagels work great for sandwiches because they have a wider surface area and won't be as tall as a regular bagel sandwich. So you can add more toppings and stack your deli meats slightly higher. If you're a fan of egg and cheese on a bagel for breakfast, or turkey and salami on a bagel for lunch, you might consider a flagel.

To scoop or not to scoop

It's not perfectly clear when scooped bagels first arrived on the scene, although they became a flash point on TikTok when a bagel store employee angrily refused to "scoop" one for a Los Angeles man visiting Manhattan. Scooped bagels can be a great way to trade up the few extra carbs for something a little more substantial like eggs, salmon, or avocado, and hopefully, your local bagel shop is a little more accommodating when you're in the mood to try one.


Scooped bagels are also a great choice for the classic schmear (or in this case, channel) of rich cream cheese. And divisive as they may be to some, your cream cheese is far less likely to spill out of a scooped bagel than a classic one where it's laid on thick. Whether a smaller mess is worth hollowing out a perfectly good bagel is your (or the shop's) decision to make.