What Does the Bagel Button on a Toaster Do?

Toasters are basic appliances that most people have in their kitchen, but not all toasters are alike. If you noticed a bagel button on your toaster, you might be wondering what it does.

As a general rule, the bagel button on a toaster activates the bagel feature that allows for longer toasting times, increases the temperature on one side of the bagel (the sliced side), and lowers the temperature on the others side of the bagel (the outside). This toasts it just right without making the outside too hot to handle.

Let’s take a look at the three main features of the bagel mode on your toaster.

Toaster purchased after buyer learned what the bagel button on a toaster does

1. Longer Toasting Time

Bagels and hoagies are much thicker than regular slices of bread, so they need more cooking time while in the toaster. Toasters with bagel settings can cook just a little bit longer than normal. This is necessary because it simply takes longer to cook a bagel compared to regular bread, or even foods such as English muffins and rolls.

2. Increased Temperature on the Inside

The part of your bagel that you really want toasted is the inside—the sliced part. This is the surface that is similar to a slice of bread. Bagel mode increases the temperature of the element facing this surface, to give you that crisp, golden brown finish.

Toaster with bagel in it purchased after buyer learned what the bagel button on a toaster does

3. Decreased Temperature on the Outside

While we all want our bagel to be nicely toasted where it’s sliced (on the inside), nobody wants the outside of their toasted bagel to be brown or black. For this reason, bagel mode reduces the temperature of the element facing the rounded, outside part of your bagel. This keeps it from burning, and also makes the bagel much easier to handle when you pull it out of the toaster, because the part that rests in your palm is cooler.

Insert Your Bagel The Correct Way

Toasters with bagel settings will typically indicate near the toasting slots which way to insert your bagel. You don’t want to get this wrong, or you’ll have all that extra heat applied to the rounded side of the bagel—the opposite of what you want!

In this image, you can see the bagel indicators circled in yellow:

Small diagrams of bagel slices etched into the top of a toaster so you can see which way the bagels are supposed to go

Pay close attention to which way you insert your bagels, and you should get them toasted just the way you want.

In short, the toaster you’re using works a little differently when you activate the bagel function. The elements on either side of the sliced bagel will toast at different temperatures, and it’s all done so that your bagel turns out just right in the end.

And if your toaster ever breaks down on you, there are ways to toast your bagel without a toaster.