Slicing Bagels Like Bread Is a Good Thing

The best thing since sliced bread is sliced bagels.

sliced bagel slices st louis style saint louis bagels cream cheese
Photo by Cole Saldino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saldino for Thrillist

Twitter is mad. This time, the culprit is a box of sliced bagels from Panera—but not sliced lengthwise and spread with cream cheese or butter in a way that is typically expected. The bagels in question have been "bread sliced." Yes, that means that they went through a bread slicer, were cut height-wise, and emerged looking more like bagel chips than an actual bagel. If this argument feels very 2019 to you, that's because it is. Nevertheless, I'd love to explain why slicing bagels this way is a good thing. 

Let me be clear, I am not advocating that this is the better way to slice a bagel. I think each deliberate division of a bagel can serve different purposes. What I am saying that this method isn’t inherently wrong, and is maybe something you should consider bringing into your life.

The biggest advantage of bagel slices is that you can have more than one type of bagel. You aren't forced to stick to one flavor while working your way through the round, chewy mass of carbs and cream cheese. That means you never have to choose between onion, cinnamon raisin, and egg bagels ever again.

Secondly, you can use the sliced bagels to more easily make bagel sandwiches. Instead of arguing that bagel sandwiches are bad, maybe we have to take time to realize that bagel sandwiches were just misunderstood all along. Sure, the sandwich might be smaller than normal, and you might have to make more than one to alleviate a sandwich craving, but it wouldn’t be like biting into a massive dome with cream cheese gushing out on all sides. It also doesn't require digging the filling out of bagels to make room for everything you want to put in your sandwich.  

box of sliced panera bagels bagel slices slice st louis style
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

That brings brings me to my next point: Having bagel slices means the ratio of cream cheese to bagel is more equitable, which I have absolutely no qualms with. It's also more surface area to spread cream cheese over, which means a better and more even bite each time.

Finally, these leftover pre-sliced bagels can be repurposed to make great bagel chips. They’re delicious after going through the toaster (we tried it), and the leftovers can easily be brushed with butter and garlic salt and transformed into a simple crouton or a great cracker for a cheese plate.

The only real issue I see is if you have one of those fancier bagels with loaded toppings—the type to have an actual pizza, hash brown, or cinnamon roll on top. Those, I would agree, are best consumed in their whole, length-sliced form. Otherwise, plain, everything, blueberry, sesame—they all would taste great sliced.

When I asked the Panera employee to slice my bagel vertically, she didn’t hesitate or look at me funny. I asked her if people ever wanted their bagels sliced this way, to which she replied she’s come across it, but “it isn’t very common.” Maybe it should be.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.