Everything Bagel Babka

Filled with swirls of cream cheese and classic everything bagel seasonings, Everything Bagel Babka is the perfect garlicky, oniony, salty, cream cheesy swirled anytime snack!  Enjoy a slice on its own, top with more cream cheese, or use in French toast or for an egg sandwich for an extra special treat!

a loaf of everything bagel babka on a wooden board with one slice removed

When you think “classic Jewish babka” you probably think of something sweet… right?  Chocolate babkacinnamon babka — these are the typical sweet fillings in the rich, eggy, buttery bread.

Except, well… I’m going to say something that might be controversial.  I think the best babkas… are savory babkas.  There, I said it.

For this month’s Babka of the Month, we’re going savory again.  I was head-over-heels for March’s Pizza Babka… and this Everything Bagel Babka is just as good.

Everything Bagel is, obviously, the best flavor of bagel.  (I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way — people go nuts over Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” sesame seasoning!) 

So let’s take the sesame seed/poppy seed/garlic/salt/onion everything bagel blend… but put it in a babka.  With a cream cheese swirl in the middle, because obviously an everything bagel needs cream cheese.  Obviously.

The rich, dense, butter and egg-filled bread characteristic of a babka.  A layer of cream cheese.  And a giant sprinkle of everything bagel seasonings, both rolled up inside the bread and coating the outside.

Everything bagel babka is my new favorite bread.

a loaf pan containing a freshly baked loaf of swirled everything bagel babka with a golden crust

Savory Babka Dough

We’re going to use my same basic babka dough I’ve used in all my recipes thus far, full of milk, eggs, and butter.  It kneads beautifully, is soft and easy to roll out, and bakes with just the right amount of chew.

But since we’re going savory, we’re cutting down the sugar and adding some everything bagel flavorings right into the dough: a little extra salt, some garlic powder, and some onion powder.

So if we’re going to reduce the sugar, is this still a babka rather than a regular loaf of bread?

Because we’re contributing lots of richness from the eggs and butter! Let’s talk about why this is so important using my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Even without the sugar, this babka dough includes both butter and eggs, which contribute fat to the dough. Fat not only adds flavor but also contributes to the texture of the final product, creating a bread that still has the characteristic babka richness. The fat helps to keep the babka more moist and tender compared to many other types of bread.

But even with all this richness that makes our everything bagel babka a babka, the added seasonings mean there’s no mistaking that this is a savory bread!

overhead view of the sliced babka with one piece on a small decorative plate next to a brick of cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning

Everything Bagel Babka Filling

A babka just isn’t a babka without a layer of swirly filling, right?  Right!

So for our everything bagel babka, we’re going to fill it with the most natural pairing: cream cheese!  Spread a layer of softened cream cheese across the top, sprinkle on (a very, very generous handful of) your everything bagel seasoning, and roll it up.

I stuck with the true classic here, but there are lots of other fillings you could use.  Flavored cream cheese (like smoked salmon cream cheese – which would both be delicious and pretty with the salmon-colored swirl!).  Chives or capers or scallions. 

You could make it a whole meal and roll some pastrami right up in there!  (Someone please remind me to do this ASAP.  A schmear of mustard, thinly sliced pastrami, and a sprinkle of caraway seeds.  YES PLEASE.)

rolled out babka dough with a layer of cream cheese and a generous covering of everything bagel seasoning

Eat Plain… or with Cream Cheese

Just slice and eat is my personal favorite way.  No fuss, easy, and ready whenever you bake a fresh loaf!

Also delicious but still low maintenance: spread with a little extra cream cheese, sprinkle with more of your favorite everything bagel seasonings, and a few chopped chives.  {This was my cream cheese loving 4 year old’s favorite way to eat it.}

Or if you want to get faaaaancy… turn it into babka french toast.  Savory French toast is delicious!  Or top it with a fried egg for a breakfast egg sandwich.  So long, boring bread — our egg sandwiches are made with EVERYTHING BAGEL BABKA now.

  • SAF Red Instant Yeast: SAF Instant Yeast is my favorite brand to use. The “Red” variety is best for all-purpose lower-sugar doughs, like this savory babka dough.
  • Stand Mixer: A stand mixer with a dough hook makes this recipe super easy.
  • Mixing Bowls: The perfect set of mixing bowls for both proofing the dough and mixing together the filling.
  • Rolling Pin: My favorite rolling pin!
  • Loaf Pan: Metal loaf pans are the best conductors of heat.
  • Instant-Read Thermometer: Taking the internal temperature is the best way to determine if the babka is done baking.
a slice of everything bagel babka spread with cream cheese with a sprinkle of bright green chives

Tips and Tricks for the Best Everything Bagel Babka

  1. New to babka?  Check out my “The Best Chocolate Babka” recipe for some step-by-step photos of how to twist and shape a babka.
  2. Refrigerate the dough for the second hour of the first rise — or longer (see next tip).  When the dough is cold, it rolls out perfectly. 
  3. Busy day? Split your babka making up into two days.  Instead of rolling out the dough after the refrigeration step during the first rise, wrap your babka dough in plastic wrap and store it overnight in the refrigerator.  Bring back up to room temperature 10-15 minutes before rolling the dough.
  4. Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature and soft enough to spread before adding a layer to your dough.  If the cream cheese is still cold, it will clump in spots, which will create a curdled texture while baking.  We want one smooth, thin layer across all of the dough.
  5. Use a thermometer to determine if the babka is done.  Take out the guesswork and use an instant-read thermometer: when the center of the babka loaf hits 190 °F, it’s done!
  6. Allow the babka to cool before slicing.  The babka will hold together better if the cream cheese swirl cools to room temperature first.
  7. Store your everything bagel babka in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Because of the cream cheese swirl, this bread should be stored in the refrigerator.

More Savory Bread Recipes:

2019 Babka of the Month Series

sliced loaf of everything bagel babka showing the interior cream cheese swirl

Everything Bagel Babka

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Filled with swirls of cream cheese and classic everything bagel seasonings, Everything Bagel Babka is the perfect garlicky, oniony, salty, cream cheesy swirled anytime treat!



  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) whole milk, room temperature or slightly warmed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, preferably SAF Red
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 6 pieces


  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried mince garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare the dough. Whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large glass mixing bowl. On low speed, beat in the remaining sugar and egg. Add in the flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder and mix just until the dough comes together, another 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter one piece at a time, beating after each addition until all pieces have been added. Continue mixing with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, whisk together ingredients by hand until combined and knead until the dough is soft and smooth.
  2. Transfer the dough to a large lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a cool, warm place to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. After 1 hour, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and set aside, still covered, for an additional hour, or until the dough has doubled in size and is firm to the touch.
  3. Shape the babka.  Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently punch it down.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 12 inches long. Spread the softened cream cheese over the dough, leaving a slight border along the edges. Sprinkle the remaining filling ingredients overtop (or use 1/4 cup of pre-made everything bagel seasoning). Working from the long side of the dough, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Place this cylinder seam-side down on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, until the cream cheese filling and dough are firm.
  5. Once chilled, use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half lengthwise down the cylinder to expose the filling, creating two long logs of dough. Twist these two logs together keeping the filling side up and place the dough in the prepared loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap or a dish towel and set aside to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Bake the babka. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Once at temperature, bake the loaves for 45 to 55 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden brown and the inside registers 190 °F using an instant-read thermometer. Allow the babka to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. For best results, use SAF Red instant yeast, which is best for all-around baking, like this savory babka dough.
  2. If you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, proof the yeast before starting. Combine the yeast, warm milk heated to 110°F, and 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside for 5-10 minutes until frothy. Proceed with the rest of the recipe, adding this to the other ingredients and mixing.
  3. Everything bagel babka can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the fully cooled loaf in aluminum foil and place it inside a plastic freezer bag.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 21gCarbohydrates: 33.5gProtein: 7.5g

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Everything Bagel Babka: filled with swirls of cream cheese and classic everything bagel seasonings, this savory babka is the perfect garlicky, oniony, salty, cream cheese swirly, breakfast, dinner, or anytime snack!