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Simit Turkish Bagels Recipe

Simit is a popular bread in Turkey. It looks like the American bagel except it’s not boiled before baking, it’s sesame-crusted bread, and is softer in texture from the inside. This simit recipe is egg-free. Having simit with feta cheese and slices of olives transforms your breakfast into a sophisticated and royal-like breakfast. Preparing simit will not take much of your time, and there is no rolling pin involved! Watch the video tutorial to see how easy it is to make this amazing bread!

Simit cut in half and showing tender crumbs.

What Is Simit?

Simit is a Turkish loop-shaped bread, encrusted with sesame seeds, and you can find it encrusted with sunflower seeds. It is also called Cracknel and Gevrek and served for breakfast. Some simit recipes call for the simit is boiled before baking, but in today’s recipe, we are skipping that step.

Although the shape of the simit doesn’t change, however, the thickness changes, you can find thick simit, which is good for making sandwiches and is usually softer in texture from the inside. The thin version is crispier and darker in color.

You can buy simit from bakeries and carts located in most of Turkey’s streets.

Two Turkish simit on white parchment paper.

Ingredients to Make Simit

Find below the simple ingredients you will need to make this Turkish bread. These ingredients could be in your kitchen already.

All-purpose flour: You can use a combination of all-purpose and bread flour, but since simit is lighter in texture than American bagels it is best to stick with all-purpose flour.



Yeast: I have used active dry yeast. There is no need to proof the yeast which saves time, and the taste of the yeast is mild. You can use the yeast you have available at home, use the same measurement as the active yeast.

Vegetable oil: When baking bread, I like to add a little oil even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. Oil makes the bread softer in texture with tender crumbs.


Sesame seeds.

Molasses: If you don’t have molasses read the notes section in the recipe card below to learn how to make a substitute, I have included the making of the molasses substitute in the video tutorial as well.

Close up image of turkish breakfast bread.

What is the Difference Between Simit and the American Bagel?

American bagel is firmer in texture, and at times spices like cinnamon are added to the dough. American bagel is boiled before baking and is smaller yet thicker than traditional Turkish simit. While simit is plain from the inside, the American bagel can raisins.

How to Make Simit?

I always say that homemade bread is much better than store-bought, and it is true in making simit too. Store leftover simits to enjoy a delicious breakfast whenever you crave for it.

  • Making simit starts by adding the water, yeast, and sugar to a bowl and mixing it well. We are not proofing the yeast here since I am using active dry yeast, but it is to make sure that the yeast has dissolved.
  • In a different bowl, we will add the flour, salt, and oil. Make sure to mix the ingredients well.
  • Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour and knead. The dough will be sticky at first but will turn into a smooth dough after a few minutes of kneading. You can also use a stand mixer.
  • Cover the dough and let it rise for one hour to one and a half-hour. Proofing time may be longer if your kitchen is cold.
  • Now that you are waiting for the dough to rise, go ahead and toast the sesame seeds if you didn’t buy a toasted sesame seed. Toasting sesame seeds brings out more flavor and amazing aroma.
  • This recipe will make 4 medium size simits. Form 4 equal-sized balls; roll out the balls into a 20 to 22-inch rope. Fold the rope in half, braid both halves of the rope, join two ends together to form a circle, press the ends firmly to seal.
  • Mix the molasses with water, and on another plate, add the sesame seeds. Dip the simit from both sides in the molasses first and then in the sesame seeds, then place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover the simit with a damp cloth and let it proof and rise again for 30 minutes, of course, if your kitchen is cold then you will need to proof it longer.
  • Bake the bread for 15 to 17 minutes in a preheated oven.
Turkish bread with red tea on the side.

How to Store Simit?

To keep the simit on the kitchen counter, place it in a Ziplock bag, and make sure to take out as much air from the bag as you can. The simit will stay fresh up to three days.

To freeze, place the bread in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.

When you are ready to have the simit, place it on the countertop and let it thaw or you can place it in a preheated oven 400F/200C for 10 – 15 minutes without thawing.

A whole simit and half a simit beside black olives.

What to Serve with Simit?

Usually, simit is served with feta cheese; most people have it in the morning therefore it can be served with eggs, different types of cheese, butter, or jam. Some cut this bread in half, spread the feta cheese on one half, and top it with slices of cucumber, olives, and tomato.

But this bread is so delicious; you can have it plain with milk or tea.

Other Bread Recipes You Must Try:


No-Knead Dinner Rolls.

Braided Sweet Milk Bread.

Olive Garden Breadsticks.

This recipe was originally posted in December 2016. The post is updated with more information and a video!

Simit is a Turkish bread similar to American bagel but has much softer crumbs. This bread is crusted with sesame seeds and served for breakfast. #simit

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  1. They look just like the one from Turkish bakery over here. Well done, Muna.

  2. Those look absolutely delicious! I’ve never heard of Turkish bagels, but now that I have, I’ll be devouring them!

  3. Oh my goodness, I am dying these look so insanely good. I love the heavy addition of the sesame seed too.

  4. TColeman

    These bagels look so amazing! I have never had a Turkish bagel before but need to look for them.

  5. Jeni Hawkins

    I swear these bagels need to just leap off the screen. They looks so yummy!

  6. Lisa Bristol

    I am always looking for egg free recipes to try. I am excited t try making some Simit this weekend. It looks so good.

  7. Claudia Krusch

    I will have to get the ingredients I need to make some Simit this weekend. It looks so delicious and easy to make. I am sure they will be a big hit.

  8. I have had Simit before and it was so good. I have never tried to make it myself. I am excited to try it out.

  9. I’ve never heard of a turkish bagel but it looks amazing. I’m going to have to try this out, probably impress the hubby.

  10. I’ve never heard of Turkish Bagels, but those look wonderful. They remind me so much of the bagels you see in bakeries throughout the country of Israel. Hope to try your recipe soon.

  11. Toni | Boulder Locavore

    I have to try making one of this Simit. Looks really yummy and easy to make.

  12. katrina gehman

    ok that looks really really good. i have to have some.

  13. These look really good. I will have to get my husband to make these. He’s the bread maker in the family.

  14. I wish I was a baker. These look so delicious. Maybe I’ll share this with my mom and have her to make them for me.

  15. I left my simit out for half a day and cooked them in the oven at 400 until soft again. This process gave simit the exact crunch and softness I remember walking in Istanbul. Thank you!

  16. I came across these when my daughter was doing World’s Fair in school and had picked Turkey as her region. It was a year long project that the elementary cane to tour the world and part was having food from that region for everyone to try. These were awesome! We’ve made them many times since then (in fact I have dough rising right now for a double batch). Thank you so much for the excellent recipe!

  17. Hi
    My bread batter was very sticky so I couldn’t shape it.
    I used some oil and also flour but still was sticky.
    what is the wrong?

    • Arinacooking

      I can only guess here. Maybe you have added more water to the dough, or maybe you didn’t knead the dough enough. Next time, add the water gradually to the dough and knead for at least 7 minutes. Let me know if this has helped.

  18. I have struggled with simit in the past and somehow messed this one up as well.

    The quantity this recipe makes is perfect for a small family during ramadaan so I would really like to figure this out considering lockdown.

    I by mistake put the salt in the Yeast mix, does that have a negative effect?

    Being in south africa it’s almost winter so I placed the dough in the sun with a damp cloth over. Ended up with a relatively dry unrisen mix 4 hours later.

    I should have quit at that point but I had hope so went ahead with making the circles that didn’t exactly look great as the dough wasn’t right, the oven was set to 200 degrees, I cannot fault the baking process.

    It’s that dough mix that has to be perfect.

    Would you be able to describe moisture, texture and elasticity to guide me please. I make rotis with no problem could you use that dough as a bench mark for what I need to get.

    As I was kneading the mix got dry so I added a bit of oil to keep it moist, is that safe?


    • Arinacooking

      Hi Yasin, Thank you for writing. The yeast is mixed with sugar because sugar feeds it and helps it come to life which makes the dough rise. Mixing salt with yeast doesn’t help the dough to rise. the texture of the dough should be smooth, and not sticky. if the dough feels dry then add either milk or water and not oil. If your kitchen is cold then you can turn on the oven for 10 minutes, then turn it off and when the oven is warm (not hot) you can place the dough while covered in it to help it rise. I hope this helped.