12 unique uses for Trader Joe's cult-favorite everything bagel seasoning

The fun doesn't have to stop at breakfast

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published February 28, 2023 11:59AM (EST)

Everything Bagel Seasoning In A Bowl (Getty Images/Michelle Arnold/EyeEm)
Everything Bagel Seasoning In A Bowl (Getty Images/Michelle Arnold/EyeEm)

Because of the nature of the film, anyone and everyone who's seen the exceptional, universe-jumping film that is "Everything Everywhere All At Once" may have different takeaways after watching. One minor takeaway for me, for example, was the absurdity and hilarity that was the bagel iconography as a motif, as well as Jobu Tupaki's (better known probably as "Joy Wang" and played by Stephanie Hsu) monologue about the essence of the everything bagel.

As she so astutely puts it, could you really put everything into a bagel

"I got bored one day and I put everything on a bagel," the character said. "Everything. All my hopes and dreams, my old report cards, every breed of dog, every last personal ad on Craigslist, sesame seed, poppy seed, salt and it collapsed in on itself. Because, you see, when you really put everything on a bagel, it becomes this. The truth."

While likening a legitimate "everything" bagel to all-encompassing nihilism is a conversation for another day, Jobu's musings got me thinking about the everything bagel, the seasoning itself and its "lore," if you will. 

Everything seasoning is actually pretty simple. It's a mixture of differently colored sesame seeds, flaky salt, garlic, onion and poppy seeds. That said, it is an item that is truly greater than the sum of its parts as the aroma and taste has truly taken on its own identity. Beyond this, the seasoning also adds a legitimate textural component, which is not always the case for seasoning or spice blends. 

I've been an everything bagel stan (almost always toasted with cream cheese) for a long time, but a few years back, the immensely popular grocer Trader Joe's brought the essence of the everything bagel to the masses with their Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Consisting of "sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds," according to the official Trader Joe's website, the seasoning exploded in popularity — and the rest is history.

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Since, many have made homemade variations and other brands have released their approximations (I use the Aldi version). For most, the everything bagel seasoning can be a pretty flexible seasoning: added to dips, added to chicken dishes, sprinkled over popcorn, added to pasta dishes, used to garnish a bowl of soup and the like. There's so much more that can be done, though, so I wanted to dive into the many other applications for this surprisingly multi-purpose seasoning blend.

So grab your jars of leftover everything bagel seasoning — or whip up your own — and let's get cooking.

Sprinkle over rice
Though making rice at home can often be a challenge, one of the best ways to add flavor to homemade or leftover takeout is to spruce it up with some seasonings, whether that be good ol' soy sauce or in this case, a healthy shake of some everything bagel seasoning. You can even take it up a notch and add it to risotto for some textural differentiation or on the other hand, toss it into some homemade fried rice for a fun bite with a familiar flavor. 
Add to breads
No matter if you're making bread from scratch or just warming up some pre-made biscuits, everything bagel seasoning is a lovely option. Sprinkle it over the dough before baking, add a touch to the top of the biscuits or even brush some bun halves with a bit of butter (to help adhere) and a quick shake of some everything bagel seasoning. It'll add that signature flavor and elevate your sandwich or slice of bread.
Use to season proteins and vegetables
This one should really go without saying, but everything bagel seasoning is stellar on practically any protein, vegetable or in savory instances, even fruits. Grilled chicken, roasted tofu, sautéed cauliflower, ground turkey, burst cherry tomatoes ... its flavor and texture can amplify practically any of these options. Some are especially fond of it on roasted vegetables or as a "crust" on a roasted meat centerpiece. 
Season any type of potatoes
Potatoes: what a wonder! Everything bagel seasoning is somehow just as good on French fries and hash browns as they are on baked, boiled or mashed potatoes. What kind of sorcery?
Make yourself a "loaded" potato with all the fixins' and top with a generous shake of everything bagel seasoning — you'll be a very happy camper.
Gussy up your deviled eggs
A few summers ago, my cousin-in-law brought over a host of various deviled eggs. One of them was an "everything bagel" iteration which I managed to consume in its entirety in no time. I'm forever a deviled egg person, but sometimes the complete lack of texture can become super unappealing for me. The subtle crunch of the everything bagel seasoning helps fix that. 
Spruce up your breakfast line-up
Everything bagel seasoning is great to have on hand for breakfasts. It's perfect in eggs of any capacity, it's excellent in a savory oatmeal and it is incredible with smoked salmon of any kind. Make a spread of iconic breakfast stalwarts, put a little jar of everything bagel seasoning on the table and your family, friends and loved ones will be very pleased. 
Add some crunch to your slaw
No matter the vegetable for which you opt (cabbage for the classic, kohlrabi or fennel to switch it up a bit) or the variation you choose (rich and mayonnaise-covered, lighter and brighter with vinegar and acid), slaw and everything bagel seasoning are an excellent pair. A creamy slaw is elevated by the crunch of the seeds while a sharper slaw is bolstered by the sesame and the dehydrated garlic and onion. It's fantastic either way. 
Incorporate into breading
Chicken cutlets are a true love of mine, whether enjoyed doused in balsamic vinegar or covered with inexplicable amounts of melted cheese.
One interesting way to switch up your cutlets, of course, is swapping out bread crumbs for something else or adding something special to bread crumbs. In this case, go traditional with bread crumbs and some everything bagel seasoning or go wild and pulverize some Wheat Thins, Cheez-Its or saltines and then toss with grated cheese and everything bagel seasoning. Set up your standard breading procedure and cook the cutlets however you like. The result will be an uber-crispy, intensely flavored cutlet that is moist and juicy inside. Perfection!
Top your "fancy toasts"
Whether going classic with avocado toast or trying out these mushroom toasts with roasted garlic, all fancy toasts can benefit from a shake of everything bagel seasoning. It's especially iconic on the aforementioned avocado toast, in which the creamy consistency of the ripe avocado and the bright flavors and subtle crunch of the everything bagel seasoning pair exceptionally well.
Whip into butters or cream cheese
If you don't have everything bagels on hand, stir some everything bagel seasoning into your favorite unsalted or salted butter or cream cheese and then enjoy the spread on whatever bread product you'd like. The seasoning in the spread adds a different element to the typical seasoning on the bread itself, which changes the experiences a bit but still ensures you're still getting the same flavor profiles you expect. 
Satiate your snack cravings
Everything bagel seasoning is an excellent addition to practically any snack food. 
Toss together an egg white, a mix of your favorite nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and the like), plus a shake of everything bagel seasoning and roast just until fragrant. Or opt for more of a snack mix with pretzels or a savory granola or even on top of popcorn. 
Enjoy on homemade pretzels
buttery, soft pretzel is one of the most exquisite bites in the food realm. Depending on your salt proclivities (I'm a salt hound, if you will, so I'd add both), either add both salt and everything bagel seasoning to the top of your pretzel before baking or just aim for the everything bagel seasoning itself. It's a great way to spruce up that cherished, nostalgic bite of a soft pretzel. 

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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