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    The Internet Is Loving "Air-Fried Bagels" These Days, So To Understand The Hype, I Tried It Myself — To Be Honest, It Genuinely Surprised Me

    Hope you like your cream cheese puffy.

    Hello, there. I'm Shelby, and like many other millennials before me, I finally broke down and bought an air fryer (a Ninja Digital Air Fry Countertop Oven, to be exact). And lemme tell you, I haven't looked back.

    Woman pointing to an air fryer with the text "me and bae"

    Something that truly never occurred to me as an option, though, was bagels. That is, until I saw this mega-viral cinnamon bagel recipe from TikTok user @whatsmomcookin:

    In the video, which has been viewed over 11 MILLION TIMES, @whatsmomcookin — whose real name is Carman — slathers her bagels in cream cheese, throws on a dash of cinnamon, and pops them in the air fryer.

    What emerges looks like two disks of crispy, crunchy, gooey deliciousness.

    Bagel halves on top of an air fryer with cinnamon and cream cheese

    Then she tops them with some honey, and voilà!

    Honey being poured onto bagel halves

    I just so happened to have all the necessary ingredients on hand, so I decided to try out the recipe for myself.

    A countertop with honey, whipped cream cheese, cinnamon swirl bagels, and cinnamon

    Carman didn't give any specific measurements for the recipe, so I basically went with what my heart told me for the amount of cream cheese. Once the bagels were sufficiently covered, I popped them in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes*.

    Two bagel halves covered with cream cheese on a rack

    When my bagels emerged, they looked A LOT more burnt than Carman's, and I realized I forgot to put the cinnamon on beforehand! Rookie mistake.

    Two bagel halves looking burnt

    But I wasn't about to be deterred! I tried again with a new bagel slice, making sure to dust it with cinnamon and lowering my cooking time by one minute. This is what it looked like:

    One bagel slice with cream cheese and cinnamon

    Immediately, I noticed that the cream cheese looked raised, almost as if it had been aerated. Eager to finally try it, I threw on some honey and got to tasting.

    One bagel slice with cream cheese, cinnamon powder, and drizzles of honey on a plate

    My first impression: pretty dang yummy! The bagel was toasted on the outside but still very fluffy on the inside, and the cinnamon-honey combo was DIVINE.

    Woman holding a piece of bagel

    By far the most interesting and probably most divisive aspect of the recipe was the cream cheese. Just like the bagel, it had a fluffy texture on the inside, and almost a crisp outer shell. And, just as I suspected, it rose quite a bit, thanks to the air-frying. I didn't mind the texture but wasn't sure how I felt about the super-warm cream cheese. Still currently debating.

    A bit of cream cheese with cinnamon on it held on a finger

    I know that not everyone has access to an air fryer, so I decided to also try out Carman's recipe in the toaster oven to see if it would have the same effect. Since my air fryer is multifunction, I simply switched it to the "bagel/toast" setting and toasted it under "medium darkness" for about five minutes. We love an appliance that can multitask!

    Air fryer panel with "toast bagel" selected for crisp control and "dark," and 3:28 left for the time

    This is what the toaster oven bagel looked like — IMHO, pretty similar, although not QUITE as crispy-looking.

    A bagel slice with cream cheese and cinnamon on a wire rack

    Here's a side-by-side comparison:

    Two very similar-looking bagel slices, one from an air fryer, one from a toaster oven, on wire racks

    Taste-wise, it was...decent, but not quite as good. The bagel wasn't as toasted (although you could probably toast it for longer to get more of a crunch), and the cream cheese was severely lacking. While the air fryer method seemed to really aerate the spread and make it fluffy, toasting it sort of melted and flattened it, giving it a kind of curdled/gritty texture that I didn't like at all.

    Close-up of the interior of a bagel slice with cream cheese

    So, to get the full effect of this recipe, you'll probably need an air fryer.

    Overall, I loved how the air fryer perfectly toasted the bagel (MUCH better than the toaster oven), and the cinnamon paired with honey was super decadent and comforting. I think that if you aren't sure about warm, aerated cream cheese — like me — a hack is to apply the cream cheese after air-frying your bagel (just know that the flavor/texture won't be exactly the same as the original recipe).

    What do you think of this recipe? Would you try it? Where do you stand on aerated cream cheese? Tell us in the comments!