Smoked Salmon Bagel Panini Recipe

If you enjoy a good bagel right out of the toaster, you’re going to love a freshly grilled bagel panini sandwich! This new twist on the traditional bagel and lox is a bright and flavorful way to dress up your breakfast or lunch plate. With the tops and bottoms removed, the bagels crisp up nicely on the outside yet remain nice and soft on the inside. Smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese are complemented by fresh tomatoes, red onion and a light and zesty dill-watercress salad. Want to read how this recipe was created? Check out “A Little Breakfast Panini Party”.

4 servings


1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
4 fresh bagels, plain or seeded
1 tablespoon butter, melted
8 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 red onion, sliced thinly into rings
2 tomatoes, sliced thinly into rings, seeds removed
4 oz. smoked salmon
Salt and pepper


Preheat panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).

To prepare balsamic vinaigrette: In a small bowl (ideally one with a spout, such as a large liquid measuring cup), combine vinegar, garlic and capers. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare dill-watercress salad: Place watercress and dill in a large salad bowl. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette (adjust amount of dressing to taste).

To prepare sandwiches: Slice top and bottom edges off of bagels, then carefully split bagel in half lengthwise to create top and bottom halves. Brush melted butter on the outer sides of each bagel half. Turn bagel halves over, buttered sides down.

Spread a generous layer of cream cheese on each bagel half. On the bottom halves only, layer onion rings, 1 oz. of smoked salmon and tomatoes. Place the top bagel halves, buttered side up, on top to form a sandwich. Grill two sandwiches at a time for 2-3 minutes until bagels are toasted and golden grill marks appear.

Remove sandwiches from grill. Turn each sandwich upside down and remove bottom bagel half. With tongs, insert about 1/2 cup of dill-watercress salad. Replace the bottom bagel half and turn sandwich upright. Enjoy!

Have a great panini idea? I’m taking suggestions! Find out how your idea can be featured on Panini Happy.


KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Richard wrote:

    I just found your site this morning and I love it. In fact, i might be Panini happy right now. This is an original idea for me…taking the top and bottom off of the bagel. I like it…it makes it less bready and allows the flavors to florish. Thanks for the suggestions, Richard
    .-= Richard´s last blog ..How To Cook Salmon =-.

    Posted 11.5.09 Reply