Put your best host hat on with this selection of cracking Christmas starters, all taking 20 minutes or less to prep. We have nutty flavours, creamy cheeses and fresh fish, all suitably special and wonderfully easy and quick to prepare.


It's always exciting adding new flavours to the Christmas table – follow these recipes, or use them as inspiration for other simple dishes, such as hearty soups, silky pâtés or dips.

Keep all your guests happy with our Christmas canapé recipes – our Christmas dinner sausage rolls are great at a festive buffet or as little tasters before the main meal. Make sure everyone is well and truly in the party spirit with our best Christmas drinks and cocktails, including classic mulled wine and seasonal mocktails.

For more inspiration, try our top 10 Christmas dinner starters, or our make-ahead Christmas starters for a stress-free day.

Top 10 speedy starter ideas

1. Smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche

Smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche

This simple, no-cook starter will get the Christmas party going. A few slices of smoked salmon and a generous serving of vodka crème fraîche make this six-ingredient recipe feel extra-special. Serve with caviar, if you like, and a shot of vodka on the side for an extra kick. For more festive salmon ideas, try our Christmas smoked salmon recipes.

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2. Goat’s cheese, pear and walnut tartines

Goat's cheese, pear and walnut tartines on a slate

For that sweet and salty fix, try these goat’s cheese, pear and walnut tartines. Top toasted bread with creamy goat's cheese, griddled pears, honey, balsamic and walnuts for a sensory overload of flavour and texture. Like what you taste? Try more indulgent goat's cheese recipes.

3. Chestnut hummus

chestnut hummus in a bowl accompanied by a plate full of crudites

Swap the traditional chickpeas for festive chestnuts with this impressive hummus. When cooked, chestnuts have a unique, sweet flavour. Pairing with crudités and crackers is perfect for a simple starter or party nibble. You can also try some of our delightful chestnut stuffing recipes for the big day. This can also be a perfect hristmas starters for kids, serving up a sprinkle of joy and a dash of excitement in every delightful bite

4. Pan-fried scallops

Pan-fried scallops with lime & coriander Winter Fish page 50

This zesty scallop starter is full of refreshing flavour and heat from the lime, coriander and chilli. This feels really special, but only takes about 10 minutes to make. Try more seafood sensations with our scallop recipes.

5. Halloumi, carrot and orange salad

Halloumi carrot and orange salad with watercress on a plate

This 20-minute salad is perfect for those after a lighter starter. Halloumi, carrot, orange and watercress are a knock-out combination, drizzled with a homemade honey and mustard dressing. Tuck into more nutritious dishes with our collection of warm salad recipes, full of your five-a day.

6. Smoked salmon, dill and lemon pâté

Smoked salmon, dill and lemon pâté in a bowl with breadsticks on the side

Breadsticks and crackers at the ready! This delicious salmon pâté mixed with fragrant dill and lemon is the perfect table centrepiece starter to dig into. It's light and can easily be prepared in advance to eleviate some pressure on the day. Dig into more Christmas paté and terrine recipes for the festive period.

7. Pear and manchego salad

Pear and manchego salad on a plate

Do up a simple greens with fruity and nutty flavours in this pear and manchego salad. Make a honey and rosemary dressing to drizzle over toasted hazelnuts, leaves, thinly sliced pear and cheese for an elegant way to start your festive feast. Get fruity with our huge selection of fruit starters for Christmas, take a look at our pear recipes, both sweet and savoury.

8. Whisky and nut baked camembert

Whisky and nut baked camembert with bread

If you thought things couldn't get better than a classic baked camembert, this recipe will prove you wrong. Make it extra-festive with classic Christmas herbs like rosemary and thyme, chopped nuts and a whisky and maple syrup drizzle. Get inspired with more baked camembert recipes.

9. Crispy tofu

Crispy tofu triangle on a board

These crispy tofu bites are a vegan dream! With a coating of smoked paprika and garlic, they are perfect starter, served with salad or a dipping sauce. Delve into our other tofu recipes, full of different flavours and textures.

10. Burrata bruschetta

Burrata Bruschetta with broad beans, peas

This bruschetta can be made all year round if you use frozen peas and broad beans. Cover sourdough or ciabatta with creamy burrata and top with green veg, peppery radish, mint and chilli. Try other toast-topped sensations with our bruschetta recipe ideas.

Get more Christmas recipe inspiration...

Christmas gravy recipes
Budget Christmas recipes
Dairy-free Christmas recipes
Top 10 vegan Christmas mains


What's your favourite festive starter? Let us know below...

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