Top 10 Christmas canapés you can make ahead

Little nibbles and bites are an integral part of throwing a party. We’ve picked our favourite canapés for the festive season and beyond that are easy to make ahead.

Selection of canapes

Forget sophisticated finger food that requires hours of rolling, baking and finishing and go for simplicity when planning your canapé menu. Choose options that are stylish but can be prepared ahead and use only a few ingredients. Our Christmas canapé recipes feature a lot of skewers and twists, which are not only a joy to assemble, they're really easy to gobble down, too.

Top tips

Watch our video on how to make palmiers:

  • Stock up on some mini baguettes and use them for bruschetta-style toasts. Top with all manner of delicious mixes, from tapenade and pesto, to hummus, cheese or smoked salmon
  • Think about how to serve your canapés. Big platters look really attractive and can often be found in charity shops, or a more professional look could be to plump for a slate tray or chunky wooden board. 
  • If you’re going to serve your canapés with a dip or sauce, blob it directly onto your board in neat lines to not only look attractive but also hold the canapé in place to avoid any tumbles. 

Our top 10 party canapés

Steak lettuce cups

Steak lettuce cups on plates

These easy, meaty nibbles are healthy and gluten-free – and they come with two sauces, herby chimichurri and zesty chilli and lime, so your guests can customise to their tastes.

Steak lettuce cups

Grilled aubergine stacks

Grilled aubergine stacks on a plate

Aubergine makes a great base for this pretty canapé platter, which looks impressive but requires only a handful of ingredients. This recipe makes 20 in total – top half with ready-made hummus and pomegranate seeds, and half with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

Grilled aubergine stacks

Polenta & prosciutto chips

Polenta & prosciutto chips

These stunning chips are nothing like your average potato fry. Use a ready-made block of polenta and cut it into shapes then bake. Wrap your sticks with salty prosciutto and serve with trusty ketchup.

Polenta & prosciutto chips

Salmon & cucumber twists

Salmon & cucumber twists

Serve a classic flavour combination with some added panache by wrapping stylish cucumber slices with beetroot-cured salmon. Dollop on some crème fraîche and watch them vanish from the platter in moments.

Salmon & cucumber twists

Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

These tasty morsels pack a flavour punch in each mouthful. Omit the pancetta and parmesan for a veggie option that's just as delicious.

Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

Chorizo & prawn skewers

Chorizo & prawn skewers

These Spanish-inspired kebabs are flavoured with smoky harissa and served with a garlic mayonnaise. Just remember to give your guests somewhere to plonk their used skewer. 

Chorizo & prawn skewers

Cheeseboard sticks

Cheeseboard sticks

Arguably the best part of Christmas is made into a handy bite-sized canapé. Team your favourite cheeses with grapes and cubes of membrillo quince paste. Cheese and pineapple will never look the same again… 

Cheeseboard sticks

Beef & mozzarella meatballs

Beef and mozzarella meatballs on cocktail sticks in a bowl

Little patties will always go down a storm at parties, but save yourself the arduous preparation and buy in some ready-rolled raw meatballs. The trick is in the hidden cheese centre – pop a ball of mozzarella in the middle of your ball before cooking.

Beef & mozzarella meatballs

Twisty cheese straws

Twisty cheese straws

Cheese straws are a classic party bite, but bring them up to date with a layer of pesto, and choose soft cream cheese instead of the usual cheddar. 

Twisty cheese straws

Mini jacket potatoes

Mini jacket potatoes

Spuds are a perfect way of bulking out a canapé offering. Save the potato wedges for a buffet menu and serve these baked new potatoes with a little soured cream and chives. Don’t forget a nice sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Mini jacket potatoes

Now read

Our top-rated canapé recipes
The best vegan canapés
Healthier canapé ideas

We’re a big fan of a party at BBC Good Food, so we have an extensive section on festive entertaining, including a cocktails & drinks page and guides to throwing the perfect soiree.

We’d also love to hear some of your canapé and party recipe suggestions. Leave a comment below...

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