Baked Camembert with bacon-wrapped breadsticks on a serving tray

Festive starter recipes

Kick-start your Christmas dinner with an easy-but-impressive starter. Our festive recipes include sharing plates, smoked salmon dishes, salads, soups and more.

10 ratings 4.6 out of 5 star rating

Gooey, melted cheese and crispy, golden bread make a stunning centrepiece to share with friends over drinks or as a dinner party starter – make ahead for fuss-free entertaining

1 hr
More effort
6 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

Make this cured salmon and prawn dish as a classy starter for a dinner party. It takes a few days of prep, but it’s well worth it for the flavour that you get

40 mins
More effort
Gluten-free
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1 rating 5.0 out of 5 star rating

Impress guests with our creamy cauliflower cheese rolls. These easy canapés are wrapped in crunchy filo pastry and topped with sesame seeds

45 mins
Easy
Vegetarian
7 ratings 4.7 out of 5 star rating

Top toasted sourdough with goat's cheese, honey-roasted pears and walnuts to make these tasty tartines. They take just two minutes to prep and deliver one of your 5-a-day

17 mins
Easy
Vegetarian
7 ratings 4.9 out of 5 star rating

James Martin's stunning seafood starter is guaranteed to impress at any dinner party - layer with beetroot, orange and tangy horseradish cream

30 mins
Easy
Gluten-free
2 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

Get your dinner party off to a great start with a silky-smooth chicken liver parfait. Serve with toasted brioche and a sweet chutney for an indulgent starter

30 mins
More effort
3 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

This extra-special vegetarian starter is bursting with contrasting flavours and textures, such as spiralized pear, crunchy roasted nuts and creamy cheese

30 mins
More effort
Vegetarian
Gluten-free
3 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

James Martin's seafood starter has a delicate balance of salty, sharp, rich and smoky flavours - a mouthwatering start to a Bonfire Night menu

35 mins
Easy
28 ratings 4.4 out of 5 star rating

Serve this halloumi, carrot, orange and watercress salad with a mustard and honey dressing for an easy lunch or starter. It takes just 20 minutes to make and delivers one of your 5-a-day

20 mins
Easy
Vegetarian
Gluten-free
3 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

Whet the appetite for the main event by serving guests this special chicken terrine with leeks and apricots. It can be made up to three days ahead

1 hr and 30 mins
More effort
2 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

This speedy, zesty version of the Swedish classic cuts the curing time to 30 minutes and makes a special starter for two

15 mins
Easy
Gluten-free
1 rating 5.0 out of 5 star rating

This Ukrainian dish is traditionally eaten at Christmas - serve on toasted rye bread for a crostini-like starter or party canapé

55 mins
Easy
Vegetarian
0 ratings 0.0 out of 5 star rating

This festive seafood starter, finished with a garlicky basil dressing, can be prepared ahead - ideal for a fuss-free dinner for two

40 mins
More effort
Gluten-free
7 ratings 4.9 out of 5 star rating

James Martin's luxuriously rich dinner party starter can be made up to two days in advance for fuss-free entertaining - serve with toasted brioche, cornichons and chutney.

25 mins
More effort
0 ratings 0.0 out of 5 star rating

This indulgent sharing platter makes an impressive dinner party starter with trout pâté, crisp coated mackerel fillets and smoked salmon

55 mins
Easy
5 ratings 4.2 out of 5 star rating

Serve these Burmese-inspired fritters with a garlic dipping sauce as a starter, canapé or simple snack. They're crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside

1 hr
Easy
5 ratings 4.8 out of 5 star rating

Entertain a crowd with this attractive chickpea dip - make the hummus and herby oil ahead, then assemble at the last minute

40 mins
Easy
Vegetarian
4 ratings 4.3 out of 5 star rating

Give the classic prawn cocktail a twist by pairing crayfish tails with tangy horseradish and creamy avocado in this delicious dinner party starter

15 mins
Easy
2 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

This versatile recipe can be altered to transform your leftover cheese into a help-yourself starter - perfect served with crusty bread

50 mins
Easy
0 ratings 0.0 out of 5 star rating

This sophisticated dish makes an elegant dinner party starter, balancing the sweetness of the apple and malt loaf with a tangy vinaigrette

4 hrs and 15 mins
More effort
5 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

Elegant yet full-flavoured, guests will love putting together these bites - make the beef and crème fraîche topping in advance to get ahead

45 mins
Easy
3 ratings 4.4 out of 5 star rating

Serve seafood on a sharing platter and let everyone build their own little prawn cocktail bites for a perfect dinner party starter or canapé

30 mins
Easy
135 ratings 4.9 out of 5 star rating

This stunning starter can be assembled ahead, then topped with dressed leaves just before serving.

20 mins
Easy
Gluten-free
6 ratings 5.0 out of 5 star rating

MasterChef finalist, Alex Rushmer, shows us how to create a show-stopping vegetarian starter for the festive season

2 hrs and 40 mins
A challenge
Vegetarian
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