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.

11 ratings 4.7 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
7 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
10 ratings 4.8 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
8 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
5 ratings 4.0 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
39 ratings 4.9 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
3 ratings 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
10 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
4 ratings 4.5 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
142 ratings 4.8 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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