Tomato salad with burrata and warm 'nduja dressing

Best starter recipes

Our 38 best ever starter recipes are simple yet impressive. From Asian sashimi to veggie cauliflower fritters, our starters will delight hungry guests

Looking for easy starter recipes? Try one of our dinner party starters for simple starters ideas. We have vegetarian starter recipes from creamy burrata to stunning courgette flowers and smart soups with pickled mushrooms. Or try one of our seafood starters – scallops, ceviche, smoked salmon and more. From quick and easy starter recipes to more show-stopping starter ideas to really impress guests.


Mackerel, celeriac and lemon

Check out this simple mackerel recipe with warm lemony celeriac. This impressive starter recipe comes from chef Johnnie Crowe of Nest in Hackney.

Mackerel Recipe with Celeriac and Lemon served on a off-white round plate on a dark brown wooden table

Asparagus, goat’s cheese and lovage

Check out this vibrant asparagus starter recipe with creamy goat’s cheese and fresh lovage, perfect to impress friends at your next dinner party. This dish comes from chef Johnnie Crowe at his new East London restaurant, Nest.

Asparagus and Goat's Cheese Recipe served on a round white plate on a dark brown wooden table

Devilled whitebait with roasted garlic mayo

Check out this easy recipe for crispy deep-fried whitebait and creamy roasted garlic mayo. This simple yet impressive spring recipe will make a perfect starter at your next dinner party.

Devilled Whitebait with Roasted Garlic Mayo

Broccoli tempura with ponzu dipping sauce

Check out this vegan recipe for crunchy purple sprouting broccoli in crispy tempura batter. Ready in under 30 minutes, this dish will make an impressive vegan dinner party starter.

Broccoli Tempura with Ponzu Sauce

Garlic chilli clams on sourdough toast

Make our easy, low calorie garlic chilli clams with crunchy sourdough toast for a showstopping starter recipe. This easy recipe is ready in just fifteen minutes making it perfect for a last minute dinner party.

Fresh Clam Recipe with Chilli and Soughdough Toast

Burrata with savoury granola

Everyone loves burrata for an impressive starter. Try our creamy burrata recipe with savoury granola, it will provide a talking point for your guests. Try our top vegetarian entertaining recipes here.

Burrata Cheese Recipe with Savoury Granola

Moules marinière

Mussels make a great sharing starter. Check out our easy recipe for moules marinière (mussels in white wine sauce). This classic French recipe is a great way to impress dinner party guests. Pop on the table with some dipping bowls and crunchy bread and let everyone dig in. We’ve got plenty more mussels recipes here.

Moule Marinière Recipe

Mushroom soup with pickled mushrooms

Looking for an impressive soup starter? Try our creamy mushroom soup with simple pickled mushrooms. This super easy recipe is smartened up with a pickled mushroom topping. 

Mushroom Soup Recipe With Pickled Mushrooms

Sea bream ceviche with charred swetcorn

This easy starter is a traditional Latin American dish. Our recipe is gluten-free and uses sea bream, a great fish that works well with the zesty limes and a kick of chilli. It is super quick and easy, a perfect show off starter.

Sea Bream Ceviche

Fried courgette flowers with honey and vinegar

Beautiful finger food to start your dinner party. Packed with sweet and tangy flavour, these courgette flowers with honey and vinegar are a great starter for any summer dinner party. What’s more, they look impressive and are quick and easy to make.

Fried Courgette Flowers Recipe With Honey and Vinegar

Tomatoes and lardo on toast with basil oil

Try our quick and easy recipe for tomatoes and lardo on toast with a super light basil oil. Crunchy toasted soughdough topped with soft and velvety lardo, and good-quality juicy ripe tomatoes, this recipe works really well as part of an antipasti. We love toast toppings, so try our recipes here.

Tomatoes and lardo on toast with basil oil

Classic manti

If you’re seeking proper comfort food to start your dinner you can’t go far wrong with dumplings. The Polish have pierogi, Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have dim sum – and in Turkey they have manti. Check out our recipe for classic manti, these dumplings are the perfect dinner party starter.


BBQ fish sauce chicken wings

Your next dinner party will go down a treat if you start with our sweet and sticky BBQ chicken wings. This gluten-free recipe is super easy to make and a real crowd pleaser at any summer BBQ or dinner. Try one of our Vietnamese recipes for a fresh and punchy dinner party spread.

BBQ Fish sauce wings - sticky bowl of mini wings with lime wedges

Tomato salad with burrata and warm ‘nduja dressing

One of our most impressive starters yet. With the spice of the ‘nduja, the crunch and freshness of the vibrant tomatoes, and the creamy indulgent burrata, this fresh tomato salad is a great summer starter.

Tomato salad with burrata and warm 'nduja dressing

Goat’s cheese, sunflower seed and cranberry salad

Looking for an easy vegetarian starter? This pretty salad looks great and has plenty of textures from the bursting pomegranate seeds and creamy goat’s cheese. More easy vegetable salad recipes to try here.

Goats Chesse and Cranberry Salad

Fil0-baked fresh figs with peppered goat’s cheese

An easy starter or an impressive canapé for your next dinner party. Check out our vegetarian recipe for crunchy filo-baked fresh figs stuffed with peppered goat’s cheese. 

Filo-baked fresh figs stuffed with peppered goat’s cheese

Smoky salmon tartare with lemon and capers

If you love serving smoked salmon for a Christmas starter, this is a great modern twist. The salmon is finely chopped and tossed in a fragrant dressing of lemon, shallots and capers. Serve with thin slices of melba toast.

Seared tuna tataki

This simple Asian dish is super-healthy and will have your tastebuds singing. It’s only 211 calories, too. Ask your fishmonger for sashimi-grade tuna.

Celeriac soup with chorizo oil

An easy starter soup. Make this low calorie creamy celeriac soup topped with crispy chorizo and rosemary. Here are our other soup recipes to try…

Celeriac Soup Recipe with Chorizo

Chicken wings with sanbei sauce

A really impressive starter from Taiwan. Check out these delicious chicken wings with punchy sanbei sauce. This recipe is easy to make and comes from new Taiwanese restaurant XU in London’s Chinatown.

Chicken wings with sansei sauce, Xu restaurant

Green spinach pancakes with smoked salmon and soured cream

Try this vibrant recipe with smoked salmon. Our easy spinach pancakes make a refreshing starter recipe for a summer dinner party.

Spinach Pancake Recipe with Smoked Salmon

Burrata with pea gazpacho and vignarola salad

An easy starter recipe, check out this burrata, pea gazpacho and vignarola salad from Eusebi Deli. The burrata is creamy and soft, and the gazpacho is light and refreshing.

Burrata, Pea Gazpacho and Vignarola Salad Recipe

Duck, chicken and sour cherry terrine

This indulgent terrine is an impressive starter recipe to make for your guests. Packed with rich meats and pistachio jewels, this is a starter your guests will remember.

Easy Terrine Recipe with Duck, Chicken and Sour Cherry

Mozzarella sticks with spicy dipping sauce

An easy starter idea for everyone to dig into. Try our gooey mozzarella sticks with a punchy dipping sauce. Blocks of mozzarella stand up better to deep-frying and will still give you that cheesy, stringy ooze. These are best cooked from frozen, so they are a perfect nibble to squirrel away for when you have friends round. Our super indulgent cheese recipes are all here to try.

Mozzarella sticks

Melon gazpacho

This sweet melon gazpacho is a refreshing light summer meal or starter. Packed with plenty of flavour and topped with crispy parma ham, this dish has under 250 calories per serving.

Melon Gazpacho Recipe

Tuna niçoise pâté

Our creamy tuna niçoise pâté recipe is super simple and takes no time at all to make. This recipe serves 6 and makes for a perfect dinner party starter.

Tuna Niçoise Pâté Recipe

Scallops with Vietnamese herb sauce

Scallops make a fab starter recipe. These grilled scallops are super easy to make, low in calories and look impressive. Served with a vibrant Vietnamese herb sauce.

Scallops with Vietnamese herb sauce

Asparagus with butter, balsamic and capers

This recipe for asparagus with butter, balsamic and capers makes a great starter or lunch. Plus, it’s ready in just 15 minutes and is under 300 calories.

Steamed Asparagus Recipe With Butter, Balsamic and Capers

Louisiana crabcakes with spicy mayo

These crabcakes are easy to prepare and perfect for entertaining family and friends. Using chilli tortilla chips as the coating gives them extra crunch and heat but you can also use normal ones, if you like.


Ham hock rillettes with pistachio salt

This recipe for ham hock rillettes with pistachio salt comes from Salt and Honey in London and makes a great dinner party starter.

Thai red curry mussels

This recipe for Thai red curry mussels is a great new way to serve mussels. It’s a really easy dish to make, is ready in just 30 minutes and is under 300 calories but is still packed with flavour and a great chilli kick.

Brine-pickled vegetables with salted yogurt

This recipe for brine-pickled vegetables with salted yogurt comes from Craft London on the Greenwich Peninsula. This dish looks stunning and can be made well in advance, perfect for a dinner party starter.

Steak tartare

This classic dish doesn’t have to be intimidating. This simple recipe makes for a great dinner-party starter, just multiply the ingredients by how many guests you have.

Baked-in-the-shell queenie scallops

This recipe for baked-in-the-shell queenie scallops makes for an easy but impressive starter. Plus, it’s a low-calorie but luxurious dish

Chargrilled asparagus, fried duck egg and morels

Our simple starter recipe for chargrilled asparagus, fried duck egg and morels comes from Noble Rot in Bloomsbury and makes a great quick, veggie starter. Try one of our asparagus recipes here.

Potted smoked salmon

Our lovely, light, rillette-style pâté combines fresh salmon with smoked to add real depth of flavour. Clarified butter seals the pots, so these can be made a day or two in advance – just the thing for a Christmas party. This recipe was inspired by HIX bar.

Thai-style fishcakes with sweet and sour cucumber pickle

Thai fishcakes make brilliant party food or a dinner party starter as you can fry them in advance and keep warm in the oven. The easy cucumber pickle adds an authentic Southeast Asian touch.


Baba ganoush with cumin crispbreads

Serve this baba ganoush with cumin crispbreads as a meze starter with hummus, olives, lamb kofte or falafel. You can keep with crispbreads in an airtight container for up to three days.