Looking for French starters? Let your tastebuds take you on a tour of Dijon, Bordeaux and beyond with these fantastic French classics. Big flavours, eye-catching presentation ideas and clever pre-prepped dishes are ideal for entertaining.


Make it a full dinner with our easy French recipes and check out our best starter recipes for more must-make suggestions.

Best French starters

Steak tartare

This simple recipe makes for a great dinner-party talking point and takes just 15 minutes to prepare. Simply multiply the ingredients by how many guests you have.

Steak Tartare Recipe

Chicken liver pâté

This French-style starter has a luxuriously creamy, rich texture. Serve with cornichons, slices of toasted crusty bread and an oaked chardonnay.

Chicken Liver Pâté Recipe

Queens scallops with sauternes butter

Try this buttery scallop recipe from littlefrench, an intimate neighbourhood restaurant in Bristol serving sumptuous regional French recipes. Not only are queenies incredibly sweet but their little shells mean they end up swamped in this delicious butter sauce. Ask your fishmonger to clean and prep the scallops in a half shell with the roes attached.

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Queen Scallops Recipe with Sauternes Butter Sauce

Baked camembert

Nothing will make your guests feel more welcome than a molten French cheese, with crunchy olive oil toasts for dipping. Our baked camembert makes a great sharing starter and you can try topping with a variety of flavours. Take a look at our quick and easy camembert toppers for mouth-watering ideas.

Baked Camembert Recipe With Pecans, Rosemary And Olive Oil Toasts

Parmesan and smoked garlic gougères

Check out these soft choux buns packed with nutty parmesan and smoked garlic cream. These impressive buns come from East London restaurant, Sapling. Use regular garlic if you can’t find smoked.

Cheese and Garlic Gougères Recipe

Pork rillettes

The perfect dinner-party starter, or just a special lunch, this French dish is made with pork belly, goose fat, white wine and thyme. Serve with buttered toast, cornichons and pickled onions for a vinegary kick to cut through the rich flavours.

Pork rillettes

Twice-baked goat's cheese soufflés

Don't be intimidated, make this easy starter or light lunch with step-by-step help. These foolproof soufflés can be chilled or frozen until you need to give them their second baking.

goats cheese souffle

French onion soup

As starters go, this beefy onion soup is fairly substantial. The savoury broth is topped with bubbling cheese melts, perfect for a comforting winter gathering. A cheesy masterpiece sure to whet everyone's appetite.

Two bowls of French onion soup, topped with cheese toastie


Got 10 minutes to spare? Ditch the shop-bought stuff and make your own Provençal tapenade. Spread over toasted baguette for lunch or stuff into poultry for a main course.

Tapenade Recipe


Janine Ratcliffe Portrait
Janine RatcliffeFood director

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