Olive Magazine
Harissa lime prawn cocktail

24 Christmas starters

Published: December 1, 2021 at 3:09 pm

Get your Christmas feast off to a flying start with our fuss-free festive starter ideas, from smoked salmon tartare and posh prawn cocktail to filo-baked figs and blue cheese-topped beetroot soup

Looking for Christmas Day starter recipes? We have plenty of ideas to try, from smoked salmon Christmas starters to easy vegetarian ways to kick-off the meal and make-ahead options for fuss-free festive meals. Check out these easy Christmas starters, then also browse our Christmas pâté recipes, Christmas terrine recipes and ham hock recipes for more inspiration.


Plus we've got impressive Christmas centrepieces, Christmas hams, Christmas trimmings to try and four festive entertaining ideas for more inspiration. Don't forget to finish off your festive feast with an indulgent Christmas dessert and one of our showstopping Christmas baking ideas...

Best Christmas starters

Giant champagne and lemon prawn vol-au-vents

Take your Christmas dinner starter to the next level by adding champagne to your king prawn vol-au-vents.

Prawn Vol Au Vents Recipe with Champagne

Smoked salmon Christmas starter with lemon and capers

If you love serving smoked salmon for a Christmas Day 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.

Salmon Tartare Recipe with Lemon and Capers

Grilled scallops with ’nduja butter

Start Christmas dinner with a bang and serve these flavour-packed, spicy scallops in their shells.

Grilled Scallops Recipe with ’Nduja Butter

Pork rillettes

The perfect Christmas dinner starter, or just a special lunch, this velvety French dish is made with pork belly, goose fat, white wine and thyme. Serve with buttered toast, cornichons and pickled onions.

Pork rillettes

Harissa lime prawn cocktail

An absolute classic, made that bit more exciting by adding rose harissa paste and plenty of fresh lime to the mix. With only 15 minutes prep time, this is the perfect dinner party starter.

Harissa lime prawn cocktail

Duck and chicken terrine with sour cherry

This terrine makes the perfect make-ahead starter for a festive dinner party.

Easy Terrine Recipe with Duck, Chicken and Sour Cherry

Marinated figs with mozzarella and serrano ham

Check out our easy fig recipe with creamy mozzarella, salty serrano ham and peppery rocket. These easy pickled figs make a simple recipe for your next dinner party with friends.

Marinated Figs with Mozzarella and Ham

Beetroot soup with cheese and onion toasts

Need a vegetarian Christmas starter? Get your festive feast off to a vibrant start with our creamy beetroot soup topped with crunchy, cheesy mini sourdough toasts. More beetroot recipes here...

Roasted Beet Soup Recipe with Blue Cheese

Ham hock rillettes recipe with pistachio salt

Want an easy cold Christmas starter idea? Try ham hock rillettes with pistachio salt for fuss-free entertaining.

Ham Hock Rillettes Recipe

4 quick and easy camembert toppers

Jazz up baked camembert with one of these smart toppings. Four simple yet easy Christmas starters for entertaining over the festive season.

Easy Baked Camembert Recipes

Scallop shell pies

We serve these pretty pies in their original scallop shell and top with flaky puff pastry, a perfect Christmas dinner starter which will impress festive friends. Plenty of easy ways with scallops here...

Scallop Pie Recipe

Rarebit mushrooms with pickle dressing

Flat mushrooms topped with mustardy rarebit and served with a quick red wine vinegar dressing makes for an ideal veggie starter. It's gluten free, too!

Rarebit-stuffed mushrooms with pickle dressing

Salt pretzels with camembert dip

These impressive pretzels are big, soft and doughy. They are made with beer rather than water, and topped with a sprinkle of rock salt for crunch – the perfect showoff, make-ahead Christmas starter.

Soft Pretzel Recipe with Cheese Dip

Christmas croquettes with bread sauce and stuffing

These crispy balls are easy to make and great at keeping a hungry crowd happy over the festive season, try them for an easy Christmas starter idea.

Stuffing Croquettes with Bread Sauce

Homemade charcuterie

Want an impressive yet achievable make-ahead Christmas starter? Check out how simple it is to make your own cured meats, including a seriously moreish duck ham, beef jerky and a stunning bresaola.

Charcuterie Meats for a Cold Meat Platter

French onion soup

This deep beefy onion soup is topped with bubbling cheese melts, ideal for a comforting winter warmer or Christmas starter idea. Discover our best-ever cheese recipes here...

Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

Filo-baked figs stuffed with goat’s cheese

Our vegetarian baked fresh figs makes an awesome little nibble or Christmas starter that’s really easy to make.

Goat's Cheese Filo Parcels Recipe with Figs

Croquettes with black pudding apple sauce

Packed with smoky black pudding and creamy blue cheese, these crispy ball make for an easy yet indulgent canapé or Christmas dinner starter recipe.

Black Pudding Croquettes with Apple Sauce

Classic manti recipe

Our classic manti are the perfect festive dinner party starter to impress guests.

Manti Recipe

Warm hummus with pine nuts, raisins and olives

Turn a storecupboard staple into this vibrant mezze dish and sprinkle with jewel-like pine nuts, raisins and olives for a quick and easy Christmas starter.

Easy Hummus Recipe Topped with Pine Nuts, Raisins and Olives

Duck samosas

Check out our impressive samosa recipe packed with tender duck, wrapped in super flaky pastry and served with a fresh coriander chutney – perfect for entertaining over the festive season.

Samosa Recipe with Duck

Mozzarella sticks with spicy dipping sauce

Try our gooey mozzarella sticks with a punchy dipping sauce for an easy yet indulgent Christmas starter idea. Blocks of mozzarella stand up better to deep-frying and will still give you that cheesy, stringy ooze.

Mozzarella Dippers Recipe with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Berbere chicken wings

Do you love chicken wings? Check out this easy recipe with a fiery Ethiopian twist. Packed with punchy flavour, these wings make the perfect snack for any dinner party or Christmas feasting.

Berbere Spice Chicken Wings Recipe

Pickled cherries

Quick and easy pickles bursting with sweet cherry flavour. This easy condiment goes perfectly with charcuterie for quick Christmas day nibbles.

Pickled Cherries in a kilner jar served on a wooden board with ham and bread

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