46 starter recipes
Kick off your dinner party with one of our easy yet impressive starters, from in-the-shell scallops to veggie cauliflower fritters or colourful tomato salad with 'nduja
Looking for easy starter recipes? Try one of our dinner party starters for simple but impressive entertaining. 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.
Baked feta with roasted grapes and rosemary
Simple to make with maximum reward, this baked feta starter with roasted grapes and rosemary only takes 5 minutes to prepare.
Salt and pepper squid
Kick-start your dinner party with a crowd-pleasing plate of salt and pepper squid – the mix of sichuan and black peppercorns gives a tingly spiciness and kick of heat. This recipe is from the co-owners of seafood restaurant Prawn on the Lawn.
Red snapper fillet is flavoured with citrus and coconut cream to create a smooth, fragrant and refreshing starter that’s similar to ceviche.
Prawns pil pil
This prawn starter for two sees plump prawns in a deliciously garlicky, spicy oil. Don’t forget the crusty bread for mopping up all of those wonderful juices.
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.
Serve these Japanese-style dumplings stuffed with salted white cabbage, garlic, spring onion, chilli paste and tofu as part of a Japanese-style feast.
Grilled scallops with ’nduja butter
Start Christmas dinner with a bang and serve these flavour-packed, spicy scallops in their shells.
Zuza Zak's traditional pierogi ruskie recipe has a classic caramelised onion, “twaróg” curd cheese and potato filling that is adapted across the world to what is locally available. This type of pierogi is the most popular, both in Poland and beyond.
Herb and chilli calamari
Liven up crisp, golden squid rings with coriander, peanuts and chilli for an easy seafood starter.
Scallop shell pies
We serve these pretty pies in their original scallop shell and top with flaky puff pastry, a perfect way to start your dinner with friends.
Brown shrimp Ranhofer
Put shrimps at the heart of this easy starter recipe. Ranhofer is a creamy, luxurious sauce spiked with brandy and cayenne pepper. The original dish uses lobster but we've switched for brown shrimp to make it an easy dinner party starter.
Italian scotch olives
This recipe from Italian restaurant Luca sees olives rolled them in sausagemeat and breadcrumbs before frying. A great starter or nibble to serve with drinks.
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.
Make this classic starter recipe in just 15 minutes, using fresh prawns and an indulgent, creamy sauce. This tried and tested recipe is a firm favourite and great for entertaining.
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.
Garlic chilli clams on sourdough toast
Make our easy, low calorie garlic chilli clams with crunchy sourdough toast for a show-stopping starter. This easy recipe is ready in just fifteen minutes making it perfect for a last minute dinner party.
Sea bream ceviche with charred sweetcorn
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.
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. More fishcake recipes here...
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.
Grilled vegetable antipasti
Kick off a classic Italian meal with these gorgeous grilled veggies. Serve with fresh focaccia, olives and cured meats for an impressive spread.
Pea and Yorkshire Fettle croquettes with mint mayo
Check out these crispy croquettes with peas and crumbly Yorkshire fettle. This impressive veggie recipe comes from chef Chris Boustead of new Islington restaurant, Linden Stores.
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.
Asparagus, goat’s cheese and lovage
Make 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. Make the full dinner party menu from Nest with our recipes adapted to home cooking, here...
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.
Broccoli tempura with ponzu dipping sauce
Looking for a vegan starter recipe? Try this crunchy purple sprouting broccoli in crispy tempura batter. Ready in under 30 minutes, this dish will make an impressive vegan dinner party starter.
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.
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.
Roast beetroot soup with caramelised onion and blue cheese toasts
Get your festive feast off to a vibrant start with our creamy beetroot soup topped with crunchy, cheesy mini sourdough toasts.
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. Here are our other soup recipes to try...
Green gazpacho with burrata and prosciutto
For a refreshing starter idea, try this vibrant gazpacho recipe with punchy jalapeños, crispy prosciutto and creamy burrata. Chilling this gazpacho will allow its flavours to develop fully. You could use red tomatoes, but you won’t get as vivid a colour.
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.
Starters from around the world
Chicory with mixed pulses and grains
Check out this chicory salad with lentils, borlotti beans and crunchy panko breadcrumbs. This easy recipe comes from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden.
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.
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. Try XU's mapo tofu recipe here for a vegetarian main course.
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.
Check out more flavoursome ham hock recipes, from salads and terrines to risottos and pasta bakes.
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.
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.
Grilled peaches with burrata
Juicy peaches give a sweet contrast to creamy burrata and salty serrano ham in this showstopping summer salad to share as a starter.
Summer deli board
Put together our pick of the charcuterie and veggies and serve with melted brie for an easy sharing starter.
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.
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.
Griddled avocados with crab and chorizo
Check out this quick and easy avocado recipe with crab salsa and spicy chorizo. This simple avocado dish is ready in just 20 minutes – a great starter recipe for a summer dinner party. Love avocados? We've got plenty more recipes here...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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