Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, and the festive season sees family kitchens all over the world working overtime to create dish after dish of tempting seasonal delights. But while it can be fun to cook for the people you love, nobody wants to spend Christmas hiding in the kitchen, and make-ahead dishes can be an absolute godsend at this time of year.
Appetiser recipes are often particularly well suited to making ahead, and because they’re small and compact, they can be stored in the refrigerator without taking up valuable space. Many can also be used as canapés or finger food at parties and buffets, so you can make a big selection a few days earlier and bring them all out later for a completely stress-free party.
If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration, we’ve got you covered with 10 of the best make-ahead Christmas appetisers.
These simple French bread canapés are full of rich festive flavours, and they’re a great way to use up leftover Christmas ham and cranberry jelly, too. They take just 30 minutes to make, including the homemade mayonnaise, and will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. Serve 2 or 3 as an appetiser, or use them as finger food at your next Christmas party.
These deliciously savoury mouthfuls are made with meaty porcini mushrooms stuffed with Parmesan breadcrumbs, garlic and herbs, and take just 10 minutes preparation time. They can easily be made vegetarian by substituting one of the many excellent vegetarian Parmesans, and their cheesy, herby flavour is sure to be a hit with family and party guests alike.
With velvety smoked salmon and a decadent caviar topping, these dainty canapés have classic luxury in every bite. Perfect for a glamorous dinner or cocktail party, these ingredients speak for themselves without the need for any complicated culinary techniques. They’re easy to make and easy to store, and their simple elegance is sure to impress your guests.
A must for seafood lovers, these lobster toasts from Food Network Canada are a refined version of the classic Canadian lobster roll. Made with succulent lobster meat with diced celery and onion in a creamy lemon mayonnaise sauce, they take just a few minutes to put together and are delicious served cold, straight from the fridge.
You can keep the toast cups in the fridge for up to a week, but the lobster salad should be made on the day you’re eating them. Luckily, the toast cups are by far the most time-consuming element, and you should be able to prep the salad and assemble the dish in around 5 minutes.
These super-simple olive puffs from All Recipes are made using just 2 ingredients, and they couldn’t be easier to prepare. They’re a great option for a vegetarian appetiser, and their simple spiral shape gives them real visual appeal. Use a selection of different olives for added variety - you can even use stuffed olives if you like. They freeze well, too, so you can make a batch several weeks ahead if you’re going to be busy in the run up to Christmas.
Another vegetarian friendly appetiser, these dainty pastries from My Recipes are made from puff pastry filled with sticky fig jam and gooey brie, and require just 10 minutes of hands-on preparation. They’re delicious served either hot or cold, and will keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
This retro classic from The Modern Proper takes just 20 minutes to make, but its simple, striking appearance makes it the star of any buffet table. Made with cream cheese, sharp cheddar, garlic powder and diced onions, and rolled in fresh green chives, its creamy, intensely savoury flavour means everyone is sure to be back for more.
You can make your cheddar and onion cheese ball a good 3 to 4 days ahead of time and refrigerate it until you need it. Wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap and put it in a safe place in the fridge, where it’s not likely to get poked and dented.
These simple sweetcorn fritters are as versatile as they are tasty, and can be used as a side dish, an appetiser, or as finger food for a buffet. Made with cauliflower, shallots and leeks fried in a light and crispy sweetcorn batter, they can be ready in 30 minutes and will keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
We love these devilled eggs with a scotch egg twist from Spoon Fork Bacon. They’re filled with a creamy, slightly spicy mixture of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, egg yolks and Dijon mustard, then rolled in crunchy panko breadcrumbs and deep fried. The eggs can be prepared and coated in breadcrumbs 24 hours earlier, but for best results they should be fried directly before serving.
This edible Christmas wreath from Joyful Healthy Eats is the perfect centrepiece for any Christmas table and it couldn’t be simpler to put together. It’s super adaptable and can be made with whichever antipasti you like best. Try to get a good mix of flavours and colours, and remember to add some sprigs of rosemary to give the effect of an evergreen Christmas wreath.
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