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A Closer Look at Starter Recipes

Smaller dishes can be served before a main course or when you want to make snacks instead of a more filling meal. You can serve them at parties, buffets, get-togethers, cocktail parties and more. If the occasion calls for finger food or a snack, rather than a heavy meal, you can serve such recipes.

Plan which ones you are going to serve by thinking about your guests and looking at the rest of the planned menu. You can't go too far wrong if you are willing to mix creativity with classic dishes and perhaps add your own touches to our starter recipes, in order to make them unique and personalised. Match your snacks to the occasion and make something you feel your guests would enjoy.

Starters really don't have to be difficult to make or overly elaborate. In fact, some of the best are the most simple ones - dishes which have successfully stood the test of time.

You can serve starters hot, warm or chilled, arranged artistically on big plates with exotic garnish, or served simply. There are literally thousands of different dishes you can learn to make.

What are Starters?

The definition of a starter recipe is a dish that is served before the main course. You might offer bread and butter with or before them or you might have a platter of different starters rather than giving each person their own helping. Perhaps you fancy offering a Spanish style tapas platter, in which case you would put a big plate of cheese, ham, olives and more in the middle of the table and people could help themselves.

Alternatively you could give each person a bowl of soup, a plate of salad or another appetizer. Starters should not be too filling because they are meant to whet your guests' appetite for the main course. Other words for starters include appetizers, hors d'oeuvres and canapes. Amuse-bouche is another one and this literally means mouth-pleaser.

Examples of Classic Snacks

There are lots of classic ones which you probably already know. Take prawn cocktail, for example. In some ways this is a retro recipe which appeared on every dinner table in the 1970s but it is also a classic dish because the creamy prawn topping, crisp lettuce and garnishes work so incredibly well together.

Soup is another classic idea, and you can choose from brown Windsor soup, tomato soup, minestrone soup or another classic soup. Of course you might prefer to serve something more exotic like a chilled soup, a curried soup or a fruit soup.

Which Appetizers Suit the Occasion?

Usually you need to use your judgement when deciding which starters to make for which occasion. If you are having a formal dinner party you might want to choose some classic recipes, use your best crockery and cutlery and use classy garnishes.

If you are catering for a buffet for a teenager's birthday party you might want to make quiches, sausage rolls, sandwiches, cheese on sticks and all the typical things that people will be wanting and expecting.

There are no hard and fast rules and you might want to serve an international appetizer with a traditional British main course, a hot starter with a hot main course or even serve an unusual dish. Be creative and imaginative and taste your recipes as you go, and you won't go wrong. Starters should be fun to make and delicious to eat.

Thanks for visiting and happy cooking,

Victoria and Everyone at Starter Recipes

Featured Recipe:

Delicious Curried Devilled Eggs

Devilled eggs make a nice dish before any main course or you can serve them at a buffet or party. Curried devilled eggs are especially nice and the curry flavour goes really well with the egg taste. You can add a bit of sweet relish or minced sun-dried tomatoes too if you want to. You might also want to add a couple of drops of Tabasco sauce or a bit of Dijon mustard to spice this devilled eggs recipe up. If you prefer plain devilled eggs, just leave out the curry powder and spring onions. Most people will prefer the eggs slightly curried though.

If you don't have a piping bag to pipe the egg yolk filling back into the egg whites you can spoon it in, but obviously it looks more attractive if you pipe the filling in. It's not tricky like decorating a cake - as long as you aim for the space in the egg white where the egg yolk was, you will be fine! This recipe for devilled eggs is suitable for everyone, from beginner cooks upwards. Devilled eggs are great for buffets, dinner parties, cocktail parties and even for a nice snack at any time. The curry powder makes the egg yolk filling a more appetising shade of yellow and the flavours go together beautifully in this easy starter recipe.

The best way to hard-boil your eggs is to simmer then for seventeen minutes, then put them in a bowl of ice water. This shrinks the egg away from the shell. Put them back in simmering water for ten seconds to expand the shell from the egg, then chill them in the fridge. They are easier to peel when they are cold.

Devilled Eggs with a Curry Filling

Ingredients -

8 hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoon curry powder
5˝ tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced spring onions
1 teaspoon tomato puree
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, to garnish


Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them in half lengthways. Take the yolks out and mash them in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and keep mashing the yolks until you have a smooth paste.

Add the spring onions, tomato puree and curry powder and mix again. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Pipe the mixture into the egg whites using a pastry bag with a star tip. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can spoon the filling in instead.

Cover the devilled eggs and chill them in the fridge for up to 6 hours. Sprinkle the coriander over the top and serve immediately.

(Serves 8)

Curried Devilled Eggs

Photo Description:

These delicious devilled eggs are best served with a green salad, to add colour. In the photo, the salad is made with rocket and red peppers but you can make a plain green salad if you prefer. If you are serving this starter recipe at a dinner party instead of making it for a buffet, you can serve each person two devilled egg halves on a single lettuce leaf, just to keep the garnish simple. Curried devilled eggs are easy to make and they taste really good. They are also satisfying to eat but won't fill your guests up too much to enjoy their main course.

An Introduction to Appetizer Recipes

There are simple snacks and there are complicated ones. You have probably made such recipes before, or snacks for parties. If you're totally new to cooking maybe you are worried about making your own, but there is really no need because they are so easy. Sticking cocktail sticks into cubes of cheese counts as making a starter, as does opening a jar of olives and putting them into a dish. Of course these aren't the most impressive dishes you could come up with!

There are appetizers and snacks for every occasion, whether you are catering for a party, a buffet, a sporting event, a coffee morning or something else. Some take less than a minute to make and others are just as fiddly as an elaborate main course.

Simple Dishes

Simple ones are always an attractive prospect to the home cook. They mean you can make quick and easy food which is tasty and nice-looking. If you have a hundred people to feel, the thought of making dishes which will go down well and not take hours to put together is probably a tempting one.

Don't think you can't make impressive two or three ingredient appetizer recipes because you absolutely can. Choose good quality ingredients and get the presentation right and your starters will be fine.

Hot bacon-wrapped scallops are a simple starter, Parma ham and cantaloupe melon is a simple one too, and there are lots more ideas for starters as well.

How to Serve These Little Snacks

The best way to serve your starters depends on the occasion and the snacks themselves. If you are serving canapes at a cocktail party, you can either have a table with the food on or you can wander round, offering these little morsels to your guests. Canapes tend to be bite-sized snacks made with bread, toast or crackers and some kind of topping. Your guests won't need plates or cutlery to eat canapes.

If you are having a sit-down dinner party, you can either serve individual portions of food to people or you can have a platter of tapas or appetizers in the middle of the table for them to help themselves to the food. Bread can be offered around, passed around or set in the centre of the table so people can take what they want. This also depends on how big the table is and how many people are eating. If you have a table set for twelve, they won't all be able to reach the middle of the table. Well technically they could but it isn't good manners, is it?

Make sure everyone has the right plates, napkins, cutlery and anything else they need to enjoy the food. Being a good host is about looking after your guests and making sure they have a good time. The appetizers are the first food they will see or eat, so it is important to do your best to make them tasty and attractive.

When it comes to presentation, you can either stick to the recipe or use your creativity. Fresh herbs, a wedge of lemon, a sprinkling of black pepper or a strawberry might all be good garnishes, depending on the starter recipe in question. Don't use too many fussy garnishes and try to keep things simple. If you are trying to impress people, it is easier to stick to classic, easy dishes than attempt something too fiddly which you have never made before.

Inside Easy Starter Recipes

Meat Starters Meat Starters

Meat Starters - are very popular and you can choose from beef starters, pork starters, lamb starters, chicken starters and many more delicious appetizer recipes. Meat starters can be served before a fish course or before a meat course if you are going to be serving a different meat. Our meat starters look just as good as they taste and they won't take you too long to make. If you have carnivores coming for dinner, take a look at some of our best meat starter recipes.


Fish Starters Fish Starters

Fish Starters - are great if you are planning to serve a meat main course. Fish starters include popular seafood starters such as mussels, prawn cocktail and more and we also have fish soup starter recipes in our soup section if you fancy a light, fragrant soup dish or a chowder. Fish starters are usually delicately flavoured and lightly fragranced but you might like to make a boldly flavoured fish starter recipe instead, depending on which fish you are using.


Vegetarian Starters Vegetarian Starters

Vegetarian Starters - are delicious, no matter whether your whole dinner is vegetarian or whether your main course is fish or meat based. Our vegetarian starter recipes include egg and cheese based dishes and we also use herbs and spices to make exciting dishes rather than bland ones. Not using meat, poultry or fish doesn't have to be a problem and our exciting vegetarian starter recipes are a testament to that.


Soup Starters Soup Starters

Soup Starters - make a great beginning to any meal and there are literally thousands of different soup starter recipes to choose from, including meat, fish or vegetables. Ideas include minestrone soup, tomato soup, vegetable soup, chicken soup and lots of others too. A consommé or thin, clear soup is nice if you are going to serve a heavy main meal and you don't want everyone to be full before they begin!


International Starters International Starters

International Starters - are very popular these days now that people are happy to be experimental about different cuisines. Whether you fancy making some Thai starter recipes, Chinese starter recipes, Japanese starter recipes or something else, we have some ideas for you. You don't have to serve an international meal after an international starter recipe. Mixing and matching is half the fun.


Special Diet Starters Special Diet Starters

Special Diet Starters - are handy if one of your guests has a special dietary requirement or if you are on the Atkins diet, South Beach diet or something similar and you still fancy a tasty starter recipe before your main course. Special diet starters don't have to be boring either. Just because you can't use a certain food or food group doesn't mean you can't make an exciting special diet starter recipe with the ingredients you are allowed to use!


5 Minute Starters 5 Minute Starters

5 Minute Starters - are perfect if you are in a rush or if your planned starter has gone wrong beyond repair and you don't want anyone to know! Here we have some tasty meat, fish and vegetarian starters that you can make in an emergency with some common ingredients that you have in your kitchen cupboard or fridge already and don't worry, nobody will know that you made them at the very last minute.


Starter Articles Starter Articles

Starter Articles - Starters are a very important part of a meal and it is important to know how to choose which starters you should make, as well as learning some tips for making the best starter recipes and presenting them attractively. Our starter articles will help you to make the best starters possible and guide you through the whole process, including ingredient selection, matching your starter recipes to your main courses and more. Whether you are a cooking novice or a seasoned chef, our starter articles can help you to create wonderful starters.


Why Homemade Recipes are Best

1. Homemade Snacks Taste So Good

If you compare some thawed out, reheated starters from the supermarket to something you have made yourself from scratch, from the best ingredients, which do you think will taste better? There is no contest. You will have plenty of time to make excellent recipes if you plan the event in plenty of time, organise yourself properly and follow the best recipes.

2. Make Ahead Starters Save Time and Stress

If you serve make ahead dishes, you can make them before you need them, avoiding the need to be in the kitchen panicking about things at the last minute. Some make ahead ones can be made well in advance and frozen. Others can be made a few hours before the event. This can free up some of your time just before the meal and if you are catering for a lot of people it will be vital to make some dishes in advance, and you wouldn't have time to prepare everything all at once.

3. Save Your Pennies

Making your own meals works out cheaper than using pre-packaged shop-bought food. You can spend the saved pennies on making a lavish main course or on table decorations or something else to make your dinner party a success.

4. Homemade Dishes Make a Statement

Presenting your guests with something you have made yourself shows them that you value them. Thawing out a packet of something and passing it off as your own home cooking isn't going to fool anyone!

5. There is Lots of Choice

Whether you want to serve meat, fish or vegetarian snacks, hot starters, cold starters or something else, the odds are good that there is the perfect recipe for the dish you have in mind. There are thousands of different options so for sure you can find something ideal.


Try These Delicious Starter Recipes

Here is just a sampling of our delicious starter recipes you'll find plenty more inside the site.

Mediterranean Tapas Platter

Dairy Free Cantaloupe and Prawn Starter

Exotic Mango and Chicken Salad

Potato Leek Soup with Bacon

Colourful Tuscan Bread Salad

Hot Herring Starter Recipe with Mustard Sauce

Authentic Italian Meatballs with Basil


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