Christmas Party Food Ideas – Buffet

Finger food

Christmas is a time to indulge in lots of delicious food! From a traditional Christmas dinner to party food, you can really push the boat out. Here are my top Christmas party food ideas for sharing with friends.

As Christmas draws near, there are so many things to think about; presents, the Christmas tree, decorations, and most of all, Christmas food. The main meal is usually shared with close family, but what do you serve if you have friends dropping in on the day?

Yes, you can buy ready-made party food. But why not try making your own this Christmas? It’s easier than you think. These simple recipes will wow your friends and they won’t cost a fortune to put together. And you will know exactly what has gone into them. There are canapes, delicious dips, pastries, and sharing platters. I hope you and your friends enjoy them. Merry Christmas!


Canapes are delicate but tasty little morsels to hand around with drinks. They are easy to put together but look very attractive and appetizing.



Thin slices of toasted bread, topped with ham, cheese or vegetables, these are quick to make and taste delicious. All variations make 12 portions.

Cut thin slices from a loaf of crusty bread, preferably sourdough, and toast under the grill or in a hot griddle pan. Rub one side of the bread with a cut garlic clove and drizzle over a little olive oil. Cut each slice in half. Now you’re ready for some topping suggestions.

Parma Ham and Basil Pesto

Bursting with Italian flavours, this will really wake up your taste buds.

1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
A handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 slices of Parma ham
Salt and pepper

Put the basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil into a blender and whizz to a coarse paste. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, season, and set aside. Don’t add too much salt as the Parmesan and Parma ham are already salty.

Arrange the Parma ham on top of the bread slices, making a ripple effect rather than laying them flat. Drizzle over the pesto dressing and garnish with a whole basil leaf.

Italian Tomato and Mozzarella

This is a lovely, fresh-tasting morsel. If you can find it, use Buffalo mozzarella as it has superior flavour and texture. If not, regular mozzarella is fine.

300g mozzarella, drained and diced
175g cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
A handful of wild rocket
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Mix together the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Add the olive oil and basil and season with salt and pepper. Put some wild rocket onto each slice of bread and top with the cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle over a little balsamic vinegar before serving.

Mexican Special

From Italy to Mexico! Homemade guacamole makes a great topping for bruschetta. You can vary the amount of chilli according to your guest’s preferences.

1 large ripe avocado
Half a small red onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
A pinch of dried chilli flakes to taste
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper
12 tablespoons soured cream
Juice of half a lime
Fresh coriander to garnish

Cut the avocado in half and push out the large stone with the point of a knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh into a bowl, making sure you get all the darker green stuff next to the skin (this adds a lovely colour to your guacamole) and mash it with a fork. Add the garlic, onion, chilli flakes and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir to combine.

Pile the guacamole on top of the bread slices, cut each slice in half and top with a spoonful of soured cream. Garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander.

Sharing Platters


This can be made up of anything you like; meat, cheese, seafood. I like a big plate of antipasti, where guests can pick what they want and make up their own plate.


Take a large serving platter and arrange a selection of cold, cured meats, sausage, cheeses like Parmesan and mozzarella pearls, mixed olives, sundried tomatoes, breadsticks or slices of ciabatta, and fresh cherry tomatoes on the vine. A seafood platter could have smoked salmon, tail-on king prawns, pickled herring (rollmops) battered calamari, peppered smoked mackerel and a dish of tartare sauce. Garnish with wedges of lemon and lime.

The only limit is your imagination, so allow it free rein and you might be surprised at what you come up with!

Dips and Nibbles

It’s always good to have some dips to go with your food, as well as some savoury, tasty nibbles to whet your guest’s appetites. Put some crisps and tortilla chips in bowls and add a plate of raw vegetable sticks, like celery, peppers and carrots. These dips can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge, covered, until needed. Just be sure to take the dips out of the fridge an hour before serving so that the flavours can be enjoyed to their fullest.


Blue Cheese Dip

Creamy but tangy, this goes with crisps, breadsticks and raw vegetable sticks. Serves 8.

225g Gorgonzola or other soft blue cheese
150 ml double cream, whipped to soft peak stage
150 ml mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix together the cheese, cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.



This is great served with triangles of toasted pitta bread, but it also goes well with raw vegetables and crisps. Serves 6 but easily doubled.

2 x 420g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Save a few chickpeas for decoration then put the remaining chickpeas, garlic, oil, lemon juice and tahini into a blender. Whizz to a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper and whizz for a few seconds more. Scrape the hummus into a bowl, cover and store in the fridge until needed. Garnish with whole chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cheese Straws

These are as light as a feather and good enough to eat on their own. But they’re even better with a dip. Makes about 40 straws.

100g plain flour
50g butter, softened
50g mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 egg yolk, beaten
Salt and pepper

Sieve the flour and seasoning into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and egg yolk and gather the dough together with your hands. If it seems a bit dry, add a little cold water. You should have a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured board or work surface; it should be thin but not transparent. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into strips about 12.5 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. Place the strips onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper as you go.

Bake the straws in a preheated oven, gas 6/200C/400F for about 10 – 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. These are best eaten on the day they’re made.

Cheese and Pineapple on Sticks

Every party in the 1970s featured these little sweet/savoury bites. Here’s a modern take on this retro classic. Makes 24.

500g fresh pineapple – ready-prepared to save time
A small bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped
25g mixed black and white sesame seeds
250g halloumi

Put the cubes of pineapple into a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven, gas 4/180C/350F for 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool. Cut the halloumi into cubes and cook in a hot pan until crisp and golden on all sides. Toss the pineapple with the chopped mint and the sesame seeds.

To assemble, thread a piece of pineapple and a piece of halloumi onto cocktail sticks and chill until needed.

Marinated Olives

Mixed olives

Olives are always popular at a buffet. These are marinated to make them extra tasty. Serves 4 but easily doubled to serve more guests.

350g mixed pitted black and green olives
100g feta, diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
A teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Black pepper

Put the olives into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and store for 48 hours before serving, although a week would be better to allow the flavours more time to develop.

Mini Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls

Perfect finger food, these homemade pastries are so much nicer than the shop-bought ones. You can use any sausages you like but I’m using pork and apple for a hint of sweetness. Whatever you choose, buy the best you can afford. Makes 16.

500g block of ready-made puff pastry
8 pork and apple sausages
1 egg
Half a teaspoon of dried sage
Salt and pepper

To remove the skins from the sausages, run the tip of a knife from one end to the other. The skins should then peel off easily. Cut each sausage in half.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board or work surface, forming a rectangular shape about 48 x 32 cm. The pastry needs to be quite thin. Cut the pastry in half lengthways, then cut each half into 8 equal-sized pieces. You should have 16 rectangles in total. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and put a sausage half on each piece. Season with salt and pepper and a little of the dried sage.

Roll up the pastry to completely enclose the sausages and press the edges down very firmly with a fork. Cut 3 slits in the top of each roll with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape during cooking. Chill for 20 minutes.

Place the sausage rolls on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper and cook them in a preheated oven, gas 6/200C/400F for about 25 – 30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up. Serve hot or cold, with a dish of chutney on the side.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Fried chicken

This is a healthier version of the famous fried chicken dish. As it’s baked in the oven, the fat content is much lower. These are enjoyed by both adults and children. Makes 16 portions.

8 chicken drumsticks and thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Half a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
A pinch of smoked paprika
A pinch of salt

Mix the flour, Cajun seasoning, paprika, herbs and salt in a large bowl. Rub a little oil into the chicken skin and dust with the flour mixture. Set a wire rack over a baking tray and lay the chicken pieces on it so that they’re evenly spaced apart. Bake in a preheated oven, gas 7/220C/425F for 40 – 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is crunchy and golden brown.

Serve hot with a favourite dip such as sweet chilli sauce or salsa. The blue cheese dip (above) goes really well with the fried chicken.

Festive Nachos

Cheesy nachos

Nachos always go down well so make more than you think you’ll need. These are very simple to prepare and look as good as they taste. Serves 4 – 6.

2 x 150g bag tortilla chips, any flavour you like
400g can of chopped tomatoes
Half a teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
100g Gruyere or mild Cheddar cheese, grated
300g carton of soured cream
Pickled jalapeno chillies
Salt and pepper

Empty the bags of tortilla chips into a large heatproof dish. Preheat the grill to medium hot. Spoon over the tomatoes and scatter over the spring onions, paprika, chilli and seasoning. Sprinkle generously with the grated cheese and cook under the grill for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with soured cream and sliced pickled jalapeno chillies.

Prawn Fishcakes

These delicate little bites are both sweet and spicy, with the flavours of ginger, garlic and coriander. Makes 12.

2 slices white bread, crusts removed (about 100g)
250g raw peeled prawns
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Put the bread into a bowl and cover it with cold water. Leave it for 2 minutes then squeeze the bread with your hands to remove excess water.

Put all of the ingredients except the oil into a food processor and pulse until well blended but not too finely chopped. You want them to have some texture.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry spoonfuls of the mixture for 2 -3 minutes on each side. Turn them carefully as they are quite fragile at this point. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Something Sweet

Chocolate tiffin

It doesn’t matter how full your guests are from all the delicious party food they’ve devoured, there will always be room for something sweet. Here are a couple of ideas that are simple to make and one special, spectacular dessert that will have your guests clamouring for more.

Raspberry Shortbread Bites

These are totally irresistible – and take just minutes to make. The cream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until needed. Bought shortbread is fine but you can make your own if you like. Makes 12.

200g mascarpone
200 ml double cream
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 thin shortbread rounds
400g fresh raspberries
Icing sugar for dusting

Fresh mint sprigs to garnish

Put the mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Put in the fridge and chill until needed.

To assemble, place the shortbread rounds on a serving plate and dollop a good spoonful of the cream on top. Press 5 – 6 raspberries into the cream and place another shortbread round gently on top. dust with icing sugar to serve and garnish the plate with sprigs of fresh mint.

*This is nice made in the summer with fresh strawberries instead of raspberries.

Chocolate Tiffin

This is an easy no-cook chocolate cake and very moreish. All you need to do is mix the ingredients together and chill until set. Serves 8 – 10.

350g dark chocolate, minimum 72% cocoa solids
200g unsalted butter
90g each of almonds, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts
75g sultanas
50g dried sour cherries
70g oat biscuits, roughly crumbled

Place 230g of the chocolate and the butter into a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow to melt slowly without stirring.

Meanwhile, put the mixed nuts onto a baking sheet and toast under a hot grill until the skins blister. Remove them from under the grill and rub them with a clean tea towel. The skins should all come off but it doesn’t matter if a few bits remain. Put the nuts back under the grill for a further 5 minutes or until they’ve turned golden brown. Allow them to cool then chop roughly.

Stir the chocolate and butter mixture to combine and add the toasted nuts, sultanas and dried cherries. Gently stir in the crumbled biscuits and mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into a 20 cm square cake tin lined with baking paper and refrigerate overnight. Melt the remaining chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and drizzle it over the set tiffin. Chill until firm. Cut into squares about 2.5 cm in size and arrange on a serving platter.



These take time to make but are so worth it. Imagine the gasps of delight from your guests when you bring these out! Makes 18 – 20.

Choux Pastry:
150 ml cold water
50g butter, diced
60g of strong plain flour
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
2 medium eggs, well beaten

Put the water and butter into a medium-sized pan and leave to one side. Sift the flour with the sugar and tip it onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. This makes it easier to add the flour to the pan all in one go. Heat the water and butter over a moderate heat until boiling, then tip in all of the flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste.

Now add the eggs a little at a time and beat well between each addition. You should end up with a golden, glossy paste.

300 ml double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract

Chocolate Sauce:
225g dark chocolate, 72% cocoa solids
3 tablespoons of water

Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Put teaspoonfuls of the choux on the baking sheet – leave a space between each mound – and bake in a preheated oven, gas 6/200C/400F for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to gas 7/220C/425F and bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes, until the buns are crisp and a rich golden brown in colour. Pierce the base of each one to allow steam to escape then cool on a wire rack.

Now make the chocolate sauce. Put the broken-up chocolate and the water into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Allow it to melt and stir. You should have a smooth, shiny mixture with the consistency of double cream.

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until quite stiff. Cut each profiterole in half horizontally and fill each one with a spoonful of the cream. Stick the 2 halves back together and arrange them on a serving plate as you go.

Pour the chocolate sauce into a jug and take it to the table with the profiteroles, pouring it over them just before serving.

*Note – don’t fill the profiteroles too far in advance as the choux pastry will go soggy.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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6 thoughts on “Christmas Party Food Ideas – Buffet”

  1. Christmas party buffets are ideal because you can serve a variety of foods to your guests and even ask them to bring a dish. One Christmas party we attended had six different banana puddings, and they all tasted different. I will be attending two Christmas parties next weekend, and reading your information is very helpful as they asked us to bring a dish. I always like to take two dishes to the buffet. I know one dish going to take for sure is the mini sausage rolls you have introduced in your article. 

    • Hi Janette, thank you for your kind comments. Wow, 6 banana puddings! That’s amazing. I hope that you and your friends enjoy the sausage rolls, the pastry just melts in the mouth. Buffets are so much easier than a full meal as there’s something for everyone. Happy Christmas!

  2. Wow, something I just learned is not to read a page like this just before lunch and when I’m hungry! Those recipes look very tantalizing and not very difficult. Sometimes my wife and I pigeonhole ourselves into doing the same thing for Christmas parties because people have always liked what we bring. For instance, we always bring wrapped dill pickles with beef and cream cheese  to holiday gatherings and pitch ins. Your recipes really give some great ideas for Christmas to wake up our taste buds!

    • Hi Scott, the recipes are really simple to make. Christmas is usually a bit hectic so I wanted to provide some ideas for delicious food without the host having to slave in the kitchen for hours! I hope that this has given you some inspiration to take along a couple of my suggestions along with your wrapped dill pickles. (I’m intrigued as I’ve not heard of this before) and I hope that you and your friends enjoy a little taste of England. Merry Christmas!

  3. I love this article. Can I please come over and enjoy some of the amazing food you have shared recipes for. The recipes yu have included are not too difficult for most people. But it is a nice variety of options to. Your article is well written and easy to follow.

    Have a good Christmas


    • Hi Kevin, I will try to save you some food if you can make it in the next hour! I wanted to make the recipes very easy as Christmas is a busy time for most people and these recipes are all very simple to make and can be prepared in advance. I’m glad that you enjoyed the article and hope you enjoy trying the recipes. Merry Christmas!


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