Christmas smoked salmon starter recipe ideas for an elegant start to your festive lunch

Lauren Hughes
·7-min read
 Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Deep Fried Capers
Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Deep Fried Capers

Smoked salmon starter recipes are ideal for a dinner party or even for Christmas dinner, including smoked salmon on rye with caviar, mini smoked salmon pancakes and a smoked salmon tart - delicious! (If you're not a fan of smoked salmon, take a look at our other delicious Christmas starter ideas...) 

A smoked salmon starter is an easy, but impressive, first course. Smoked salmon starters are light enough to start a meal, but full of interesting flavours and textures. You'd be surprised the variety of ways you can prepare smoked salmon - it doesn't always need to be served as it is, it can be cooked or baked too for a less traditional option.

Our pick of salmon starter recipes make luxe options, from homemade beetroot and gin cured salmon that everyone can share to giant blinis with smoked salmon and caviar, which are quick and easy to make but never fail to impress guests. Or, if you happen to have more time to prepare, go for a smoked salmon tart or mini smoked salmon and chive frittatas, which both work with a fresh green salad.

When it comes to smoked salmon the quality is key as quite often it's served fairly simply and you'll really get the flavour coming through in whatever starter you choose. Wild salmon will be a stronger, more meaty flavour while good quality farmed salmon will have a slightly more subtle taste to it. For a classic smoked salmon starter if you're tight on time you could just slice up wheaten bread, top with butter and a little pile of salmon. Squeeze over plenty of fresh lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper and you'll have a tasty beginning to your meal with hardly any work.

Gin, pink Peppercorn and dill cured salmon (pictured) is a really fab way of making the most of some really trendy flavours right now. This is a really sophisticated dinner party starter and really brings out the flavour of the smoked salmon. Make this for friends and family and they'll be really blown away.

Many of these recipes can be made ahead so you can relax and enjoy your dinner party without being stuck in the kitchen or rushing back and forth to check on whatever you may have cooking. Use the best quality smoked salmon you can get for the best results, as the beauty of these recipes is their simplicity.

Our favourite smoked salmon starter recipes for Christmas Day

Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Deep Fried Capers
Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Deep Fried Capers

Smoked Salmon with Beetroot and Deep Fried Capers

Smoked salmon with beetroot and deep-fried capers makes a pretty plate of food that's ready in just 30 minutes. It's ideal for dishing up at Christmas, as you'll have your hands full with the main. This will get your friends and family feeling really festive!

Beetroot And Gin Cured Salmon
Beetroot And Gin Cured Salmon

Beetroot And Gin Cured Salmon

Our beetroot and gin cured salmon takes some preparing ahead but it's well worth it given the beautiful vibrant purple colour it takes on, and its sweet salty flavour. It goes ideally with some freshly baked spelt soda bread if you've got the time, and pickled cucumber. This is a slightly more elaborate starter but it's perfect for a special occasion, as it not only serves a large group, but guests will really appreciate the effort you've put in. If, however, you don't think you'll have time to make this recipe, then we have plenty of others that are quick and easy to prepare. Keep scrolling through for more.

Smoked Salmon Pancakes with Sour Cream and Caviar
Smoked Salmon Pancakes with Sour Cream and Caviar

Smoked Salmon Pancakes with Sour Cream and Caviar

For the ultimate in smart starters, we love this smoked salmon pancakes with sour cream and "caviar" recipe. It's a really classic dish that everyone will enjoy. Sometimes there's nothing better than a tried and tested favourite when you're entertaining guests and are unsure of what people do and don't like. You could serve these up on their own or prepare a nice side salad to go alongside the,

Hot Smoked Salmon Pate
Hot Smoked Salmon Pate

Hot Smoked Salmon Pate

A light but delicious appetiser - your guests will love our hot smoked salmon pate recipe. This can be made well in advance of your dinner party so is perfect for helping you keep your cool on the day. Simply make it up and store in an air right container for up two two days in the fridge. You can serve it however you fancy but our favourite way is with plenty of brown toast and lots of lemon on the side - wonderful!

Smoked Salmon Terrine
Smoked Salmon Terrine

Smoked Salmon Terrine

This impressive smoked salmon terrine makes a beautiful centrepiece for a special occasion. Encased in slices of silky smooth salmon is a light mousse made up of cream cheese and more salmon with the flavours of dill, horseradish and pink peppercorns to really bring it alive. We think this goes perfectly with light slices of melba toast and a glass of fizz!

Smoked Salmon with Capers, Onion and Eggs
Smoked Salmon with Capers, Onion and Eggs

Smoked Salmon with Capers, Onion and Eggs

A traditional way of serving salmon, this smoked salmon with capers, onion and eggs recipe is so simple to prepare but has the all-important wow-factor when plated up. Make ahead and just assemble at the last minute. Guests will love having their own DIY aspect to do at the table and will enjoy using as much or as little of each accompaniment as they fancy.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese rolls
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese rolls

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese rolls

Simple but delicious, these easy smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls make an informal starter or party bite. You can serve them alongside other canapés or enjoy them with a little salad as a more substantial starter. These are so simple in fact, that you could get younger family members to help you put them together. They might not end up as neat as you'd first envisioned but they'll taste just as good and they'll love helping you.

Smoked Salmon with Horseradish and Dill Cream
Smoked Salmon with Horseradish and Dill Cream

Smoked Salmon with Horseradish and Dill Cream

This quick smoked salmon with horseradish and dill cream recipe is a simple starter that'll go down a storm. Rye bread is quite dense and heavy so try to slice it as thinly as possible to keep your starter light. Add sliced avocado for a fresh twist on a classic and to give your plate just a little more colour.

Giant Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Caviar
Giant Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Caviar

Giant Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Caviar

A delicious, full-size version of the classic canapé, our giant blinis with smoked salmon and caviar recipe is a glamorous way to kick off proceedings and easy to make for a crowd. There's something so ultimately satisfying about cutting into this starter-sized blini and guests will love that you've gone for something a bit different.

Mini Smoked Salmon and Chive Frittatas
Mini Smoked Salmon and Chive Frittatas

Mini Smoked Salmon and Chive Frittatas

These cute little mini smoked salmon and chive frittatas make the perfect pre-dinner nibble - and it's just as good for a luxurious Christmassy brunch! If you fancy serving them up as a full blown starter then you could make them a little bigger - in a muffin sized tin. Pop a few leaves beside them on the plate and you've got an instant winner.

Smoked Salmon Tart
Smoked Salmon Tart

Smoked Salmon Tart

This smoked salmon tart recipe is a great way to take advantage of inexpensive smoked salmon trimmings - and the result is incredibly moreish. If you're only planning on cooking for a couple of people then don't worry, the leftovers from this tart are sure to be just as popular the next day for brunch. It'll keep perfectly well for up to three days in the fridge.

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Blinis
Smoked Salmon and Caviar Blinis

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Blinis

This smoked salmon and caviar blinis recipe can either make a quick and simple nibble to pass around as your guests arrive or an easy starter. It's an absolute classic and guaranteed to be popular no matter who you're cooking for. You can source really inexpensive caviar alternatives these days that taste really great making this dish nowhere near as pricey as you might have first thought it would be.