Throwing a Christmas buffet has never been easier with our simple guide and buffet ideas. From dips to desserts, every buffet needs a wide selection and variety of food to choose from and we've got it covered
If you fancy doing Christmas a little differently this year how about having a Christmas buffet? Whether it’s instead of your Christmas roast, a Boxing Day treat or pre-Christmas celebration party, a buffet is a great way of serving food to a lot of hungry people.
Never thrown a buffet before? Then we’ve got the inspiration you need. We’ve rounded up our favourite buffet ideas that are sure to impress. From dips to desserts, every buffet needs a wide selection and variety of foods to choose from so each guest can leave with a smile on their face and a full stomach.
The buffet recipes in our round-up are cheap, quick and easy so you won’t feel the stress or the pinch this Christmas. There’s no need to spend lots of money on fancy nibbles or hours hunting down the supermarket aisle for that perfect treat, when you can make your own. You can even get the family to help you make them too.
We’ve got both savoury and sweet recipes, classic Christmas drinks and naughty but oh-so-nice desserts. We’ve also got some treats for the adults, fussy eaters and not forgetting simple Christmassy bites for the kids. We’ve even got party bag ideas full of Christmas goodies for your guests to take home with them.
Click through to see our Christmas buffet ideas…
Everyone loves a festive bite! There are plenty of ways to jazz up your buffet treats to make them that little bit special. Christmas-shaped cutters are always handy to have when it comes to making these nibbles, you could make sandwiches and cut them into star shapes, you could make biscuits, colour them green and cut them into Christmas trees – let your imagination run wild! Christmas bites are there to have fun with, so get the kids involved and get cooking.
* Our impressive Christmas crackers (pictured) are much easier to make than they look. Choose from avocado, prawn and lemon, feta and lime or sausage and cranberry for your fillings.
* It’s not Christmas without some Brussels sprouts. Try making Gordon Ramsay’s Brussels sprouts with pancetta and watch in surprise as your guests surround the bowl full – who knew Brussels could be so tasty!
* Keep it traditional with our spicy and sweet mince pies, they’re perfect treat for the sweet section of the buffet table.
How to serve
If you’ve opted for the classic Brussels sprouts, serve these tasty bites in a large serving bowl with a spoon, so guests can scoop them onto their plates. Serve your Christmas crackers on a large plater and your mince pies on a wooden board in the sweet section of your buffet.
The idea of a buffet is that people can pick and choose what they like, so it's always best to have a variety of options. Another one of our must-haves is sausages. Now you may just think bangers and mash or kids' parties - but sausages are a great buffet food especially at Christmas time.
* First on our list is bacon wrapped sausages, otherwise known as 'pigs in blankets'. These meaty delights are full of flavour and take no time at all to make. Just ensure you have plenty as they're usually first to go.
* Our twisty sausage rolls are meaty and delicious and an easy way to go if you're making your own from scratch. WIth only half the pastry, they're lighter too so your guests won't get too full.
* Sometime all sausages need is a little extra flavour. This recipe for sticky sausages and sweet chilli dip is the perfect way to give them a boost.
How to serve:
It's best to serve your sausages on a napkin covered plate in case they're greasy. The napkin will absorb the grease and look good too (especially if it's Christmas themed!). If you've chosen to make our Christmas cocktail sausages, these can be served directly on a large plate or plater.
You've got to please the meat lovers at your buffet and what better way to do that than serve some delicious, tender pieces of beef? It's is easy to cook and so succulent when you get it right. Hunt high and low for that meaty bargain - supermarkets often do deals on pieces of beef so keep an eye out. Getting beef from a butchers may also be less expensive and the butcher can recommend cuts for your chosen recipe.
* Get in the Christmas spirit with our deliciously warming mini chilli beef pies recipe. This is a hearty recipe and a delicious choice at your buffet!
* A little dressing and some cocktail sticks is all you need to turn steak into a buffet-style canape. These steak on sticks (pictured) are perfect for parties.
* You can't go wrong with a burger, especially with this delicious melting cheese burgers recipe. Just cut them down to size or make them mini to suit the buffet spread.
How to serve:
Serve your burgers in warm toasted buns on a large platter so everyone can help themselves. Place pots of ketchup, mustard and mayo beside them and some fresh lettuce leaves, sliced tomato and red onion, so your friends and family can assemble their burgers to suit their own tastes.
You can't go wrong with a helping of chicken
in a buffet spread. From chicken wings to chicken nuggets, think small
and bite-sized and you're sure to please. Chicken is a great choice as
it's often cheaper to buy in bulk. Look out for 3-for-2 or BOGOF deals
in supermarkets and save some money in the process. We've got plenty of
great chicken recipes to choose from and you can always make your
favourite dish in mini form.
* If you fancy something with a kick our spicy chicken wings recipe will be right up your street. They only take 25 mins to cook and wings are the cheapest cut to buy.
* Who doesn't love a naughty serving of Southern fried chicken? (pictured) You don't need to head to the nearest takeaway though, just try our easy recipe.
* Chicken dippers are ideal for children (and big kids too!). Serve with lots of different sauces and watch them disappear.
How to serve:
you've got any veggies in the family, make sure you keep the chicken
away from the vegetarian options or you'll risk being left with lots of
veggie dishes no one wants to eat.
A great way of serving your
chicken is in a basket or a warmed plate so they don't get cold. If
you've cooked your chicken and it's sitting on the table waiting to be
eaten, cover in tin foil so it doesn't lose it's heat and take off when
your guests look like they're ready to tuck in.
Whether you've got vegetarian friends, fussy eaters or family members who are trying to be healthy, it's always best to serve some veggies at your buffet. Choose vegetables that are bright and vibrant in colour and you're guests are more likely to eat them - they've got to catch their eye amongst all the naughtiness!
* Mushrooms are a great vegetable nibble and they're delicious stuffed and with cheese like these cheese and spinach baked mushrooms.
* Mediterranean stuffed peppers are a great choice for your guests as they're bright, sweet and look good on the buffet table - perfect!
* Impress your friends and family with these dainty mini vegetable frittatas - they may look tricky to make but they're very simple and only take 10 mins to prepare.
How to serve:
These delicious nibbles would be best served altogether on a large plater dish and clearly set apart as vegetarian food. Keep them well away from any meaty bits to keep the vegetarians happy.
Sweet or savoury, biscuits are a must-have at a buffet. They're so simple to make so are easy to whip up quickly if your spread is looking a little bare. Biscuits are great served with cheese, cold meats or if they're sweet as a tasty treat with a warm cuppa, when the party has died down.
* Our seeded Parmesan biscuits (pictured) recipe makes 30 biscuits in one and is best made the day before so they're not rushed on the day. They're crispy and oozing with a rich, cheesy flavour.
* If you've got a Christmas tree in the same room as your buffet table you can decorate it with edible Christmas cookies Not only will they look festive, they'll taste it too with a smooth buttery crunch.
* If you're serving slices of cheese, our oaty cheese biscuits would make a perfect combo.
How to serve:
If you're serving warm biscuits, place these in a basket so they keep warmer for longer. The savoury biscuits are best sat next to the cheese in case anyone fancies combining the two. Your sweet biscuits can be in your after-dinner section with the cupcakes and bakes.
Fish doesn't have to be expensive, especially when it comes to a buffet. Looking for multi-packs or cheap deals is a great way of getting the best seafood at an affordable price. From fish cakes to prawn cocktails and fancy smoked salmon, no buffet is complete with a serving of fish.
* Fish cakes are simple to make and can be made to whatever size you'd prefer. Our tasty smoked cod fish cakes are a great choice.
* It's a classic! A prawn cocktail (pictured) is always a winner at parites. If you make it yourself you can ensure the prawns are covered in as much sauce as you want. Serve with crisp lettuce and watch your guests snatch them up.
* Bite-sized crispy cod nuggets are a nice alternative to chicken nuggets - pefect for those little hands at the buffet table.
How to serve
If you've chosen to serve prawn cocktail you could make mini ones by serving them in shot glasses or small wine glass with a bed of crisp salad. For other fish nibbles serve in a basket so the fish will keep warmer for longer.
Christmas isn't complete without an impressive layered trifle. From a classic giant to modern minis, there are plenty of ways to serve your trifle and make it the masterpiece of the buffet table when it's time to bring out the puds. Trifles are light and creamy which makes them perfect for a buffet, as people may have pigged out on the mains.
* If you want to keep all your buffet food small and picky then our recipe for mini fruit trifles is ideal. Combining classic Christmas colours with the creaminess and sweetness of a trifle makes these sweet treats irresistible.
* Fancy trying something new with your trifle? How about an iced trifle slice? This is best served last-minute so it keeps cool and doesn't melt. This delicious dessert recipe is creamy, fruity and crunchy all at the same time.
* If you're more of a traditionalist, you'll probably fancy a large trifle full of fruit, cream and custard. Our blueberry and orange trifle is just that and it only takes 20 mins to make.
How to serve:
Whether they're large or small, show off your trifle layers by serving in clear, glass bowls. Remember to keep those layers neat and this simple, classic Christmas dessert will look like a work of art.
another one of those tasty cuisines we just can't seem to get enough of.
Sweet and savoury Mexican recipes are ideal for your buffet as loads of
them can be eaten with no cutlery. They're also great for making in
large quantities, so you're guests will have plenty to choose from and
you won't have to worry about running out of food.
- this traditional Mexican wrap is a great one for letting your guests
get involved in the food making. All you have to do is prepare the meat
mix and they can just help themselves to the extras.
* Homemade churros are sure to impress your guests and if they don't, the little pot of melted chocolate sauce with them certainly will!
* The mother of all Mexican food is nachos
(pictured). Piled up high, a classic plate of nachos with salsa, sour
cream and all the trimmings are the ultimate centre piece.
How to serve:
could have a whole 'help yourself' section for the burritos where your
friends and family can form an orderly queue along the burrito line and
help themselves to a wrap, then meat mix, then any extra sauces, salads,
rices and cheese etc. Lining your dishes up and having a queuing system
will keep your buffet organised, especially if you have a lot of
If you're opting for the cheese and chilli nachos you'll need a very large serving bowl or porcelain dish.
churros and chocolate would be delicious served on a plate preferably
next to the napkins, incase you have any messy guests.
You can't have a buffet spread without a few dips for those crisps, chopped carrots or pitta breads - but have you ever thought of making them from scratch? Homemade dips are surpringly easy to make and they taste so much better than the shop-bought ones. All you need to do is whizz all the ingredients together with a hand blender or food processor and they're done - easy!
* Our roasted chilli pepper hummus (pictured) takes a classic dip and gives it a subtle twist by adding juicy red peppers. If you're serving bread at your buffet, hummus should definitely be on the table.
* Creamy, smooth and easy guacamole is a Mexican classic that's made using fresh avocado and is perfect served with nachos.
* Spice up your night with a simple salsa - it's great for giving your crisps and pitta a firey tomato kick.
* Complete your selection of dips with the fresh and creamy cheese and chive dip - it's perfect for coating your crunchy cucumber in.
How to serve:Once you've made your chosen dip, pop it into a medium bowl and leave in the centre of the table surrounded by freshly prepared vegetables like chopped carrot and cucumber along with pitta bread, breadsticks and anything else you fancy. Make your dip the centrepiece of the table.
If you've got more than one dip, serve them in small bowls instead. Leave a spoon in each of the dips so people can scoop some onto their plates if they don't want to hover around the buffet table.
For all your guests who love hot and spicy food, make sure you have a variety of Indian classics for them to choose from. Samosas and onion bhajis are only a few of the delicious Indian treats you could serve. Making your own homemade Indian treats is such a rewarding feeling, especially when you see the satisfied smiles on your guest's faces.
* Crisp-coated samosas with a spicy, flavoursome filling are a great buffet choice. They're easier to make than you may think - especially if you use ready made pastry.
* If you've never made Peshwari naan before, you're missing out. This tasty Indian bread recipe is perfect for dipping or for cleaning up your plate.
* Our spicy cauliflower pakoras are simple and delicious. Your guests will love the taste of these finger-food delights.
How to serve:
Place all of your Indian cuisine on a large platter and label every food so everyone knows what they're eating. If you've made homemade naan bread, cut up and serve in a basket alongside your Indian platter.
Chinese food is such a great choice at buffets. It's simple, delicious and takes no time at all to make. You can pack plenty of veg in the spring rolls and get creative with prawn toast - they're simple once you know how. These bite-sized favourites are cheaper and much healthier to make from scratch, your guests will be tucking in as soon as you get these tasty Oriental classics out on the table.
* Chinese dumplings are easier to make than they make look and you can load them with any filling you fancy. The best way to cook them is by steaming them so they're a lovely light option.
* Our Vegetable spring rolls (pictured) combine your classic pastry party food favourite with a traditional Chinese recipe. Make plenty as they're sure to go down a treat.
* No Chinese platter is complete without a selection of prawn toast. These homemade bites only take 10 mins to cook in the oven.
How to serve:
Keep all your Chinese nibbles on one large platter so people can distinguish them from any other cuisine you're serving. Label each of your choice using a folded piece of card so everyone is aware of what is in each food.
You can't have a buffet without all the usual suspects such as pork pies, scoth eggs and maybe even jellied eels. No spread is complete without these simple classics and people might be rather disappointed if they're not on the menu - if you want to go all out, make them from scratch.
* With a succulent pork filling and a thick crisp pastry coating, these pork pies are even tastier than the ones from the shops.
* Mini quiches are another one of our favourites. Everyone loves a cheesy quiche, plus they're mini so they'll fit perfectly on your guests' plates.
* Scotch eggs (pictured) aren't as hard to make as you might think. Cutting through to see the perfectly-cooked egg is very satisfying.
How to serve:
Buffet classics are ideal for spreading all around the buffet table so they don't have to be served in a certain section. Place all of your chosen buffet classic in small bowls or on small plates and place randomly around the table so people don't miss out on the good stuff.
Cheese is one of those foods that no one ever tires of. From classic cheese boards to cheese fondue, it can be served in so many different ways.
* If you're looking for something differnt, our recipe for free-form cheese and chutney scones will be right up your street. The combination of cheese and pickle is a classic.
* This gooey and delicious cheese fondue (pictured) is ideal for sharing and your guests can dip into any of savoury treats on offer as and when they like.
* If you don't want to just serve chunks of cheese on a board, our recipe for savoury Parmesan bites, with a crisp coating and a gooey cheesy centre, would work wonders.
How to serve:
Decided to make the cheese fondue? Serve in a small bowl surrounded by a mouth-watering bread selection like crispy breadsticks. Leave skewers in easy reach, so your friends and family can help themselves. Napkins are a must as cheese fondue can often be messy, especially when the kids get involved. If you're serving pieces of cheese, go for the more traditional way of serving them on a wooden board with a cheese knive and plenty of crackers to choose from.
There's nothing more rewarding than baking your own bread. Whether it's breadsticks for dipping or bread rolls for burgers and mini sausage baps, bread is a must-have at any buffet. If you want to get ahead, make your bread the morning of your buffet and practice a couple of times before making your final bakes - we're sure the family won't mind being food testers!
* One of our top bread recipes is Jo Wheatley's sunflower seed rolls (pictured). They're simple to make and are small, so no one will fill up on bread.
* If you want something cheesy with a crisp bite, our dainty cheese straws should do the trick. Full of cheesy flavour, these handy straws are ideal for dipping.
* Our sesame and salt breadsticks are so moreish, make sure you make a big batch!
How to serve:
Bread rolls or a loaf of homemade bread is best served in a basket so it can keep warm.
For your cheese straws and breadsticks, these are best presented upright in a glassl. Lay the breadsticks out with the dips because everyone loves to dip a breadstick!
It isn't a Chritsmas buffet without mince pies so make that extra bit of effort and make your own. Make your own mincemeat and pastry or cheat and use shop bought pufff pastry, but everyone willl love a mince pie with their mulled wine.
* Puff pastry mince pies are so easy to make that you don't even need a special tin.
* Filo pastry mince pies are eay but impressive, with a crispy shell and sweet marzipan star top. (Pictured)
Another classic dessert that you often find on the table at Christmas time is cheesecake. It's smooth, creamy with a crunchy biscuit base, sweet centre and juicy fruit topping, what more could you ask for?
* Mini cheesecakes are ideal for a buffet spread as they're quick and easy to make and look great on the table. Our mini baked orange cheesecakes (pictured) are served in shot glasses to make them a buffet treat. These are best made the day before or early morning of your party.
* Another one of our favourite mini cheesecakes recipes is our chocolate and cranberry cheesecake shots. Chocolate and cheesecake - need we say more?
* If you want to make a dessert that catches the eye our vanilla cheesecake slice is a great option. It's best made the day before so it can set but is well worth the wait.
How to serve:
If you're thinking mini cheesecakes you'll need plenty of shot glasses or small tumblers to serve them in. If you'd rather make a large 'help yourself' cheesecake, a simple platter would do. Decorate your cheesecake and the edges of the platter with fresh berries like strawberries and blueberries - It'll make the cheesecake look brighter and healthier. Serve with a small jug of fresh pouring cream in case your friends and family want to be extra naughty.
If you'd prefer, slice the cheesecake before serving, but if you want it to look nice on the table, let your guests cut their own slices. Leave a large cutting knife and serving knife together beside the cheesecake. Make sure your cheesecake is in the centre of the table so the kids' can't reach the knives or poke their fingers in it!
Chocolate is such an easy thing to serve at a buffet - there are very few people who don't like it. From fondue to chocolate cake, give your guests a chocolatey treat with some of our naughty favourites. You don't need to do much when it comes to chocolate, especially chocolate fondue - buy plenty of bars and get melting.
* One of our all-time favourite chocolate recipes is our indulgent, chocolate puddings. They're so simple to make and are full of rich, gooey chocolate that just melts in your mouth - they'll be the talk of the party.
* Chocolate fondue (pictured) is a great one for sharing. If you're lucky enough to own a chocolate fountain you could use that, but a small warm bowl of rich, smooth chocolate works just as well.
* Get fancy with our Nutella madeleines made by Pippa Middleton (ooh!) they're simple, they're fancy and your guest will love them.
How to serve:
If you've opted for the chocolate fondue, remember this is going to a very messy choice, so make sure you put a Christmassy (washable or disposable) table cloth down. Surround with chopped fresh fruit, marshmallows, rocky road and other sweet treats for people to dip. Don't forget a glass full of skewers or cocktail sticks and of course those all-important napkins.
Once they've eaten all your lovely savoury foods most people would like a little sweet bite. Whether it's instead of dessert or as an after dessert treat (you're allowed more than one - it's Christmas!), it's always great to have an array of sweet bakes for your guests to choose from.
* Show off your Christmas baking skills with our Christmas pudding cake pops (pictured). They'll definitely impress your guests and keep everyone happy.
* Sugar cookies are a great biscuit to make around Christmas time. You can prepare and cook 18 cookies in just 30 mins, which means you could make plenty before your guests arrive.
* These sweet little santa hat brownies are small and moreish. This recipe makes 12-15 so thhere's plenty to go around and you could get the kids to help you decorate them with Christmas-themed sprinkles.
How to serve:
If you've chosen to make the Christmas pudding cake pops, these are best served in a tall glass so the puddings can stick out like flowers in a vase. If you're more of a biscuit lover, serve your sugar cookies in a basket. Cake balls are best served in mini cupcake cases on a large platter in a linear form so they look good and don't get stuck together.
Christmas cupcakes are a great way of giving your buffet spread an extra festive feel. They can be decorated however you fancy. We've got lots of fun ideas including simple snowflake designs and tasty gingerbread cupcakes.
* Peppermint creams cupcakes (pictured) are full of the wonderful flavours of Christmas favourites - After Eights. If you really want to impress you can even make the mini sweets on top of the cupcakes yourself.
* The smell of gingerbread waffting through your home will fill it with a lovely Christmas feel and our gingerbread cupcakes are the perfect choice to create the festive aroma. Not only do they have a soft gingerbread sponge, they're also topped with a sweet clementine buttercream - you can't get more seasonal than that.
* Wow your guests with our simple snowmen cupcakes - it's like a jolly little snoman but in cupcake form, so even better. Prepare them the night before and top so that they are ready to bring out at your party whenever you need them.
How to serve:
Cupcakes are meant to be shown off so, if you have a cupcake stand, display your mini masterpieces on that. If not, a large round plate would make a great second option. Decorate the edges of the plate with tinsel and edible Christmas characters like Santa and Rudolph, which you can find in most supermarkets.
Kebabs are great finger food that don't leave your guests balancing messy fingers, napkins and drinks. All you need is some wooden or metal skewers and you're ready to get spearing! Chicken, lamb, vegetables, prawns, beef - whatever you fancy, a kebab is a great way or serving your buffet food.
* These small lamb kebabs with creamy yoghurt dip (pictured) are so easy to make and taste delicious, meaning this recipe is one you'll definitely be making again!
* Love a bit of cheese? Our easy halloumi kebabs are a great way to get the best flavour out of your cheese and your guests will love them too.
* Prawn kebabs are cheap, quick and easy - but they look nice and fancy on the table. Buy a pack of prawns and some wooden skewers and you're nearly there.
How to serve:
If you're serving more than one type of kebab make sure you keep the different varieties seperate - this is for food hygiene and display pruposes. Kebabs look great laid out on the plate in a linear fashion. You could also be fancy and serve them standing up in a vase in the centre of the table depending on the length of the skewers.
Whether they're sweet or savoury - tarts are a great buffet option as you can make them small and bite-sized. You can make lots of tarts and top them with different fillings which makes them a great choice if you're catering for loads of people. They're also an excuse to a go a little bit fancy if you like. Everyone loves a classic tart.
* Our smoked salmon and asparagus tartlets tick all the boxes. Bulit on a soft, buttery pastry and layered with a creamy smoked salmon topping, they're the perfect size for party food.
* Our smokey cheese, bacon and potato tart is a little bites of heaven. The rich cheddar cheese is so delicious warm - so try and serve it straight from the oven.
* If you've got more of a sweet tooth when it comes to tarts, these mini raspberry and frangipane tarts (pictured) are perfect. Light tasting but full of flavour.
How to serve:
Tarts are best served on a large flat platter so you can see them in all their glory, from base to topping. If you've chosen to make a large tart that everyone can share, place this in the centre of the table as a showstopper and slice before you guests arrive. Place a serving knife and napkins next to the tart so you're guests can help themselves without any difficulty.
Get the party started with some festive Christmas cocktails. From creamy eggnog to warming mulled wine, there are plenty of classic cocktails to choose from.
* Mulled wine is a traditional Christmas drink and it will give all your guests the warm and fuzzies to get them in the Christmas spirit.
* Creamy and delicious eggnog is next on the Christmas cocktail list. It's frothy, sweet
and full of Christmas flavour. Replace the milk in this recipe with
brandy, rum or whisky for the adult version.
* Our rich snowball cocktail
is another favourite that is sure to be a hit at your buffet. It only
takes 5 mins to make and combines advocaat and cognac together to make
one delicious brew.
How to serve:
all your drinks to one side. Make sure you have variety of glasses like
small tumblers for your eggnog and tall Martini glasses for your
snowballs. Keep the glasses and alcohol somewhere high so the kids can't
reach them, but the adults can see what choices they have. Have some
ice in the freezer on standby and plenty of fruit chopped up if the
recipe uses it. Print out the recipe for each drink and leave by the
bottles and glasses so your guests can help themselves. You could ask
one of your friends or family to work behind the 'bar' and make drinks
for your guests as they come in. Or if you want to be extra organised
you could make your cocktails in advance so all you have to do is pour
it into a glass and serve on request.
Give your guests something to smile about with a festive party bag before they head home for the night. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy a goodie bag full of surprises - so make sure you fill it with delicious sweet treats.
* Everyone loves a bit of fruit cake come Christmas time. Why not make some mini fruit cakes and wrap them in a clear bag and tie with a festive bow - your friends and family will love them.
* Rum and raisin pudding truffles (pictured) will leave your guests feeling warm and Christmassy. Place them in a festive box with red tissue paper for a nice little gift.
* These chocolate truffle snowballs don't need to be perfectly shaped so get the kids to help you make them and have some fun.
How to serve:
Buy some cheap Christmas party bags or you could even make your own. Leave the party bags on a seperate table to your buffet food and make sure your guests don't have a sneaky peak. Or if you want to surprise them, pop them in the cupboard and get them out just before they leave.