Refreshingly un-retro party food dishes. These are snacks for the 21st century, people

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8 vol-au-vent-free party food ideas

Photograph: Dan Jones

Prawn cocktail is out. Vol-au-vents are a no-no. And the tinned pineapple is definitely not coming to the party. These are the party snacks we really really want for Christmas.

1. Party star scones

OK, OK. Scones are pretty traditional but that doesn’t mean we need to rule them out altogether. These ones, flavoured with parmesan, rosemary and thyme, are bound to put stars in your eyes. 

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2. Spice-roasted chickpeas

Transform a humble tin of chickpeas into something utterly moreish with a little help from your spice cupboard – a quadruple hit of smoked paprika, chilli powder, cumin and coriander to be precise.

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3. Christmas crackers

No party's complete without crackers. And we mean the edible kind, too. These cracking Christmas trees are the perfect carrier for creamy Gorgonzola, runny Brie or a figgy chutney, and adorned with seeds they're even dressed for the occasion.

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4. Have a ball

Party bites are just as much about the sweet as the savoury, and these fudgy peanut butter balls truly hit the spot. Roll them in sesame seeds, desiccated coconut or even chopped pistachios and dried cranberry flecks to keep to the Christmas colour scheme. 

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5. Chunky chickpea chips

But not as you know them. Made to Anna Hansen's recipe these stocky little fellas contain polenta, chickpea flour and a whole host of spices. Serve them with a creamy tahini dip and let gluten-free friends rejoice. 

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Turmeric and chickpea chips with tahini lemon dip

Photograph: Tara Fisher


6. Mini yorkies

Come on now, we can do better than Aunt Bessie. And filling your yorkies with slices of topside beef, creamy horseradish and a sprig of watercress will please even the most stubborn party pooper.

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7. Fishing for compliments?

Want to impress? Then you could do a lot worse than these mini Thai-style fish cakes. GF and WF means everyone can tuck in, and you can whip them up with ready-made mash (if you're short on time). 

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8. Tandoori prawn mini kebabs

It's Christmas so it's time to bring out the big guns: Sybil Kapoor's juicy jumbo king prawns. Curled up in their chargrilled splendour, they're a fine sight to behold ... oh, and did we mention the lime yogurt dip?

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Tandoori prawn mini kebabs

Photograph: Keiko Oihawa


9. Curious crudités

Bring your crudités bang up to date: swap retro carrot batons and cucumber sticks for salt-baked mini potatoes, purple radishes and crunchy chicory like Emma Franklin does. Now, doesn't that look better?

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Photograph: Kate Whitaker


10. Getting figgy with it

Soft fresh figs and gooey Taleggio cheese. Watch everyone do a double take as you parade these beauties across the room.

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Taleggio fig party bites

Photograph: Jan Baldwin


11. Duck and plum sauce bites

No ones going to duck out of eating these handsome snacks from Kate Titford. Dressed with chilli, cucumber and spring onion, they taste as good as they look (lip-smacking btw)!

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Duck and plum sauce bites

Photograph: Dan Jones