Photo By: condesign
Buffet restaurants and Christmas are two of life’s greatest pleasures, but having a Christmas party at a buffet restaurant can be really expensive. So, what’s the solution? Not to miss out, that’s for sure! Why not organise your own party for your friends, family, and loved ones this Christmas?
That may seem like a daunting task but it needn’t be complicated or stressful and can be a lot of fun. To help you, we’ve put together ten easy Christmas party food ideas to get you started. For this list, we did not include “traditional” Christmas foods like Christmas pudding or roast turkey. Those can be a bit difficult and expensive to prepare. Instead, we focused on simple and affordable local bites that are sure-fire crowd pleasers .
We’ve also included some general hints and tips on how to make your Christmas buffet go off with a bang!
Organising a Successful Christmas buffet
Advanced planning and preparation will help your party to be a success. That doesn’t just include party meal ideas of course, but comprises of everything else, from your budget to the cooking to the basic logistics. Here are some great hints and tips to help you get started: Pick a Budget – and Stick to It! Christmas can be a difficult time financially, especially for those with big families, and so carefully considering what you want to spend is an important factor in organising your Christmas party.
Once you’ve decided how much you can spare, ensure that you stick to it. It’s all too easy to add a couple of things here and there, only to discover that suddenly you’ve spent twice as much as you’d initially planned! Shopping in the right places and following some of the simple recipes below will go a long way in helping you to create delicious and impressive Christmas party food on a budget.
Planning Your Christmas PartyPhoto By: Nic McPhee
There’s more to your Christmas buffet than just the food. You want people to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves too, so thinking about where you place your food is important. You want to be able to guide people through the buffet area in a way that is as efficient as possible. Therefore, make it obvious where you want people to start queueing by placing the plates at one end of the table. Also, consider putting the drinks table away from the food table so that the dining area does not become too congested.
Place the Christmas Party Food Strategically Think about where you are going to put your party food. Place cheaper, bulkier items at the front and the more expensive delicacies at the back. Try using bigger serving spoons for carbs and starches, and toothpicks or smaller utensils for the pricier items. This ensures that people fill up on the right foods and that there is enough of the more special items to go around. Leave gaps between platters and serving dishes too, so that people can put their plate down if necessary – it’s not always easy to do things one-handed! This is especially important at the drinks table, which should be tidied up regularly to ensure that the empty spaces don’t become too cluttered.
Consider having a trial run by placing your empty dishes and platters along your table so that you have an idea of where all your Christmas party appetisers are going to go. This will prevent that last-minute rush of trying to fit everything in.
Make Your Buffet Finger Foods Look Good and Easy to EatPhoto By: TiBine
Making your foods look tasty and inviting will raise the standard of your Christmas party. Using shallower dishes will mean that your guests won’t need to peer in to get a good look at what’s on offer. Adding garnishes to your dishes will make them look more attractive too, especially if they are edible, like crispy fried onions added to pork dishes. Remember to make the food easy to pick up and eat too! Prepare buffet finger foods rather than foods that require cutlery. For example, pre-slice meats and breads for your guests so that they can grab what they want and eat standing or off their laps with ease.
Make Sure That There Is Something for Everyone Will there be vegetarians coming? How about children? What about those with a sweet tooth? Think about the different types of guests that you’ve invited and make sure that there is something for everyone. The ten great Christmas party food ideas we’ve selected from around the web consist of options for just about every preference!
For the Vegetarians
Curried Potato Samosa
Photo By: Rajan1981
Recipe by: Singapore Local Favourites
These samosas are perfect buffet food; they are easy to make and easy to eat. The good thing about samosas is that you can use pretty much any filling that you like, meaning you can offer a variety! This recipe uses curried potato, so they’re suitable for your vegetarian guests. Makes 16 Prep time: approximately 1 hour Total cost: $7.49
- Add the cubed potatoes to a pan of boiling water and cook for five minutes. Drain and set aside, retaining the cooking liquid.
- Heat four tablespoons of oil and fry the curry paste until brown. Add the potatoes.
- Add enough of the retained cooking liquid so that it is approximately 5cm above the potatoes.
- Boil until the liquid has evaporated and then stir in the mixed vegetables. Remove the pan from the heat when the vegetables are cooked. Allow the mixture to cool before wrapping.
- To wrap, cut each square wrapper in half so that it is rectangular. Take one corner and fold so that the left edge meets the top, giving you a triangular fold. Follow the fold and continue in this manner to get a triangle shape. Stuff with the filling and seal with the beaten egg.
- Fill the pan with enough oil to completely cover the samosas and then fry on a medium to low heat until golden brown.
Steamed Mushroom Wraps
Photo By: Christian Siodmak
Recipe by: Asian-Recipe
Easy to make, low-cost, and delicious, these steamed mushroom wraps are sure to impress your guests. Makes 20 Prep time: 40 minutes Total cost: $6.40
For the spice paste:
- Blend together the Ingredients: for the spice paste.
- Slice the mushrooms into 1cm lengths and mix with the egg, coconut milk, and spice paste.
- Divide the mixture over 20 banana leaves before folding into packages and sealing.
- Steam the packages for about 25 minutes until cooked through and then broil to remove any excess liquid.
For the Meat-Lovers
Roast Beef Crostini
Photo source: Jason Lam
Recipe by Annette Tan
A tasty, one-bite finger food with a little bit of a kick that is a great Christmas party food idea. This recipe uses horseradish, which you can replace with wasabi if you prefer. Though a little bit more expensive than some other Christmas party foods, this is a delicious speciality item for your buffet! Makes 8 Prep time: 45 minutes Total cost: $13.46
- Slice the baguette and brush each side with olive oil. Grill each side until golden and crispy.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper and then grill until medium-rare (approximately four minutes per side). Remove from the heat and allow to stand for between five and 30 minutes before slicing thinly.
- Mix the horseradish with the sour cream, and then add some salt and pepper.
- Thickly spread the horseradish mix onto the sliced baguette and top with the thinly sliced beef.
Butter Fried Chicken
Photo By: Arnold Gatilao
Recipe by: Hungry Go Where
Crisp and packed with flavour, this Indonesian chicken dish is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. It’s cheap to make too! This recipe calls for a whole, fresh chicken but you could just as easily use chicken pieces. Serves 4 Prep time: 40 minutes Total cost: $3.90
- Sprinkle the spices evenly over the chicken and rub gently into the skin. Allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat in preparation for deep-fat frying.
- Deep-fry the chicken a few pieces at a time, turning after around 6 minutes, and cook through. Drain thoroughly and transfer to the serving dish.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a high heat and mix in one teaspoon each of garlic powder and salt. Drizzle over the chicken just before serving.
For the Bread Fans
Roti Canai (Flatbread)
Photo source: Geoff Peters
Recipe by: Norman Musa
Flaky yet soft, this bread is the perfect accompaniment to sauces and stews. The technique can take a little bit of practice to get right but when done well, your guests will surely be impressed! Makes 10 Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes, plus proving time Total cost: $4.73
- Plain flour (600g plus extra for kneading)
- Sea salt (1½ tsp)
- Coconut water (100ml)
- Egg (1)
- Vegetable oil (750g plus 2tbsp)
- Condensed milk (4tbsp)
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the coconut water, egg, two tablespoons of oil, and the condensed milk with 170 ml of water. Add to the bowl of flour and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Cover with cling-film and prove for 30 minutes. Knead again, adding a little flour if necessary, and prove for another 30 minutes.
- Knead again and divide the dough into ten balls about the size of a small fist. Put the balls into a deep dish and cover with the remaining oil. Marinade overnight or for a minimum of four hours.
- On an oiled surface, use your palm to stretch and flatten each dough ball. Flip until it becomes thin and large. Fold the sides, top, and bottom over to get a square shape, trapping air between the layers.
- Using a little hot oil, fry on both sides until golden brown and crisp.
Spiced Beef Roti Turnover
Photo By: Alpha
Recipe by: Curious Nut
A popular Malaysian street food, spiced beef roti turnover or murtabak, uses a technique that can take a little getting used to but it’s well worth the effort. Makes 6 Prep time: 1 hour Total cost: $13.77
- Onion (1 medium)
- Ginger (½ inch, finely minced)
- Garlic (3 cloves, minced)
- Minced beef (340 grams)
- Cabbage (1 cup, chopped)
- Meat curry powder (1tbsp)
- Turmeric powder (¼tsp)
- Chilli powder (¼tsp)
- Salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Sugar (pinch)
- Nutmeg (pinch)
- Oil (1tbsp)
- Roti paratha (6, frozen)
- Eggs (3, large)
- Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onions until soft. Add the ginger and the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
- Add the beef. Halfway through cooking, add the curry powder, turmeric, and chilli powder. When the beef is close to cooked, add the cabbage and stir.
- Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sugar before removing from the heat to cool.
- Defrost the roti until almost thawed. Heat oil in an iron pan to a medium heat.
- Roll out each roti (it’s best to roll out one at a time) and stretch it until it is nine to ten inches in diameter.
- Beat an egg with a pinch of salt added. Pour half over the centre of the roti and spread it out. Put ½ a cup of the meat filling onto the centre of the roti and spread evenly.
- Fold in the edges of the roti to make a square of around four to five inches.
- Fry the stuffed roti for three to four minutes on each side or until brown and crisp.
For Those with Sweet Tooths
Photo By: Sylvia Charles
Recipe by: Singapore Local Favourites
Naturally coloured and flavoured, Agar-Agar Pandan is a firm favourite at most celebrations. Prep time: 30 minutes (plus setting time) Total cost: $8
- Agar-agar (35 grams fresh or powdered)
- Brown sugar (¼ cup)
- Eggs (2)
- Coconut milk (2 cups)
- Pandan leaves (6, washed)
- Salt (pinch)
- Grind three Pandan leaves, saving the strained juice.
- Boil four large glasses of water in a saucepan and add the remaining Pandan leaves.
- Add the agar-agar and cook until dissolved.
- Add the brown sugar and the juice from the ground Pandan leaves and continue to cook until the sugar has dissolved. Lower the temperature.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Add to the saucepan and allow to simmer.
- Pour the mixture into small, individual moulds. Alternatively, use one large mould, then cut agar-agar into smaller pieces when it sets.
Mini Maple Cakes
Photo By: Jedidja
Recipe by: Annette Tan
These bite-sized, moist maple cakes are a delightful sweet treat for your Christmas party and they are easy to make too. Makes 6 Prep time: 50 minutes Total cost: $9.76
- Almond milk (¾ cup)
- Apple cider vinegar (1 tsp)
- Canola oil (1/3 cup)
- Agave nectar (1/3 cup)
- Maple syrup (1 cup)
- Plain flour (1 2/3 cups)
- Baking powder (1tsp)
- Salt (¼tsp)
- Ground almonds (½ cup)
- Vanilla extract (1 tsp)
- Grease mini cake tins or line a mini muffin tray with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the almond milk and vinegar and leave to curdle.
- After a few minutes, add the oil, agave nectar, and 1/3 of the maple syrup and mix well.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold into the mix using a wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free.
- Bake for around 20 minutes or until brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Whilst cooling, make the glaze by combining the remaining maple syrup, ground almonds, two tablespoons of canola, ¼ cup of water, the vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Drizzle over the cooled cakes.
For the Drinks Table
Photo By: VasenkaPhotography
Recipe by: Anton Forte
Created in 1915 by a bartender at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore, this cocktail is an extravagant alcoholic treat for your Christmas party guests. Makes 1 Prep time: 5 minutes Total cost: $9.95
- Gin (30ml)
- Cherry brandy (15ml)
- Cointreau (10ml)
- Dom Benedictine (10ml)
- Fresh lime juice (15ml)
- Fresh pineapple juice (30ml)
- Grenadine (5ml)
- Pineapple and cherry to garnish
- Place all the Ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake thoroughly.
- Strain into a glass and garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a cherry.
Photo By: Midori
Recipe by: Singapore Local Favourites
Delicious and nutritious, this papaya drink is perfect for those guests who would rather abstain from alcohol. You can add a little sugar to sweeten it up too, if that’s how you like it, or you can swap the papaya for 480 grams of watermelon for a different taste. Makes approximately 700ml Prep time: 15 minutes Total cost: $5.95
- Ripe Papaya (240 grams, cubed)
- Cold water (560ml)
- Sugar (3 tbsp)
- Boiled water (140ml)
- Dissolve the sugar in the boiled water and allow to cool.
- Push the papaya through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Use a bowl to catch the juice.
- Mix the papaya juice with the dissolved sugar and top up with the cold water to taste.
- Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For more festive ideas, check out our Christmas page.