Three of the best cheese canapés

Three of the best cheese canapés

Looking for some crowd-pleasing festive bites to delight your family and friends? Why not have a go at one of these easy cheesy canapés? They’re super simple to make and can be prepped in advance, giving you more quality time to spend with your dinner guests. Pair these little beauties with a glass of fizz and you’ve got a the makings of a perfect party.

I’ve used cheeses that you should be able to buy from any good supermarket, but these recipes also give you the option to use your own favourite flavours. I’ve also suggested some alternative ingredient options to suit different tastes and dietary needs.

Bacon wrapped chillies with whipped cheese 

These little flavour bombs are perfect for any occasion. If you’re catering for vegetarians you can leave out the bacon or pancetta. The thickness of the cheese filling holds its shape in the chillies, so they don’t really need to be wrapped in anything. If you prefer a bit more of a fiery kick you can opt for slightly hotter chillies. 

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20-25 mins
Total Time: 35-40 mins
Makes 24 chilli bites


  • 12 rashers of streaky bacon or pancetta, cut in half widthways 
  • 12 whole mild green chillies or jalapeño peppers
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 1/2 block of feta cheese 
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • Black pepper 


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas mark 6.

Cut each green chilli or jalapeño in half down the middle and remove the seeds and pith.

For the filling, put the cream cheese, feta, lemon juice and zest, hot sauce, paprika, cumin, salt and a good grind of black pepper in a blender and whizz until combined. It should have a fairly thick consistency. 

Fill each of the chillies with the cheese mixture. Take the streaky bacon or pancetta and wrap it round the chilli, securing it in place with a cocktail stick. Repeat with the rest of the chillies.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the chillies are blistered and the bacon is cooked. 

Cheese and potato cakes

All the tastes of a classic baked potato in one bite. Coating them in the flour makes them crispy on the outside with a fluffy texture on the inside. I used Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, as it has a buttery and savoury flavour that works really well with the spring onions, but a decent mature cheddar would be just as good. 

Prep Time: 10 mins
Chill time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30-40 mins (plus 1 hour cooking time for the potatoes)
Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
Makes 12-16 potato cakes


  • Olive oil
  • 500g potatoes
  • 100g cheese, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for coating the potato cakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas mark 6.

Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and cover with a little oil oil and salt. Bake in the oven for an hour or until the potatoes are soft. Allow to cool.

Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out as much of the flesh as possible. 

Put the potato flesh into a bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Add the grated cheese, spring onions, 1 tbsp plain flour, egg, mustard powder, 1 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix everything thoroughly with a spoon or your hands. Cover the bowl in cling film and put in the fridge to chill. 

After about 30 minutes, remove the bowl with the mixture in from the fridge. Divide into small balls (about 30-40g each) and press each one down slightly to flatten them. Dredge each potato cake in the flour and add to a lightly oiled baking tray. 

Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the potato cakes are golden brown. Allow them to cook slightly before serving. 

Tip: Don’t throw away the potato skins, you can put them back in the oven for another 15-20 mins to crisp up. I like to break them up and scatter them over the top a delicious winter salad for a bit of added crunch. 

Mini goat’s cheese tarts with onion jam and walnuts  

This dish is a great balance between the sweet caramelised onion jam topped with a creamy blanket of goat’s cheese. It’s a great get-ahead dish, as you can make the tarts in advance and just pop them in the oven when your guests arrive. Simplicity at its finest!

If you find goat’s cheese too overpowering, slices of Brie or Camembert would work just as well. You can also swap the walnuts for pine nuts or hazelnuts if you prefer.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15-20 mins
Total Time: 35-40 mins
Makes 12 tarts


  • 12 hole bun tray
  • 8cm cookie cutter


  • 1 shortcrust pastry sheet, you will have some pastry left over
  • Goat’s cheese log (about 150g) 
  • 25g walnuts 
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish 

For the onion jam

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 2 medium brown or red onions
  • 35g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt 


For the onion jam, heat the olive oil and the butter in a small frying pan over a low heat for a few minutes until the butter has melted.

Thinly slice the onions and add to the pan with the salt. Allow them to cook in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently so the onions don’t burn. 

Once the onions are a nice golden colour, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Heat for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool fully before assembling the tarts. 

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas mark 6.

Unroll the pastry sheet and cut out circles using an 8cm cookie cutter. Add each of the pastry discs to a 12 hole bun tray, pressing the pastry down evenly into the holes. Prick the bottom of the pastry a few times with a fork, this allows the steam to escape from the pastry as it’s baking and results in a crisp base.

Add a heaped teaspoon of the onion jam to the bottom of each tart and top with a generous slice of the goat’s cheese. 

Roughly chop up the walnuts into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the tarts. Brush the edges of the tarts with a little olive oil. 

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown round the edge and cooked underneath. 

Allow the tarts to cool slightly on a baking try, before topping each with some chopped parsley and serve. 

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