What is the Difference Between Appetizers and Starters

There is no real difference between appetizers and starters. An appetizer is basically the first dish served in a full course meal. In British English, appetizers are called starters.

Simply put, an appetizer is a mini version of a dish served before the main meal. It typically comes as the first course in a full course meal. Furthermore, appetizers can be served both hot or cold. Appetizers can boost your hunger and make your taste buds ready for the main course. Generally, chefs coordinate the flavors incorporated in the appetizers with the flavors of the main course. This is because an appetizer is the first dish that leaves the diners with a lasting impression regarding the main course.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Appetizers 
      – Definition, Features 
2. What are Starters
     – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities – Appetizers and Starters
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Appetizers and Starters
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Appetizers, Starters

What are Appetizers

Appetizers are bite-sized food items served as the first course of a full course meal. They generally include a variety of food items varying from soups to finger food. However, they all possess a delicate flavor pleasing your taste buds in such a way that it boosts your hunger

Appetizers vs Starters

Most significantly, when it comes to an appetizer, chefs always try to make something light that is naturally easy to eat. In brief, it should be a combination of both lightness and temptation. It is due to this reason that different varieties of vegetable soups are considered appetizers in many communities.

Appetizers and Starters - What is the difference?

However, some people argue that appetizers are best when served as healthy raw meals, while some believe that a cooked appetizer serves you the best. Therefore, it is necessary to find the balance of a complete meal. For instance, if beef is the main dish, a food portion with fish like salmon, prawns, or even oysters would serve well as an appetizer.

What are Starters

British people use the term “Starters” to refer to the same food items known as “Appetizers” by Americans. They are basically tiny bits of food and are the first meals in any full course meal.

Similarities Between Appetizers and Starters

  • Appetizers and starters are two words that refer to the same food items. Bite-sized food is served as the first course in any full course meal.
  • Their main function is to increase the appetite and prepare the stomach for the next course.
  • There are thousands of varieties of hot as well as cold appetizers all over the world.
  • Some appetizers or starters are served as raw healthy food, while some are served finely cooked.
  • Moreover, an appetizer or a starter should always be light and easy to bite.

Difference Between Appetizers and Starters

There is no real difference between appetizers and starters. They both refer to the starting course of a full course meal that includes a light, delicate and tempting piece of food, which triggers your hunger.


In conclusion, there is no real difference between appetizers and starters. Americans use the term “Appetizer” to refer to the first dish of a full course meal. In contrast, the British call the same dish “Starters.” If you are a foodie who loves to taste your appetizer with a range of flavors, it is always better to pay attention to the selection of your appetizer. For instance, if you serve stew in the main course, then it is better to serve a slightly crunchy appetizer rather than serving a creamy soup of any kind. With such a main meal, a homemade dish of roasted peanuts would be best served as an appropriate choice for an appetizer.


1. “Importance of Appetizers.” Appetizer Hall.
2. “Appetizers vs. Hors D’oeuvres: Is There a Difference?” Encore Catering.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Food, carrot, bowl, spoon, soup, dish, meal, lunch, dinner” (CC0) via Pixino
2. “Canape-salmon-appetizer-cracker” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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