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It’s never too early to start planning recipes for your Christmas dinner and festive appetizers during the holiday season (or even just before!) This antipasto tree is an Italian take on an antipasto platter, boasting tomatoes, little cheese balls, green olives, and more. It’s worth making several of these because, as well as being a delicious appetizer, it makes a gorgeous and edible table centerpiece.

An Italian antipasto tree appetizer for Christmas and a centerpiece.

You’ll be feeling festive putting this cute antipasto Christmas tree together, and it’s a recipe that’s both delicious and attractive. If you like antipasto, you’re going to enjoy making (and eating!) this antipasto tree.

Loving this show stopping Antipasto Christmas Tree? Complete your party spread with steak and shitake mushroom bruschetta crostini appetizers or keep it classic with a marinated olives with feta. Grinch Crumbl cookies make a tasty dessert.

An appetizer tree made with Italian antipasto ingredients.

Why You’ll Love It

Cute and festive: If you’re looking for something both decorative and tasty, this antipasto Christmas tree shape appetizer should tick all the boxes. The small sprigs of rosemary resemble tree branches while the antipasto bites work well as Christmas tree decorations.
Simple to prepare: The antipasto ingredients are attached to a styrofoam cone using toothpicks to completely cover it, making this an easy Christmas appetizer idea.
Easy to tweak: The rosemary sprigs resemble tree branches while the antipasto ingredients look like the decorations you’re hanging on a tree. There are no rules about colours and textures, so if you want to swap some of the ingredients around that’s fine. Use pitted olives not ones with the seeds in, for ease of eating. Perhaps you want to use another kind of cheese balls or even red bell peppers. Have fun making yours unique – anything goes!

Adding flake salt to the antipasto Christmas tree.
Close view of a Christmas appetizer tree.

Ingredients for this Antipasto Christmas Tree

This awesome appetizer is made using cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, olives, pepperoncini, fresh rosemary, olive oil, and salt. The non-edible items you need are a styrofoam cone (here), plastic wrap and toothpicks.

Ingredients to make an antipasto Christmas tree recipe.
Supplies need to make a Christmas appetizer tree.

How to Make an Antipasto Christmas Tree

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Make the tree: Wrap the styrofoam cone in plastic wrap and set on a work surface.
Decorate the tree: Attach all the ingredients to the cone with toothpicks, alternating the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, both kinds of olives, and pepperoncini.
Decorate it some more: Now you can do the next layer up, filling in any spaces with ingredients so the Christmas tree is covered and you can’t see the styrofoam underneath.
Add the tree branches: Break up the rosemary sprigs and insert them into the tree to resemble the branches on this unique treat.
The finishing touches: Brush olive oil over the antipasto ingredients with a brush or cake spatula, and sprinkle on some salt flakes to look like snow. Chill until ready to serve, and then you can add crackers, salami and any other ingredients around the tree.

Assembling the antipasto tree.

Substitutions and Variations

To make a tall thin tree or a wider tree shape, use a different shape of styrofoam for your antipasto Christmas tree. You can also mix and match, making several trees in different shapes and sizes and perhaps using different decorations on each.

Brushing olive oil over the antipasto Christmas tree.

Antipasto platters offer many ideas when it comes to decorations. Kalamata olives, cheese balls, salami, cured meats, and cherry tomatoes are just some ideas to get you started.

Olives, tomatos, rosemary and bocconcini balls on the antipasto tree.

Swap the pepperoncini for bell peppers to reduce the spice factor, use another kind of cheese in place of the mozzarella, or come up with your own cute garnishes like cured meats or dill pickles. You might even like to carve a cheese star to top the antipasto Christmas tree!

An antipasto Christmas tree on a table for the holidays.

How to Serve this Christmas Holiday Season Appetizer

Since this looks so good, it makes a great centerpiece for your table during the holidays and festive season, or for any Christmas occasion such as the family coming over. An antipasto platter is always tasty served with crusty bread, so you might like to offer some on the side.

The finished Christmas appetizer tree.

If you want to include prosciutto slices or cold meats, you can arrange those under the antipasto Christmas tree.

Bread and Italian meats with the antipasto appetizer.

As for Christmas cocktails, anything goes, so consider something rich like Christmas chocolate cake martinis or something tropical such as Santa’s hat coconut rum cocktails.

Flake salt sprinkled on finished holiday appetizer decoration.

How to Store Your Antipasto Christmas Tree

Store: Keep this festive appetizer tree refrigerated until it’s time to serve, and eat any leftovers within a couple of days.
Freeze: Freezing and thawing would change the antipasto textures so make and serve your antipasto tree fresh for the best results.

A holiday antipasto appetizer tree on a table.

Christmas Tree Antipasto FAQs

What can you put on the top of the Christmas tree?

How about cutting a star shaped piece of cheddar or pepperoncini to top your show stopper antipasto tree in style? You will need a small star-shaped cookie cutter (here) to do this, unless you have some dexterous knife abilities to show off this Christmas!

What other antipasto ingredients would look good?

Sundried tomatoes would look good and taste great, or you might like to consider mixed olives, packaged cream cheese (not the spreadable kind but the firm kind that holds its shape when refrigerated) or you could use another Italian cheese, or diced pickles or little pieces of pickled vegetables like pickled cauliflower and carrot.

Antipasto appetizer for a holiday party.
An antipasto Christmas tree for a holiday party.

Antipasto Christmas Tree Recipe

5 from 33 votes

Antipasto Christmas Tree

By: Bella Bucchiotti
This antipasto tree is an Italian take on an antipasto platter, boasting tomatoes, little cheese balls, green olives, and more.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 10 Ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 10 Ounces bocconcini, mozzarella cheese balls
  • 16 Ounces olives, Italian Castelvetrano, pitted
  • 4.25 Ounces kalamata olives, pitted
  • 16 Ounces pepperoncini
  • 2 Ounces rosemary, fresh
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt flakes

Instructions 

  • Wrap the styrofoam cone with a layer of plastic wrap.
  • Set the wrapped cone onto a flat surface or serving board.
  • Begin to create the antipasto tree by inserting a toothpick halfway at the base of the cone. Then, add a cherry tomato to the toothpick. Continue this process around the bottom of the cone, alternating between the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, Castelvetrano olives, kalamata olives, and pepperoncini.
  • As you move to the next layer, insert the ingredients into the gaps between the first layer.
  • Continue this process until you have finished the tree. (Pro tip: I use the pepperoncini sparingly since it takes up a lot of real estate on the tree!)
  • Next, break up the rosemary into small sprigs with your fingers. Stick the sprigs into gaps between the olives, tomatoes, and cheese.
  • Use a cooking brush to deposit a thin layer of olive oil onto the entire tree.
  • Last, sprinkle the sea salt flakes onto the tree. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Nutrition

Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 2048mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 677IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 269mg | Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

If there’s one recipe you absolutely must make this Christmas, it’s this gorgeous antipasto Christmas tree. You can use your favourite kinds of antipasto and it’s really simple to put together. Served on a bed of herbed cream cheese, cold meats and crackers, this fun and festive tree antipasto dish will delight all your Christmas dinner guests.

Other Recipes to Try

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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3 Comments

    1. If you think your tree needs something to stick it to your board, you can spread some cream cheese on the bottom of the cone. It will help to give it some “stick”.

  1. 5 stars
    I saw one of these in a restaurant one time and I was curious how they were made. And now I know! Delicious flavors too.