The world number one and top seed was too strong for Sesil Karatancheva of Kazakhstan as she raced to a 6-1 6-2 victory.
Williams is the red-hot favourite for the tournament with the second seed in the event – Romania's Simona Halep– being ranked only 23rd in the world.
Still it is a popular event on the tour and was voted WTA's tournament of the year in 2012.
A packed crowd watched Serena in action but the contest last only 64 minutes as world number 131 Karatancheva found the step up in class a little too much.
Next up for Williams is a clash with Georgia's Anna Tatishvili, who defeated Swiss wild card Belinda Bencic in three sets.
WTA Bastad round one results
Andrea Gamiz (Venezuela) beat 4-Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) 6-1 6-3
1-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat Sesil Karatantcheva (Kazakhstan) 6-1 6-2
6-Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) beat Anastasia Grymalska (Italy) 6-3 5-7 6-1
Richel Hogenkamp (Netherlands) beat Lara Arruabarrena Vecino (Spain) 6-3 6-3
3-Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic) beat Ellen Allgurin (Sweden) 6-1 6-1
Nina Bratchikova (Russia) beat Lesley Kerkhove (Netherlands) 6-3 6-1
Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) beat Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 2-6 6-4 6-4
Teliana Pereira (Brazil) beat Dinah Pfizenmaier (Germany) 3-6 6-2 7-5
Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania) beat Caroline Garcia (France) 7-6(2) 6-1
Mathilde Johansson (France) beat Julia Cohen (U.S.) 6-2 6-3
WTA Bad Gastein round one results
Petra Martic (Croatia) beat 4-Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 6-7(5) 7-5 6-3
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (Austria) beat Tereza Mrdeza (Croatia) 6-4 6-3
Alexandra Cadantu (Romania) beat Maria Joao Koehler (Portugal) 6-2 6-4
Mandy Minella (Luxembourg) beat Dia Evtimova (Bulgaria) 6-2 2-6 6-3
2-Annika Beck (Germany) beat Shahar Peer (Israel) 7-5 6-3
6-Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 6-1 6-4
Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) beat Eleni Daniilidou (Greece) 6-3 6-1
Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) beat Michaela Honcova (Slovakia) 6-2 6-2
Lisa-Maria Moser (Austria) beat Elena Bogdan (Romania) 7-6(6) 2-6 6-4
Viktorija Golubic (Switzerland) beat 5-Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) 6-2 6-2
Estrella Cabeza Candela (Spain) beat Tadeja Majeric (Slovenia) 6-1 6-3
- Sports & Recreation
- Sesil Karatancheva
- Anna Tatishvili
- Belinda Bencic