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How to Make the Best Charcuterie Board

A charcuterie board is a simple way to make the BEST spread for a large crowd! Add your favorite meats, cheeses, crackers and more. This cheese board makes the perfect appetizer and will definitely be a hit at your next party!

Charcuterie board on a counter.
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The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Charcuteries are my all-time favorite appetizer to make. Whether I’m hosting guests or bringing a dish to a get-together, it’s almost always a one of these charcuterie board ideas. They’re delicious and super easy and fun to make. Plus there’s a little something for everyone!

This delicious meat and cheese board, commonly known as “charcuterie,” is one of the easiest antipasto appetizers ever and looks so gorgeous! When we’re having a big dinner party or get-together, I almost always make a charcuterie board.

I love that you can add basically anything to a fruit and cheese platter and it turns out perfect. I like to add a variety of meats, cheeses and crackers, but there are so many other snacks that can be included.

Make it your own with all your favorites. Around the holidays I love to make a Christmas Charcuterie Board.

What is Charcuterie?

Charcuterie is a French word that stands for the art of preparing meats that are cured or smoked, such as salami, bacon, ham and more. You’ll pronounce it shahr-koo-tuh.

Charcuterie boards have become super popular and are commonly paired with different types of cheeses, crackers, nuts, dips or snacks of choice. They are a great appetizer to prepare for a large crowd and include lots of options for everyone!

Charcuterie board on the counter.

What is typically on a Charcuterie Board?

  • Cheeses like brie, goat cheese, cheddar, gouda or manchego. You could even add pre-cut cheese slices, soft cheeses, blue cheese or make a cheese ball.
  • Cured meats like prosciutto, salami, pepperoni and more.
  • Crackers or bread like pita, naan, multigrain crackers, baguette slices, pretzels, tortilla chips, etc.
  • Fresh veggies like mini bell peppers, broccoli, cucumber, celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, cauliflower.
  • Dips like hummus, dill dip, honey mustard or salsa.
  • Nuts like marcona almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios or candied nuts.
  • Olives or pickled vegetables.
  • Fruit such as pears, raspberries, strawberries, dried apricots, apples and grapes.
  • Fresh herbs always finish the board. I love to use rosemary or thyme.

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie ingredients on a board.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when building your board:

  1. Choose about 8-10 food items per board. Pick things based on taste, flavors, texture and color. I always like to choose a few unique items. My go to shop for charcuterie boards is Trader Joes. I usually do a mix with a few things homemade and store bought.
  2. Start with 3 small bowls or 3 focal points. I usually add a few bowls for dips or hummus and a block or two of cheese. I sometimes even include a decorative focal point around the holidays, like a mini pumpkin or gourd.
  3. Start with bigger items first. Build around those focal points, splitting up color and texture. I’ll usually add in veggies, cheeses, meats, fresh fruits, etc. first.
  4. Layer in smaller items to fill the gaps. Next comes the smaller items, like nuts, dried fruit, crackers, etc. Layer them in between the bigger items to fill in any blank space.
  5. Add something with color to break up any spots with muted color. Add a rosemary sprig, pomegranate or dried orange slices. It’s fun to have a few decorative items that guests won’t necessarily eat, but it makes the charcuterie look extra pretty!

And just remember, have fun and make it colorful! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Another fun way to build a charcuterie is to have your guests each bring their favorite item and build it together.

You could even make a pancake charcuterie board with pancakes and bacon for a Sunday brunch.

Expert Tips

  • You don’t need to make everything homemade! Make it easy on yourself and pick up some pre-made dips and unique store bought finds. My go-to store for all things charcuterie is Trader Joes.
  • Add the dips right before serving. You want them to stay fresh for your guests. I always add the bowls to the board, but wait to fill them until right before guests arrive.
  • Repurpose your leftovers! I usually end up with a decent amount of leftovers that didn’t originally fit on my board, so I’ll make another snack platter for my family to enjoy. We love to do this on the weekends!
  • When traveling with a charcuterie board, I like to put plastic food wrap around the edges and tuck it underneath the board. This way your snacks won’t spill off the sides.

Favorite Boards to Use

I have two favorite boards when making a charcuterie. The first is this round reclaimed wood board. It’s an investment, but I use it ALL the time. It’s pretty big (picture below) and holds a lot of snacks! Whenever we’re entertaining for a large crowd, this board is my go-to.

I also love this rectangular wood serving tray. I actually have two of them and will often make both a sweet and savory board. This board is a great price and I’ve even found it cheaper in stores at Walmart. Don’t forget mini forks or cheese knives.

Charcuterie board on a marble counter.

Make a Sweet Version!

One of my favorite things to do when entertaining is make a savory and sweet charcuterie board! Everyone always goes crazy over this idea. I especially love making dessert boards with all of my favorite holiday treats.

Check out this fun Christmas dessert board, s’mores charcuterie board, hot chocolate charcuterie or this easy fall charcuterie board.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be on a charcuterie board?

A typical charcuterie board contains a few different types of meats, cheese, crackers, nuts and dips.

What defines a charcuterie board?

While you can get creative with different platters, it’s an appetizer usually served on a wooden board or stone slab eaten straight from the board. It will typically feature a variety of meats, hard cheeses and finger foods.

What does charcuterie mean literally?

Charcuterie (pronounced SHAR-KOO-ta-REE) origins reaching back to the 15th century in Europe. It means the products of a fancy pork butcher. In our modern day the definitely has broadened to include much more than meats.

What meats do you put on a charcuterie board?

The most common meats include: prosciutto, salami, good quality pepperoni, sliced sausage, rillettes, saucisson, soppressata and Spanish chorizo.

What are 3 kinds of charcuterie?

There are many different variations now days but the most popular kinds would be meats and cheeses, fruit and cheese, toasted bread and meat.

What is a good dip for charcuterie board?

Honey, fig jam, hummus, vegetable dip, spinach dip, basil pesto or olive tapenade.

Charcuterie board on a white table.

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Charcuterie board on the counter.

Charcuterie Board Recipe

5 from 26 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
A charcuterie board is a simple way to make the BEST spread for a large crowd! Add your favorite meats, cheeses, crackers and more. This cheese board makes the perfect appetizer and will definitely be a hit at your next party!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 20

Equipment

  • Large wooden board or platter

Ingredients 

Meats (choose 3-5)

  • 4 ounces salami variety
  • 4 ounces prosciutto
  • soppressata

Cheeses (choose 3-5)

  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces gouda cheese
  • 4 ounces manchego
  • brie cheese rind
  • goat cheese
  • mozzarella balls

Crackers and Bread

  • 1 cup multigrain crackers
  • 1 french baguette , sliced
  • thin breadsticks

Fruit and Vegetables

  • mini bell peppers
  • sliced cucumber
  • snap peas
  • fried fruit
  • berries
  • pears

Dips and Extras

  • jam
  • honey
  • vegetable dip
  • green olives
  • candied nuts
  • pistachios
  • rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  • Place the largest cheese and mini bowls onto a large board or platter. In individual small serving bowls, add the olives, red peppers, mozzarella balls or anything that has juices.
  • To make the board, start by thinking how you want it to look before placing anything. Then arrange each bowl, allowing enough space for meat, cheese, and vegetables to surround them, on a large platter.
  • Place the meat and salami on opposite ends of the platter, fanning the slices slightly outward (if space allows). Add the mortadella and prosciutto, either folded or in piles, away from the other meat. Position the cheese around the meat.
  • Arrange the fruits and vegetables in individual piles between the meat and cheese. Finally, add the crackers and bread (or on another serving board if there isn't enough room). Add the smallest ingredients last to fill in any empty spaces. Finish it off by adding some fresh sprigs of rosemary. Serve immediately.

Video


Notes

Where to shop: I love to find my ingredients at specialty shops such as Whole foods, Trader Joes. Costco also has a great selection of meat and cheese packs, especially around the holidays.
Make it yours: This recipe card is simply a guide to start. Make it yours by adding all of your favorite foods you like to graze on. Just remember to grab a variety of sizes, color, texture and flavors.
Make-ahead: Assemble the board (minus the bread and crackers) and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove 20 minutes before serving. Add bread and crackers. 
Storage: Cover the board (minus bread or crackers) with plastic wrap and store in the fridge up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 480mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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