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Charcuterie Boards


"Everything you need to know to make the perfect Charcuterie Board including food ideas, recipes, and tips for assembling and displaying your charcuterie board. Even holiday board ideas!"

Charcuterie Boards

Servings – 8+ Prep Time – 20 Minutes (depending on the size of your board) Ingredients:

The most important elements of a charcuterie board are meats, cheeses, savory accompaniments, sweet accompaniments, and crackers.

Cheeses: choose a variety of hard and soft cheese, and cheese made from different animals (cow, sheep, goat). Tip: always choose at least one cheese that is familiar to your guests so they feel comfortable diving right in.

  • Hard cheeses: manchego, cheddar (white or orange), swiss, gouda, gruyere, parmesan etc.

  • Soft cheeses: brie, triple cream, goat cheese, havarti, burrata, cream cheese with pepper jelly or cranberry sauce on top (my favorite!). You could also use crumbled cheeses like blue cheese, feta or gorgonzola.

Meats: prosciutto, ham, pepperoni, hard salami, cured chorizo, capicola, soppressata, summer sausage, turkey, roast beef, etc.

Savory accompaniments:

  • Nuts: almonds, candied pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, honey roasted or Spanish peanuts, etc.

  • Briny, pickled or marinated: olives, cocktail onions, cornichons, dill pickles, pepperoncini. I personally love stuffed green olives, and I also like including olive tapenade and bruschetta.

  • Savory Dips and spreads: This Cranberry Orange Cheeseball, whole ground mustard, my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, ranch, balsamic dip, or my Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip.

  • Veggies – any of your choice, cold and cut into sticks or coins, if desired

Sweet accompaniments:

  • Fresh fruit and berries: grapes, pears, orange slices, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries.

  • Dried fruit: apricots, cinnamon apples, cherries, figs, pineapple slices, mangos, or coconut slivers.

  • Sweet spreads: Fig butter, orange or apricot marmalade, blackberry jam my Ginger Snap Butter or other sweet spreads.

  • Chocolate: a few pieces of quality dark chocolate, caramel filled chocolate squares or chocolate covered nuts.

Crackers: choose a variety of crackers, even sliced baguette or mini toasts of different shapes, sizes and flavors. Some of my personal favorites include thin crispy water crackers, pretzel thins, seeded crackers, pita strips, and cranberry sunflower seed crisps.


Choose your board: 

The size of your board or plate DOES matter! It really depends on the number of people you are serving and it can be as large or small as you like!  If you have a lot of people to serve or simply want a larger variety of food  (dips, sandwiches,  desserts, etc), you could always use multiple boards.  Any board will work; cutting board, serving tray, or even your countertop!

Another of my favorite ways to serve a large crowd is not even using a board or plate but simply laying a large piece of butcher paper all the way down your counter top or island if you have one. Then put piles of food and arranged meats and cheeses right on the butcher paper! (Simple and easy to clean up after the party is over.)

Start with the cheese:

I start with the cheese because its sets the stage on the board. It's the beginning of the background to your art piece! Work with odd numbers, so, depending on the size of your party, choose 3, 5, or 7 types of cheeses to place around the board.

Fold and add the meats:

As I always say, play with your food, find fun ways to fold cured meats before placing them on the board, like folding them in half and fanning them out like a dec of cards, or folding them in half twice, so they are easy to grab. For thin meat (like prosciutto) fold and lay them in a light and airy ribbon.

Add savory and sweet accompaniments:

Fill in some of the gaps with savory and sweet. Separate colors in a way that allows the brightest colors to stand out and place foods together that pair well together. For example, mustard, briny foods and nuts near salami and sopresseta, and sharp cheeses like parmesan. Pair sweet accompaniments like fresh fruit, jams, and candied nuts, near the brie cheese or goat cheese. Cheddar cheese pairs well with savory and sweet.

Fill in all the extra space with crackers:

Look for gaps in the board and spread crackers all throughout. Fill in any remaining space with extra small nuts or fruit.

Keep it simple! This may seem obvious, but design your board based on the people who will be eating from it and fill it with simple foods that people actually LIKE! When in doubt, avoid fancy and expensive cheeses, nuts, crackers or condiments that the people you’re serving may not care for.

Make it COLORFUL! I love to add color through fruit, like bright red apples, green and red grapes, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Where to Shop: I find most of my favorite charcuterie items at my local grocery stores, or wholesale warehouses for large groups (this can save you a ton of money!)


Fall Charcuterie:

Include small pumpkins to decorate your board, use seasonal vegetables like pears, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and fall themed dips like whipped caramel apple dip or fall desserts like thinly sliced pumpkin bread or mini healthy pumpkin muffins!

Christmas Charcuterie:

Shape your meats, cheese, and crackers into the shape of a Christmas tree or include a few small Christmas treats like Sugar Cookie Truffles or Christmas Cornflake Wreaths!  Scattered cranberries around your board add a nice a seasonal touch.

Dessert Charcuterie:

Make chocolate dipping sauce and surround it by strawberries, bananas, apples, pretzels, marshmallows, graham cracker sticks, Scottish Short Bread Cookies, etc.

Valentine’s Charcuterie:

Shape your meats, cheese, and crackers into a giant heart and include Chocolate Covered Strawberries, conversation hearts, and cinnamon gummy bears.

Kids parties:

Lay a large piece of butcher paper on your counter and fill it with piles of kid friendly food including fruit, veggies sticks and coins, dips, chips, Donuts, mini sandwiches, popcorn, cheese sticks, crackers, juice boxes, etc.


This count is particularly off the boards made in the pictures below. Depending on the size of your board and the ingredient choices will differ the nutritional count.

Calories: 240 / Carbohydrates: 15g / Protein: 10g / Fat: 16g / Saturated Fat: 8g / Trans Fat: 1g / Cholesterol: 45mg / Sodium: 607mg / Potassium: 120mg / Fiber: 1g / Sugar: 7g / Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 85mg / Iron: 1mg

"This recipe is a keeper. Remember to play with your food and enjoy making an art piece."

CWT is not a certified dietician or nutritionist. Any nutritional information shared on this site is an estimate counted through measurements and package nutritional information used in each recipe. If calorie, macro counting and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend running the ingredients through your choice of nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary depending on national brands used per recipe.

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