Charcuterie Board

Learn how to make the best Charcuterie Board! I’ve got tons of tips, step by step photos, and unique charcuterie board ideas so you can make the perfect cheese and meat platter for your next party or cozy evening at home.

charcuterie board with meat, cheese and fruit

A Charcuterie Board is the perfect way to serve a large variety of snacks in a fun and visually appealing way. There’s something for everyone! Be sure to check out my Epic Cheese Board, too!

Table of Contents
  1. What is Charcuterie?
  2. What to Put on a Charcuterie Board
  3. What Tools Do You Need for a Charcuterie Board?
  4. Assembling Your Board
  5. Expert Tips
  6. How To Make Salami Roses
  7. Charcuterie Board Recipe

What is Charcuterie?

Charcuterie (pronounced shar-ku-tuh-ree) is the preparation of cured meats, like salami, bacon, ham, and sausage. The modern use of the term refers to a cheese and meat board that includes different accompaniments like fruits, nuts, relishes, crackers, dipping sauces, and spreads.

They are perfect for entertaining because you can make them as big or as small as you need. It’s a great way to present a variety of snacks for parties, holiday gatherings, backyard BBQs, and more. I like to throw one together for movie nights at home or just a grazing board for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What to Put on a Charcuterie Board

You can select a variety of tasty meats, cheeses, and other snacks to include on your board. Specialty meats and cheeses can get a little pricey, so you can splurge and go all out or keep it budget-friendly and just pick a few. Here is a list of what you’ll typically find on a platter.

  • Charcuterie Board Meats: Choose 2-3 types of meats, or more if you want. Plan on 3-4 ounces per person of cured meats like Salami, prosciutto, ham, capicola, soppressata, summer sausage, etc.
  • Best Cheeses for a Charcuterie Board: Plan on 1-2 ounces of cheese per person, and select a variety of textures and flavors. Hard cheeses like Parmesan, Manchego, Cheddar and Gouda, and soft cheeses like Brie, goat cheese, blue cheese, mozzarella balls and burrata.
  • Crackers or Bread: Introduce some texture with crisp selections like Entertainment crackers, Pita chips, Bagel Chips, pretzels, breadsticks or even a sliced baguette.
  • Fresh Fruits: Include a fresh element like sliced apples, grapes, mandarin oranges, berries or pears pair beautifully savory meats and cheeses.
  • Relishes: Briny, pickled or marinated items things like olives, peppers, artichokes mushrooms and pickles are a great palette cleanser.
  • Spreads: Add something sweet like jams or honey. Savory spreads like pimento cheese, hummus or mustard can be great as well.
  • Dried Fruit and Nuts: Garnish your platter with a variety of snackable items, like dried apricots, cranberries, almonds, cashews and pistachios. This is a great opportunity to use what you have in your pantry. You can also garnish with fresh herbs like sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
close up of a charcuterie board

What Tools Do You Need for a Charcuterie Board?

Before we discuss the actual ingredients, you need a few tools. Here are some of the items I use when putting together a meat and cheese board.

  • The board. The first thing you need to decide is the type of serving vessel you want to use. I used a beautiful wooden tray with handles for this presentation, but you can use a cutting board, a round serving tray or even a baking sheet. Anything with a flat surface will do.
  • Serving utensils. Unless you want people picking up food with their bare hands, you’re going to need some cheese knives, mini forks, toothpicks and mini serving spoons. You don’t have to go out and buy anything special – just use what you have on hand.
  • Small bowls. Small ramekins or mini prep bowls are great because they not only hold sauces, dips and nuts, but they are the first thing I set out when I begin arranging my board.

Assembling Your Board

Now comes the fun part – putting it all together! I like to work in odd numbers of 3-5 per item.

Choose your board. The size and shape are personal preference, but size will depend largely on the number of guests.

Add small bowls to anchor your board. You can fill these will spreads, honey, and relishes (olives, pickles).

wood board with dishes of condiments and meat roses

Add the meats. Fold or roll up the meats so they are easy to pick up and lay them out strategically on the board. Or, add some flourish with beautiful salami roses – I’ve included a quick how-to below.

board with meat and spreads

Add the cheeses. Cut your cheese into different shapes and sizes and arrange them around the board.

meat and cheese board

Add fresh fruits and crackers. Fill in larger gaps with bunches of grapes, strawberries, raspberries, or other fruits, crackers, pretzels, or slices of bread. Any small gaps that are left can be filled in with nuts, dried cranberries, etc.

adding crackers to meat and cheese board
finished charcuterie board

Expert Tips

  • You don’t always have to go all out with a fancy board, but I do like to splurge on them for the holidays. You could always ask a couple of family members to chip in.
  • Shop your pantry before making a grocery list. Chances are you’ll find some items you can use. I always have crackers and dried fruits on hand.
  • Keep it simple and don’t go crazy with the specialty meat, cheese and spreads. Use items you know you’ll actually enjoy.
  • Consider colors when arranging the board. Use different colors and textures to create a visually appealing result.
  • Make Ahead – You can prepare your meat and cheese board with just meats, cheeses and fruits up to a day in advance. Add the other items just before serving.
salami roses

How To Make Salami Roses

Use a drinking glass or a wine glass for larger flowers and a smaller juice glass for small flowers. Place a slice of meat on the rim of the glass, folding so half of the salami is pressed to the inside and the other half is pressed to the outside of the glass. Continue layering, overlapping around the glass; about 6-8 layers. Flip the glass over where you want to flower to be and gently remove the glass.

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Charcuterie Board

How to plan the perfect Charcuterie Board, with tips for ingredients and assembling.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 250kcal

Ingredients
  

Spreads and Dips

  • Raspberry jam, fig jam, honey
  • spicy mustard, hummus, pimento cheese, ranch dip

Meats

  • 2 pounds Cured meats like pepperoni, salami, honey ham, prosciutto, sopressata and summer sausage. deli sliced

Cheeses

  • 10 ounces Soft cheeses like blueberry goat cheese, gorgonzola or blue cheese, and brie wedges.
  • 10 ounces Hard cheeses like colby jack, sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, manchego

Crackers

  • Pretzels, pita chips, bagel chips, crackers
  • Crostini or mini toasts

Savory Accompaniments

  • Nuts: Mixed nuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews
  • Pickled/Marinated: Mushrooms, Olives, Peppers, Artichokes, pickles

Fruits

  • Strawberries
  • Grapes in small bunches
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins

Instructions
 

  • Set out a large cutting board or platter.
  • Place all bowls or jars where you would like them. Fill bowls with honey, nuts, or jam.
  • Arrange meats on the board, then cheese, then crackers.
  • Fill in empty spots with fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate covered raisins.

Notes

  • You don’t always have to go all out with a fancy board, but I do like to splurge on them for the holidays. You could always ask a couple of family members to chip in.
  • Shop your pantry before making a grocery list. Chances are you’ll find some items you can use. I always have crackers and dried fruits on hand.
  • Keep it simple and don’t go crazy with the specialty meat, cheese and spreads. Use items you know you’ll actually enjoy.
  • Consider colors when arranging the board. Use different colors and textures to create a visually appealing result.
  • Make Ahead – You can prepare your meat and cheese board with just meats, cheeses and fruits up to a day in advance. Add the other items just before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal
Keyword charcuterie board

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the recipe developer, writer, CEO and all around badass who created Yellow Bliss Road, Inc. and EasyAppetizers.com. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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