Make an Epic Cheese Board

Hosting a dinner party or having a few friends over? This Cheese Board is the perfect appetizer for entertaining.

a cheese board with cheeses, fruits, nuts and spreads

You’re probably thinking that a cheese platter can be overwhelming and expensive to create, but it’s actually pretty easy and doesn’t have to break the bank. You need 3 basic components – sweet and savory flavors, and texture. I’ve got lots of tips on how to choose the best cheeses for your cheese board and complimentary ingredients for your board.

A cheese platter is perfect for holiday gatherings, girls night, or even just a low key evening at home. Have some fun with it – every cheese board is different and you can style it any way you like.

Get more cheesy goodness from these recipes: Queso Blanco Dip, Whipped Feta Dip, and Loaded Cheese Fries.

Table of Contents
  1. What to Put on a Cheese Board
  2. How to Assemble a Cheese Board
  3. Best Cheeses to Include
  4. How Much Cheese Per Person?
  5. Expert Tips
  6. Cheese Board Recipe

What to Put on a Cheese Board

The sky’s the limit when choosing items for your cheese platter. You can see a list of the exact ingredients that I used in the recipe card below. Or, just use this list as a jumping off point for your own unique tray.

Cheese: Your cheese tray is going to be all about the cheese, so be sure to select a variety that will set the mood for your board. Look for different textures and flavors from mild to sharp. More on that below. For a small group, stick with 2-3 types of cheese, and for a larger crowd you can go crazy with 4-5.

Crackers or Bread: Choose 2 or 3 different types to include, like Entertainment crackers, bagel chips, pita chips, Ritz crackers, breadsticks, or even a sliced baguette. This can be a great place to introduce some texture.

Fresh Fruits: Include a fresh element like grapes, mandarin oranges, pears or sliced apples pair beautifully with a variety of cheese.

close up of cheese board showing stuffed olives

Relishes: I like to include a savory component, like marinated olives, peppers, artichokes, or mushrooms, and pickles.

Spreads: This is a great way to include a sweet element. I chose raspberry jam for this board, but fig jam and honey are also common choices. Savory spreads like pimento cheese or mustard can be great as well.

close up of cheese board

Dried Fruit and Nuts: Garnish your cheese and cracker tray with a variety of snackable items, like dried apricots, bits of chocolate, and mixed nuts. Raid your pantry and use what you have on hand. Be sure to take into account any food allergies when including nuts.

How to Assemble a Cheese Board

  • I always start by adding a few small bowls that I will use for things like olives and jam.
wood tray with little bowls of olives, nuts, spread cheese and jam
  • Next place the cheeses around the tray, spacing them apart, and create sections for different cuts (cubes, wedges, etc).
wood tray with variety of cheeses, and dishes of condiments
  • Add crackers, breadsticks and bread.
cheese board with crackers and condiments
  • Fill in the gaps with fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts.
completed cheese board

Best Cheeses to Include

You want to include a variety, so be sure to select cheeses from different families.

  • Firm cheeses: Parmesan, Romano, Manchego.
  • Semi-hard cheeses: Gouda, Cheddar, Gruyere.
  • Semi-soft cheeses: Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack,
  • Soft cheeses: Boursin, Brie, Blue, Goat.

Within these 4 textures of cheese, you can select different flavors, like mild, sharp, and spicy.

How Much Cheese Per Person?

As a snack or as a starter at a dinner party, I recommend around 1-1.5 ounces of cheese per person. If the cheese is part of the main course, you can bump that up to 2 ounces per person. For a cheese course, which usually follows the main course, only a small amount

Expert Tips

  • Variety is key to a successful cheese tray. Be sure to offer different sweet and savory flavors, and lots of texture.
  • Create visual interest by using different colors, and by cutting the cheese into different shapes, like wedges, cubes and slices.
  • Include mini forks or toothpicks, knives for larger wedges of cheese and spoons for the jam and honey.
  • Garnish the tray with fresh herbs like sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Remember that anything you include on a platter of food should be edible, including the garnishes.
  • Feel free to include some cured meats, like salami and ham.
If you’ve made this recipe, please come back and leave us a star rating or a comment below.

Cheese Board

Hosting a dinner party or having a few friends over? This Cheese Board is the perfect appetizer for entertaining.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 cup Stuffed olives
  • 1 cup Mixed nuts sweet or savory
  • 1 cup Pimento cheese spread
  • 1/2 cup Raspberry jam
  • Spicy Colby Jack cheese
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Monterey Jack and Colby cheese cubes
  • Jalapeno Pepper Jack cheese
  • Double Smoked Cheddar cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Muenster cheese
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins
  • Entertainment crackers
  • Bagel Chips


  • Grab a large cutting board or platter. If you have one with raised edges, even better.
  • Place olives, mixed nuts, pimento cheese, and jam in small bowls and place throughout the board.
  • Next start filling the empty spaces with cheese, then crackers and bagel chips.
  • Finally add in grapes, dried apricots, dried cranberries and chocolate covered raisins.


  • The ingredients listed above include everything you see in the photos. It’s a pretty epic board that includes 7 kinds of cheese to showcase variety. You can pick just a few that you want to add to your own.
  • Nutritional information is not included, because it will vary vastly from platter to platter based on the ingredients used. 
  • Servings: The number of servings also varies by what ingredients you use and the  course you’re serving the cheese tray with. As a cheese course, which comes after the main course, you need less than 1 ounce per person; as an appetizer or starter, 1-1.5 ounces per person, and as part of a meal, at least 2 ounces per person. 
  • Variety is key. Be sure to offer different sweet and savory flavors, and lots of texture.
  • Create visual interest by using different colors, and by cutting the cheese into different shapes, like wedges, cubes and slices.
Keyword cheese board, cheese platter, cheese tray

Kristin Maxwell

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

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