Wondering how to make a Charcuterie Board? I've got all the tips and tricks to make sure your meat and cheese board is perfect and beautiful! A charcuterie board is a perfect appetizer or buffet food for any party or event, and it includes cheese, meat, veggies, and snacks that will please everyone's palate.
A charcuterie board is an appetizer that includes cheese, various meats (hams and salamis), jellies, olives, nuts, dried fruits like apricots or figs.
The charcuterie board is from France (charcuterie refers to a butcher shop) where cured hams are served with bread and cheese as snacks at the end of the meal.
The charcuterie board has become popular internationally as a great way to serve a variety of delicious appetizers at any party or event since you can display a variety of food items in a pretty way.
Charcuterie boards are versatile because they can be served at any time of day which is great for dinner events or even brunch.
They can also be made to fit many different occasions and themes.
For example, if you're having a Christmas party, you can add Christmas-themed foods like candy canes or gingerbread cookies.
If you're having a barbecue, you can add patriotic-themed items.
It's perfect for a New Year's Eve party, along with a few glasses of champagne to see in the new year!
See below on how to make a classic cheese and meat board using quality ingredients!
Charcuterie Board Pronunciation
So now that you know what a charcuterie board is, how the heck do you say it?!
Charcuterie is a French word (meaning pork butcher) and is pronounced: SHAR-coo-teh-ree.
Why Make This Recipe
- The meat and cheese board can be served as an appetizer or be made as a full meal.
- Charcuterie boards are perfect for any holiday party or event because they can easily be tailored to fit the occasion.
- A charcuterie board allows you to try a variety of different flavors from around the country or around the world.
- Guests can choose to eat what they like, so it's like a pretty buffet on it's own tray.
What elements do I need?
Charcuterie boards are made up, basically, of three components: Meat, Cheese and Bread.
You need meats for a charcuterie board! I like to add a variety of intensities and textures. Go for some salami, cured prosciutto, cooked sausage, parma ham or pepperoni. Check out your deli counter for a selection.
You certainly need cheese for a cheese and meat board! Go for a variety, from familiar cheddar or havarti, to soft brie and stronger gorgonzola or bleu cheese. Smoked gouda, goats cheese and mozzarella are also great additions.
Tip: be sure to leave your cheeses out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Cheese tastes better than straight from the fridge. Just keep an eye on it if it's a warm day that it's not out for too long.
You can get creative with bread ideas for your board.
Try a variety of crackers and breadsticks for texture and flavors. It's also nice to use slices of French bread or baguette.
I also love adding a few graham crackers for a sweet balance to strong cheese.
Get creative with extras in your charcuterie board - I love adding olives, nuts, and even a few sweet things such as amaretti cookies or meringues.
It's also great with chutney's, jellies, and dried fruit. Try adding some hot pepper jelly or buy it at Trader Joe's!
Another great addition to the charcuterie board is some fresh fruit - grapes are perfect alongside strong cheese.
For a healthy addition, add a handful of cherry tomatoes, some sliced carrots and rounds of cucumber.
Charcuterie Ingredient Ideas
The wonderful thing about a charcuterie board is that it's totally customizable! Here are some ideas for ingredients, but switch it up for what you have on hand or what your guests will love. You can also get creative with seasonal ideas too!
- Variety of Cheeses - You can use dill Havarti, brie, cheddar, or bleu cheese. Be sure to choose cheeses that will pair well with the meats and other ingredients you're using.
- Dry Salami - A mix of spicy and regular sliced salami. This type of salami is cured and dry-aged, making it a great choice for charcuterie boards.
- Prosciutto and other deli meats - Prosciutto is a type of cured Italian ham that is thinly sliced and has a salty flavor. It can be served as part of an antipasto or on its own as a charcuterie board item.
- Small Pretzel Sticks - A type of pretzel that is small in size and perfect for charcuterie boards.
- Crackers - You can use various flavors and colors of your favorite crackers for crunch and texture.
- Jelly - We recommend using a variety of jams and jellies to give your charcuterie board some sweetness and tartness that pairs well with sharp cheeses.
- Mixed Nuts - The classic charcuterie board item that is a great source of protein and healthy fats.
- Grapes - A sweet and juicy fruit that is perfect for charcuterie boards.
- Cherry Tomatoes - A classic charcuterie board item that is a great source of acidity and freshness.
- Sliced Cucumbers - Freshly sliced cucumbers add a fresh and crunchy balance to the heavier foods.
- Olives - Picked green or black olives that are cured in brine and can be served as charcuterie board items to add a layer of salty flavor.
- Meringue Cookies - A type of dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar. They are light, airy, sweet, and crisp which pairs well with charcuterie board items like cheese or charcuterie meats.
- Rosemary - Fresh sprigs are used as a garnish for charcuterie boards to add a fresh pop of green color and freshness. Try adding bay or other hardy herbs too.
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full quantities.
How to Make a Cheese and Meat Board
Wondering how to make this Charcuterie Board? It's easy!
Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prep the ingredients: Make sure you fully wash and prep any fruit or vegetables. They will be on full display! Then lay them all out so you see what you have to work with.
Cut the cheeses: Cut the cheeses into small pieces or slices depending on the size and shape and how you want them to fit on the board.
Plate the loose ingredients: Arrange any bowls or ramekins on the board first to fill with nuts, olives, jelly, or anything that is loose and needs a place.
Arrange the ingredients: Add cheeses, crackers and meats, spread out decoratively. Add fruits and vegetables around the cheese and crackers to create a fresh look.
Fill in the gaps: Fill in any gaps on the board with nuts, bite-size cookies, or sweet treats. Then place the fresh rosemary around the board to create a pop of green color.
Make sure all of the ingredients are cut into bite-sized pieces so that everyone can enjoy a few of each type of food.
You can vary the charcuterie board ingredients to either be arranged sweet or savory. Or, you can make a meat and cheese charcuterie board with some fruit on the side as well.
It's important to make sure the fresh food is washed and free of any bruises or impurities as they will easily show on the board.
Invest in a set of cheese knives or tools to ensure the cheese gets cut and spread properly.
To assemble the board, start with the largest and most abundant ingredients and lay them out artfully. Then fill in the gaps with other, smaller ingredients.
You can add small items, such as nuts or olives, in small bowls on your board.
Try adding a few dips, such as hummus or Wingstop Ranch.
If you want to switch things up, try a few of these variations on the charcuterie board theme:
Bread Board: Use a large cutting board or breadboard and fill it with various types of sliced bread. Add meats, cheese, fruits, and vegetables for a fun and easy charcuterie board variation.
Fruit Board: A charcuterie board doesn't have to be all about the meat and cheese! Add a variety of fresh fruit slices and diced fruit to create a beautiful and healthy charcuterie board.
Antipasto Board: Another great variation on the charcuterie board is an antipasto board. This type of charcuterie board features a variety of olives, pickled vegetables, and other small dishes placed in the center. You can use a large serving platter or tiered cake stand to create an impressive charcuterie board display.
Dessert Board: If you have a party with kids around, try making them their own charcuterie board featuring a dessert charcuterie board. Fill the charcuterie plate with chocolate candies, cupcakes, and marshmallows to create an adorable charcuterie dessert board for kids!
If you're not serving the charcuterie board right away, be sure to store any perishable items in the fridge.
This will help keep them fresh and tasty for when your guests arrive. Any leftover charcuterie items can generally be saved in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Aim for about ¾ - to one-ounce servings per person. So, if you're serving a 12-person charcuterie board, try to have around nine ounces of food in total.
Yes! Most charcuterie board ingredients can be prepared ahead of time. Just make sure to keep any perishables refrigerated and assemble the charcuterie board within two hours of serving.
Generally, no. However, some charcuterie board ingredients can be stored in the freezer temporarily - just keep them well wrapped to avoid any ice crystals or freezer burn.
es depending on your preference and what other food items you're adding to the charcuterie board. If you want a traditional charcuterie plate, stick with harder cheeses like cheddar or Parmesan cheese. For an added twist, try experimenting with some of these unique cheeses: smoked Gouda cheese, brie cheese, Camembert cheese, blue cheese (avoid if serving guests with allergies), goat cheese.
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Charcuterie Board (Cheese and Meat Board)
Cheese (approx 50 ounces)
- 1 wheel Brie sliced into triangles
- 1 wedge Bleu cheese
- 1 block Havarti (I used dill havarti)
- 1 block Cheddar (I used cranberry white cheddar)
- 1 round Smoked Gouda
Meat (approx 50 ounces)
- 10 ounces Dry salami spicy and regular sliced
- 10 ounces Prosciutto or other cured, thin meat
- 10 ounces Pepperoni
- 10 ounces Spicy Sausage
- 10 ounces Ham
- 1 cup Small pretzel sticks
- 20 ounces Crackers Choose a variety flavors and colors
- Cut French baguette
- Fruit Jelly (Try Trader Joe's Pepper Jelly)
- 1 cup Nuts
- 1 cup Grapes
- 1 cup Cherry tomatoes
- 1 Cucumber sliced
- 1 cup Olives
- 1 cup Bite Size Meringue Cookies or sweet treat of your choice
- Fresh Rosemary for garnish
- Wash and prep any fruit or vegetables.
- Cut the cheeses into small pieces or slices.
- Arrange any bowls or ramekins on the board first to fill with nuts, olives, jelly etc.
- Add cheeses, crackers and meats, spread out decoratively.
- Add fruits and vegetables.
- Fill in any gaps on the board with nuts, bite size cookies (I used mini meringues) and then garnish with rosemary or other herbs.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
Love your charcuterie skills! I had never thought of adding sweets like meringue. It's such a nice addition!
I'm all about a meat and cheese charcuterie board. This is a very tasty combo of meats and cheeses. Love it!