How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board


I’m a big cheese lover. Growing up, my dad would always snack on slices of cheese with crackers and I’d often join him for this after-school treat (he still would rather have cheese & crackers than a real dinner!). I even gave up cheese one year for Lent, because that’s how much I love it. Ha!

Eating cheese from a simple charcuterie board

These days I don’t really eat very much cheese in my everyday diet, but I do indulge in it when we’re hosting friends & family (and pizza…duh!). So it shouldn’t be a surprise that my go-to party dish is a simple charcuterie board. It’s the perfect appetizer for all special occasions. It’s also one of my favorite things to put together.

Tips to throw together a simple charcuterie board for the holidays

Whenever we have people over, I always have a DIY charcuterie board filled with various cheeses, meats, nuts, and crackers. I love this appetizer because there is zero real cooking involved (you guys know my limits in the kitchen).

If you do it the right way your charcuterie board can act as decor during your little shindig! I mean how gorgeous & vibrant is this beautiful charcuterie board?!

Let’s Go Shopping!

How to make a cheeseboard for your next party

Everything I got for today’s simple DIY charcuterie board, I picked up on a quick trip to Trader Joe’s (check out this post for my favorite TJ grocery products!). I love shopping there for cheeseboards because they have such a great variety of cheeses at fair price points. Plus, their nut, honey, and dried fruit selection is bonkers too.

But, you could easily get everything here from your local grocery store if you don’t have a TJs nearby.

How to make a simple charcuterie board

If you’ve never thrown together a simple charcuterie board, I’m here to help! It may look intimidating, but with the right ingredients, the perfect wooden board, and some creativity you’ll have a gorgeous addition to your appetizer spread.

How to Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board

Casey
Entertaining is kicked up a notch with a simple, beautiful charcuterie board! Your guests will love the delicious, elegant variety of cheeses, meats, and snacks this easy appetizer offers.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • Soft Cheese: I usually go with a brie
  • Mild Cheese: Gouda every.single.time.
  • Firm: Unexpected Cheddar
  • Prosciutto/various meats
  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Olives
  • Crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Hummus

Instructions
 

  • Start by cutting up all the cheese. Keep the pieces bite-sized to best fit on the board. For the brie (or other soft cheeses), just put the wedge on the board and include a cheese knife (love this set) so guests can slice off their own.
  • Next, add the meat. Meats like prosciutto, salami, or turkey are popular. You can use what you prefer, and what your guests will like!
  • Add the light sides next, like a selection of olives, veggies for dipping, and hummus. Serve these sides in small ramekins to keep them from making a mess!
  • Next, add the snacks. Fresh fruit and dried fruit like grapes, raspberries, strawberries, raisins, dried cranberries, and dried apricots add color to the board.
  • Crackers come next. I used raisin rosemary crisps and multigrain pita chips. Other popular options are pretzel chips, Ritz crackers, or saltines. There are many options to include!
  • Fill in the gaps between the main features with small additions like nuts. My favorites are almonds, candied pecans, and pistachios.
  • Arrange your board however you think looks appetizing and presentable! Include your favorite treats and a great variety of options for all your guests.
Keyword charcuterie board

Simple Charcuterie Board – Ingredients

use berries on your cheese board for color and sweetness

Obviously, a charcuterie board needs a variety of flavors and a few kinds of cheeses. A good rule of thumb is to serve three types of cheese – soft, mild, and harder cheese. You could also do a spreadable cheese too. Then, I always add different meats.

  • Soft Cheese: I usually go with a brie cheese, just be sure to keep a cheese knife out for your guests. You could also choose blue cheese, goat cheese, burrata, gorgonzola, or mozzarella.
  • Mild Cheese: Gouda every.single.time.
  • Hard Cheese: Unexpected Cheddar is my favorite cheese from Trader Joe’s It’s crumbly, hard, and tangy. I also like manchego and parmesan.
  • A variety of meats (including prosciutto, summer sausage, and other cured meats)
  • Nuts
  • Fruit (pear or apple slices work great)
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Hummus
  • Bread (like baguette slices)

Finding the Perfect Cheese Board

You first need a large board to hold all your goodies. I have this round wooden board (super old from Crate & Barrel) that I use for all of my charcuterie plates, but I’d love to invest in a few more. I always go with a round shape, but different shapes work well too. Here are some of my favorites…

If you have a lot of snacks to serve, consider doing a round platter as your main area and this marble board for overflow! You could always use a cutting board too. And I also love the idea of this wood lazy Susan so guests can easily grab what they want.

Charcuterie Board Tips

Unexpected cheddar from Trader Joe's

The first thing I do is cut up the cheese. I just use a regular knife, but I’ve heard cheese slicers make this task especially easy. I try to keep bites pretty small, so guests can try the cheese with all of the various offerings on the platter.

Cut The Cheese Ahead Of Time

Put a cheese knife on your charcuterie board for easy slicing

I always cut the cheese up ahead of time and put them in small Tupperware containers. Then when it’s time to throw together the charcuterie board (about 15 minutes before guests arrive), I can take the cheese from the refrigerator and start building my board. That way things are cold and not at room temperature for too long.

For the brie (or other soft cheeses), just put the wedge on the board and include cheese knives (love this set) so guests can slice off their own. If I’m having a lot of guests over and may not have time to cut up more cheese, I’ll sometimes put the big chunks of harder cheese next to their little slices so guests can cut more if the cubes run out!

Add Your Meat

Roll up salami and prosciutto for a cheese board

I put my three cheeses on the board in three different areas, and then I add the meat.

I don’t eat red meat or pork, so this category is foreign to me. But you gotta please the people, so I always try to include meat on my boards. Trader Joe’s has a good selection of prosciutto and salami that I’ll often buy. I try to include a few different types of meat, but really any cured meats should do!

Use Small Bowls For Olives Or Dips

Learn how to make a simple charcuterie board with these tips

With the hearty dishes on the board, I add a little cup of olives. I put these in a ramekin (love these small bowls from Crate & Barrel) so they don’t leak all over the rest of the snacks.

If I also have veggies for dipping, I’ll put hummus in a ramekin on the board too. You could also add honey or fig jam at this stage in the charcuterie board prep, especially if it’s a really big board to fill.

The Finishing Touches

Add grapes to your charcuterie board

With the cheeses, meats, and olives on my simple charcuterie board, it’s time for the fun stuff….the snacks!

I love using fresh fruit & dried fruit to add some color to the board. My go-to is always grapes and I keep them on the vine and plop them right in the center of the board. Raspberries and strawberries are good too. Dried fruit, like dried apricots, are perfect for a charcuterie board

Then I’ll add berries if I have them, and some sort of dried fruit. This time it was dried apricots.

Raisin rosemary crackers from Trader Joe's

I love the selection of crackers at Trader Joe’s. On here I have my favorite Raisin Rosemary Crisps, as well as these Multigrain Pita Bit Crackers. I like to offer a couple of kinds of crackers because some pair better with particular cheeses.

Fill In The Empty Space

Fill up your charcuterie board with nuts

I think a charcuterie board looks best when the plate is full and items are touching. So I usually finish things off by putting nuts in the open areas. On this board, I did both sweet & savory nuts. I have candied pecans, pistachios, and my absolute favorite almonds (these Marcona Almonds with Rosemary from Trader Joe’s).

If I have any extra herbs (like rosemary), I’ll also scatter those throughout the board for extra color and fragrance. It adds visual interest to a classic charcuterie board.

Get Busy Snacking!

An easy appetizer for Thanksgiving...this simple charcuterie board

And that’s pretty much it! Is anyone else feeling hungry?!

Of course, my charcuterie boards are always changing depending on what we have in the fridge and pantry. But this is my go-to way to bring it all together for a delicious and aesthetically pleasing look!Snacking on cheese at a holiday party

This is such an easy no-cook appetizer or snack for the holidays. I hope you’ll try to build your own simple charcuterie board for Thanksgiving or a holiday party this year!

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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