Everything you need to know to make the perfect Charcuterie Board including food ideas, recipes, and pro tips for assembling and displaying your charcuterie board for any season or occasion. This is the easiest way to serve snacks or appetizers in a fun and festive way!

Charcuterie board with meats, sliced cheese, dips, crackers and fruit, served on a wood board.

Charcuterie (shahr-koo-tuh–ree)

Charcuterie boards are all the rage and I totally understand why! They are easy, require little to no cooking, and they are so fun! The term “charcuterie” refers to the preparing of cured meats, like prosciutto, bacon, salami, etc., but these days it’s original definition seems to be broadening to include all sorts of snacks presented on a large board or tray. Besides cured meats, they typically also include a variety of cheeses, crackers, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dipping sauces or spreads.

What you’ll need:

Food: An assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, breads or crackers, fruit (dried or fresh). I listed what I used in these photos in the recipe card below, but the options are endless! See more ideas below.

  • Cheeses: cheddar, swiss, provolone, gouda, Gruyère, goat, etc.
  • Meats: summer sausage, prociutto, bacon, salami, prosciutto, ham, cured chorizo, capicola, soppressata, etc.
  • Veggies: cucumber, carrots, olives, mini bell peppers, pickles
  • Dips: bruschetta, balsamic dip, ranch dip, salsa, olive oil, hummus, tzatziki, grainy mustard, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios
  • Dried fruit: apricots, mangos, dates, etc.
  • Fresh fruit: grapes, berries, oranges, apples

A large serving tray or board. You can use anything around your house, and if it’s not something you’d typically put food on you can place parchment paper over it.

  • If you don’t have a large board you could lay a large piece of butcher paper on your kitchen island or counter, and serve the charcuterie platter from there.
  • The board in these photos is this serving platter from target.
Salami slices, cheese slices and crackers on one side of a wood serving tray.

How to arrange a Charcuterie Board:

1. Choose your board.  The size of your board or plate largely 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!

  • My favorite way to serve a large crowd is to ditch the board or plate and lay a large piece of butcher paper all the way down my counter/island. Then put piles of food and arranged meats and cheeses right on the butcher paper!

2. Add serving bowls or large cheese wedges. Start by placing bowls or plates you’re using to serve dips and condiments and any larger wedges of cheese and space them out over the board.

A wood serving board with a bowl of mustard, bowl of olives, brie cheese and plate with cream cheese.

3. Fill in the gaps. Now fill in some of the gaps with sliced meats, cheeses, crackers and bread. Pay particular attention to the colors and textures of your food and separate colors in a way that allows the brightest colors to really stand out. You can fold some of the meats like an accordion and set them upright, or roll them into tubes so they’re easy for people to grab.

4. Stand back and assess.  If you have any gaps around the board or in the corners fill them in with fruit or extra crackers.

A section of a charcuterie board with sliced baguettes, apples, cheese and a bowl with olives.

Pro tips for a GREAT Charcuterie:

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.

For Costco members: I particularly like Costco’s sliced cheese party tray. It’s inexpensive, good quality, and the cheese is already sliced and ready to go. They also have great and inexpensive Brie cheese, and sliced meats packaged and ready for these type of meat and cheese boards.

 Cream cheese with jalapeño jelly on top and crackers, cheese, grapes and cured meat on the sides.

More Charcuterie board ideas:

Fall Charcuterie: Include small pumpkins to decorate your board, use seasonal vegetables like pears, and fall themed dips like whipped caramel apple dip or fall desserts like thinly sliced pumpkin bread!

Christmas charcuterie: shape your meats, cheese, and crackers into the shape of a Christmas tree or include a few small Christmas treats like Chocolate 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, mini 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.

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

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Recipe

Charcuterie board with meats, sliced cheese, dips, crackers and fruit, served on a wood board.
Prep 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • Brie cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese cubes
  • Other sliced cheese – swiss , provolone
  • Cream Cheese
  • Jalapeno jelly
  • Crackers (3-4 different types)
  • Baguette , sliced
  • Meats , salame, prosciutto, calabrese, or whatever you like
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Olives , balck, green, kalamative
  • Fruit – grapes , strawberries, apples

Instructions
 

  • Choose your board.  The size of your board or plate largely 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).
    My favorite way to serve a large crowd is to ditch the board or tray and lay a large piece of butcher paper all the way down my counter or kitchen island. Then, place piles of food and arranged meats and cheese right on the butcher paper!
  • Add serving bowls and cheese wedges. Start by placing bowls or plates you'll be using for dips and condiments and any larger wedges of cheese spaced out over the board.
  • Fill in the gaps. Now fill in some of gaps with sliced meats, cheeses, crackers and bread. Pay particular attention to the colors and textures of your food and separate colors in a way that allows the brightest colors to really stand out. You can fold some of the meats like an accordion and set them upright, or roll them into tubes so they’re easy for people to grab.
  • Stand back and assess.  If you have any gaps around the board or in the corners, add fruit or extra crackers. Enjoy!

Notes

Pro tips for a GREAT Charcuterie:

Keep it simple! This may seem obvious, but design your board based on the people who will be eating from it, 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 10gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 607mgPotassium: 120mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 353IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 1mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Hi,

    I bought this same serving tray from Target – thanks for the recommendation! I see for the cleaning instructions it recommends only wiping with damp cloth. Is there any concern with putting food directly on the board if it hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned?
    Thanks!

  2. I’m so inspired! This is gorgeous and thank you for all the tips. I’m curious where you purchased your white condiment dishes. They’re a great fit for this board!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks Lauren for your wonder recipes. They are all delicious, healthy and simple to follow. Thank you Lauren.