Everything you need to know to make a simple Charcuterie Board. It is an easy way to serve snacks and appetizers in a festive and eye-catching way. Find food ideas and tips for assembling and displaying your charcuterie board for any season or occasion.
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No Cooking Skills Needed for a Charcuterie
No cooking skills are required, and you can put this together for a small gathering or a larger crowd. Have one or multiple Charcuterie food stations set up for your guests to enjoy.
This is a scrumptious way to prepare the food and enjoy time with your guests too rather then spend hours in the kitchen.
Perfect for an intimate date night or special occasion just between the two of you.
What is Charcuterie? Charcuterie (shahr-koo-tuh-ree)
“Charcuterie” generally refers to a display of cured meats such as prosciutto, bacon, salami, and specialty cheeses. However, more recently, they are becoming quite popular and I see why. They are a delicious and easy way to entertain and often, they require little, to no cooking. They are just fun to arrange and let the guests serve themselves.
The charcuterie boards that I have had the pleasure of enjoying typically include a variety of cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, vegetables, little toasts, spreads, and sauces.
Your food presentation can be as simple or complex as you would like it.
Only Rule I have to Charcuterie boards ~ put items on the board that you enjoy eating.
While I have suggestions on what to put on the menu, I find it is always better when you use the foods that you enjoy. Sometimes, however, it is good to try new things, and this might also be a way to try something new in a smaller quantity.
Entertaining on a Budget
Finding something to use as a display board can sometimes be tricky. However, here is a great option that I have used when I want to set up more than one charcuterie board area.
Take a baking sheet or half sheet pan, turn it upside down and cover it with a placemat or a pretty, clean towel. You are all set to start building your food display.
Use a round or oval platter. If you have a round drink tray, that would be lovely too.
Combine a few placing them close to each other on a table and use the trays with the table space between to create a lovely table display.
This can be as expensive or cheap as you like. Look in your refrigerator and pantry to see if you have that jar of pickles and olives that need to be used. I often have a jar of each and one or two jars of jam or jelly. In our snack area, I always have nuts. Today, I had pistachios. They are perfect for adding to this food display.
Since we live in Wisconsin, we always seem to have lots of cheese options on hand. That one is easy for us.
Once you have taken stock of what you already have on hand, it is a lot easier to pick up the few things that you need yet.
Just remember ~ variety and randomness are paramount!
What Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board typically includes a variety of cheeses, meats, crispy crackers with a few other complimentary items. Really anything that can be used for snacking, such as: jams, and jellies, olives, pickles, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, and spreads.
Here are some ideas for what types of cheeses and meats to include.
It is not necessary to include each one, just 2 or 3 of the cheeses and a few of the meats too. It creates a nice variety for your guests.
My favorite cheeses for my cheese board are:
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Colby/Jack Blends
- Swiss Cheese
- Pepper Jack
My favorite meats for my cheese board are:
- Salami all kinds of it, but thinly sliced
- Sliced deli ham, beef, chicken, or any other thin-sliced, deli meat that you enjoy
- Meat snack sticks
Displaying the Food
I let the board come to life naturally. Start with the larger or more eye-appealing items. Then start filling in the bare areas.
Sometimes, I pile something in a space, other times, I try for neat rows or a fanned look. If you have thinly sliced meat and cheese, they can be rolled into little cigar style shapes and stacked.
Do not worry about how things will look. As you keep filling in the spaces, it will keep coming together.
Cheese can be added in a wedge, sliced, or cubed. In addition to the cheese wedges, I like to buy the pre-sliced cheese varieties for this as it helps with the set-up time. Jams and jellies can be added right in their container if you choose.
Any time you purchase the meat and cheese pre-sliced, it saves a ton of time. Probably the largest time-saving trick for this food board.
Crackers. This is a time when I will go purchase fancy crackers that I normally do not have in my pantry. It makes this whole presentation prettier and tastier. It brings new tastes to the party.
Charcuterie Board Visual Appeal
The easiest way to create a visually appealing display is to change up the shapes and sizes of the items on display and add color. Adding pops of color with fresh or dried fruit is a great option. It will just pull the entire look together in the end. Great options are apple slices, red and green grapes, orange slices, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
Pretty bowls and cups that hold items and give the board height. Other shapes and sizes, such as wedges and circles of cheese.
Rolled meats. Make something fancy like a salami rosette.
The visual appeal happens as you continue to build your tray and fill in the spaces.
Continuing to fill in the spaces with little piles of smaller items like grapes, strawberries, blueberries, or another type of finger-food fruit.
Nuts can be randomly placed around the tray or even in a pretty cup. Here are a few options: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and shelled pistachios.
Condiments such as pickles and spreads I generally display in a small container.
Crackers come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and can add a lovely visual appeal to the food display. Stack them or spread them out.
All this variety creates the visual appeal and will keep your guests coming back for more to try bits of goodness.
How Much Food to Plan Per Person for a Charcuterie Board?
I plan on about 3-4 ounces of meat and cheese per person. Those seem to always be the most items consumed. Then I try and have 5-7 other snacking items that they can enjoy; planning that they will have approximately an ounce of each item.
While it will depend on what time of day you are serving your guests, this is a good rule of thumb.
Other Food Options for this Food Display
While I often see the salami and cheese combination tray, I have also seen very pretty displays for fruit and veggies too. Switch it up and be creative.
Vegetable charcuterie: Serve bite-sized vegetables with a variety of dips. Vegetable ideas: cucumber, carrots, olives, mini bell peppers, green onions, pea pods, celery, pickled beets, and pickles.
Dessert charcuterie: Serve homemade quick breads with some fun dipping sauces, fruit, and snacking sweets. Make a peanut butter and chocolate dipping sauce. Surround these with strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapes, pretzels, marshmallows, graham cracker sticks, and mini cookies. If served during the Holiday season, create a Christmas charcuterie: Serve your homemade Holiday candies, bars, and snacks in the shape of a wreath. Peppering bits of color throughout.
Party Theme Snack Boards
This Halloween Charcuterie board is simple to make when you start with a skeleton. Just add your favorite slices of meat, cheeses, fruits and other finger food. You will have enough snacks to keep your guests entertained for the whole evening while adding to your party decor.
What to Serve on a Burger Charcuterie Board
A burger charcuterie board is a fun and creative way to serve burgers at a party or gathering. To make the board, start with a large platter or board and arrange a variety of toppings and condiments around the perimeter. For the burgers themselves, consider using mini sliders or patties that are easy to handle and eat.
Some classic burger toppings to include on the board are sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles. You can also add some more unique toppings like avocado, grilled pineapple, or caramelized onions. Don’t forget about the cheese! Offer a variety of options such as cheddar, Swiss, or blue cheese crumbles.
For condiments, provide a range of sauces such as ketchup, mustard, and mayo. But also consider adding some more gourmet options like aioli, chipotle mayo, or ranch dressing. And of course, no burger is complete without some crispy bacon!
To add some extra pizzazz to the board, consider including some sides such as sweet potato fries, onion rings, or a colorful salad. And don’t forget about the drinks! Offer some refreshing options such as lemonade, iced tea, or beer to wash it all down.
Beef Charcuterie Board Ideas
A charcuterie board is a great way to showcase different cuts of beef and create a visually stunning and delicious spread for any occasion. Here are some beef charcuterie board ideas to inspire your next gathering:
- Classic Charcuterie Board: Start with a selection of cured meats like salami, prosciutto, and bresaola. Add some hard and soft cheeses like cheddar, brie, and blue cheese. Then, add some beef jerky, sliced roast beef, and pickled vegetables for a touch of acidity.
- Steakhouse Charcuterie Board: For a more upscale option, include thinly sliced Wagyu beef, seared steak bites, and a variety of mustards and horseradish sauces for dipping. Add some crusty bread and roasted garlic for a complete steakhouse experience.
- Southwestern Charcuterie Board: Spice things up with some chili-spiced beef jerky, sliced carne asada, and queso fresco cheese. Add some fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeños, and avocado for a colorful and flavorful spread.
- Asian-Inspired Charcuterie Board: Incorporate some thinly sliced beef bulgogi, teriyaki beef sticks, and crispy tempura shrimp. Add some pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for dipping.
No matter which beef charcuterie board you choose, be sure to include a variety of textures and flavors to keep your guests satisfied and impressed.
Food Ideas for Asian Charcuterie Board
An Asian charcuterie board is an excellent way to introduce a variety of flavors and textures to your guests. Here are some food ideas that you can add to your board:
Sushi – Sushi is a popular Japanese dish that consists of vinegared rice, vegetables, and seafood. You can add different types of sushi rolls to your board, such as California rolls, spicy tuna rolls, or vegetable rolls.
Asian crackers – Asian crackers are a great addition to any charcuterie board. You can add rice crackers, sesame crackers, or shrimp crackers to your board to add a crunchy texture.
Edamame – Edamame is a popular Japanese snack that is packed with protein. You can serve boiled edamame in a small bowl on your board.
Dumplings – Dumplings are a popular Chinese dish that consists of a filling of meat or vegetables wrapped in a thin dough. You can add steamed or fried dumplings to your board.
Bao buns – Bao buns are a type of Chinese steamed bun that is filled with meat or vegetables. You can add different types of bao buns to your board, such as pork belly bao or vegetable bao.
Pickled vegetables – Pickled vegetables are a common side dish in many Asian cuisines. You can add pickled cucumbers, carrots, or daikon radishes to your board.
Soy sauce and wasabi – Soy sauce and wasabi are common condiments in Asian cuisine. You can serve them in small dishes on your board for dipping sushi or dumplings.
By incorporating these food ideas into your Asian charcuterie board, you can create a unique and flavorful experience for your guests.
How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board
- 5 oz. Jam or jellies I like to have at least one.
- 1 cup Olives
- 1 cup Baby Pickles
- ½ cup Almonds
- ½ cup Pistachios Shelled
- 8 oz. Mozzarella Pearls fresh
- 5 oz. Gorgonzola 1 wedge
- 5 oz. Asiago 1 wedge
- 12 oz. Salami rolled into cigar shapes
- 12 oz. Ham Sliced and rolled into cigar shapes
- 24 oz. Cheese 3-4 varieties sliced or cut into bite-sized cubes
- 12 oz. Crackers Assorted crackers or mini-toasts or sliced baguette
- 5 oz. Fruit can be fresh or dried
- Arrange jams, olives, pickles, almonds, pistachios, and fresh mozzarella on your cheese board in small bowls or ramekins.
- Next add thin sliced meats, fanning them or rolling them into a cigar shape.
- Next add cheese wedges and slices, fanning them around the small bowls or ramekins.
- Then add crackers or bread, stacked, or fanned out.
- Next add cubed cheese, fruit, and crackers. Filling in any small openings on the cheeseboard.
Your Own Private Notes
How Much Food to Plan Per Person for a Charcuterie Board?I plan on about 3-4 ounces of meat and cheese per person. Those seem to always be the most items consumed. Then I try and have 5-7 other snacking items that they can enjoy; planning that they will have approximately an ounce of each item. While it will depend on what time of day you are serving your guests, this is a good rule of thumb. When assembling the charcuterie board, start with the bowls and jars first. Then place your meats and cheeses around them. Lastly, fill in the smaller spaces with fruits, crackers, and breads.
Charcuterie Board Visual AppealThe easiest way to create a visually appealing display is to change up the shapes and sizes of the items on display and add color. Adding pops of color with fresh or dried fruit is a great option. It will just pull the entire look together in the end. Great options are apple slices, red and green grapes, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
Other Food Options for this Food DisplayWhile I often see the salami and cheese combination tray, I have also seen very pretty displays for fruit and veggies too. Switch it up and be creative. Vegetable charcuterie: Serve bite-sized vegetables with a variety of dips. Vegetable ideas: cucumber, carrots, olives, mini bell peppers, green onions, pea pods, celery, pickled beets, and pickles. Dessert charcuterie: Serve homemade quick breads with some fun dipping sauces, fruit, and snacking sweets. Make a peanut butter and chocolate dipping sauce. Surround these with strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapes, pretzels, marshmallows, graham cracker sticks, and mini cookies. If served during the Holiday season, create a Christmas charcuterie: Serve your homemade Holiday candies, bars, and snacks in the shape of a wreath. Peppering bits of color throughout.
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I hope that you liked this recipe. If you are looking for more ideas on what to make, here are a few other recipes that you may enjoy.
You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has worked in restaurants for many years. Her many crochet patterns and quilt patterns are enjoyed by many. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.