How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board

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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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How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board

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.

Roll the Thin Sliced Salami
Roll the Thin Sliced Salami

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.

Cheese Smoked Meats and Olives Board Display
Cheese Smoked Meats and Olives Board Display

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!

Options for a Food Board
Options for a Food Board

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:

  • Provolone
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Fontina
  • Gorgonzola
  • Brie
  • Asiago
  • BellaVitano
  • 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
Add Small Cups of Food
Add Small Cups of Food

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.

Filling in the Spaces
Filling in the Spaces

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.

Simple Charcuterie Board Display
Simple Charcuterie Board Display

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.

Fruit and Cheese Charcuterie
Fruit and Cheese Charcuterie

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.

How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board
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5 from 1 vote

How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: charcuterie board, easy recipe, game day, healthy recipe, holiday recipe, party food
Servings: 18 Servings
Calories: 545kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Arrange jams, olives, pickles, almonds, pistachios, and fresh mozzarella on your cheese board in small bowls or ramekins.
    Arrange Jams and Jellies in small Bowls
  • Next add thin sliced meats, fanning them or rolling them into a cigar shape.
    Roll the Thin Sliced Salami
  • Next add cheese wedges and slices, fanning them around the small bowls or ramekins.
    Add Small Cups of Food
  • Then add crackers or bread, stacked, or fanned out.
    Keep Filling in the Spaces with Cheese and other Items
  • Next add cubed cheese, fruit, and crackers. Filling in any small openings on the cheeseboard.
    Filling in the Spaces

Video

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 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, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 1557mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 668IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 527mg | Iron: 2mg

Environmental Information

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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.

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