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How to Make a Charcuterie Board {Meat and Cheese Board}

Learn how to make a charcuterie board full of meats, cheeses, and other nibbles to give your guests the finest grazing experience.

Overhead view of meat and cheese platter with nuts, fruits, jams, honey, etc.

When it comes to holiday entertaining, you can’t go wrong with a charcuterie board. It’s the ultimate snack offering, not to mention that its exquisite appearance makes for one heck of a centerpiece! This setup is sure to have something for everyone–smokey cheese, salty cured meats, fruits, sweet chutneys—and the best part? You can get creative in deciding what to include. I often get asked how I put these alluring snack boards together and really, there’s no hidden secret or talent here. But! I’m here with some hot tips to help you with your holiday entertaining.

What Is a Charcuterie Board?

A charcuterie board (pronounced shahr-koo-tuh-ree) is essentially a snacking board filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, and fruits. I love putting them together when I’m entertaining; they’re gorgeous, and they allow your guests to graze while sipping their wine and beer. You can also simplify a charcuterie board and create a smaller version for two, which is perfect for those lazy date nights in!

Side view of meat and cheese platter with nuts, fruits, jams, honey, etc.

How to Build a Charcuterie Board.

Charcuterie boards might look like a lot of work, but they’re super easy to put together. It’s just a matter of folding meats, slicing cheeses, and placing extras around the platter. I used to go to the extent of drawing up diagrams of how I wanted my board to look before building it (yeah hi, nerd, right here). But these days I’m just winging it. There aren’t really any rules to follow when building a meat and cheese board, but for the sake of consistency, I have my go-to’s.

Meats.

Italian meats all the way! Here’s an idea of what I like to layer onto my board:

  • Soppressata
  • Calabrese
  • Mortadella
  • Capicola
  • Prosciutto
  • Genoa SalamiDiagram of Italian meats.

Cheeses.

When choosing cheese, I like to cover all the bases: aged, soft, firm, and blue. That way, there’s something to please everyone’s palate, and something to compliment whatever you decide to throw onto the board as an extra. Blue cheese goes exceptionally well with a drizzle of honey, while aged cheddar pairs amazingly with pickled veggies and stone ground mustard.

Here are some examples of cheese for each category:

Aged cheese: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Manchego, and Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano

Soft cheese: Goat, Brie, Camembert, Feta

Firm cheese: Manchego, Edam, Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano

Blue cheese: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola

Cheese diagram.

Crackers and crunchies.

I like to offer a variety of crackers and crunchy snacks on my charcuterie boards. Crackers act as the foundation to the meats, cheese, pickled veggies, and other toppings. But it’s also nice to have things you can enjoy on their own, like flavored breadsticks. When choosing your crackers and crunchy snacks, include a few different sizes, shapes, and textures.

Platter full of different crackers and breadsticks.

Extras.

This is the fun part—getting to decide what your guests will have to choose from to dress up their nibbles! From fruits to nuts and chutneys to honeys, here’s a list of things I like to include on my platter.

  • Nuts (flavored, roasted, or glazed; I typically go for savory almonds and sweetened-up pecans)
  • Fruits (dried apricots, fresh figs, or fresh grapes)
  • Honey
  • Olive tapenade
  • Chutney
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Hot peppers
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Pickled vegetables (like these spicy quick-pickled radishes)
  • Fresh herbs (simply for show/adding some green to your board)

Plate full of chutneys, nuts, pickled vegetables, etc.

Overhead view of meat and cheese platter with nuts, fruits, jams, honey, etc.

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making a charcuterie board based on these tips, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme. I’d love to see what you come up with <3

How to Make a Charcuterie Board {Meat and Cheese Board}

Learn how to make a charcuterie board full of meats, cheeses, and other nibbles to give your guests the finest grazing experience.
Course Appetizers, Snacks
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

An assortment of meats. Examples:

  • Soppressata
  • Calabrese
  • Mortadella
  • Capicola
  • Prosciutto
  • Genoa Salami

Cheeses. Examples:

  • Aged cheese: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Manchego, and Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Soft cheese: Goat, Brie, Camembert, Feta
  • Firm cheese: Manchego, Edam, Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Blue cheese: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola

Crackers and crunchies. Examples:

  • Wheat crackers
  • Breadsticks
  • Seedy crackers
  • Buttery crackers
  • Water crackers

Extras.

  • Nuts flavored, roasted, or glazed; I typically go for savory almonds and sweetened-up pecans
  • Fruits dried apricots, fresh figs, or fresh grapes
  • Honey
  • Olive tapenade
  • Chutney
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Hot peppers
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Pickled vegetables like these spicy quick-pickled radishes
  • Fresh herbs simply for show/adding some green to your board

Instructions

  • Pick out your platter. If you have a legitimate cheese board, awesome. But if not, no worries! You can use a cutting board, marble slab, or any flat serving platter.
  • Artfully place your cheeses on the board or platter, and build around the cheese by adding your meats (layered or rolled up), crackers, and extras. I typically keep the nuts and fruits for last and use them to fill in any little empty spaces.
  • Lastly, add sprigs of fresh herbs to fill in the last of any empty spaces and to add some greenery, as well as fresh aromatics.

 

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