How to Build the Perfect Charcuterie Board
Whether you go sweet or savory, these creative tasting boards are a hit at every party. Here are 5 simple principles that will help you build your next show stopper charcuterie board.
A choose your own adventure collage of goods, these gorgeous tasting boards take any party next level. Classic charcuterie boards (pronounced “shar-ku-tuh-ree”) are mostly meat and cheese boards with accents on nuts and fruit. I’ve loved expanding this idea into dessert boards and a friend even used elements of a charcuterie board to create a whole sandwich building board. That’s a-typical of a traditional charcuterie board, but I hope these examples and principles inspire you the next time you’re hoping to take your presentation next level.
When you are comfortable with a few basic principles, they are fun to arrange and and even more fun to eat! Choose a cheese board or fancy cutting board, or lazy susan and just start arranging. My friend’s sandwich board was a former piece of table top – so really, get creative!
How to make a charcuterie board
Making a charcuterie board is easy. Check out my Instagram video to see how I assembled this fall board.
1. Grab supplies
*A cheese board
*Small bowls for dips, nuts, etc. as needed
2. Pick out ingredients. Grab a variety of:
*Fruits & veggies (fresh & dried)
*Adders like pickles, olives, etc.
3. Make & serve!
*You can easily prep boards in advance. Prepare up to 24 hours in advance, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Continue scrolling down to get my charcuterie grocery list to give you a list of ideas!
How to make a charcuterie board shaped like a wreath
How to make a salami rosette
Making a rosette out of salami is easy! Just grab a cup, and layer the salami around the ring of the cup. The size of the cup you use will determine how big the rosette is. It’s fun to make a variety of sizes to balance out a board, or just one large statement rosette.
Make sure at least half – 2/3 of the piece of salami is on the inside of the glass for the best effect. Continue to stagger the layers around the cup until you can’t see the center of the glass anymore.
Make sure the edges are pinched tight, then just flip over and you’ll have a beautiful, tight salami rosette!
Elements of an amazing charcuterie board
1. ASSORTMENT OF TEXTURES
For a savory board this would look like a variety of soft and hard cheeses, different kinds of crackers/pretzels/breads, and various nuts to provide high contrast to the eye and tastebuds. One of my favorite places to get unique cheese, meats, and crackers is Trader Joes, but even Walmart has a great selection. Below you’ll see a list of my favorite cheeses.
2. COMPLIMENTARY FLAVORS
This goes right along with texture, but you’ll want to pull in contrasting flavors that still compliment each other. For example, in my dessert board, there are elements of white, dark, and, and milk chocolate. All chocolate – but different flavors. In the sandwich board below, my friend brought in 4 different kinds of meats. All deli meats – but different flavors. By choosing items that are similar but different, it tells your eye that it loves seeing different things, but you know everything belongs (as opposed to just one of everything that would like a random mess). Another example of this on the sweet board is that I incorporated 2 kinds of cookies – so multiple cookies so they all belong, but different flavors.
3. VARIETY OF COLOR
Adding different color elements can add a fun appeal and help different items stand out. When arranging, try to put different colors and different textures together so that the eye helps distinguish all the items on the board from one another.
4. ADD SOMETHING UNEXPECTED
An unexpected item to the board, such as a unique cheese or jam, can enhance the overall feel of the board. My sister Lindsey built the meat and cheese board and everyone raved about the blueberry goat cheese she discovered at Trader Joes – something you wouldn’t normally expect in your mental list of cheeses, but one that draws everyone’s eye. Another example is from the sandwich board below – the nuts seem like more of the unexpected item that still feels at home. Anything from an interesting jam to a dried fruit to a unique dark chocolate – let your mind have fun!
5. PLACEMENT & PRESENTATION
Start with the key larger items (meats, cheeses, cookies), and work your way into the smaller items (fruit, nuts, garnishes). Logistically it helps you see what you have space for and make sure the most important elements have space. If you have specialty items such as the meat and cheese board, it can be helpful to add signs indicating what something is. These signs were just made by printing them out from the computer and taping a skewer in between. An easy way to dress up a board is including some fancy cheese knives. You can find great inexpensive options at T.J. Maxx or a similar store.
Lastly, have fun with it!
Kid friendly charcuterie board
A super fun clever way to get your kids to have healthy snacks? Present it in a fun way! These kids versions of charcuterie boards are a huge hit in my family. They provide a few more simple snacks but help kids feel like they’re also included in the party.
Charcuterie board grocery list
Here are some starter ideas to get your charcuterie shopping going! Print this and add your own ideas to the list!
Dessert charcuterie boards
Charcuterie boards aren’t just for meats and cheeses! They’re so fun as dessert snacking boards or other themed boards like “s’mores” or “caramel apple dipping”.
Suggested Charcuterie Adders
Don’t feel confined to this list of course as it’s hard to go wrong – but if you’re looking for specific ideas of things to put on your board, here are some recommendations that I feature in my boards above. One fun aspect about my patriotic board was using a star shaped cutter to cut out some watermelon and cheese. This cutter set I have is fun because it has so many different shapes and sizes – perfect for all the occasions!
- Blueberry Goat Cheese
- Sharp White Cheddar
- Herbed Cheddar
- Mozzarella Cheese Balls
- Spreadable Cream Cheese
- Sliced Baguette
- Sesame Crackers
- Sea Salt Flat Bread Crackers
- Grissini (Italian Crispy Bread Sticks)
- Wheat Crackers
- Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios)
- Jams (I used a Raspberry Jalepeno)
- Dried Fruit
- Fresh Fruit
- Carrots (They sell a rainbow blend of purple, yellow, and orange carrots that provide fun color variety)
- Baby Tomatoes
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Mini pickles
- Favorite Dips