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How to Build a Charcuterie Board

Everything you need to know to build a 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.

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.

You can use a charcuterie board to serve people at large events. Just have enough room to display all the delicious varieties. It’s a beautiful way to display food.

We also have tips on a charcuterie board to go.

How to Build a Charcuterie Board

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.

It is fun to create a presentation based on a theme or season. We have lots of ideas on what to serve and how to present the tasty bites below. Here is an example for a Fall charcuterie board and another one for a Christmas charcuterie board.

Options for a Food Board
Options for a Food Board

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.

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.

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!

Filling in the Spaces with Fruit and Nuts and Bread and Crackers
Filling in the Spaces

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 fruit, dried fruit, and spreads.

Even a small charcuterie board is the perfect addition to special occasions.

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.

We love artisan cheeses and a few of My favorite cheeses for my cheese board are:

Soft Cheeses

  • Provolone
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Fontina
  • Gorgonzola
  • Brie
  • Asiago
  • Colby/Jack Blends
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Pepper Jack

Hard Cheeses

  • Asiago
  • Flavorful aged Cheddars and Comtes, and Manchegos
  • Pecorino
  • Grana Padano
  • Parmigiano
Add Small Cups of Food
Add Small Cups of Food

My favorite meats for my cheese board are:

Variety of Meats

  • Salami all kinds of it, but thinly sliced
  • Sliced deli ham
  • Deli think sliced beef
  • Deli chicken or turkey that has been fully cooked and sliced thin
  • Summer sausage
  • Deli meats of all kinds
  • Meat snack sticks
Smores Dessert Charcuterie Board
Smores Dessert Charcuterie Board

Smores Dessert Charcuterie Board

In the summer no one really wants to heat up their kitchen cooking anything; therefore the charcuterie board is perfect for summer entertaining. You can enjoy fun time with your guests rather than serving food.

In addition to the sausage, cheese, and fruit options. A Smores Dessert set up would be a fun element especially if you will be enjoying time by a camp fire. It’s a personal favorite here in the fall season.

Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Board with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, even white chocolate varieties
  • Graham Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels

The possibilities seem endless. Yet, here is another food item that can be made ahead of time and just set out for your guests to enjoy.

Sliced Fruit Display
Sliced Fruit Display

Sliced Fruit Display ~ Easy Entertaining

Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant or maybe a cruise on vacation and enjoyed an elaborate fruit display? They are so lovely and enticing and I seem to eat way more fruit than I would at home. It just seems to taste so much better.

Well, you could prepare the fruit ahead of time and make a display of fruit for your guests to enjoy at your next party. Just make sure that there are methods of serving themselves that keeps their fingers out of the food. A few small tongs, forks, toothpicks, plates to stack the goodies on, and of course napkins.

Displaying the Food

I let the board come to life naturally. Start with the larger items or more eye-appealing items. Then start filling in the bare areas. It is nice to have a variety of textures.

Use charcuterie boards of different shapes, small bowls, fancy plates, and serving utensils.

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.

Time-Saving Appetizer Trick

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.

Variety of 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.

Fruit and Cheese Charcuterie
Fruit and Cheese Charcuterie

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. You know, those one of a kind items that you hardly even use in the back of your cup board…

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.

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 Table
Dessert Table

Dessert Table Charcuterie Board

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 or a pine tree. Peppering bits of color throughout.

Your display does not have to be on one board. Think about tiered trays when setting up your food display. The height adds visual appeal to the entire table. You are also able to pile on more food options when adding another layer to the table.

Sometimes, I have food stations ~ dessert and fruit in one area, sausage and cheese in another, and so on. Be creative, build your menu ahead of time, prep ahead of time, set things up just before your guests arrive, and enjoy your party.

Halloween Snacks

Halloween Skeleton Charcuterie Board

With a Skeleton this is easy to prepare. Just place your favorite snacks inside and around the body. Cheeses, salami slices, and fruits look great this time of year. If you happen to have any pumpkin or other fall baked goods, this skeleton could be used for a dessert theme too.

Burger charcuterie board.

Why not take an American classic like a burger for a spin on the charcuterie board!

Let your guests select from a variety of slider options. Set out different tiny buns and breads, mini beef patties, a variety of soft and medium cheese slices, and a few veggie options like lettuce and tomato.

Get creative and make turkey or chicken patties too. You can also set out jams, which are a surprisingly good topping on burgers.

Make sure there are bacon bits too. Even avocado would be good.

Set out some sauces such as spicy ketchup, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, chipotle sauce, ranch, or sriracha sauce.

Beef charcuterie board.

You can take your favorite steak, salami, or even full beef hot dogs and turn them into fancy charcuterie.

Simply slice a rare to medium cooked steak nice and thin and pair it with dark jams and jellies. Think of fruits like fig and grape. We love adding fig spread to this one. Then, cheeses like Gorgonzola and Greek Feta work well with beef, especially beef steak. Fresh fruits like grapes and watermelon pair well also.

Don’t be afraid to think out of the box and use your favorite salami, maybe a garlic flavored hard salami. Full beef franks work well too and can be sliced very thin to pair with crackers and cheeses.

Asian Charcuterie Board

Asian charcuterie board.

You can take many twists on this style of cuisine and make it charcuterie.

One way is to do a savory meat feature such as tender bbq pork or Korean beef. Then, get a variety of flavored cheeses or make your own curry flavored cheese by rolling in curry powder.

You can also get your hands on some Panir and make your own Asian cheese curds.

Whip up some spring rolls and egg rolls to serve with a variety of dipping sauces.

Or make some basic sushi and offer a slew of sauces such as sweet and sour, soy sauce, teriyaki, wasabi mayo, and more.

And don’t forget the sweets. Swing by your local grocer and see if they have an Asian foods section. Look for some sweet snacks like Pocky to incorporate on your board.

How to Transport a Charcuterie Board

Plan for food safety when packing a board for transporting. If you will not planning on eating for a few hours, make sure to pack the food in a cooler with an ice pack or two.

If you plan on eating within 30 minutes to 1 hour an ice pack is probably not needed. However, if the temperature and humidity is high, it is still a good idea to put your food containers on ice in a cooler bag to make sure things are not melty.

Second, package the items for building the board when you get to where you plan on serving your food. Mason jars and other smaller airtight containers are wonderful for keeping the food fresh and separated. This makes for a quick charcuterie board set up when you arrive at your destination.

Slice the cheese and meat snacks ahead of time. Wash and prepare the fruit. To keep the crunchy foods crunchy by packing the crackers, pretzels, breads, and nuts separate in an airtight container.

Make sure that the lids are on any dips. Package in small mason jars for easy serving.

Make sure to keep things separate until you prepare your snack presentation. For instance, if you pack the olives and pickles with the meat and cheese, the brine can change the taste and texture.

Burger Charcuterie Ideas

How to Build a Charcuterie Board
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How to Build a Charcuterie Board

Everything you need to know to build a 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.
No Cooking Skills Needed for a Charcuterie
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: appetizer, brunch, easy recipe, Entertaining, Gameday food, healthy recipe, Holiday recipe
Servings: 20 Servings
Calories: 490kcal

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  • 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 slices 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.
    5 oz. Jam or jellies, 1 cup Olives, 1 cup Baby Pickles, ½ cup Almonds, ½ cup Pistachios, 8 oz. Mozzarella Pearls
    Add Small Cups of Food
  • Next add thin sliced meats, fanning them or rolling them into a cigar shape.
    12 oz. Salami, 12 oz. Ham slices
  • Next add cheese wedges and slices, fanning them around the small bowls or ramekins.
    5 oz. Gorgonzola, 5 oz. Asiago, 24 oz. Cheese
    Options for a Food Board
  • Then add crackers or bread, stacked, or fanned out.
    12 oz. Crackers
  • Next add cubed cheese, fruit, and crackers. Filling in any small openings on the cheeseboard.
    5 oz. Fruit
    Cheese Smoked Meats and Olives Board Display

Your Own Private Notes


There is a Short Video on This Recipe

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.
  1. When assembling the charcuterie board, start with the bowls and jars first.
  2. Then place your meats and cheeses around them.
  3. Lastly, fill in the smaller spaces with fruits, crackers, and breads.


Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 1401mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 601IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 474mg | Iron: 2mg

Browse our other recipes to serve along side a charcuterie board.


You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. 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.

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