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If you’re hosting any kind of get-together this holiday season, charcuterie boards are a great option for your table. Technically, charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meats, such as salami, sausage, and pâtés. However, charcuterie boards have taken on a much broader definition in recent years and now often include cheeses, fruits, nuts, honey, olives, and other delicious items.

And that’s exactly what makes charcuterie boards perfect for entertaining. A well-arranged charcuterie board isn’t only visually appealing, but it also provides plenty of tasty options for every palate. 

Not sure what to put on your next snack board? Whether you’re feeding a crowd or simply fixing yourself a snack, these charcuterie board ideas will help you create the perfect spread. 

Types of Charcuterie Boards 

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Charcuterie can be… anything you’d like it to be!

No matter what size or kind of gathering you’re planning, you can create a charcuterie board that meets your needs. Below, find big and small charcuterie board ideas to make your next gathering unforgettable. 

Cheese Charcuterie Board Ideas

Sure, the word charcuterie may refer to meat, but many people will say that the star of a charcuterie board is the cheese. For a cheese charcuterie board, you’ll want to select a variety of tastes and textures, so that there’s something that appeals to every guest. 

Not sure what types of cheese to include? Choose a variety from these categories:

  • Hard cheese: Parmesan, asiago, gouda
  • Firm cheese: Cheddar, manchego, gruyere
  • Soft cheese: Mascarpone, brie, camembert 
  • Semi-soft cheese: Havarti, burrata 
  • Blue cheese: Gorgonzola, roquefort, stilton
  • Crumbly cheese: Feta, goat cheese

Overall, aim to select about four to six different cheeses for the board. As far as quantity, you will need about two ounces of cheese per person for an appetizer, or five ounces per person if the charcuterie board will serve as the meal. Then, of course, you can add different accouterments, such as crackers, baguettes, grapes, honey, and jams

Simple Charcuterie Board Ideas

Take a look in your refrigerator and pantry—you might have more charcuterie board ingredients than you think!

A delicious cheese board doesn’t have to be complicated. If you want to keep things simple, try these simple charcuterie board ideas: 

  • Check your pantry and refrigerator! You may already have some ingredients to include on your board, like almonds, honey, dried fruit, crackers, pickles, or olives. 
  • Narrow down the variety. For example, you don’t have to have a wide assortment of cheeses. Instead, simply pick one hard cheese and one soft cheese. 
  • Don’t be afraid of filler. If you have empty spaces, fill them with items like pretzels, apple slices, strawberries, or nuts—delicious and simple items that can add some variety to your board. 

Capture the Beauty of Your Board

iPhone Food Photography: Styling & Shooting for Instagram

Large Charcuterie Board Ideas

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Large charcuterie boards can span entire tables, via @theartofgrazingfw

If you’re creating a large charcuterie board, variety is critical. However, that doesn’t mean you need to include dozens of different items—you simply need to think of creative ways to present those foods. Consider the following ideas to make your board visually appealing:

  • Cut all of your cheeses in different shapes—some in cubes, some in triangles, some crumbled into irregular shapes. 
  • Arrange the cheeses in different ways, as well. Try piling cubes of cheese in one area and then lining up triangles of cheese in a neat row in another area of the board. 
  • Meats can also be arranged in a variety of ways. Try folding circular meats (like pepperoni or salami) into small triangles, and then lining them up in winding paths across the board. 
  • Make sure to spread each type of food across the board, so no matter where anyone is standing, they have access to several different items. For example, don’t contain all of the grapes to one corner of the board—scatter small bunches all over the platter. 
  • Add small bowls or ramekins for foods like olives, spreads, or jelly. 

Small Charcuterie Board Ideas

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Charcuterie boxes can make great party favors, via @formaggievino

Of course, your charcuterie board doesn’t have to span an entire table. If you’re looking for small charcuterie board ideas, try charcuterie boxes. Charcuterie boxes can be a great option if your guests will be spread out or prefer a non-communal spread. They can also be transported easily if you’re planning a picnic. 

However, there are a few precautions you should take if you go this route. First, make sure to line the box with parchment paper to soak up any moisture. Also be careful to avoid certain fruits that could make the box soggy, like apple or pear slices. For extra flair, add in a couple of small dessert items, like chocolate-covered almonds or macarons

Mini Charcuterie Board Ideas

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For mini charcuterie, fill a cone (like this one via @rosemarycheeseco) with individual portions of meats and cheeses. 

Want to go even smaller? If you want to create mini charcuterie boards, try skipping the board entirely and embrace the charcuterie cone. A charcuterie cone starts with a cone of parchment paper or wood and is then filled with individual portions of your ingredients—a single breadstick, a few triangles of cheese, a folded piece of prosciutto, and a few blueberries or grapes on a skewer. It’s cute, it’s portable, and it’s the perfect individual portion. 

Custom Charcuterie Board Ideas

charcuterie board
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A custom charcuterie board for a 17th birthday party, via @heavenlyboardstx

Hosting an extra special event? While any charcuterie board is great for entertaining, there are several ways you can create a custom charcuterie board specific to the occasion you’re celebrating. For example:

  • Hosting a birthday or anniversary party? Use number-shaped boxes for the base of your platter, and fill it with meats, cheeses, and crackers.
  • If the gathering is for a holiday or themed celebration, place items on your board that correspond with the theme. For example, a Fourth of July charcuterie board could include white cheeses and crackers, red salami and pepperoni, strawberries, and blueberries.
  • Think outside of the meat-and-cheese box, and try a dessert charcuterie board filled with fruits, chocolates, cookies, and marshmallows.
  • If you plan to feed a large crowd, try an extra large charcuterie board, sometimes called a grazing table. 

Premade Charcuterie Board Ideas

If you don’t have much time to put together a charcuterie board, you can often find premade charcuterie boards at your local grocery store. For example, Costco sells a cheese and fruit tray that includes brie, two types of hard cheeses, crackers, fruit, almonds, and fig jam—and best of all, it costs just around $20. 

Or, Trader Joe’s often offers cheese sampler packs that can serve as the foundation of your board, so you can avoid hours of deliberation in the cheese aisle. Then, pick up a box of crackers and a pack of prosciutto, and you have a simple charcuterie board. 

Charcuterie for Two Ideas

breakfast charcuterie
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Branch out into a different kind of charcuterie board, like this breakfast-themed platter via @breakfastbabes

If you’re looking for a fun date night idea, try charcuterie for two. Paired with a good bottle of wine, a charcuterie board for two can be a great meal. Make sure to include two to three cheeses, a few types of meats (like prosciutto or soppressata), nuts, fruits, crackers, and bread.

However, you don’t have to keep it traditional. Try switching it up and creating a themed charcuterie board for two. For example, make a breakfast charcuterie board, filled with mini pancakes, bacon, fruit, toast, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs. Or try a french fry board, with several different types of fries and ramekins of dipping sauces. 

Charcuterie for One Ideas

charcuterie board
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Individual charcuterie boards, via @saratogagrazingco

When you’re making charcuterie for one, it’s all about keeping things simple, while still providing a good variety of items. Start with two cheeses and two meats. Then, add some fresh fruit, like blackberries, grapes, or apple slices. Finally, add a couple of special garnishes, like honeycomb, olives, or chocolate-covered pretzels. Load the platter with all your favorites!

Let the Grazing Begin

Whether you’re serving up snacks for two or twenty, a charcuterie board is a great option. Keep it simple with traditional meats and cheeses, or create a fun themed board filled with desserts, dips, or even breakfast foods. The possibilities are nearly endless—but no matter what, you can be sure your guests will totally eat it up. 

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