We’re all busy people and, sometimes, the thought of putting together a whole meal is just too much. Knowing how to make a simple charcuterie board will save you when you want to impress your friends with minimal effort or on nights when snacking on the couch is the top priority.
From quick and easy charcuterie boards that work great for unexpected guests to a simple charcuterie board for two on date night, we’ll show you everything you need to know to create a delicious (and beautiful) meal.
Simple Charcuterie Board Ideas
The best place to start with your easy charcuterie board shopping list is by dividing it up into different sections of the board. Start with your most simple charcuterie ingredients: the meat and cheese. Any accompaniments on your list should be built around these so that everything is complementary or perfectly contrasting.
A good rule to follow when it comes to creating a simple charcuterie board is to only pick a handful of options for each category. That might look like:
- One or two hard cheeses
- One or two soft cheeses
- One mild meat
- One salty or spicy meat
- One or two types of crackers
- A couple of different vegetables and fruits
- A handful of almonds or cashews
- Two or three spreads and dips
Easy Charcuterie Board Ideas for Breakfast
There’s no rule that says that you can’t make a quick and easy charcuterie board for breakfast! It’s the perfect choice for a relaxing weekend where you’re not rushing to get out the door or can even be a great snacking-all-morning option when you’re working from home.
This time of day may be too early for the strongest flavors, so save the gouda and spicy ham until later. For hard cheeses, parmigiano reggiano or a mild cheddar are delicate enough not to overwhelm you first thing in the morning. Salami or prosciutto work well as your cured meat choices—or go full-on breakfast with bacon and sausage.
Then, it’s time to load up on the classic breakfast treats like eggs (hard-boiled is ideal), fruit (berries and bananas are best), and jams or jellies. Instead of crackers, try mini waffles, muffins, or croissants.
Easy Charcuterie Board for Christmas
We’re not necessarily advocating that you replace your main Christmas meal with a simple charcuterie board (although you certainly can!). But there’s nothing stopping you from snacking while you wait for your festive feast to arrive at the table.
Stick to holiday-based flavors that work well ahead of your Christmas dinner and really embrace the treats of the season. You’ll find plenty of cheeses infused with cranberry and orange from mid-November onward, as well as fruits like apples, pears, and pomegranates.
A simple way to make a charcuterie board Christmas-ready is to cut your hard cheeses with cookie cutters. Trust us, it won’t just be the kids who are delighted by your tree- and star-shaped cheese! You could also decorate your board with candy canes or put all of your charcuterie ingredients in the middle of a festive wreath.
Simple Charcuterie Board for Dessert
A cheese board is a common dessert in Europe, so take some tips from across the pond and build your own. Start with a cheese base, but swap out the savory meats and spreads for sweet treats like dark and milk chocolate. Choosing varieties with sea salt, orange, or caramel can help to replace some of the tastes that you would ordinarily find in your cured meat or sweet preserves.
For the fruits on your dessert charcuterie board, berries dipped in melted chocolate work well with most cheeses. Almonds are also perfect to snack on alongside chocolate, and instead of your traditional crackers, try oat-based cookies or pretzels for a more dessert-focused crunch.
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Easy Charcuterie in the Fall
Autumn and charcuterie boards go hand in hand. Especially when it comes to your fruit and vegetable choices, so many great flavors are in season at this time of the year.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a whole variety of apples will all be easy to find in the grocery store or your local farmer’s market, and they’ll be much cheaper during the fall, which means more budget for meat and cheese!
Don’t forget that it wouldn’t be fall without a hint of pumpkin somewhere on your charcuterie board. Pumpkin spice crackers, pretzels, or savory chips are all readily available during these months, or you can get really adventurous with a pumpkin dip or spread. Finish off your board with a few mini pumpkin decorations.
Easy French Charcuterie
We probably don’t have to tell you how much the French adore their meat and cheese. Luckily for us, the delicious French ingredients that we know and love are easy to find in most grocery stores.
Brie, strong blue cheese, and a mild goat cheese work well for this style of charcuterie. If you can find it, go for a dry saucisson sec (cured sausage) and a light ham before adding pâté or rillettes as a meat-based spread.
For your accompaniments, pickled vegetables like cornichons are a delight to eat with pâté or strong cheese. Fig preserves, fresh crusty bread, and a good bottle of French wine are the perfect way to round off your meal.
Easy Charcuterie Board for Two
Whether you’re building a board for date night or catching up with a friend, making a simple charcuterie board for two takes no time at all.
The key here is to not go overboard with the number of ingredients (unless you want to eat the leftovers all week, of course). Two or three cheeses should be enough, along with one or two meats like salami or ham.
A jar of olives that will stay fresh until the next charcuterie night is ideal for spreading across multiple meals. Stick to one variety of cracker or bread, and select one or two different fruit and vegetable options that pair well with the cheeses you’ve selected.
Simple Charcuterie Board for Four
If you’ve nailed a charcuterie board for two, building one for four will be easy enough. And while you could simply double the varieties of everything you would have on your two-person board, this is a good opportunity to try out some new ingredients that you may not have used before. Pick base cheeses and meats that you know everyone loves, but add in an herbed goat cheese or spicy salami as an experimental option.
If your guests will be staying overnight, choose fruits that work well in breakfast dishes or smoothies. There’s nothing like a double-duty ingredient to save some time and money.
Enjoy Charcuterie on Any Day
There really is no season or special occasion where a beautiful, simple charcuterie board won’t be welcomed with smiles and the sound of “mmm” echoing around the table. So get your shopping list ready, put your board together, and then dig in!
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