Learn how to make a charcuterie board loaded with crackers, cheese, and meat! This is an easy appetizer for parties and holidays. All you do is grab your snacks and arrange them – no cooking required.
There are lots of reasons to love the holiday season, but one reason I love it is that it's the perfect excuse to make a charcuterie board. It's great for parties, holiday dinners, happy hours, or any time you want to treat yourself with a platter of snacks!
I love making a charcuterie board because you can scale it up or down depending on how many people you are serving. When we host a crowd, we load it up, but sometimes we make a small one for us to share.
The best part is that it doesn't have to be a complicated and expensive appetizer to make. You can easily customize it to suit your tastes, and it's super easy to assemble.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Charcuterie is basically any kind of prepared meat. It refers to making things like bacon, sausage, and other meat products made from pork in French cooking.
Here in the US, it's usually just a fancy way to say "a platter with different meats, cheese, crackers, and fruit." There are countless charcuterie board recipes out there, and we usually switch ours up every time we make it.
You can make it as fancy or as simple as you like, and the combinations are endless. What to put on a charcuterie board is really up to you! The recipe I'm sharing today is one of our favorite easy charcuterie boards - it's cost-effective and easily customizable depending on what you like.
When we make one, we love to keep it simple and buy everything prepared. That way, it's easy to assemble and serve. Here's what you'll need to make it:
- Eight ounces of cheese – we do a combination of cheddar, sharp cheddar, Dubliner, Havarti, and Gruyere. It's nice to have a variety!
- Three types of crackers – you have a ton of choices for this! I like to do a variety of shapes, textures, and flavors. They look pretty on the platter and also give some variety. Wheat round crackers, wheat thins, and Ritz crackers are ones we like to use.
- One jar of olives – again, there are lots of choices! Stuffed green olives, kalamata olives, and Calamata olives are just a few options.
- Grapes – we love red grapes, but you can also use green ones or use a combination of both.
- Meat – we love to use dry salami and pepper salami, but adding some prosciutto is delicious, too.
- Sliced baguette – some bread is always nice to add. Slice it thin!
- Veggies – for some fresh crunch, we like celery sticks and carrot sticks.
- Nuts – pick your favorite! We love Marcona almonds and cashews.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board
There's definitely an art to arranging a charcuterie board! Sure, you could just pile everything on the board and call it good, but taking a little time to place the components will make it visually appealing.
Start with the large items first, like the bowl of olives, grapes, and sliced bread. I usually space them apart on the board, so it looks balanced.
Next, fan out the crackers. I usually just lay them out in a few random rows – they don't all need to be grouped together. If you use small crackers, you can make piles of them in places on the board.
If you are using sliced cheese, lay them in rows in different places. You could alternate crackers and cheese for a fun presentation.
Pile the veggies in two open spots and then use the nuts to fill in any gaps on the board.
Can you assemble a charcuterie board ahead of time?
You can assemble it a few hours in advance, but I wouldn't do it any earlier than that. Depending on the kind of cheese you use, it could dry out around the edges. Also, the crackers could soften if they're next to something with moisture.
Making it ahead an hour or two in advance should be fine – just keep it covered and in the refrigerator. Take it out 30 minutes before you want to serve it so it can come to room temperature.
Tips for the Best Charcuterie Board
We love the combination of flavors in this version, but the best charcuterie board is one that has what you like on it! So, get creative and try different flavors and textures – once you know how to assemble one, the possibilities are endless!
No party is complete without a meat and cheese board. I hope you give this one a try!
Other Dishes You'll Enjoy
Charcuterie Board Recipe
- 8 ounces of 4 or 5 types of cheese – Use your favorites. In this post we used cheddar sharp cheddar, Dubliner, Havarti and Gruyere
- 3 Types of crackers – we used wheat round crackers wheat thins and Ritz crackers.
- 1 jar of olives – we used Calamata
- 1 bunch of grapes – we used Red grapes
- 2 types of salami or prosciutto - We used a dry salami and pepper salami
- ½ thin baguette
- 1 cup of mini carrots
- 2 celery sticks cut into bit sized pieces
- Marcona almonds and cashews Use as filler for empty places on the board
- Arrange all the items on serving tray or board. Get creative!!
Charcuterie Boards are the perfect big plate for holiday parties! All you do is grab your snacks and arrange them – no real prep is required which we love!