A cheese board or charcuterie board can be the star of any holiday gathering. With a wide variety of cheese, meat, fruits, bread and crackers, it’s versatile and delicious. Even better, they’re fun and easy to make!
A cheese board is easy to prepare ahead of time for a party, leaving you lots of time to socialize outside the kitchen. It’s also an impressive dish for a potluck dinner. You can include or eliminate any ingredients to fit your current diet plan. Include some gluten free crackers or omit the nuts to accommodate allergies.
This crowd-pleasing appetizer has a variety of small bites. Salty, sweet, crunchy, soft and creamy textures, all beautifully placed on one impressive platter!
How to make a cheese board
Start by choosing the actual platter or board that you will arrange the cheeses on.
Selecting the serving platter
There are plenty of options on what to use as your cheese board serving tray. Think outside of the ordinary. As long as the item is food-grade safe, it is useable! Ideas include:
- Large wooden cutting board
- Baking sheets
- Slate board
- Wooden serving trays (square, round, or any other shape)
- Lazy Susan
And if you’re already thinking about the holidays then a beautiful serving platter is a great gift! Check out my Gift Guide for the Home Cooks or Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies Under $15 for more ideas. Or any of these fun tools!
Selecting the cheese
If you are creating a cheese board for a group of 10 or more people, I recommend adding 4 to 6 different varieties of cheese. Of course, the amount of food on the board depends on how big/large your board is.
Choose the best quality cheeses your budget will allow. Also, look for a variety of textures and tastes.
Choose four or five of the following options:
- Blue cheese
- Smoked gouda
- Goat cheese
Don’t be afraid to try cheeses that are new to you. This is a great chance to experiment using small batches.
A great way to help guests identify the different kinds of cheese is to cut them each in a unique way. You can use cubes, slices, wedges, etc.
You can even leave the very soft cheese in a large wedge and put knives with it so guests can help themselves.
For the cheese board shown in the photos, I use:
- Aged cheddar (cubes)
- 2 types of brie (one from Canada and another from France)
- Smoked Gouda
If the board is particularly large, it helps to place each type of cheese in more than one area.
How to arrange a cheese board
Arrange the crackers and breads around the cheese. You’re free to use whatever type of cracker or bread you enjoy. To accomodate guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies, you might want to include some gluten-free and/or low-carb crackers. You can also make your own. This recipe for Low-Carb Almond Flour Crackers is easy to make and the crackers are delicious!
What do you use for a charcuterie board?
You can make a delicious cheese board, but a true charcuterie board includes cured or smoked meats. Also, a variety of dips and jelly or preserves are on a charcuterie board. Add some of these:
Try some of these dips:
- Fig spread
- Jalapeno pepper jelly
I fold charcuterie meats a few different ways. Here are some ideas, but let your creativity shine! Fold and arrange the items on your cheese board however you prefer.
For larger and thin slices of meat, I fold them in half, and then in half again. As a result, they are in a triangle shape. Or, you can fold them in half, and then roll them up to form a small cone.
For hard meats such as salami, I simply slice them into thin rounds.
Just as with the cheese, space permitting, have your meats appear more than once on the board.
What are good garnishes for a cheese board?
After everything is on the platter, you will have small spaces to fill in. I like to fill in all the gaps with a combination of these little nibbles:
- Fresh and dried fruits – Grapes, figs, dates, and dried fruits are good options
- Assortment of nuts – Walnuts, pecans, almonds, or any other type of nut you prefer.
- Fresh herbs like rosemary, for garnish
Now that you know how to make a cheese board or charcuterie board, tell me what foods you would add to yours!
The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board
- Aged cheddar - cut in cubes
- 1 - 2 brie - I used one from Canada and another from France
- Smoked Gouda
Crackers and Crostini
- Gruten-free crackers
- Low-carb crackers
- Regular crackers
- Toasted baguette - sliced
Meats and Charcuterie
- Smoked ham
- Canadian ham
Fruits and others
- Green olives
- Fresh rosemary for garnish
- Follow the step-by-step photos below in this post to assemble all ingredients on your cutting board, baking sheet, slate board or platter. Enjoy!
If you make this recipe, follow @primaverakitchen on Instagram, snap a photo and hashtag it #primaverakitchen. I'd love to see what you're making!