How To Build The Best Charcuterie Board

If you love a good charcuterie board for yourself or to serve guests, this guide to building a great charcuterie board offers you the guidelines you need to serve the best. Charcuterie boards are perfect for anything from serving guests at a large party to serving one or two for movie nights. Their versatility is what draws people in. You can make them as a main meal or make them a fun way to serve desserts. No matter what you serve on them, they are a fun way to enjoy a snack or meal that feels decadent. These ten guidelines will help you get started now.

1. The Charcuterie Board

A round cutting board with a handle on a marble surface.
Photo Credit: Tetiana A/Shutterstock.

The first and most basic element to building your charcuterie board is the board itself. If you’re wondering what type of board to use, there are no general guidelines. You can use any board that is ideal for the size of your party. If you have a chopping board or a butcher’s block, you can use that for your charcuterie board.

2. Cheeses

A stack of various cheeses on a white table.
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The best charcuterie board must consist of several types of cheese. Ideally, you need at least three types of cheeses. Here is an overview of what cheeses to add to your board.

  • Hard cheese (cheddar, gouda)
  • Soft cheese (brie, havarti)
  • Semi-hard cheese (Gruyere, Provolone)

3. Cured Meat

A cutting board full of sliced and folded, cured meats.
Photo Credit: Julie208/Shutterstock.

Cured meat is another main attraction on a charcuterie board. The slices of cured meats add flavor and texture to your board. Plus, they can make your board look more visually appetizing. The best cured meats for a charcuterie board are salami, prosciutto, ham, and Mortadella. However, you can choose the cold cuts you want to add – it’s completely up to your preference.

4. Crackers

A stack of crackers on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: Kritchai7752/Shutterstock.

Like cold cuts, adding crackers to a charcuterie board adds more variety in terms of flavor and texture. They also pair perfectly with the cheese. Again, you can choose crackers according to your preference.

5. Bread

Three baguettes wrapped in a blue towel.
Photo Credit: LStockStudio/Shutterstock.

If you don’t like crackers, you can swap them for bread instead. The main purpose of the bread is so that you have something to pair your cheese with. Any bread works, but the crusty ones work best, such as a baguette.

6. Nuts

A spoon lifts up a spoonful of spicy roasted almond from a baking sheet full of them.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

No charcuterie board is complete without nuts. They add a unique flavor profile to your board. The most popular nuts for a charcuterie board are pecans, almonds, and cashews, just to name a few. You can even roast them with seasonings if you want to get fancy.

7. Fruits

A collection of berries and cherries.
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You can add fresh or dried fruits to your charcuterie board. If you’re going to add fresh fruits, berries are a perfect choice because they add a sweet-tart component to your board. Plus, they add color to the board. Other great fruit options are grapes, figs, cherries, and dates.

8. Condiments

Three jars containing jams and honey on a wood serving tray.
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A winning charcuterie board should have condiments to serve with your bread and crackers. You can easily customize your board based on what condiments you serve or vice versa. Raw honey is a popular choice, but mustard and fig jams also work.

9. Vegetables

A white plate of vegetable sticks with a small white bowl of dip in the middle.
Photo Credit: Julia Metkalova/Shutterstock.

Whether or not you have a vegetarian charcuterie board, you can toss in some veggies. They add color, texture, and flavor to your charcuterie board. Slice your veggies into bite-sized shapes to make them easier to enjoy. You can use carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, or radishes. It’s also a good idea to add pickled veggies.

10. Sweet Snacks

Small portions of various snacks on a gray background.
Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.

For a perfectly balanced charcuterie board, add some sweet snacks to your charcuterie board. the best sweet snacks to add to your board are bite-sized cookies, pretzels, brownie brittles, and chocolate-covered nuts. You can make your own or use the store-bought variety.

The Daily Snack Tray

An overhead view of a charcuterie board with veggies, pita chips, and two bowls of dip.
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Home with the kids? This snack tray idea is a great way to get them to snack on healthy foods all day and quit bugging you for snacks. Works for adults, too!

After-School Snacks That Won’t Ruin Dinner

Two young kids eating strawberries.
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Sick of the kids ruining dinner with everything they eat after they get home from school? Here are some ideas for healthier snacks they’ll enjoy that won’t ruin dinner.

Need Some Healthy Movie Snacks?

A young boy watching a movie holding a drink and a popcorn bag.
Photo Credit: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.

The food shack at the movie theater can leave you with a tummy ache when the movie is done. Here are some snacks you can sneak in or enjoy at home for a happier belly.

40 Clean Eating Road Trip Snacks

Two young women driving in a car.
Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

Hitting the road this summer? Take along some healthy snacks that will keep you from overspending and ending up with a stomach ache because we all know that the food you buy on the road is rarely, if ever, the healthiest option.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author. She is also a food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. She has helped thousands of people learn to cook simple, clean, and healthy foods in their own home kitchens. She lives in Maine and loves Elvis, sunflowers, and a good seafood chowder, as well as travel writing.

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