How to Make a Charcuterie Board

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Before we jump into how to make a charcuterie board, what the heck is it?  Well, it’s a fancy pants name for a meat and cheese tray… on steroids.  Basically, it’s a large plate or board with little groups of olives, cheese, cured meats, crackers, dried fruits, nuts, veggies, jam, and more!  

What’s so great about a Charcuterie Board?

This is one of Jerry and my favorite dinners, doubly so now that we’re empty nesters!  We love it because:

  • It’s all of your favorite nibbles
  • There’s no cooking
  • It’s fast
  • It uses up leftovers (optional)
  • Add a bottle of wine and it’s a totally romantic date night! (optional but highly recommended)

Not only is this a fun anytime/date night ensemble but it’s also a great party platter.  Whip one of these up for game night, a Super Bowl party, or as a host/hostess gift with an engraved butcher block!  

Charcuterie Elements

There’s no hard and fast rules with a Charcuterie Board.  However, you do want to keep these 4 ‘S’ elements in mind.  Pull at least 1 or 2 things from each group:

  • Savory: black olives, mustard, crackers, bread, cheeses, sausages, veggies, roasted garlic, cured/smoked/roasted meats
  • Salty: green olives, capers, salted nuts, pickles
  • Sweet: dried fruit, fresh fruit, chocolate
  • Sauces & Spreads: pesto, olive tapenade, aioli, mustard, jam/marmalade

Charcuterie Board 4 'S' Elements - Savory, Salty, Sweet & Spreads 3 separate pictures of each group

You’re basically building little bites with all your favorite noshes! Gather them altogether and you’re ready to make your board.

How to make a charcuterie board

  1. Find a large tray, plate or cutting board.  I’m using one of my favorites from Boos.  It’s super heavy, but it makes a great presentation!  
  2. If you’re using any dipping sauces, condiments (like jam, mustard or pesto), or wet items like olives/pickles, put each of them them in their own small bowl.  They don’t have to match.  Get creative with what you have!  Group them together too: olives with olives; pickles, caper berries & cornichons; and mixed berries.  

    Mini pickles, cornichons, and caper berries
    Giant caperberries, cornichons, and mini pickles
  3. Once you have everything out, place the items in bowls on the board first.  Separate the colors.
  4. Next fill in all the spaces with the meats, fruits, crackers, cheeses… and most importantly have FUN with it.  Think of this as an exercise in beautifully arranged artistic chaos!
  5. Pop open a bottle of wine (optional) and enjoy!

How to Make a Charcuterie Board ahead of time

Once you have your board set up and you want to save it for later, you’re traveling with it, or you’ve noshed all you want and there’s plenty for round 2 tomorrow: Now What?!  

This was a trick I learned when I used to do catering.  Break out the plastic wrap.  Cover the little dishes with plastic,

Small charcuterie dishes covered in plastic

put the crackers in baggies (they’ll get soft if you don’t), and make sure you bag or cover anything with a strong smell.

Small charcuterie meats covered in plastic

Next, slip the plastic wrap under your board and wrap it all the way around again and again in one continuous loop.

How to wrap a charcuterie board: Pinterest graphic showing 2 steps and final wrap
Save this to your Pinterest Board! 😊

Now it’s ready for the refrigerator!

More tips:

Charcuterie boards are fun to make with kids too.  They’re meant to be eaten with your fingers or at the very least little spoons, forks and knives.  Many times you can find inexpensive baby spoons, cheese spreaders, and small knives at thrift stores and antique shops.  You can also find some fun little dishes there too like this miniature bunny terrine!

Miniature bunny terrine with black cherrie
Black Luxardo cherries in brandy syrup. Super YUM!

 If you’ve got picky eaters, they love it because they can pick and choose how much and what to nibble on.  Sometimes making a creative arrangement can entice finicky eaters to try something new!

Meats creatively arranged on charcuterie board

Charcuterie Boards are so much fun because they’re colorful, full of your favorite treats, plus they’re meant to travel.  Have picnic in your living room, take it to bed and watch movie, or take it to the park and enjoy it as the sun goes down.  The possibilities are endless!

A cutting board loaded down with tons of meats, cheese, fruit and nuts

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