Today I’m sharing How To Make a Perfect Charcuterie Board! I’ve got step-by-step photos and tips so you can make your own beautiful cheese board!
Table of Contents
- How is Charcuterie Pronounced? (Charcuterie Pronunciation)
- What is Charcuterie?
- How Do I Make a Charcuterie Board?
- What is typically on a charcuterie plate?
- The Best Cheeses to Use
- Fresh Herbs
- What Kind of Meats to Use
- Add Fruit
- Fill In Spaces With Dried Fruit, Nuts and Jams
- What Crackers Should I Use?
- Get the Recipe
- Pin To Your Favorite Recipe Board
By now, you’ve seen charcuterie boards all over Instagram, they’re AMAZING, but can also be a little daunting. That’s how I felt for a long time. I want to break down exactly what you’ll need to be on your way to create your own impressive cheese board! The perfect appetizer for any party! Be sure to follow Picky Palate on Instagram for daily recipe inspiration.
How is Charcuterie Pronounced? (Charcuterie Pronunciation)
If you are wondering how to pronounce charcuterie, you are not alone on this, lots of people want to know how to properly “say” charcuterie? It’s pronounced “shahr-kyu-tuh-ree.”
What is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and other meat products. But, many people use the term charcuterie to refer to an assortment of meats that are paired with different accompaniments, such as toast, fruit, cheese, and sauces. If you want to offer charcuterie on your menu, there are a handful of basics to understand first, from identifying some of the most popular types of charcuterie, to what makes a really impressive completed board.
Is Charcuterie French or Italian?
The word originated in France, and it translates to “pork-butcher shop.” While the original French translation refers to pork, modern charcuterie boards can include other types of food, such as duck, goose, chicken, cheese, toast, fruit, or other options.
How Do I Make a Charcuterie Board?
Alright, before we start, let’s talk about the actual board itself. For mine today, I used a massive piece of square board I had in the garage, 24×24-inches. Here’s the thing. You can use whatever size/shape you want! It’s your board so seriously anything goes.
I’ve seen lovely charcuterie boards on round lazy suzan type boards, large rounds with handles. Get creative. My favorite places to shop for boards are TJ Maxx Home Goods and antique/second hand shops. OR….Home depot will literally cut you a piece any size you’d like. You can even make your own.
In addition to the board itself, you’ll need some small dishes for plating and serving. Antique shops are a great place to get unique little spoons, plates and serving pieces from. My suggestion would be to keep it simple. Stick to white or clear dishes, maybe add little pops of color, but nothing too busy. For my board used today, I pulled out some little spoons I had and little scoops that were given as a gift. I added some white plates and bowls. Start arranging the plates/bowls on your board as a guide map of where things will go.
What is typically on a charcuterie plate?
You can customize your charcuterie board however you like, however typically it will include the following:
- Cured meats
- Various cheeses – Nice cheeses and meats are generally on the pricier side. With that said, it feeds A LOT of people.
- Olives and Nuts
- Dried Fruits
- Crackers or small slices of bread
- Jelly or Jam
Do I make a fancy board on a regular basis? No. For special occasions and holidays, you bet. Go in with a few family members to cut costs, that can help. Shop in your pantry before you go shopping at the grocery store. Chances are, you’ll have a handful of items you can use for your board right in your own pantry.
The Best Cheeses to Use
Let’s talk cheeses and little plates and dishes you can use. Before I start anything else I like to choose first my board, because that will give me an idea how much I need for my board, second my cheeses and third, little dishes to include.
Like I said above, this is your board so choose your favorite varieties of cheese. I’d suggest have at least 3 different cheeses in different shapes and sizes. See my photo above for reference. Keep in mind my board was very large, but I chose 4 cheeses- brie, smoked gouda, blue cheese, Pecorino Romano and a bloc of cream cheese that I added spicy jelly on top.
Fresh Rosemary and thyme looks great as some added greenery to your board. It smells good too. You’ll see I added some Rosemary springs around my board.
What Kind of Meats to Use
Just like the cheeses, you can choose whatever meats you like! I went with some good quality pepperoni, varieties of salami, and sausage that I had partially sliced. Again, check out your deli section and find what will work best for your guests.
I also like to add prosciutto, not in my photos today. The trick with adding meats to your board, is keep them in groups. See my photo above and below. Some of the salami near the blue cheese, I folded lightly in half for fun. The pepperoni and other salami pieces are nicely fanned out, laying flat on the board.
Now that some of the meats are arranged, I added some raspberries, blueberries and grapes to my board. I also added some marinated olives and cheeses in the bottom left bowl, sweet peppers top right and marinated artichoke hearts bottom right. All my favorite things to snack on. Found all of those in the deli section of my grocery store in the olive bar area.
Fill In Spaces With Dried Fruit, Nuts and Jams
At this point, your board is coming together so nicely! You’ll see in this photo above, I’ve added some dried pineapple and apricots. I added some sweet and spicy sliced pickles middle left and added a sweet and spicy jam to the top of my cream cheese and brie cheeses. Find the spicy jelly usually near the nicer cheese section of your grocery store. They’re the perfect addition! I added a halved pomegranate, top middle for color and variety. I added the summer sausage at the bottom that I sliced partially. Add some cheese knives to the board as well. I like to order cheese knives online. Amazon is my best friend 🙂
What Nuts Should I Add To My Board?
Again, this is personal preference, use your favorites! I used some herbed almonds and salted pistachios for my board today, both found at our local grocery store. Use your favorites. I save these for the end, because they fill in spaces perfectly. See board photo below.
What Crackers Should I Use?
I like to choose a number of different crackers for my charcuterie board. I get different shapes, flavors and colors. Check in the deli section and cracker isle of your grocery store. I find some in each area. Look for rounds, rectangles, wheat, white….you get the picture. Notice how they’re stacked. Some arranged on their side, some flat and fanned. Get creative and have fun arranging! Again, I save the crackers and nuts for the end to fill in spaces.
The one thing I didn’t add that I wanted to, was a little bowl of honey with honey dipper. The honey dipper looks so cute on the board and pairs perfectly with the cheeses and crackers.
Just like that, you have your own gorgeous charcuterie board! If you take it step by step, it doesn’t have to be scary. You’ll be ready to rock your next party! Enjoy!
How To Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board
- Sprigs of fresh Rosemary and Thyme
- Brie Cheese Round
- Smoked Gouda round
- Pecorino Romano
- Wedge of Blue Cheese
- Block of Cream Cheese
- Slices of good quality pepperoni
- Slices of Salami
- Summer Sausage partially sliced
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 bunch firm red grapes
- 1 cup marinated olives got mine in olive bar from grocery store
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 cup sweet peppers also found in olive bar from grocery store
- Dried Apricots
- Dried Pineapple chunks
- 1 Pomegranate halved
- Sweet and Spicy deli style sliced pickles
- Mini dill pickles
- quartered cucumbers
- Herbed almonds
- Salted Pistachios
- Deli Style Mustard
- Honey with Honey Dipper
- Variety of crackers different shapes, sizes and flavors.
- To start, select your board size. This will give you a better idea of how much to purchase for your charcuterie board. Once you've decided on your board place your cheeses around the board with a couple cheese knives.
- Garnish edges with fresh rosemary and thyme if desired. Place some little plates and bowls around the board that you'll use as a guide to help arrange your board. I space out my plates and bowls as in photos. Once your cheeses and dishes are set on board, start arranging your meats. Fold some of the meat for variety and fan out others flat on the board. See photos above for ideas.
- Add some of your fresh berries to the bowls/plates on your board. Add marinated olives, artichoke hearts and sweet peppers next. Start filling in spaces with dried fruit and nuts. If you've still got room, add sliced pickles, dill pickles and cucumbers. Fill in more spaces with nuts. Add mustard and honey then fill in with crackers arranging around the board. My ingredients above are just suggestions, enjoy all of your favorites! Hope you enjoy.
Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. I want to make some for Christmas gifts. Is this doable? Will most cheeses and vacuum packaged meats be okay without refrigeration? We are talking about 10 days.
she is actually correct
This was so helpful and made it easy to put together. The board was a huge hit at my party. Thank you!
Glad to hear that, thanks for the feedback.
I have put together boards before of course, but this was the most helpful tutorial I have ever seen regarding this subject. It gave me so many new ideas and i thank you for the unique ingredients suggestions!
Hi Jenny!!! I decided to try this over the holiday weekend for myself. It was really easy to put together and I found most of my items at Trader Joe’s. This was such a great tutorial that I’ll happily use for dinners and holidays. Thanks!
So glad you enjoyed! Thanks for the feedback.
lots of great ideas…certainly takes the daunting feature out of preparation
This is the most comprehensive recipe I have been able to find. The last few boards I made I was just winging it! I have a best friend that always loves the boards I bring to her pool parties! I am using this recipe for a July 3rd Birthday Party at their home! Thanks! I am adding Candied Pecans this time.
So glad to hear it!!
I love entertaining and displaying a beautiful spread. I will definitely make a charcuterie during the Christmas celebration. Thank you!
Everything about this article is great except the supposed pronunciation of charcuterie!!! No such sound in French as in cute (kyu). The proper pronunciation is shar-koo-ter-EE
Thank you for that correction. I was so confused
Thanks Kate. Now I know how to say charcuterie!! 😊
Everything about Kate’s comment is pronounced ree-dik-u-lous.
This is an excellent, well-organized plan for charcuterie. I will make some adjustments to take COVID into account: more toothpicks and small servicing spoons, more pre-slicing, and a bit more space between items. I’m also going to use some flags to identify cheese for lactose challenged guests who can eat goat cheese or cheeses that are naturally lactose free. I also have several board to use of different sizes that I can lay out across a buffet table.
Thank you for sharing! This will be so easy to follow and I can’t wait to try it!!
This looks soo cool! Thanks for the tips! I’m totally going to try to make my first one as a Christmas gift for my brother and mother in law! I do have a question, how do you keep the items from falling off the board. I’m thinking about when I have to deliver them.
I would loosely cover with foil if you need to deliver, or you can always prepare it when you arrive to the home to prevent any spills in the car.
Use press and seal!
This is such a great tutorial! Loved it and can’t wait to try it!
This is a such an amazing soo nice dish also…and ti looks soo good with full of flavor….i will trying to make it this weekend…..Thanks for shared a beautiful recipe……!
Hi Jenny! I was looking for inspiration for an upcoming 4th of July Aussie/American style gathering and your charcuterie board caught my eye. Then, I saw it was you! Brilliant!
I will be making this and thanking you as I do so. I hope you and the family are well.
Blessings and best! Beth
Thank you Beth! Hope you are doing well too 🙂
Looks so delicious 😋
Looks nicer e and yummy
My husband and I love to do a charcuterie board almost every Sunday, thank you for some inspiration for new things to add!
This is what I am looking for. I am doing this for Thanksgiving, instead of having a big feast this year. Thank-You, for showing and helping us how to do the board.
Wonderful! Enjoy Dawn!
Looks amazing! My boys love a spread like this. 3 of the 4 do have a nut allergy so if the nuts aren’t in their own bowl/plate on the board they have to skip all items touching the nuts. Not everyone has a nut allergy but if you aren’t sure, adding them to a cute bowl allows everyone to enjoy the board. I think I’ll tackle my first charcuterie board for thanksgiving…thanks for the inspiration!