Today we are featuring 5 Charcuterie Board Ideas to impress your guests year round. Plus all the top tips and tricks to creating the perfect charcuterie tray every single time!

SImple charcuterie board with meats, cheese, fruits and veggies.

I think charcuterie is the most perfect appetizer because you can add anything you want and it works!

Below is a list of 5 unique charcuterie board ideas including a Thanksgiving charcuterie board, Christmas, brunch, and even vegan appetizer tray.

Plus tips on putting together the best charcuterie platter and the answer to several FAQs!

How Is Charcuterie Pronounced?

Charcuterie is a French word and there are a couple of main ways it is pronounced. Americans largely pronounce it “sharh-koo-teh-ree” with an emphasis on the “koo” and spoken as if it has four syllables.

However, as far as I’m aware, the correct French pronunciation is “sharh-koo-trih” with three syllables and an emphasis on the “trih”.

What Is a Charcuterie Board?

Charcuterie boards are inspired by the French “charcuterie”, a cooking practice focused on preserved and cured meats like bacon, ham, and sausages along with pates and roulades, etc.

Charcuterie board combines assortment of meats with other ingredients including fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, preserves, and bread. Usually served on a large platter making it perfect for serving at dinner parties, special occasions, gatherings, and potlucks.

Tools You Will Need

Charcuterie boards, trays, bowls, cheese knives, mini utensils.
  • Pretty board: There are tons of special charcuterie boards you can buy. However, feel free to use any attractive flat wooden, marble, or slate board you have. There’s no need to buy an expensive charcuterie board specifically. Even baking sheet works!
  • Small bowls: Tiny bowls and ramekins for servings dips, sauces and preserves. Also helps things tidy and helps to avoid dry crackers getting soaked with pickle juice.
  • Mini utensils: Include plenty of serving tools and utensils like toothpicks, cheese knives, little spoons and mini forks. That way everyone can easily serve and enjoy your charcuterie board ideas.

Recipe Tip

Don’t want to deal with utensils and boards? Make charcuterie cones instead. How cute are they?!

Ingredients You Will Need

What goes on a charcuterie board? What doesn’t?! Charcuterie board ingredients can be based on the season and a theme, as well as your fridge and pantry contents. And let’s not forget the budget either.

To make the perfect charcuterie plate, it’s best to pair ingredients to contrast and balance taste, texture, and color.

These days you can even make a vegan cheese board as we show below.

Various cured meats in packages.

Cured meats & seafood: It’s best to select meats ranging from pre-sliced cured meats for salty, savory flavor and harder meats for texture and chew.

Traditional meat includes prosciutto, salami, cured ham, cured beef, chorizo, soppressata, mortadella, etc.

You can also use cold smoked salmon, smoked fish, and shrimp or other smoked proteins.  

Spreadables: This is technically optional but a must-add in this list of charcuterie board ideas. By spreadables, this includes meat products such as Pâté, rillette, and terrine.

Various cheeses in packaging.

Hard cheeses and Soft cheeses: Like the above, it’s best to choose a varied selection of cheeses – mild vs. mature and soft vs. hard cheese.

You can also vary types of cheese by the milk used. For example, cow milk vs. goat milk vs. sheep milk.

Best cheeses include brie cheese, camembert, burrata, soft mozzarella, cheddar cheese, gruyere, gouda, sharp provolone, crumbly feta cheese and goat cheese, hard Parmesan and Manchego, stilton, Roquefort, or blue cheese like gorgonzola.

You can also include cheese spreads like plain cream cheese and flavored soft cheese like Boursin.

Bread & crackers: Next, you’ll need a carrier for the above three. That’s where crackers and bread come in. Avoid cheap crackers when making a DIY charcuterie board and instead use Artisan crackers, crostini, breads, baguette, and more.

Fruits & vegetables: With those main elements out of the way, it’s time for the accompaniments, starting with fruits and vegetables. The ones you use will depend on your other ingredients.

However, there are lots to choose from. Cucumber, celery, bell pepper, olives, apple, grapes, berries, cherries, figs, melon, etc. Pickled vegetables are also often included.

Various pickled and marinated ingredients in jars.

Other accompaniments: Lastly comes all the other odds and ends used to fill in the board and add extra flavor. Jams, spicy jelly, preserves, tapenade, condiments like mustard, honey, and other sauces, dips, nuts, and even chocolate.

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

There are a few steps to making a basic charcuterie board, including selecting ingredients, slicing and arranging them.

People do this in various ways. However, this is the formula I use to help in creating a visually appealing board.

Five various cheeses on a marble board.

Step 1: Place the Large Items

This will depend on whether you’re mainly using sliced cheese or not. However, at this point, I usually place various cheeses, making sure they’re evenly spread around the board and alternating in terms of shape and size for better visual appeal.

Depending on the size of your board, you can also add any bowls for smaller goodies like olives and dips, and jars of preserves, jams etc. For a large board, I tend to add them now. For smaller one, I add them in step two alongside the meats.

Once again, I like to place these around the board, so nothing is right next to one another, and the tallest items are towards the center of the board, creating visual appeal and depth.

Cheeses, meats and pickled goods on a carcuterie plate.

Step 2: Add the Meats

Using the already placed ingredients and jars to help prop meats up. Now it’s time to add meats.

When it comes to creating an interesting charcuterie board, make sure not to lay slices of meat flat. Instead, create visual appeal by rolling, folding, scrunching, and shaping the meats in various ways based on their size and flexibility.

This not only looks great but is easier for your guests to remove, too.

Once again, make sure to spread the options across the board rather than place them all side by side.

Step 3: Add the Crackers and Bread

Make sure not to lay the bread too close to any wet foods but still spread them evenly across the board.

I like to make sure I have at least 2-3 options like baguette slices along with thin crackers or vegetable chips.

Simple charcuterie board.

Step 4: Place the Fruits, Veggies and Accompaniments

Now it’s time to fill in all the little gaps on the board with fruits, veggies, and different accompaniments.

I recommend making sure to place different colored and shaped ingredients beside one another to spread color across the board.

Add lots of different components, too, for plenty of choices! These really help to boost color and texture!

Make sure not to place anything too wet next to the bread and crackers and use larger fruits like grapes and pomegranate to add height and dimension.

You can then finish off the cheese board with herbs to garnish and any cheese markers, so your guests know exactly what is what.

Tips for Best Results

Here are top 6 tips for the best charcuterie board ideas looking beautiful!

  • Using a theme: You don’t have to have a theme for a successful charcuterie board. However, if you don’t know where to begin, then a theme can help. You can create themes based on the season, holidays, color, region, dietary preference, flavor profiles, etc.
  • Plan the amount: To avoid waste, it’s a good idea to plan for a number of guests you have to feed. As a general rule, plan on around 3 oz of charcuterie per person for an appetizer or snack and 6 oz when serving as a main. Along with 2-3 slices of bread, some crackers, and a handful of various additions.
  • Balance and contrast flavors: Adding a combination of sweet, savory, salty, and spicy components is a sure way to appeal to all and create a balance of flavors. Plus, giving your guests a lot of options almost always leads to success!
  • Balance the board: Likewise, balance the boards with different colors, textures, and shapes. Don’t place any components that are too similar in color, shape and size side by side. However, it can be a good idea to place ingredients that pair well beside one another. For example, cheese and grapes.
  • Fill the board: In most cases in life, less is more. That’s not the case with classic charcuterie boards. In my experience, a charcuterie board packed with beautiful food and barely any board showing tend to look the best.
  • Experiment and have fun: Don’t get too bogged down by the perfect pairings if that’s not what you’re into. Yes, certain meats and cheeses work best together, but you can also just use your general common sense to choose flavors you think works well together. Trial and error are all part of the fun.

1. Simple Charcuterie Board

This traditional charcuterie board takes the simple formula of ingredients above and chooses a selection of each for a simple and delicious treat for any occasion.

Simple charcuterie board.
  • Charcuterie meats: Salami, prosciutto.
  • Soft Cheese: Blue cheese, Boursin, brie, Havarti.
  • Semi-hard cheese: Gruyere, cheddar, parmesan.
  • Bread & Crackers: Baguette, parmesan crisps, crackers.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Two varieties of grapes plus dried fruit, including apricots, dates, figs, and cherries. I also used olives and a selection of pickled vegetables including baby dill pickles and pearl onions.
  • Other accompaniments: Olive oil bread dip and a selection of condiments, including any jams, jellies, or honeycomb.

2. Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

This Thanksgiving charcuterie board takes advantage of holiday variety of meats and seasonal produce paired with classic cheese and ingredients. It is perfect for using up Thanksgiving recipes leftovers, too!

Thanksgiving charcuterie board.
  • Charcuterie meats: Honey maple roast turkey, prosciutto.
  • Soft Cheese: Blue cheese, brie, Havarti, goat cheese.
  • Semi-hard cheese: Gruyere, cheddar, parmesan.
  • Bread & Crackers: Mini ciabatta buns, sweet potato and beet chips.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Grapes plus in-season pomegranate, pears, apples, Brussels sprouts. And dried fruit including cranberries, raisins, and figs. I also added pickled veggies like cornichons, stuffed green olives and pearl onions.
  • Other accompaniments: Olive oil bread dip, healthy french onion dip, and a selection of condiments like cranberry sauce and Dijon mustard.  

3. Christmas Charcuterie Board

While similar to the Thanksgiving charcuterie board, this Christmas charcuterie board contains breads and ingredients that are popular around Christmas time and can easily be adapted to what you have in your own kitchen.

Add variety of cheeses based on what you selected for a Christmas cheese platter and feel free to use leftover cooked meats and ham.

Christmas charcuterie board.
  • Charcuterie meats: Garlic roast beef, prosciutto, and other leftovers like turkey breast or ham.
  • Soft Cheese: Blue cheese, brie, Havarti.
  • Semi-hard cheese: Gruyere, cheddar, parmesan.
  • Bread & Crackers: Stollen, panettone, fruit and nut bread, and sweet potato and beet chips, or other crackers.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Grapes, in-season pomegranate, pears, apples, Brussels sprouts. And dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, and figs. I also added pickled cornichons, olives and pearl onions.
  • Other accompaniments: Greek yogurt veggie dip, French onion dip, Dijon mustard, homemade cheese ball and dried nuts like hazelnuts and pistachios. You could also add walnuts or Brazil nuts.

4. Vegan Charcuterie Board

This vegan charcuterie board follows a similar formula with dairy-free and meat-free substitutions. I’ve included more fresh veggies in this board for lots of eat the rainbow ingredients.

This is definitely one of the healthiest charcuterie board ideas!

Vegan charcuterie board.
  • Charcuterie proteins: You can use smoked or marinated tofu or tempeh. There are also tons of options for meat alternatives these days.
  • Soft cheese: I used dairy-free ricotta. You could also use vegan cream cheese.
  • Semi-hard cheese: I used vegan cheddar though you can use the cheese of your liking. These days there are brands that make vegan blue cheese, gouda, and softer options like Camembert and brie.
  • Bread & Crackers: Baguette, crackers, and sweet potato and beet chips. Good news, most are vegan by default.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Two varieties of grapes plus dried apricots were added as fruit. In terms of fresh vegetables, I used a selection of fresh cucumber, snap peas, cauliflower, and red cabbage. Plus marinated roasted bell peppers & olives, pickled cornichons and pearl onions, and kimchi.  
  • Other accompaniments: Veggie dip, garlic hummus, a handful of nuts (I used pistachios), and condiments including jellies, preserves, and mustard. Swap out for dips and condiments of choice.

5. Brunch Charcuterie Board

This brunch charcuterie board is any brunch-lover’s dream with a combination of sweet and savory elements including bagels, fruits, veggies, smoked salmon, and eggs.  

Brunch charcuterie board.
  • Charcuterie proteins: Smoked salmon. I also added sliced hard boiled eggs.
  • Soft cheese: Spreadable cheeses like cream cheese, goat cheese and Boursin are great for the bagels.
  • Bread: An assortment of sliced bagels that are sweet and savory. I used blueberry bagels and sesame bagels.
  • Vegetables: Cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado slices dipped in lemon juice to keep them green for longer. I also included capers which pair wonderfully with the smoked salmon.   
  • Fruits: I paired green and red grapes with a selection of raspberries and blueberries. Other fresh berries like blackberries and sliced strawberries would be great.
  • Other accompaniments: I also included some dark chocolate. Add fresh herbs like dill, parsley and mint. You could optionally make a simple honey butter spread for the sweet bagels or serve with various preserves and jams making a great addition to this brunch charcuterie board.

Make Ahead Instructions

I recommend preparing your charcuterie board up to 24 hours in advance and storing it in a refrigerator tightly wrapped with plastic wrap to stop from drying out.

You don’t even have to prepare the entire board in advance. I like to pre-slice the meats and some of the cheese then store in airtight containers.

Avoid adding any fruits that may brown until right before serving.

Storing Leftovers

Once it’s served, it’s best to store any leftovers back in the fridge within 3-4 hours.

You can easily wrap up any whole leftovers like blocks of cheese and salami without them drying out. Transfer any pre-sliced pieces into airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.


How to cut cheese for a cheese board?

It’s up to you whether you decide to arrange the board with entire blocks of cheese with a cheese knife provided, just slices, or a combination of the two.

I’ll often do the first for small charcuterie boards and the latter for larger ones. That way there are slices ready for guests to remove easily but the rest is there, if needed.

How to fold meat for a charcuterie board?

Depending on the type of cured meat you’re using, there are various ways to shape and fold it. You can roll pieces, pinch it into a mound, fan it out, or even shape it into rosettes. For example with prosciutto, twist a long strand then roll it up and tuck under the edge and you have a cute rosette.

How to make a charcuterie board for two?

The rules for creating a smaller charcuterie board are the same as larger ones but on a smaller scale. The general rule is to provide 3 ounces of cheese and meat for an appetizer or snack portion, or 6 ounces for a main along with a handful of accompaniments, several slices of bread or crackers, and some condiments.

More Appetizers

I hope you enjoyed these easy charcuterie board ideas. Here are few or our favorite simple appetizers to make and possibly add to your beautiful charcuterie board.

Simple charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts and crackers.

5 Simple Charcuterie Board Ideas

5 Charcuterie Board Ideas to impress your guests year round. Plus all the top tips and tricks to creating the perfect charcuterie tray every single time!
5 from 3 votes
Servings 8 people
Calories 686
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


Simple Charcuterie Board

  • 16 oz grapes 2 varieties
  • 8 oz cured or smoked meats salami, prosciutto etc.
  • 10 oz soft cheese blue cheese, brie, havarti, goat cheese
  • 10 oz semi-hard cheese gruyere, cheddar, parmesan
  • 12 oz baguette and crackers Parmesan crisps, almond flour/whole wheat etc. crackers, Parmesan chips
  • 5 oz condiments jam, jelly or honeycomb
  • 10 oz dried fruit apricots, dates, figs, cherries
  • 5 oz pickled veggies olives, baby dill pickles, pearl onions
  • 1 serving olive oil bread dip

Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

  • 16 oz grapes 2 varieties
  • 8 oz cured or smoked meats honey maple roast turkey, prosciutto
  • 10 oz soft cheese blue cheese, brie, havarti, goat cheese
  • 10 oz semi-hard cheese gruyere, cheddar, parmesan
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 10 oz fresh seasonal fruits figs, pears, apples
  • 5 oz fresh seasonal veggies brussels sprouts
  • 5 oz dried fruit cranberries, raisins, dates
  • 5 oz pickled veggies olives, baby dill pickles, pearl onions
  • 12 oz breads, crackers & chips mini ciabatta buns, sweet potato and beet chips
  • 5 oz condiments mustard
  • 1 serving healthy french onion dip
  • 1 serving olive oil dip

Christmas Charcuterie Board

  • 16 oz grapes 2 varieties
  • 8 oz cured or smoked meats garlic roast beef
  • 10 oz soft cheese blue cheese, brie, havarti, goat cheese
  • 10 oz semi-hard cheese gruyere, cheddar, parmesan
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 5 oz brussels sprouts
  • 5 oz pickled veggies olives, baby dill pickles, pearl onions
  • 5-8 oz dried fruits & nuts hazelnuts, pistachios, cranberries
  • 12 oz breads and crackers & chips stollen, panettone, fruit & nut bread, sweet potato and beet chips
  • 5 oz condiments mustard
  • 1 serving healthy veggie dip
  • 1 serving healthy french onion dip

Vegan Charcuterie Board

  • 16 oz grapes 2 varieties
  • 8 oz smoked tofu, tempeh etc.
  • 10 oz vegan soft cheese ricotta
  • 10 oz vegan hard cheese cheddar
  • 5-8 oz pickled veggies marinated bell peppers, olives, baby dill pickles, pearl onions, kimchi
  • 10 oz fresh veggies zucchini, cucumber, snap peas, cauliflower, cabbage
  • 5-8 oz dried fruits & nuts apricots, pistachios
  • 12 oz bread and crackers & chips fruit and nut bread, baguette, crackers, sweet and beet chips
  • 5 oz condiments preserves, jellies, mustard
  • 1 serving garlic hummus
  • 1 serving veggie dip

Brunch Charcuterie Board

  • 16 oz grapes 2 varieties
  • 8 oz smoked salmon
  • 5 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • 10 oz semi-soft cheese cream cheese, goat cheese
  • 5-8 oz fresh veggies cucumber, zucchini, tomato, lettuce, avocado slices
  • 6 oz fresh berries raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries
  • 5 oz capers
  • 6-8 bagels assorted and sliced
  • 4 oz dark chocolate for garnish
  • fresh herbs dill, parsley, mint etc.


  • Gather board base essentials: board, cheese knives, dip bowls, condiment utensils, toothpicks.
  • Place larger items like blocks or slices of cheese on the board first.
  • Add dips and pickled vegetables in bowls, and sliced meats next.
  • Add crackers and breads spacing them out on a board.
  • Fill in gaps with fresh fruit, vegetables and/or dried fruits and nuts.
  • Add garnish and serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.


  • Make Ahead: Can be prepared 24 hours in advance and stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until ready to use. Add any fruits that might ‘brown’ right before serving.
  • Store: Store any leftovers back in the fridge within 3-4 hours.
  • All measurements are approximate. You will need to scale up or down depending on the size of your board and then number of people you are serving. 


Calories: 686kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 1281mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 36g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, French
Author: Olena Osipov
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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this great breakdown. And several fabulous ideas. I look forward to ‘practicing’ with family and game nights w/friends.

  2. One of the settings also enables you to cook the meat through without turning it. The Crockpot meat slicer has a variety of different attachments, which gives you a lot of versatility when preparing your meats.

5 from 3 votes

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