Ultimate Guide to Assembling a Charcuterie Board

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ultimate cheese board

What’s Up, Hungry People

Party season is encroaching. Between the sporting events and holidays, there’s always a reason to bust out an awesome charcuterie board.

The key to a great charcuterie board is not only variety but also quantity. I love to have as many options available to try as many flavor combinations as I can sink my teeth into.

best cheese board spread ideas

Here’s What You Need

  • Variety pack crackers: Provides a crunchy base for toppings.
  • Pita bread: Soft and versatile for pairing with any dip.
  • Jerky: Adds a chewy, savory protein element.
  • Prosciutto: Thin, salty cured meat complements soft cheeses.
  • Salami: Rich, spiced flavor adds depth to the board.
  • Pepperoni sticks: A spicy, meaty snack that adds zest.
  • Creme de brie: Creamy texture and mild flavor balance stronger tastes.
  • Mango Havarti: Sweet notes mingle with savory dishes.
  • Cranberry Stilton: Offers a burst of fruity sharpness.
  • Sharp cheddar: Classic cheese with a bold taste.
  • Aged Gouda: Nutty and smooth, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
  • Green grapes: Adds a juicy, refreshing touch.
  • Orange slices: Citrusy sweetness to refresh the palate.
  • Apples: Crisp and sweet, perfect with cheeses.
  • Figs: Chewy texture and a burst of sweetness.
  • Dried fruits: Concentrated flavors enhance the cheese experience.
  • Pistachios: Salty crunch to offset the softness of cheeses.
  • Grape tomatoes: Burst of juiciness; adds color and freshness.
  • Orange fig jam: Sweet and tangy, great with both cheese and meats.
  • Spicy pepper jelly: Adds a kick for those who like a bit of heat.
  • Thai peanut sauce: Earthy flavor with a creamy texture.
  • Hummus: Smooth and garlicky, pairs well with any bread.
  • Capers: Salty pop to accentuate meats and cheeses.
  • Olives: Briny and rich, they add a Mediterranean flair.
ideas for a cheese board that are simple

Let’s… Charcuterie

Starting with the cheeses – I love to offer an array of cheese from sharp to mellow, soft to hard. For this particular charcuterie board, I chose cheeses with fruit infusions like cranberry Stilton and mango goat cheese. And of course, the classics like Gouda and cheddar are required.

I got all my cheeses from the ‘sampler’ section of the cheese deli at my local store – there you can get small amounts of incredible cheeses without breaking the bank. I think in total, I only spent about $10 on all my cheese.

simple meats for cheese board

Next are your meat options. From jerky to prosciutto, salami and pepperoni, the more cured meats available, the better. Most grocers I’ve seen offer variety packs of meats, but I always find it fun to pursue strange meat options like kangaroo jerky if they are available.

fruits for cheese board oranges and grapes

I also like to have some sweet choices on the board paired with extra soft cheese like Brie or even something basic like cream cheese. Along with oranges and grapes, apples, figs, and dried fruits are always welcome on my table.

mustard hummus and jams for charcuterie

Then come the toppings – on my board, I chose random ingredients from my fridge door that I knew would complement both pita and crackers. Again, I’m all about the sweet and savory options – I even snuck a little heat onto my board in the form of red pepper jelly. Classic toppings include hummus and orange fig jam, but I included some Thai peanut sauce for a fun little twist. Options like capers and olives are always fun too, and even ‘snacky’ stuff like pistachios or grape tomatoes can help round out the board.

Finally, the best charcuterie boards not only sport a variety of things to choose from, but presentation can go a long way too. Since we eat with our eyes first, I like to make sure my charcuterie board is full to the top and every inch is covered in something delicious.

charcuterie spread with meat and jams

Cheese and Meat Selection

Begin by selecting a range of cheeses from sharp and bold to mild and creamy. Incorporate fruit-infused cheeses like cranberry Stilton or mango Havarti to add a unique twist. Arrange a variety of meats from jerky to thinly sliced prosciutto and robust salami. Mixing textures and flavors keeps the board interesting and dynamic.

Fruity and Sweet Additions

Incorporate fresh fruits like orange slices and green grapes, alongside dried fruits and figs to provide a sweet counterpoint to the savory meats and cheeses. These elements will also add color and vibrancy to your board.

Savory Spreads and Toppings

Scatter your board with small bowls or placements of orange fig jam, spicy pepper jelly, and Thai peanut sauce to introduce different dips. Don’t forget to add savory elements like hummus, capers, and olives, which provide great flavor contrasts and are excellent for dipping.

Presentation Tips

Presentation is key, so fill every inch of the board with an assortment of these delicious ingredients. Ensure a good mix of color and texture, making the board as visually appealing as it is tasty.

Board Building Tips

  • Keep a balance: Make sure there’s a good balance between sweet, savory, and spicy to cater to all tastes.
  • Consider color and texture: A visually appealing board is as important as the taste. Use colorful fruits and a variety of textures.
  • Temperature matters: Serve cheeses at room temperature to maximize flavor, but keep meats cool.
  • Pre-slice for convenience: Pre-slice some of the cheeses and meats to make it easy for guests to grab and enjoy.
  • Regular refresh: If your gathering goes on for a while, refresh the board with new slices and pieces to keep it inviting.
meat and cheese board with grape and fruit

Crafting the perfect charcuterie board is as much an art as it is a culinary endeavor. With a variety of textures, flavors, and colors, you can create a board that’s not only delicious but also a feast for the eyes. Remember, the best boards have something for everyone, from the saltiness of cured meats to the sweetness of fresh fruits and jams. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual items or to mix traditional and modern flavors.

Every board you create is a chance to showcase your creativity and delight your guests. So next time you have a gathering, whip out your charcuterie skills and watch as your board becomes the centerpiece of conversation.

meat cheese fruit nuts

How to Build the Perfect Charcuterie Board

The Starving Chef
Assemble a delicious and visually appealing charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, meats, fruits, and dips.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Charcuterie
Cuisine Finger Food
Servings 8



  • variety pack crackers
  • pita bread
  • jerky
  • prosciutto
  • salami
  • pepperoni sticks
  • creme de brie
  • mango havarti
  • cranberry stilton
  • sharp cheddar
  • aged gouda
  • green grapes
  • orange slices
  • pistachios
  • orange fig jam
  • spicy pepper jelly
  • Thai peanut sauce
  • hummus
  • antipasto
  • olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • capers


  • Arrange all the meats and cheeses on a single serving board. Surround them with an assortment of crackers, fruits, jams, jellies, sauces, and dips. Designate a 'sweet corner' of the board for the orange slices, green grapes, or other fruit items. Serve the board with soft pita bread and fresh toppings like capers. You can enjoy this board chilled or at room temperature.
Keyword cheese, cheese board, crackers, fruit, nuts
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