Have you been wanting to make a charcuterie board but stopped out of fear it would be too complicated? I’m here to tell you it’s just the opposite! Below you’ll find everything you need to build a simple, but perfect charcuterie board that will wow your guests.

Overhead shot of massive charcuterie board with cheeses, cold cuts, olives, honey, jam, grapes, nuts, chocolate, and baguette.


I can’t tell you how often I hear that people are too intimidated to build a charcuterie board so instead they shell out a handsome sum of money for someone else to make it for them.

I’m here to tell you that building a charcuterie board is one of the easiest things you can do!

It’s also a make-ahead, all-in-one appetizer that leaves you plenty of time to actually talk to your guests!

Below I outline the process of selecting complementary ingredients, and assembling them in a way that’s both beautiful and simple.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Note: these are suggested ingredients and you should feel free to tweak them however you see fit!

Ingredients shown: chocolate, cured meats, berries, honey, olives, jam, cornichon, grapes, baguette, cheeses, breadsticks, nuts, and crackers.
  • Cured meat. Use a selection of 3-4 different cured meats for your charcuterie board. In the board pictured, I used a hard soppressata, bresaola, salami, and prosciutto. Use any variety you’d like and that works for you and your budget. If your budget permits you to splurge for Jamon Iberico or Prosciutto di Parma, go for it. If not, domestic cured meats are great too, trust me!
  • Cheese. Select 4 or more cheeses of varying texture and flavor. I used a hard Parmigiano Reggiano, a Vermont sharp cheddar, a blue cheese, and a soft brie, but use any combination you’d like. Other favorites of mine include Merlot BellaVitano Merlot or Espresso BellaVitano, cave-aged gruyere, Beemster-aged gouda, and drunken goat cheese. If you know your guests’ tastes, you can even tailor the cheese selection to include their favorites.
  • Bread and crackers. I love to include a baguette with a charcuterie board. It often serves as my centerpiece and is versatile. Breadsticks, crackers of different shapes and sizes, and taralli are all great options. Choose anywhere from 3-4 different types.
  • Nuts and chocolate. I love the combo of sweet and salty, so I opted for pistachios (salty), and candied pecans (sweet). I also love to add dark chocolate squares to a charcuterie board. Use any chocolate you like!
  • Condiments and jams. Honey and fig jam complement cheeses incredibly well. I especially love honey with blue cheese and fig jam with brie. Outstanding! Other great jam options include apricot jam or pear jam. I also always include cornichons and olives (any combination of olives works!).
  • Fruit. If you can find grapes in varying colors and sizes, I recommend getting a few. I used green and black grapes here and love the pop of color they add. I also include slices of pear and assorted berries.
  • Garnish. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or culinary lavender would be excellent charcuterie board garnishes. I also like to add a few nuts in their shell or oranges with leaves (as seen in my antipasto platter recipe).

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

You do not need to be a food stylist to create an incredible charcuterie board. Outlined below are the steps you can take to build a beautiful board that your guests will love to graze on.

Charcuterie board with cheeses, cold cuts, olives, honey, jam, grapes, and baguette.
  • Select your board. The board you use can be simple and as large or small as you’d like it to be! For a smaller group, feel free to use a small cutting board, or for a very large group you may wish you use a large butcher block type of board. The one I used here is 16″ by 24″. I’ve found great deals on beautiful wood boards at Home Goods/Home Sense.
  • Gather your ingredients. Use the above list (or the list in the recipe card) as a guide, but feel free to adjust it to fit your taste, your guests’ palates, and your budget. I’ve found the following ratio works great: 4 types of cheese, 4 types of meat, 3 types of bread/crackers, 1 type of chocolate, 2-3 different nuts, 1 jam, 1 honey, and 1-2 types of olives. Cornichons are a non-negotiable for me and I always have them on a charcuterie board! 1-3 different colors and types of grapes, 1 pear (or apple), and assorted berries.
  • Pick a centerpiece. As mentioned above, if I’m using a baguette, I will let that serve as my centerpiece. Cut a few slices and place the remaining loaf on the board. You can also brush a few slices of the baguette and lightly toast, if desired.
  • Place small bowls. Fill a few different small bowls with olives, honey, cornichons, and jam and stagger around the board. You can also place the nuts in small bowls and place those as well. These can all be off the board or on the board depending on the size of your board.
  • Slice and place the cheese. If using hard cheeses, consider slicing at least half and placing the slices with the remaining block on the board. If using a soft cheese like a blue cheese, place the entire wedge on the board. If using a brie cheese, place it near complementary items such as the jam or honey.
  • Place the meat. Fold or roll the salami and bresaola, and shape the prosciutto into nests or flowers. If using a hard salami or soppressata, cut a few slices and place all of it onto the board.
  • Fill in the gaps with the remaining ingredients. If using grapes, consider cutting the vines into individual servings and scattering about. The crackers can be placed in various ways (ie. towers, on their sides, fanned out, etc).
  • Add utensils. Place any necessary utensils, such as small spoons, forks, spreaders, cheese knives, nutcrackers, honey dippers, etc.
  • Garnish. While this is optional, consider placing some fresh green herbs as a garnish along with nuts in their shells.
  • Serve! I recommend having the charcuterie board assembled before your guests arrive. If you assemble the board much earlier, you can cover in plastic and place in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 30-45 minutes before your guests arrive. Serve alongside pre-dinner cocktails such as a Lillet Spritz, Aperol Spritz, or Lavender French 75.
Is a charcuterie board the same thing as an antipasto board?

While similar, antipasto platters are different from charcuterie boards in that they feature a variety of pickled and marinated Italian-style vegetables along with cheese and cured meat. Charcuterie boards will often offer more fruit, jams, honey, and chocolate in addition to meat and cheese.

Charcuterie board with plate of olives in center.

More great appetizers

Here are a few of our favorite simple and delicious appetizers.

If you’ve enjoyed this Charcuterie Board Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

The Perfect Charcuterie Board

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 45 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 10
A variety of cheeses and cured meats come together with complementary spreads, jams, fruit, and more in the perfect charcuterie board.

Ingredients 

Cured meats

  • 4 ounces Genoa salami
  • 3 ounces prosciutto
  • 3 ounces bresaola
  • 6 ounces hard soppressata

Cheese

  • 8 ounces brie cheese round
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cut into chunks
  • 8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 8 ounces blue cheese

Bread and crackers

  • 1 baguette sliced and toasted
  • 8 ounces wafer crackers
  • 8 ounces sesame bread sticks

Nuts and chocolate

  • 6 ounces pistachio nuts
  • 6 ounces candied pecans
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate cut into pieces

Jams and condiments

  • 6 ounces honey
  • 6 ounces fig jam
  • 8 ounces cornichon pickles
  • 1 cup assorted olives

Fruit

  • 12 ounces green grapes
  • 12 ounces red grapes
  • 1 pear sliced
  • 12 ounces assorted berries

Garnish

  • 4 sprigs rosemary optional
  • 1 handful nuts in their shell optional

Instructions 

  • Use the amounts as a general guideline since the size of your board will dictate how much you can fit. A large board (at least 12×18") is recommended.
  • Slice 1/3 of the baguette and lightly brush with olive oil. Toast the pieces for a few minutes. Arrange the toasted pieces and whole baguette in the center of the board as the centerpiece.
  • Place olives, jams, pickles, and honey into small bowls or dishes so that they don't leak onto the ingredients and board. Slice at least half of the hard cheeses to make it easier for your guests.
  • Place the brie cheese next to the fig jam and pears. Form the prosciutto into flower shapes, fold or roll the salami and bresaola to give height, and arrange them in sections on all sides of the board. The remaining ingredients can be spread around the baguette centerpiece on both sides.
  • Place cutters and spreading tools around the board so that it is easy for guests to serve themselves.
  • To make the board more festive garnish with rosemary or other herbs. Enjoy!

Notes

  • There is no right or wrong for your charcuterie board.  Use the best quality ingredients you can find while focusing on a variety of meats, cheeses, breads, and condiments.
  • Set up the board right before your guests arrive so that is at peak freshness and looks amazing. 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for making my New Year’s Eve easy with this wonderful spread. I got all the ingredients and am excited about putting it together. Thank you too for the delicious spritz recipes and for the prize-winning Italian stew recipe I’m making again today. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Tricia, thanks for the comment and we’re so happy you enjoyed the board, the spritz, and the stew! Happy New Year!

  2. Tara, expellant tip below on the search for spreaders, forks, etc. Why is it we sometimes need someone else to point out the obvious? Yes, My quest for little niceties’ begins as my first 2024 resolution. It is appreciated.

    1. Thanks, Koni! We personally visit alot of antique stores and thrift shops looking for interesting utensils. The fact that they’re mismatched is even better. Enjoy your quest!

  3. Hi James, I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for a source of small spoons and forks for the board. My search has left me wanting. I’m looking for quality and decorative, no plastic. Any hints would be nice. Your board is excellent.

    1. Hi Nor, thanks for the comment and we’re so happy you like the board! Jim and I will often look for spoons in antique shops or thrift stores. We’ve found a number of good ones there. We have also had good luck with stores like Home Goods or Home Sense. A more expensive option would be Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel. The best advice I’d say is to not be in a rush. Spoons, forks, and spreaders can all be mismatched so don’t feel you need to buy an entire set. I hope that helps!