How to Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board

January 15, 2020

one woman in kitchen with a charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards have been popular for a few years now, but making them – and making them well – is actually quite an art. Today I wanted to share the easy steps you need to make the perfect charcuterie board!

First let’s chat the basics: what exactly is a charcuterie board?!

What is Charcuterie?

Charcuterie is a style of ‘cooking’ involving prepared meats, such as ham & sausage. While the original concept was all about the cured meats, modern charcuterie boards usually include other types of food, most notably cheeses, fruits and spreads.

How Do I Make a Charcuterie Board?

The first step is really simple: pick a board! It’s dealers choice really when it comes to this – some people prefer wood, other’s like marble. Some people choose a square board, others choose a round one. What you want to keep in mind is functionality; how many people are you serving with your charcuterie board?

2 – 4 people: stick with something only slightly bigger than a dinner plate – think 8 1/2 x 11 for a rectangular board.

4 – 8 people: something around 20×20 or 18x 24 would be great.

10 + people: the sky’s the limit! You can also mix and match (instead of creating one board) and have multiple mid and small size boards. This is ideal if you’re having a party and want to be able to ‘spread the charcuterie love’ around a table or throughout your party area.

The key is not choosing too big of a board in order to create the classic charcuterie ‘full’ look. You’ll want everything to be touching and covering almost all of the space.

What Meats & Cheeses Should I Use?

I would suggest choosing 2-3 meats and 2-3 cheeses for your board. Think about different textures when making your selection – you’ll want at least one harder meat (sliced sausage works great) and one thin (sliced salami for example).

Similarly you’ll want at least 1 hard cheese and at least 1 soft cheese. Some great options are aged white cheddar, smoked gouda, bree & goat cheese.

What Extras & Garnishes Should I Choose?

You’ll want to have 3 or 4 different ‘extras’ to complement the meats & cheeses. I would recommend at least one fruit & one nut in that 3-4. For the others, think about what flavors would complement the meats and cheeses. Suggestions include:
– gerkin pickles
– dried apricots
– olives
– artichoke hearts
– crackers or breadstick slices

Finally you’ll want to add garnishes. I always recommend at least one herb be placed throughout the board – my go-to is rosemary. You may also want to add honeycomb or small jars of jam / jelly.

How Do I Assemble My Perfect Charcuterie Board?

The easiest way is to start is by creating anchors. Ie. place your hard meats, hard cheeses and any jars you may have on the board first since they will easily stay in place. From there, you build your board around them.

Next, add your soft meats. Place them up against the harder cheeses for support.

Now start adding your larger extras – soft cheese, piles of berries, dried fruits, olives.

Finally, add the smaller loose items – nuts, herb garnishes.

Should I Have a Theme For My Board?

Not necessarily. Your theme can totally be ‘meats and cheeses you like’. But, if you do want something a bit more cohesive I recommend gearing your choices to the season. For example, I made this board for our New Year’s Eve party last month and so I wanted it to be very wintery.

To make the winter charcuterie board I went with heavier/heartier meats and cheeses as my base and opted for seasonal extras & garnishes. For fruits I used mandarin slices (aka. Christmas oranges), blackberries and pomegranate. I also made a bowl of sugared cranberries for an extra boost of holiday.

And there you have it!! Let me know what you think!!

26 comments so far.

26 responses to “How to Make the Perfect Charcuterie Board”

  1. Mariah says:

    UGH! I need this post! I’m never sure. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. This couldn’t have come at a better time…helping to plan the bff’s baby shower and would love to put out a nice spread. Thanks for the tips! xoxo, Sarah

  3. Rach says:

    I love eating out of a charcuterie board and making them too! Love your tips, there some I didn’t know that I will try next time!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Is it terrible that I literally began salivating while looking at these photos and reading about the charcuterie? Everything sounds amazing, and it looks like you’ve really nailed this board! I gotta up my game!

  5. Kileen says:

    What a yummy looking board! This post makes me want to host a party so I can practice making one of these!!

    cute & little

  6. jenniferpickering22gmailcom says:

    This is so helpful!

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  7. Em says:

    I’m a huge fan of charcuterie boards when entertaining! Yours turned out so great!

  8. darleenmeier says:

    This board looks so good! I love how you added fruit and berries and jam! Yum! PS… Love you dress!

  9. Greta says:

    I live for a good charcuterie board! Most nights it’s what my husband and I have if we want a light dinner. Great tips!

  10. lyddiegal says:

    what is better than a gorgeous charcuterie board? always my favorite element at any party, and I love having a chance to try new cheeses!
    Chic on the Cheap

  11. Amanda says:

    This board is gorgeous! Now I need an excuse for a party to try making my own 😛

  12. annaefox01 says:

    I’m a non-cheese eater sadly. But this looks so pretty, ha!

    • Lee says:

      Aw man! I’ve actually been thinking of doing a post on a vegan charcuterie board – now I feel even more inspired to do so!!

  13. Amy Tong says:

    You look gorgeous! Love your tips on the charcuterie board. So many of my favorite items !

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