Everything you need to know to easily build an awesome Charcuterie and Cheese Board including our favorites meats, cheeses and extras!

How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama
Photo from Maegan Brown’s Beautiful Boards cookbook

One of the most frequent questions I get is what all I put on our charcuterie and cheese boards. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I build a charcuterie and cheese board every chance I get…like at least once a week! Date nights in, dinner parties, weekend lunch, if I’m craving charcuterie, I’ll make it happen. I could eat a charcuterie and cheese board every night and never get sick of it. Just add wine!

How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

Watch Me Build a Cheese and Charcuterie Board!

Join me in the kitchen and I’ll show you just how easy it is to pull together!

Beautiful Boards

My love for building boards led to me creating and writing my bestselling cookbook, Beautiful Boards! If you enjoy building boards or are hoping to learn how, you need this book. 😉 Beautiful Boards is filled with 50 delicious and family-friendly snack boards for any occasion along with 25+ simple recipes and all my step-by-step tips for recreating these beautiful boards. I go into great detail on how to build an incredible classic cheese and charcuterie board but also I share 49 other creative and artful boards for holidays, entertaining, special occasions, breakfast/brunch, mealtime and dessert! There’s seriously a board for every occasion. It’s a must have, my friends!

Beautiful Boards Cookbook

Since we eat charcuterie and cheese boards so often, building one is one of the easiest meals we could make. No oven or stovetop needed unless you want some toasted bread with it which we usually don’t even bother with because we enjoy a variety of crackers with ours. We keep most of the extras on hand at all times, so we usually just have to go to the store to get the meats, cheeses and some fresh fruits.

How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

A Handy Checklist

I’ll break it all down for you below, but here’s a Charcuterie & Cheese Board Checklist that you can easily print and take with you to the store after checking your pantry and refrigerator for some of the extras.

Charcuterie and Cheese Board Checklist

Boards by The BakerMama

I also get asked where we get all of our wooden boards. My dad actually makes most of them! We have since developed an amazing line of wood boards together and you can shop them here at BoardsByTheBakerMama.com. They’re the best of the best!

Boards by The Bakermama

Now let’s chat about each item I put on our cheese and charcuterie boards! From the meats to the cheeses to each delicious accompaniment in between, we’ve tried them all and perfected the enjoyment.

How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

Meet our Favorite Meats!

We’ve found that ordering the meats sliced fresh from the deli meat counter is the way to go. The meat just tastes so much better when it’s sliced fresh to order and served the same day.

We usually do 4-5 different cuts of meat for a small board or even more for a larger crowd. If we’re eating the board as a meal, we plan for about 3-4 slices of each meat per person. Thinly sliced. For your reference, each package of sliced meat for a board for two people (8-10 slices each) ends up weighing anywhere from .05 to .25 of a pound.

We’ve gotten to know the staff at our local grocery store deli meat counters and rely on them for recommendations if we’re looking for something new. We’re always really nice to them because requesting just 8-10 thin slices of 4-5 different meats is probably not their favorite order to take, but it’s all we need sometimes if we’re building a board just for the two of us. No need to buy a full pound of meat when you just need 2-3 thin slices per meat per person.

Here are our favorite meats:

  • Prosciutto 18-30 month (the older the stronger the flavor)
  • Italian Salamis – Soppressata, Coppa, Schiacciata Piccante, Finocchiona, Calabrese
  • German-style Salamis – Hungarian-style, Mustard Seed, Cliente Picante
  • Mortadella with or without pistachio
How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

Cheese, Please

We usually do 3-4 cheeses for our small boards and about 5 or more for a larger crowd board. You’ll want a variety of cheese textures from firm to super creamy. The cheeses are usually prepackaged and will sometimes come in varying sizes so if you’re wanting a larger chunk of one cheese and a smaller portion of another, just look through the stack of cheeses to find the size that looks best for your board. You could even ask if they cut cheeses to size. For your reference, our cheeses usually weigh anywhere from .25 to .50 of a pound each.

Whole Foods has a great little basket of “cheese orphans” that are small little portions of cheeses they have extra pieces of or are promoting. These are so great for building a small board. We’ll look through there first to see if any of our cheeses are in there or if there are any new cheeses we’d want to try.

The great thing about the cheeses is that they last a while so if you have leftovers, just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place down in an airtight baggie to store in the refrigerator until you want to eat it again.

Usually, we serve the cheese as it comes and put a cheese knife next to each one, but sometimes I’ll thinly slice the harder cheeses so people can just grab and eat. The creamier/softer cheeses need to stay in their original shape though with a little knife so it can be scooped and spread on crackers, fruit slices, etc.

Here are our favorite cheeses:

  • Triple Creme
  • White Cheddar – Ivy’s Vintage Reserve English Cheddar (my absolute favorite cheese!)
  • Aged Gouda
  • Manchego
  • A “stinky” cheese like blue cheese or gorgonzola
  • Something unique – truffle, spicy, fruit-infused or wine-soaked
How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

And All the Extras

To bring out the best of all the different tastes and textures from the meats and cheeses, it’s nice to have a variety of sweet and savory extras to pair with them. We keep our pantry and refrigerator stocked with most of the extras so all we have to get most of the time are the fresh fruits and bread if we’re using it.

Here are our favorite extras:

  • crackers – sea salted, multi-grain, seeded, fruit & nut filled
  • nuts – marcona almonds, glazed pecans, pistachios, cashews
  • dried fruits – figs, apricots, cherries, cranberries
  • fresh fruits – grapes, apples, pears
  • mini cornichon pickles
  • pickled veggies such as red peppers or brussels sprouts
  • olives
  • fig spread
  • preserves or jams – any flavors (we love wild blueberry)
  • stone ground mustard
  • honey – truffle or regular
  • baguette – sliced and toasted in the oven
How We Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Pairs Beautifully

We tend to pair our charcuterie and cheese boards with sauvignon blanc because it goes so great with cheese. You want to look for wines that have lower tannins, lower alcohol content and higher acidity. Champagne, sparkling wines and rieslings go great with charcuterie and cheese boards as well. We’ll also serve our charcuterie and cheese boards with cocktails made with vodka or gin.

How to Build a Beautiful Cheese and Charcuterie Board with The BakerMama

And there you have it! I’m so sorry it took me this long to finally put this all into a blog post. I’ve been getting 3-4 emails or messages each week for the past several years asking how I build our charcuterie and cheese boards so it was about time I share all of our favorites in one place.

I hope you find it approachable and helpful as you build your own charcuterie and cheese boards for a casual date night in or dinner party with lots of friends. I would love to see your boards, so please tag me @thebakermama #BoardsByTheBakerMama if you post a pic or message me with a pic. It makes me so happy to see other people enjoy making and eating charcuterie and cheese boards as much as we do! 🙂

xoxo,

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Cheese and Charcuterie Board by The BakerMama

How We Charcuterie and Cheese Board

  • Author: Maegan – The BakerMama
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2+ 1x
  • Category: Appetizer

Description

Everything you need to know to easily build an awesome charcuterie and cheese board including our favorites meats, cheeses and extras!


Ingredients

Scale

MEATS:

  • Prosciutto 1830 month (the older the stronger the flavor)
  • Italian Salamis – Soppressata, Coppa, Schiacciata Piccante, Finocchiona, Calabrese
  • German-style Salamis – Hungarian-style, Mustard Seed, Cliente Picante
  • Mortadella with or without pistachio

CHEESES:

  • Triple Creme
  • White Cheddar – Ivy’s Vintage Reserve English Cheddar (my absolute favorite cheese!)
  • Aged Gouda
  • Manchego
  • A “stinky” cheese like blue cheese or gorgonzola
  • Something unique – truffle, spicy, fruit-infused or wine-soaked

EXTRAS:

  • crackers – we will get a variety of crackers: sea salted, multi-grain, fruit
  • nuts – marcona almonds, glazed pecans, pistachios, cashews, etc.
  • dried fruits – figs, apricots
  • fresh fruits – grapes, apples, pears
  • mini cornichon pickles
  • pickled veggies such as peppers or brussels sprouts
  • olives
  • fig spread
  • preserves or jams – any flavors
  • stone ground mustard
  • honey
  • baguette – sliced and toasted in the oven

Instructions

  1. Gather all of your meats, cheeses and extras.
  2. I recommend 4-5 different cuts of meat or even more for a larger crowd. If eating the board as a meal, plan for about 3-4 slices of each meat per person. Thinly sliced. For your reference, each package of sliced meat for two people (8-10 slices) ends up weighing anywhere from .05 to .25 of a pound.
  3. I recommend 3-4 cheeses for a small (party of 2) board and about 5 or more for a larger crowd board.
  4. Prep the fruit and any other extras. Wash the fruit. Let the grapes dry. Slice the apples and/or pears.
  5. Toast slices of baguette if you’re putting bread on the board.
  6. Set out a large wooden board or platter to fit everything on. Set out a few small bowls to put jams, honey, mustard, etc. in.
  7. Arrange the meats and cheese on the board first.
  8. Usually, we serve the cheese as it comes and put a cheese knife next to each one, but sometimes I’ll thinly slice the harder cheeses so people can just grab and eat. The creamier/softer cheeses need to stay in their original shape though with a little knife so it can be scooped and spread on crackers, fruit slices, etc.
  9. Next, arrange all of the extras in and around the meats and cheeses, squeezing it all in. It’s okay for items to touch each other and overlap. Place little bowls of the fig jam, fruit spreads, honey, mustard, etc. across the board.
  10. Pour some wine and enjoy!

About The BakerMama

Maegan is the author of the best-selling Beautiful Boards and its next-level follow-up, Spectacular Spreads. She started blogging in 2012 and has over 700 original recipes on The BakerMama. She truly enjoys sharing her easy, family-friendly recipes, creative meal ideas, food board creations, and entertaining spreads to encourage others to get in the kitchen and make something memorable for their loved ones to enjoy together. Learn More

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Comments

    1. Hi Pedro! Y’all should! They’re so fun to create and of course so yummy to eat. I hope you and your wife enjoy!

  1. This looks amazing! I am throwing a bridal shower for 35 people with a bunch of appetizers but this as the main display. How much cheese and meat would you suggest we do per person?

    1. Hi Jackie! So fun! With other appetizers, I would recommend 1-2 slices of each of at least 5 different types of meat per person and at least 5 different cheeses, but 2 blocks of each one of them. With that large of a crowd, I would suggest creating a few different large boards or stations where people can mingle around and munch on them. Having 2 of each block of cheese will give people the opportunity to find the cheese a few places rather than one group only getting the cheese types that are in front of them. I would also suggest going ahead and slicing each of the sliceable cheeses to make it easier for people to grab and eat. If you look at the hashtag #boardsbythebakermama on Instagram, you’ll see a pic of my son in the kitchen with several boards I prepped recently for a party of 20+. I created these boards and then spread them around so there were a few different places for people to gather around a board and enjoy. It was a huge hit. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kim! I don’t do anything special to the apples or pears I put on our boards to prevent them from browning because I think most techniques recommended to keep fruit from browning make the fruit taste different or take away the natural sweetness of the fruits that compliment the other ingredients on the board so well. Which is most important to me! I do slice them thinly and try to keep them close together with as little of the white part showing so they keep from browning as long as possible. I’ve never really had an issue with them browning too much and we snack on our boards for hours sometimes. Hope this helps. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Darlene! It depends on your appetites and if you’ll be enjoying the board as an appetizer or as a main meal. I usually recommend 3 different meats (2-3 slices per person of each) and 3-4 different cheese wedges (.25 to .50 pound portions each). And then small portions of each accompaniment with a couple of different crackers. Hope this helps. Enjoy!

  2. Hello Maegan! Where do you purchase boxes for these trays, for events or orders to-go? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for your question. We have boxes that we use to ship our boards, but I don’t prepare boards for events or to-go orders. I make these boards for my family and guests. I wish I could be more help.

  3. The hardest part of a charcuterie board is knowing what pairs well together. Have you posted anything related to this topic? I have your book, and you do give helpful hints on how to make beautiful boards, but no information on how to pair items on the board. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren! Thanks for your message. I actually talk about my favorite pairings on the Date Night In Board on page 37 of Beautiful Boards. We created this small board as a way to feature and enjoy our absolute favorite cheese, meat and accompaniment pairings. The beauty of a big cheese and charcuterie board is trying out different pairings to discover what you enjoy most. There are so many different ways to pair everything on the board and honestly, it all goes together so deliciously. Here are some our favorite pairings that I feature in Beautiful Boards:
      • sopressetta, white cheddar and cherry preserves
      • prosciutto, aged gouda and honey
      • toscano salami, manchego, and fig jam
      • coppa, triple creme and whole grain mustard
      And here are some of my other favorites from my experience enjoying different boards over the years:
      • dried apricot, brie and honey
      • salami, manchego, and fig jam on a fig crisp
      • apple and cheddar with sopresseta wrapped around it
      • dried apricot, brie and glazed pecan
      • prosciutto wrapped around pear with brie
      • prosciutto and aged gouda on a cracker with honey
      • brie and glazed pecans
      • brie, coppa and whole grain mustard on a pita cracker
      • blue cheese, pear, honey and a marcona almond
      • sopressetta, white cheddar and cherry preserves on a cracker
      • salami and a cornichon
      I hope this helps! I’ll work on a dedicated blog post for charcuterie board pairings!

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