How To Make The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Last updated: June 6th, 2024

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Love wine and cheese? We’ll show you how to make the perfect charcuterie board so you can indulge your loved ones (or yourself) with a simple, elegant spread for date nights, holiday parties, and everything in between.

A charcuterie board with bread, dipping oils, cheddar, manchego, soppressata, prosciutto, green grapes, jam, and spices

Love to eat cheese and drink wine? Us too!

Charcuterie boards are the perfect way to serve a delicious medley of high-quality cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, and anything else snackish. They’re great for date nights, girls’ nights, holidays, potlucks, and even Saturday afternoons! Whatever the occasion, you can easily customize a charcuterie board for any number of people and tailor it to specific tastes. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to make the perfect charcuterie board, customized to your tastes!

The components of a perfect charcuterie board

When Alex and I returned from our recent trip to Paso Robles with three bottles of wine and a variety of spices, oils, and spreads from all the incredible shops we visited, we immediately planned a Valentine’s Day weekend charcuterie date night. The charcuterie board we created is shown above; this is completely customized to our tastes and the ingredients we brought home, and is just one representation of how you can build the perfect charcuterie board for YOU.

How To Make A Perfect Charcuterie Board

A perfect charcuterie board has a variety of textures and flavors that all complement one another. This is so that you can easily graze the board and combine ingredients in any way you wish for interesting and varied bites!

Here’s what we recommend including on every charcuterie board:

  • 2 to 3 kinds of cheese
  • 2 to 3 kinds of meat
  • 2 to 3 kinds of carbs (crackers, crostini, or bread)
  • 1 to 2 kinds of fresh fruit
  • 1 to 2 kinds of jam or spread
  • 1 to 2 kinds of nuts
  • Optional extras: dipping oils, spice blends, or garnishes

A well-balanced charcuterie board or grazing board is going to offer you – and your guests – the widest variety of combinations to experiment with. Follow our guidelines listed above, and you’ll be well on your way to making the perfect charcuterie spread!

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s what we suggest putting on your charcuterie board within each of those categories.

Cheese

Just like the overall balance of your board, you want to keep things exciting with a variety of textures and flavors in the cheese selection itself. You can use anything from aged gouda or parmesan (hard cheeses), to manchego or cheddar (firm cheeses), to burrata or brie (soft cheeses), to feta or goat cheese (crumbly cheeses). We even like to mix in something melty every once in a while, like baked brie. And for people who are picky about cheese, you can even include a more approachable spreadable cheese like boursin or Alouette.

Meat

The term “charcuterie” actually refers to cold cooked meats, so don’t be afraid to let the meat be the star of the show on your board! There are so many options to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Some of our favorites are prosciutto, soppressata, pepperoni, and Spanish chorizo. We love to browse the Whole Foods deli section and pick out whatever catches our eye. We highly recommend this strategy, especially if you have a well-stocked local deli to check out!

Carbs

Having a few kinds of carbs to pair with the cheeses and meats is essential to a great charcuterie board. Once you’ve chosen your cheeses and meats, think about what types of carbs will pair best with them based on texture and flavor. Here are some different options we usually go for:

  • Crackers – There are endless varieties to choose from, but our favorites for pairing with most kinds of cheese are sea salt, garlic & herb, and sesame.
  • Crostini or toasts – We make our own crostini with baguette slices, but you can easily find these at the store. Crostini pairs well with soft, spreadable cheeses and jams or spreads.
  • Fresh bread – Fluffy bakery breads like ciabatta or French baguette slices go great on a charcuterie board, especially with soft cheeses like burrata or goat cheese.
Fresh Fruit

Fruit provides a nice pop of color and freshness to a charcuterie board. Something acidic like grapes, or sweet like strawberries, can also act as a palate cleanser between savory bites of meat and cheese – which is why fruit is so essential to charcuterie boards! Select high-quality, in-season produce such as grapes, strawberries, raspberries, dates, or figs, depending on the time of year.

Jams and Spreads

To elevate the charcuterie experience, offer at least one jam or spread that will complement the meats and cheeses you’ve selected. Flavors such as apricot, peach, fig, raspberry, and date go very well with most cheeses and crackers. You can also add savory spreads like roasted red pepper jelly, homemade pesto, bruschetta, tapenade, or even hummus to amp up the flavor!

Nuts

Nuts introduce a crunchy texture to your charcuterie board, in contrast to the fresh fruit and softer cheeses and meats. You can really choose any type of nut – almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios – or try something unique like these giant corn kernels!

Optional Extras

Finally, charcuterie boards are a blank canvas for you to create your dream spread on, and they’re only limited by your imagination! Think about what will complement your selectionwhen deciding what extras to include, if any. If you’ve got soft bread, you can include dipping oils. If you’ve got mild cheese, you can include spice blends (yes, spice-dusted cheese is amazing). If you want to theme your board for a particular holiday or season, you can include garnishes of fresh rosemary sprigs or edible flowers. Really anything goes, so get creative!

A charcuterie board with bread, dipping oils, cheddar, manchego, soppressata, prosciutto, green grapes, jam, and spices

What Went On Our Perfect Charcuterie Board

Date nights are a perfect excuse to make a charcuterie board for two, for dinner! Here’s what Alex and I used for our Valentine’s Day charcuterie board, following the template we outlined above:

  • Cheese – We chose to feature manchego, aged cheddar, and burrata on our charcuterie board.
  • Meat – Prosciutto is a charcuterie staple in our book, and it goes great with burrata, so we naturally included some of that. Plus, we chose a hot soppressata to complement our mild cheeses with some spicy flavor. We even wrapped some cheddar cubes in the soppressata for an easy pre-made snack!
  • Carbs – We skipped the crackers and bought a loaf of fresh bakery bread to prepare two ways. We left some of it fresh for dipping in oils, and toasted up the rest with olive oil to serve with the creamy burrata and a drizzle of vanilla bean balsamic.
  • Fruit – Juicy and sweet green grapes were the perfect contrast to our savory, spicy meat and cheese selections. They added a brightness to our board and acted as the perfect palate cleanser.
  • Jams and spreads – Alex’s aunt makes delicious homemade jams, so we picked one of her balsamic fig jams to include on our charcuterie board.
  • Nuts – We picked up these spicy giant corn kernels from Whole Foods for a fun alternative to nuts! They’re super crunchy and savory, so they took the place of nuts well on our board.
  • Extras – Since we had just come back from Paso Robles with some amazing ingredients, we had to include them on our board, too. We enjoyed a delicious creamsicle-like pairing of mandarin orange olive oil and vanilla bean balsamic with the fresh bakery bread, and included a spice blend from LXV Winery that paired beautifully with our aged cheddar. Alex also made us a paprika-based spice blend to complement the manchego!

This was the first time we ever included spice blends on a charcuterie board, and we can highly recommend it – if you have the right spices. While in Paso, we did a unique wine tasting at LXV Winery where they paired our wines with cheese cubes dusted in custom spice blends. It was the most amazing experience! We ended up buying a blend called Savory Memoir and couldn’t resist including it on this charcuterie board.

Since every good charcuterie board is enjoyed with a glass of wine, we sipped on the Côtes-Du-Rôbles Rouge we brought home from Eberle Winery. It’s a refreshing red blend that paired perfectly with our date night spread. If there’s anything we learned from our wine tasting weekend, it’s that a good wine can make your food taste even better!

A charcuterie board with bread, dipping oils, cheddar, manchego, soppressata, prosciutto, green grapes, jam, and spices

Make It Yours

As you can tell from our Valentine’s Day charcuterie board, there’s no one right way to make the perfect spread. As long as you have a well-balanced board with all of the components we recommend, you can be as creative as you like with what each of those ingredients actually are. Leave the combinations up to your guests, or make some prepared combos like our soppressata-wrapped cheddar and burrata toasts. The choice is yours!

Building the perfect charcuterie board doesn’t have to be hard. We hope this post inspires you to make the perfect charcuterie board for your next gathering!

If you’d like to try our perfect charcuterie board, we’ve included a detailed recipe below with instructions for how to make the toasted bread with burrata. Enjoy!


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A charcuterie board with bread, dipping oils, cheddar, manchego, soppressata, prosciutto, green grapes, jam, and spices

How To Make The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Nicole
Love wine and cheese? We'll show you how to make the perfect charcuterie board so you can indulge your loved ones (or yourself) with a simple, elegant spread for date nights, holiday parties, and everything in between.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Appetizers, Snack, Snacks
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 672 kcal

Equipment

  • Cheese board or serving platter
  • Toothpicks

Ingredients
 
 

Burrata Toast

Cheeses

  • 2 ounces manchego cheese
  • 2 ounces aged cheddar cheese

Meats

  • 1 ounce prosciutto
  • 1 ounce hot soppressata

Carbs

  • ¼ loaf sperlonga bread, cubed or ciabatta
  • 3 ounces sea salt crackers

Fruit, Jams, and Nuts

  • 2 bunches green grapes
  • 2 ounces balsamic fig jam
  • 1 ounce PicaQuicos or other nuts

Extras

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil for dipping
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar for dipping
  • 1 teaspoon spice blend of your choice

Instructions
 

Burrata Toast

  • Slice the sperlonga bread in half lengthwise, then crosswise, into 4 equal-sized pieces. Place them on a baking sheet and broil on HIGH for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
  • Drain the burrata and carefully slice in half. Scoop the cheese out with a spoon and spread it evenly over the toasted bread.
  • Drizzle each burrata toast with vanilla bean balsamic and transfer to serving platter.

Charcuterie Board Assembly

  • First, prepare your ingredients. Cube the cheeses; wash and dry the grapes; pull apart the prosciutto to break strips into smaller pieces; and transfer PicaQuicos (or nuts), jam, and spices to small bowls. If serving dipping oils with bread, pour olive oil into a shallow dish, then add the balsamic vinegar.
  • Next, lay out your charcuterie board. Mix in the cheeses with the meats, grapes, crackers, and bread to create visual interest. Position the bowls of nuts, jam, dipping oils, and spices in places that will be easy for everyone to reach. You can also mix in the Burrata Toast, or serve it separately on its own platter. Place toothpicks in a toothpick holder and include somewhere on or near the board.
  • Serve with a glass of wine and good company!

Notes

Burrata toast: Choose a section of the loaf of bread that’s mostly flat on both sides so the pieces can lay flat on their backs. This will make it easier to assemble and serve the burrata toast without making a mess!
Customization: The beauty of charcuterie boards is that you can customize your spread to fit your tastes (or your guests’ tastes)! This recipe is simply an example of a charcuterie board that we enjoy and can be used as a starting point for your next charcuterie board. For suggestions on what to include in the perfect charcuterie board, read our blog post above!

Nutrition

Calories: 672kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 23gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 499mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 3gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 661IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 564mgIron: 1mg
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Keyword balsamic vinegar, burrata, cheddar cheese, grapes, manchego, olive oil, prosciutto, soppressata
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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