Whenever you hear the term "charcuterie board," it probably sounds lavish and expensive. However, if you really think about it, it’s simply a variety of complementary bite-sized foods served on a wooden board. Not necessarily all that complicated or fancy, right? So, don’t let the pricey stereotype keep you from crafting the tasty charcuterie board you’ve been wanting to serve at your next gathering. After all, they’re easy to make on a dime.
Charcuterie boards are traditionally made up of small portions of many different fresh and savory items (like meats and cheeses). However, there are other ways to build your board - such as with desserts, kid-friendly snacks or an assortment of your own favorite treats.
Ready to build your own? Here are ten simple and affordable charcuterie board ideas that’ll look like a million bucks on your table and make your holiday gatherings even merrier.
1. Use leftovers to create a charcuterie board.
If you have a handful of olives leftover from another dinner, put them in a tiny bowl or scatter them on the board. Do the same with leftover cubes of cheese, crackers from your cabinet, and sliced fruit from the refrigerator. Then, put four pieces of crusty bread slices here, three strawberries there, and keep going until you don’t see the bottom of the serving board anymore.
2. Make your board colorful.
Charcuterie doesn't mean plain old black olives, yellow cheese, and brown meats. That's why this charcuterie board idea involves adding color with a few cherry tomatoes (red, orange, yellow, or a combination), raspberries, blueberries, and grapes.
The key to a colorful board is balance. So, don't choose too many items in the same color family. For instance, if you have a lot of red items already on your platter, opt for green grapes instead of the red variety.
3. Roll up affordable deli meats for an elegant look.
Three rolled pieces of regular ham look as elegant as three pieces of prosciutto. That means you don’t have to select the most expensive varieties of deli meat available. Instead, pick your favorites that fit within your budget and taste delicious. You can even peruse the “Hot Sale” items at the deli counter to save even more.
4. Use salad dressings and hot sauces as dips placed in tiny bowls.
From Russian and Italian dressing to ranch and Caesae, you'll satify many different tastes by serving up a variety of dips.
5. Buy small bags of nuts for a little crunch.
Let's be honest - buying nuts can get pricey. However, they do make a nice, crunchy addition to a charcuterie board. That's why we recommend buying a little snack-size bag of pistachips or macadamia nuts to give your board a gourmet appeal without having to overspend.
6. Add some pickles.
Buy the smaller jars of your favority pickles. Options like mini dills, bread-and-butter slices, and gherkins will add texture and heft to your board.
7. Look for cheese sold as "ends" at the deli counter.
Did you know that many deli counters packed cubed leftover cheese ends? These little packages of cheese are left from larger blocks and are priced to sell, making perfect inexpensive addtions to your board.
8. Make your own mini-appetizers.
Appetizers like Avocado Pesto-Stuffed Tomatoes and Hummus & Cucumber Bites are small, but pack a big punch of flavor and are fabulous options to include on your board. But, if you're looking for something a little more on the simple side, try spredaing cream cheese on crackers with slices of pepperoni on top.
9. Assemble a kid-friendly board.
If you're feeding a group of kiddos as well, give them savory treats to pick, like a variety of string cheeses, shaped crackers, apple slices, and a melted chocolate dip. For this charcuterie board idea, we recommend avoiding nuts and choosing a different snack for the crunch, like cheese puffs or animal cookies.
10. Build a dessert charcuterie board.
Treat guests to samples of everything sweet. Shop your pantry for leftover cookies, nuts, candy, and sweet chocolate. Then, add in a few mini cupcakes from the grocery store bakery. You can also include seasonal fruits likes cherries and berries. This sweet board of treats is sure to make more merry at your holiday gathering. After all, who doesn't love dessert?
There are more charcuterie board ideas where those came from! In fact, here are a few bonus tips:
- Ask for super-thin meat slices at the deli counter.
- Have at least three to five different cheeses on the board.
- If you have room to spare, arrange a couple of pretty celery leaves or parsley sprigs to take up space.
Finally, and most importantly, have fun when building your charcuterie board! Also, be sure to visit Foodlion.com for more delicious and merry appetizer ideas for the holidays.