Creating a charcuterie board takes little effort when you follow my step by step plan. This board (all the ingredients are from Aldi!) uses multiple meats, cheeses, and extras to guarantee that everyone in the family has their favorite on the board!
What is on a charcuterie board?
Charcuterie literally means "cold cooked meats collectively". So, a charcuterie board usually has a collection of cold cooked meats. And then, the yummy stuff that goes with those meats. Usually cheeses, olives, and other veggies.
How do you make a charcuterie board?
Although a charcuterie board LOOKS intimidating, if you break it down into simple steps you will be able to create your own board very easily.
ONE. Add small bowls or dishes to your board first. These will be used for dips or small edibles. I'm all about symmetrical placement but random works just fine.
TWO. Add the cheeses and meats. It is completely up to you how many of each you choose. A good idea is at least 2 kinds of meats and 2 kinds of cheese. Don't overthink the placement. You literally can't screw up a charcuterie board.
THREE. Add the "holders". These are crackers, breads, and pretzels or any item that will act as a "holder" for the meat, cheese, and extras. I like to place these along the edges so that they help keep my berries, nuts, and other small bits on the board and not roll of.
FOUR. Add "extras". This is the fun part! Include fruits, veggies, nuts, olives, or anything you like. And this, my friends, is why you can't really screw up. Piles of food in any random place somehow looks yummy.
FIVE. Add "finishing". For "fanciness" tuck in fresh flowers, herbs, and specialty produce to give your board a gourmet, specialty feel. Skip this part, if you like, especially for casual boards. I could have added a bit of fresh herb on top of that pimento cheese. Oops.
For real, skip the finishing part if you are serving for your family or for game day. It'll be gone so fast that you'll regret spending that extra time and money. Buy yourself a bottle of wine, instead.
Ideas for the BOARD part of a Charcuterie Board
Let's face it, just the thought of spending the cash on the board for a charcuterie board can put you in a panic. And you haven't even gathered the tasty bits, yet! No worries, I have some budget-friendly ideas for your board...
- A large wooden cutting board. Head to your thrift store, antique store, or in your pantry and pull out that large wood cutting board. It works great!
- Cookie or baking sheet. You can line your cookie sheet with parchment or pretty paper...it will look great! Besides, you will be filling every inch of it and nobody will care!
- A large flat basket. Your local thrift store is a great place to look for a large flat basket that you can line with cardboard and parchment paper.
- Wood. Yep, a large piece of wood from your local home improvement store or lumber yard will work great! You might want to line it with parchment paper.
- Marble tile. Head to the flooring section of your local home improvement store and look for the large sized marble tiles. Usually you can get one for under $5. They work great!
Ideas for food items for your charcuterie boards:
- various cheeses
- cured meats
- dried fruits
- pickled veggies
- small candies
- cut veggies
- dips & spreadables
Tips for keeping your charcuterie board budget-friendly:
- Shop for off-brand ingredients. They are out of the package, anyways.
- Shop around the sale items
- Use budget-friendly meats like salami, pepperoni, and deli meats.
- Check for cheese ends (many delis small leftover ends of cheese they have at reduced rates).
- Raid the salad bar at the grocery store. Salad bars can be a great place to get a huge assortment of odds and ends.
- Buy the assorted boxes of crackers and such. Charcuterie boards are about variety. Buy only 1 box of variety crackers instead of 4 boxes.
- Use inexpensive items as "fillers". Items like pretzels, crackers, apples, and olives are often inexpensive and take up quite a bit space.
- Raid your fridge and pantry for those little bits of boxes and items. In fact, a charcuterie board is a great idea to have with the full purpose of using groceries up. You are just making it look cute so your family doesn't catch on.