Photo of someone creating a Charcuterie Board

How to Make a Charcuterie Board: An Illustrated Guide

What this is: A how-to guide on how to put together a charcuterie board

Who it’s for: Meat lovers who like to entertain other meat lovers!

If you’ve come here looking for how to make a cheese board, you’re in the wrong place—but wait! Let us guide your search, because you’re really, really close, in fact you’re just one click away from our Quick Start Guide for building a cheese board. There are a lot of other great lessons about cheese boards in our Classroom, too, especially in the Board Building section. 

If you’re confused because you thought a cheese board was a charcuterie board, then we can also help you! Check out our lesson on What is and Isn’t a Charcuterie Board (TLDR: charcuterie means meat, so a charcuterie board is a meat board). If you’re looking to build a cheese and charcuterie board, then read on and learn about how to to make this charcuterie board, and then read the Quick Start Guide and put them all together to make a delicious masterpiece.

This lesson is focused on the traditional charcuterie board, which is meat-focused and thus will delight the meat lovers in your life. A charcuterie board can include any of the following items:

  • Salami
  • Thinly sliced ham, such as Prosciutto or Jamón Ibérico
  • Cured meats
  • Paté
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Marinated vegetables
  • Mustard
  • Crackers
  • Bread

GATHER THE INGREDIENTS

To make a charcuterie board, you first need to gather your ingredients. You probably want 3-5 different meats, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Plan on about 3 slices of each meat per person. If you go to your cheesemonger or deli case, you can ask for slices instead of weight.

MAKE A PLAN

Next you need to come up with a plan. We like to break up a charcuterie board into different sections to make it easy to build. Each section will have one of the ingredients in it. This illustration will show you a few sketches of how you can break up a board into sections. Keep in mind that you might want to use small bowls for things like mustard or possibly pickles.

charcuterie plans

ADD BOWLS 

Here we’ve chosen a plan on a round board that we will fill with 6 meats, along with pickles, olives, mustard and marinated artichokes. We start by putting down our bowls on our board to anchor the plate. 

Graphic display of blank charcuterie board

FEATURE THE MEAT SECTIONS

Now we fill in each section with a different meat option and we use different folds and rolls from our our 7 Ways to Style Your Charcuterie lesson.

Graphic displaying how to fill in with meat

FILL IN WITH THE PAIRINGS

Lastly we fill our remaining sections with pickles and olives making sure to drain them well if they are going directly on the board.

 
Graphic displaying how to fill in with pairings

 SUMMARY

A charcuterie board is mainly meat, and you can use the same principles as a cheese board to make it as beautiful as it is delicious!

HOMEWORK

Make your own charcuterie board! Get a selection of cured meats and use the techniques above to make a beautiful board.

BONUS: Tell five friends about the difference between a cheese board and a charcuterie board.

Downloads

Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.

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How It's Made PDF Icon
Cheese Types PDF Icon
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