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Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Our Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board is a display of cheese, meats, nuts, holiday crackers and bread, fall fruit, and sweet and salty treats. An easy yet impressive appetizer that is perfect for holiday gatherings.
Servings: 8 people but will vary
Total Time: 20 minutes
charcuterie board assembled on wood board served with glasses of wine

A fall-themed Thanksgiving charcuterie board is a perfect appetizer for holiday get-togethers. They are festive and beautiful to look at but also loaded with bite-size foods like cured meats, a variety of cheese, crackers, nuts, fruit, and sweet and salty elements. Charcuterie boards are a flexible appetizer spread that can be made for 2 or 20 people. Many grocery stores are now selling variety packs of cheese and cured meats which make building a board easier and more cost-friendly.

charcuterie board assembled on wood board served with glasses of wine

What Should Be on a Charcuterie Board


Charcuterie boards are great for entertaining at home or even as an easy meal for two. It can be as simple or creative as you want it to be. For our Thanksgiving charcuterie board, we included items like maple biscotti, pumpkin butter and seeds, and cranberry-flavored crackers and bread as well as classic charcuterie board items. Here is our list of some must-haves:

  • Cheeses: There should be a variety of soft, firm, and hard cheeses.
    • Hard Cheeses such as Asiago, Parmigiano, and Pecorino have a strong, concentrated flavor that is dry and salty. They are the perfect balance for fatty cuts of meat.
    • Firm Cheeses such as Cheddar, Gruyère, and Manchego are firm but with a slightly springy texture. These cheeses are still a little funky and are perfect with meats like salty prosciutto.
    • Soft Cheeses such as Brie, Chevre (from goat’s milk), and Camembert are spreadable and are great with jam or honey. These are perfect spread on a slice of french banquette with spicy salami.
  • Meats: There is a wide selection of meats such as prosciutto, salami, ham, capicola, and smoked sausages, as well as pâté that you can include on your board so choose a couple of your favorites and maybe a new one.
  • Bread and Crackers: Choose a variety of crackers, some slices of baguette, and even cookies. Vary the texture and flavor of the crackers but also include one that is neutral like a water cracker. For our Thanksgiving spread we included cranberry pistachio crisps, some slices of toasted cranberry walnut bread, and maple biscotti.
  • Other Items: To give a variety of tastes and textures and to balance the saltiness of the meats and cheeses include some sweet elements like chocolate-covered pretzels. Your board should also include dried and/or fresh fruit, salty items like olives, nuts, veggies, and spreads such as fig or pumpkin which are perfect for a fall charcuterie board.
charcuterie board assembled on wood board served with glasses of wine

How to Assemble


Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.

Pro-tip: Include new items on your board as well as some familiar items so everyone has a bite they can enjoy and explore.

1. Choose the Board and Utensils: The size of the board will depend on the crowd you are serving. We recommend a wood or marble board but you can also use a cutting board, sheet tray, or large serving platter. It is not necessary to have official cheese knives but you will need a couple of small knives for slicing cheese, spoons for spreads and jams, and forks or toothpicks for items like olives and pickles.

2. Place the Jars and Containers: We place the jars and containers first since they will take up the most space and can be easily shifted as you start to add other items.

charcuterie board being assembled on wood board

3. Place the Cheese: We place the brie wheel first as an anchor for the rest of our cheese and meats. We like to work with odd numbers and spread them out on the board. For firm cheeses like cheddar and manchego, we either slice or cube them, and leave soft cheeses whole like logs of goat cheese. We topped the goat cheese with homemade orange cranberry sauce. The brie was topped with pumpkin butter and toasted pumpkin seeds.

4. Place the Meats: Fold or roll the meats such as salami, ham, and capicola and lay them next to the cheese they pair with best. For thinner cuts of meat such as prosciutto lay it down in ribbons.

charcuterie board being assembled with cheese and meat on wood board

5. Place the Sweet and Savory Items: Fill in spaces around the cheese and meat items with nuts, dried and fresh fruit, and chocolate. Place items like olives in bowls. We switched some bowls and moved the brie based on how the items started to lay together.

6. Place the Crackers and Bread: Stack crackers and bread along the edges and within the board to fill in the space. Place some on a separate plate near the board since this is the go-to vehicle for layering cheese with meats.

charcuterie board being assembled on wood board

Tips and Notes


  • Get the correct serving size. For charcuterie boards that are being served as appetizers plan on about 3 to 4 ounces total for the meat and cheese per person. For boards that are served as a main course, increase the quantities of cheese and meat to a total of 6 to 8 ounces per person.
  • Make it colorful and playful. Add colorful fruits and jams along with creative crackers, bread, and olives. One of our favorite briny additions is blue cheese-stuffed olives.
  • It’s okay to move items. We always have a plan for where items will go but we switch the placement of bowls or other items as we build the board.
  • Don’t forget the wine. Cheese and wine is a natural pairing but you can also serve a sparkling flavored seltzer, holiday cocktail, or even a craft beer.
charcuterie board being assembled on wood board

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Other Recipes to Try


If you want to include some creative items on your board try some of these:

charcuterie board assembled on wood board served with glasses of wine

Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Our Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board is a display of cheese, meats, nuts, holiday crackers and bread, fall fruit, and sweet and salty treats. An easy yet impressive appetizer that is perfect for holiday gatherings.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people but will vary

Equipment

  • 1 Charcuterie Board

Ingredients  

Cheese

  • Hard Cheeses – Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano
  • Firm Cheeses – Cheddar, Gruyère, Swiss, Manchego
  • Soft Cheeses – Brie, Goat, Camembert

Meats

  • prosciutto, salami, ham, calabrese, capicola, and smoked sausages, pâté

Savory Items

  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, candied pecans, pistachios, cashews
  • Briny, Marinated, and Pickled – olives, pickles, pepperoncini, olive tapenade
  • Dips and Spreads – hummus, mustard, spinach-artichoke

Sweet Items

  • Fruitdried cranberries, dried apricots, sliced apples, grapes, sliced pears, figs
  • Dips and Spreads – fig butter or jam, pumpkin butter, cranberry jam
  • Other Sweet Treatschocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered almonds, dark chocolate pieces, orange slices dipped in dark chocolate, gingerbread cookies, maple cookies

Crackers and Bread

  • water crackers, cranberry pistachio crisps, cranberry walnut bread, maple biscotti, crostini, artesian crackers, pumpkin bread

Instructions 

  • Choose the Board and Utensils: The size of the board will depend on the crowd you are serving. We recommend a wood or marble board but you can also use a cutting board, sheet tray, or large serving platter. It is not necessary to have official cheese knives but you will need a couple of small knives for slicing cheese, spoons for spreads and jams, and forks or toothpicks for items like olives and pickles.
  • Place the Jars and Containers: We place the jars and containers first since they will take up the most space and can be easily shifted as you start to add other items.
  • Place the Cheese: We place the brie wheel first as an anchor for the rest of our cheese and meats. We like to work with odd numbers and spread them out on the board. For firm cheeses like cheddar and manchego, we either slice or cube them, and leave soft cheeses whole like logs of goat cheese. We topped the goat cheese with homemade orange cranberry sauce and the brie was topped with pumpkin butter and toasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Place the Meats: Fold or roll the meats such as salami, ham, and capicola and lay them next to the cheese they pair with best. For thinner cuts of meat such as prosciutto lay it down in ribbons.
  • Place the Sweet and Savory Items: Fill in spaces around the cheese and meat items with nuts, dried and fresh fruit, and chocolate. Place items like olives in bowls. We switched some bowls and moved the brie based on how the items started to lay together.
  • Place the Crackers and Bread: Stack crackers and bread along the edges and within the board to fill in the space. Place some on a separate plate near the board since this is the go-to vehicle for layering cheese with meats.

Notes

1. Get the correct serving size. For charcuterie boards that are being served as appetizers plan on about 3 to 4 ounces total for the meat and cheese per person. For charcuterie boards that are served as a main course, increase the quantities of cheese and meat to a total of 6 to 8 ounces per person.
2. Make it colorful and playful. Add colorful fruits and jams along with creative crackers, bread, and olives. One of our favorite briny additions is blue cheese-stuffed olives.
3. It’s okay to move items. We always have a plan for where items will go but we switch the placement of bowls or other items as we build the board.
4. Don’t forget the wine. Cheese and wine is a natural pairing but you can also serve a sparkling flavored seltzer, holiday cocktail, or even a craft beer.
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