Christmas Charcuterie Board

Serve the most beautiful Christmas Charcuterie Board at your gatherings this holiday season! Filled with cheeses, crackers, fruit and holiday surprises, here’s how to make a gorgeous board, step by step.

Whole mandarin oranges and orange slices sit along cheeses and crackers as well as a gold cheese fork and knife set

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Christmas Charcuterie Board recipe

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult.

I’ve been there though. You want to impress your friends and family but on top of all the things at the holidays (presents, decorating, cooking, etc. etc. etc.!) it gets so stressful.

That’s why I am all about the EASY holiday ideas when it comes to Christmas entertaining. It needs to be so much fun or it’s not worth it!

One of the easiest things you can do for a holiday party is put together a big snack board filled with cheeses, meats, fruits, veggies and sweets for guests to nosh on. You don’t really have to have to offer other appetizers, but you can if you’d like.

I know these boards can look super daunting, but they don’t have to be! This post is packed with charcuterie board ideas for Christmas party inspiration. I’ll walk you through what kinds of cheese to buy, what else to add and how to build the board like a pro.

Why you’ll love this charcuterie board

A Christmas Charcuterie Board is a great way to impress guests right from the get-go.

  • A charcuterie board is a no-bake, no-cook appetizer. Pick up what you need at the grocery store and pop it on a board.
  • They are easy to plate — I’ll show you exactly how to do it perfectly.
  • You can customize yours with your favorite cheeses, spreads, toppings and breads.

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, make the holiday board in a red-and-green color scheme, or you can customize this Christmas-themed board for the other winter holidays. Use more fall fruits for Thanksgiving or add some more color for New Year’s Eve.

If you’re planning any kind of Christmas parties, try putting one of these easy boards together! Let’s get started.

A completed Christmas Charcuterie Board has gold serving utensils amongst its ingredients.

What is a charcuterie board?

A charcuterie board is a platter of charcuterie meat (prosciutto, salami, etc.), a selection of cheeses, fruits, vegetables, spreads, crackers and sometimes even chocolate.

Technically, it has to have thinly-sliced meats on it to call it a charcuterie board. Otherwise it’s just a cheese board!

If you want to get into making some really spectacular grazing boards, my real-life friend Chrissie from the blog Off the Eaten Path authored a book called Stunning Spreads that is full of wonderful ideas.

She actually let me borrow the board I used in these photos because she is the queen of all things appetizers and I didn’t have a round board. (I have one on my Christmas wish list though!)

Tools & Equipment

First and foremost, you need something to put the cheese on! A large tray, platter or board will work well.

I used a 12-inch round wooden board, but you can use any shape — the principles are the same!

For some extra holiday cheer, you could use a board with a Christmas tree-shape or with reindeer antlers.

You’ll also want to pick up a cheese knife set and add a few spreaders and spoons to the mix. A pair or two of small tongs and a jar of toothpicks or skewers can be a big help for picking up the finger foods.

A closeup of the meats, cheeses, fruits and crackers on a holiday charcuterie board garnished with festive rosemary sprigs

Ingredients

Now for the fun part: cheese, charcuterie and accoutrements! I love making little cheese boards for picnics but when you are at home they can be so much bigger and grander!

That is what I love about making this holiday appetizer my own — it can be as big and elaborate as you like, or you can scale it back.

Here are some ideas of what to pick up at the grocery store for your Christmas cheese board:

Cheeses

You’ll want to pick up three to five cheeses for your charcuterie plate. But what kind?!

There’s a joke about cheese plates based on the well known wedding rhyme:

Something old, something new, something goat, something blue.

These refer to the variety of cheeses recommended for a cheese board, but the saying is just a guideline. Pick out a mixture of textures (hard vs. soft cheeses) and flavors (mild vs. sharp/strong).

Another great way to break it down is by texture: soft, hard or semisoft, crumbly and marinated or flavored.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Aged cheeses: Cheddar, Gruyere, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gouda are all harder cheeses with a strong flavor. Cheddar is a great one especially because it is familiar to most people.
  • Bloomy cheeses: Brie and Camembert are are both aged cheeses as well, but they are much softer with an edible and flavorful rind. They are creamy and buttery.
  • New cheeses: Fresh cheeses like burrata, mozzarella, ricotta, feta and marscarpone are all considered “new” cheeses because they haven’t aged quite as long. You could spring for marinated feta or mozzarella here to bring in more flavor.
  • Goat cheese: Chevre is a fresh goat cheese that is commonly served in logs, but goat’s milk can be used to make other kinds of cheese.
  • Blue cheese: Blue cheese isn’t everyone’s favorite, so it’s okay to get a smaller one here. They range from mild to strong. Consider Morbier, Huntsman or Stilton.
  • Fruit cheese: I also usually like to add a fruity cheese to my boards for a sweet option, whether it’s a goat cheese log encrusted in blueberries or cranberries, a stilton with apricots or even a cranberry cheese ball.

In the cheese board you see here, I used a spicy cheddar cheese with peppers, cave-aged blue cheese, a soft Brie cheese, a wedge of Manchego and a cranberry-crusted goat cheese log. (I purchased all of these at Trader Joe’s.)

A gold cheese knife rests in a wheel of cheese with other cheese, meats, crackers and fruits.

Charcuterie (meats)

For the meats on the plate, you’ll want to grab some different types of charcuterie meats. There are three types:

  • forcemeats: spreadable mixtures of meat and offal (organ meats) like rillettes, pâtés and terrines
  • sausages: ground meats that are stuffed into casings and either cooked or dry-aged
  • salumi (salted meats): sliced cured meats such as prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, and soppressata, Spanish chorizo

You could also add some other meat accoutrement to the board, such as smoked salmon or crispy prosciutto. You can also choose meaty bites with flavor, like bacon wrapped dates, candied bacon or even a meat and cheese spread like bacon pimento cheese.

Fruits & veggies

A variety of fruits and vegetables around the cheeses makes for a nice mix of flavors and textures. They are great for noshing or for adding to the perfect sweet-and-salty bite of cheese on a cracker. Here are a few Christmas themed ideas:

A closeup of sugared cranberries, soft cheeses and rosemary sprigs as part of a holiday charcuterie board

Spreads

One or two little bowls of a sweet spread is always a nice addition to a cheese board.

Try a fruity spread like fig jam or raspberry preserves, even cranberry sauce. Honey and maple syrup are also delicious sweet options.

Mustard is also common and is a great addition.

Bread and crackers

With all the goodness on the plate, you’ll need some edible vessels to eat them with! Baguette slices are great for a soft option, but you’ll want some crunchy crackers too.

A box with a variety of textures and shapes usually works well. Gluten-free crackers are a good idea to include.

You can also add some other crunchy options like pretzels, cheese straws or pita chips.

Accoutrements

Lastly, you’ll want to fill out the board with some smaller items to fill in any space. Here are a few ideas that are fit for the holidays:

  • gelt (chocolate coins)
  • peppermint bark
  • dark chocolate
  • pistachios
  • pecans
  • walnuts
  • rosemary sprigs
A gold serving spoon rests in a bowl of dipping sauce as part of a winter charcuterie board.

How much cheese for a cheese board

Somewhere between three to five types of cheese is the magic number, but it depends on your board’s size and how many people will be partaking.

Odd numbers tend to look best in design, so three or five cheeses is usually the magic number. But if you want to do two or four, go for it. Don’t let the numbers limit you!

Plan on about 4 ounces of meat & cheese per person. For kids, plan on 2 ounces per person.

For a 12-inch board, you could easily fit three cheeses and lots more toppings. Four will be more crowded but five is still possible. (In the pictures here, I did five.)

For a bigger party and a smaller board, stash some extra cheese in the fridge to bring out when the supply dwindles.

If you need to make a vegetarian board without meats, you may wish to have a few more types of cheese available.

How to make a Christmas Charcuterie Board

Let’s walk through how to make a nice, full-looking charcuterie board like a pro.

A variety of cheeses sit on a round wooden cutting board on a white marble surface.

First, add the cheeses to your board. You can remove them later if they need to go back in the fridge, but for now we need to know how much space they will take up.

Go ahead and slice a few pieces off to show people how to cut them. (Murray’s Cheese has a great guide to cutting cheese into different shapes for different cheeses.) Crumbly cheeses like blue cheese can be crumbled in place.

Cheeses and dips are placed around a round wooden board.

Next add any other large items you might have, such as small bowls of fresh fruit, pâté, mustard, jam or honey. Make sure everything is spaced around the board evenly.

A round wooden board contains elements like cheeses and fruits with several jars of spreads and dips.

In the next step, add any large fruits as well as an array of charcuterie. Fold or roll the pieces of prosciutto and salami in between cheeses.

Keep like meats together simply for the ease of explaining what’s on the platter.

Overhead view of a festive holiday charcuterie board

Then, add some garnishes like fresh rosemary, leaving room for the bread and crackers. These should be added last so they stay crisp and don’t taste stale.

A holiday charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, fruits, crackers and spreads garnished with rosemary sprigs on a white marble surface.

When you’re ready to serve, fill it out with crackers and bread. Fill in any little gaps or empty spaces with nuts, dried fruit and more crackers.

Then add your cheese knives and spoons for serving! It’s ready to be enjoyed.

Holiday Charcuterie Board ideas

Make this a very festive Christmas charcuterie board for holiday parties with a few simple tips:

  • Use a tree-shaped cutting board for an instantly festive upgrade.
  • Add lots of items in Christmas colors, such as white cheeses, green olives or red and green grapes or apple slices to pair with the reddish meat products.
  • For a festive touch, add foods that are in season, such as cranberries, pomegranates and sprigs of rosemary.
  • Add some holiday sweets like chocolate gold coins, peppermint bark or truffles.
Cheeses and meats are arranged decoratively on a round wooden plate with spreads and fruits among them

Tips & Tricks

Choose a variety of cheeses. You’ll want a mixture of textures (soft, hard, crumbly) and flavor (mild, sharp, sweet). Same goes for fruits, crackers, nuts and other additions — make sure to have a variety of soft, crispy, chewy and crunchy items.

Arrange the cheeses on the board in spectrum ranging from mild to strong. Keep any stinky cheeses away from the milder ones.

For a Christmas cheese platter, choose a mixture of red, white and green items.

Cheese should be served at room temperature. You can make the board ahead of time, but pull it out 30-60 minutes before serving. Cover with a barely damp towel to keep it from drying out.

More holiday appetizers

Overhead view of a Christmas Charcuterie Board resting on a white marble surface

Christmas Charcuterie Board

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Liven up the holiday party with a Christmas Charcuterie Board. Red and green items plus seasonal treats make this stand out!
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces brie cheese
  • 6 ounces manchego cheese
  • 4 ounces blue cheese
  • 8 ounces cranberry goat cheese
  • 4 satsuma oranges
  • 1 cup sugared cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fig jam
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 honey crisp apple sliced
  • 1 pomegranate sliced
  • 12 ounces assorted charcuterie such as salami, coppa, prosciutto and/or sopressata
  • 20 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 12 ounces crackers

instructions

  • Add the cheeses to a 12-inch board in a circle. (You can remove them later if they need to go back in the fridge, but for now we need to know approximately how much space they will take up.)
  • Go ahead and slice a few pieces off to show people how to cut them. Crumbly cheeses like blue cheese can be crumbled in place.
  • Next add any larger items, such as bowls of fruit, pâté, mustard, jam or honey. Make sure everything is spaced around the board evenly.
  • In the next step, add any large fruits as well as an array of charcuterie. Fold or roll the pieces of prosciutto and salami in between cheeses. Keep like meats together for ease of explaining what’s on the platter.
  • Add some garnishes like rosemary, leaving room for the bread and crackers. Theses should be added last so they stay crisp and don’t taste stale.
  • When you’re ready to serve, fill it out with crackers and bread. Fill in any little gaps with nuts and berries (fresh or dried). Then add your cheese knives and spoons for serving.

notes

Plan on about 4 ounces of meat/cheese per person and 2 ounces for kids.
Choose a variety of cheeses. The ones I mentioned above are just suggestions. You’ll want a mixture of textures (soft, hard, crumbly) and flavor (mild, sharp, sweet). Same goes for fruits, crackers, nuts and other additions — make sure to have a variety of soft, crispy, chewy and crunchy items.
Odd numbers tend to look best in design, so three or five cheeses is usually the magic number. But if you want to do two or four, go for it. Don’t let the numbers limit you!
Arrange the cheeses on the board in spectrum ranging from mild to strong. Keep any stinky cheeses away from the milder ones.
Cheese should be served at room temperature. You can make the board ahead of time, but pull it out 30-60 minutes before serving. Cover with a barely damp towel to keep it from drying out.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

nutrition information

Yield: 16 servings

amount per serving:

Serving: 3ounces Calories: 470kcal Carbohydrates: 30g Protein: 18g Fat: 31g Saturated Fat: 15g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Monounsaturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0.3g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 710mg Potassium: 245mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 15g Vitamin A: 580IU Vitamin C: 21mg Calcium: 348mg Iron: 2mg
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