11 Charcuterie Board Ideas for Every Holiday and Occasion

Saffron Marigold - Updated: February 11, 2023

Charcuterie boards have taken the lifestyle world by storm, from savory classics to dessert-filled platters. Traditionally, charcuterie boards are served as appetizers or sides, but you can whip up a charcuterie board as your meal, too.

Take a look at these 11 charcuterie board ideas for your next celebration. We also suggest linens to go with your theme and other tips to making the best charcuterie platter for your gathering.

What should be on a charcuterie board?

The contents of your platter depends on the occasion and your theme, but there are staples you’ll want to include:

  • Cured meats or meat alternatives
  • Cheeses either pre-cut or served with slicers and knives
  • Fruits, vegetables, and nuts
  • Crackers or mini bread slices
  • Jams, dips, and preserves
  • Olives and sundried tomatoes
  • Decorative garnishes

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1. Christmas charcuterie board

When it comes to Christmas food, savory dishes like ham, pot roast, and casseroles are classics. But, you can get creative with your holiday dessert plate. The photo below may be more concerned with aesthetics than practicality, but you can’t argue that this dessert tray looks absolutely divine!

Broken holiday biscuits, colorful cut fruit, candy canes, and chocolates are aplenty in this holiday charcuterie tray.

Example of Christmas charcuterie board filled with cookies, pomegranates, chocolates, and other small ingredients
Christmas Dessert Charcuterie

Pair with these table linens…

Shop Fete Royale

2. Thanksgiving charcuterie board

Nothing says feast more than a table-long “charcuterie board” filled with cured meats, slices of fresh fruit, creamy hummus dips, and other delectable bites. If you stress out about cooking the perfect turkey or mashed potato for Thanksgiving, try a charcuterie all-you-can-eat this year, instead!

Kids will love being able to pick out nibbles and bite-sized pieces. Just make sure you’ve got enough seats elsewhere for folks to enjoy their food.

Photograph of a Thanksgiving charcuterie arrangement directly on a wooden table
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Feast

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Shop Orange Blossom

3. Brunch date charcuterie board

Like charcuterie board platters, brunch food is easy to eat. If you want to go the savory route, make single-portion, open-face sandwiches for your brunch charcuterie board like in the example below. Mix it up by creating several versions of a sandwich or preparing a DIY pancake/waffle charcuterie board.

Offer desserts in bowls—fresh fruit, nuts, and bread rolls.

Photograph of a woman holding a brunch charcuterie board filled with open-face sandwiches.
Brunch Charcuterie Board

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Shop Enchanted

4. Italian charcuterie board for any occasion

Three things that absolutely have to be on an Italian-inspired charcuterie platter: cured meats, olives, and mozzarella. From there, you can built out your menu with fruits like grapes and sun-dried tomatoes, along with other cheese varieties and crackers.

Elevate your Italian charcuterie board theme with sides like seafood salad, smoked salmon bites, and artichokes in oil.

Photograph of a charcuterie board filled with cured meats, cheeses, fruits, olives, and crackers on a linen table cloth
Italian Charcuterie Board

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Shop Ivy lace

5. Bbq charcuterie board

PSA: charcuterie boards don’t have to be shared! If you want to serve meals directly to your guests, offer them their own trays, instead.

Plate the barbecue skewers and sides onto your wooden board. Have extra helpings at the table for seconds.

Photograph of barbecue and vegetable skewers, french fries, salad, and pickles on a wooden board
Barbecue Charcuterie Board

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Shop Starry Nights

6. Birthday dinner charcuterie board

This easy, but elegant arrangement is perfect for birthday dinner appetizers. Swap out the pomegranates with something more user-friendly like sliced apples or cucumbers, and it’s good to go!

Offer drinks that complement these flavors such as red wine or pear cider, especially if you’re using cheddar cheese in your board.

Photograph of a charcuterie board with pomegranates, grapes, bread, and cheese on a black marble table
Birthday Dinner Charcuterie Board

Pair with these table linens…

Shop Midnight Lotus

7. Charcuterie platter for weddings

Rustic weddings are the perfect occasion for charcuterie platters, but it can be tricky to make it look sophisticated enough otherwise. If you’re hiring a caterer for the main courses, how about an afternoon tea “charcuterie” tray for after?

Serve with the wedding cake and other desserts for a unique wedding experience!

Photograph of tea ingredients in ramekins and a teapot set on a wooden serving tray
Wedding Charcuterie Board

Pair with these table linens…

Shop Vanilla Glace

8. Charcuterie tray for New Year’s Eve

With a handful of carefully-cut cheeses and a minute or two spent rearranging them into the new year numerals, you’ve got a festive charcuterie tray for New Year’s Eve! Don’t forget glittering gold accessories and decor to make your NYE platter shine.

Photograph of a new year's themed charcuterie plate with cheese slices spelling out "2022"
New Year’s Eve Charcuterie Board

Pair with these table linens…

Shop Versailles

9. Halloween charcuterie board

Making a Halloween charcuterie plate can be as easy as arranging your spooky sweets onto your serving tray. Accessorize with edible sugar-spun cobwebs and themed icing decor to get into the Halloween spirit. When trying out a Halloween charcuterie board idea, your accessories and decor will really amp up your theme.

Photograph of a wooden serving tray with Halloween-themed cupcakes
Halloween Charcuterie Board

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Shop Spice Route

10. Summer party cheeseboard

A summer party platter should be sweet and bright. Celebrate summer with seasonal fruits like figs, plums, and pears. Gouda, brie, and goat cheese pair well with these fruits. Buff up your board with apples, nuts, and crackers.

Don’t forget green garnishes to make your platter look instantly more appetizing (and aesthetically pleasing)!

Photograph of a fruit-filled platter with decorative leaves and flower springs
Summer Party Charcuterie Board

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Shop Indian Summer

11. Floral-themed baby shower charcuterie board

A floral-theme baby shower charcuterie platter will look amazing with botanical linens. Edible flowers that are easy to get your hands on include pansies, marigolds, calendulas, and daylilies.

Besides edible blooms, use star-shaped fruit cutters to weave the floral theme throughout your charcuterie board.

Photograph of a floral-theme charcuterie board with finger foods like cut eggs, apples, biscuits, and fruit.
Baby Shower Charcuterie Board

Pair with these table linens…

Shop Tropical Garden

What charcuterie board accessories do I need?

Here is a comprehensive list of what charcuterie board accessories you might need.

  • Serving board(s)
  • Cocktail plates
  • Napkins
  • Handheld cheese slicers for semi-hard and hard cheeses
  • Cheese knives
  • Cheese spreaders for soft cheeses
  • Serving tongs for finger foods
  • Serving spoons for dips and other saucy ingredients
  • Ramekins of different sizes
  • Toothpicks and toothpick holders
  • Cheese or ingredient markers
  • Board oil
  • Edible accessories for decorating (and eating!)

What’s the best cheese for charcuterie trays?

Some cheese varieties are better suited for charcuterie platters than others.

  • Sharp cheddar (hard)
  • Gouda (semi-hard)
  • Havarti (semi-soft)
  • Goat cheese (soft)
  • Triple cream brie (soft)
  • Gorgonzola (soft)
  • Gruyère (soft)

What are 5 tips to making a charcuterie board?

Keep these in mind when planning your next party!

  1. Pre-cut or prepare extra ingredients to refill your platter.
  2. Follow a guide or reference to get started.
  3. Don’t use overly juicy ingredients, strong-flavored fruits, or soft fruits.
  4. Arrange your small bowls on the tray first.
  5. Choose colorful ingredients for visual appeal.

We hope you’ve bookmarked an idea or two for your next charcuterie tray. Read on to learn more about how to dress a dining table with linens, centerpieces, and flatware.

How to Dress a Dining Table