How to Make a Show-Stopping Charcuterie Board

Everyone needs a charcuterie board in their life. Here are 3 steps for making a charcuterie board that is sure to impress!

Want to discover your wine taste profile?

Take our quick 7-question quiz to find wines that fit your taste profile and get them delivered to your door.

Free Wine Quiz Arrow

Charcuterie (pronounced shar-koo-ter-ee) is the French word for cold meats. That’s right – it sounds fancier than it is. Use these 3 steps for making a charcuterie board that’s sure to impress!

A charcuterie board is a tray of meats, cheeses, and other goodies, but it’s really more than that: It’s a centerpiece around which your guests can gather and snack, slowing things down before it’s time for dinner. 

A good charcuterie board is eye-catching. It’s colorful and festive, and it opens the door for interesting conversation.

So, how do you make a charcuterie board? It’s easier than you may think, but there are a couple of pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.

Here’s how to wow your guests with a charcuterie board that is sure to impress.


A charcuterie board generally includes a combination of meats, cheeses, fruit, nuts, and crackers or bread. There are usually several items from each category and you can pick anything you like! 

The name of the game is variety and practicality. 

Here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to choosing what makes it onto the board.

  • Do include a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. 
  • Don’t confuse your guests by including inedible components. While a charcuterie board may look like a stunning centerpiece, it is ultimately meant to be eaten. 
  • Do consider what snacks your guests will enjoy. There’s no rule that says your appetizer tray can’t include sweets like chocolate-covered pretzels.
  • Don’t be fancy just for the sake of being fancy. Traditional charcuterie boards sometimes include pâté and rillettes, but if your friends and family prefer casual bites, or if there are kids around, maybe don’t include those.
  • Do cut or fold everything down to a size that can fit on a cracker or small slice of bread.
  • Don’t include anything that can’t be easily nibbled – like a whole fig, for instance.


Pick about 3-5 items from each category, depending on the size of your board and how many people you’re serving. Remember, these are just ideas. You can include anything that gets you excited about snacking.


Include some pre-sliced meat and some meat that you slice yourself. When it comes to larger slices of meat, fold each piece, so the entire thing could fit on a cracker. 

Choose from:

  • Prosciutto
  • Sopressata
  • Salami
  • Capicola 
  • Mortadella
  • Pepperoni



You can certainly arrange slices of cheese on the board for easy snacking. If you include blocks or wedges, make sure to put out knives or spreaders so your guests won’t have to wonder how they can get all that tasty cheese onto their plates.

Choose from:

  • Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Havarti
  • Provolone
  • Brie 
  • Mozzarella 


You can think of this category as “things that go in bowls.” It’s a good idea to have a mix of savory and sweet spreads – like jam and tapenade, or honey and hummus. You might also want to include some olives of different colors.

Choose from:

  • Blackberry preserves
  • Mango habanero jam
  • Fig spread
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Pesto
  • Honey
  • Tapenade
  • Hummus
  • Green olives
  • Kalamata olives
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Small pickles


Including a variety of sliced fruit and berries can help bring pops of color onto your board. You can include a mix of fresh and dried fruit, along with different kinds of nuts.

Choose from: 

  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Apple slices
  • Dates
  • Dried apricots
  • Golden raisins
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts 


Finally, all that meat and cheese needs a vehicle to ride on. Choose an array of crackers, and consider including some gluten-free options depending on your guests’ needs. Make sure that everything is approximately the same size.

Choose from:

  • Table water crackers
  • Herb-flavored crackers
  • Square toast
  • Baguette slices
  • Pretzel thins
  • Triscuits 


You can do this a number of different ways, and feel free to get creative. The trick is to establish some kind of focal points and work around those.

You can either start with the cheese, or start with the bowls. Place those throughout the board – not to be too scientific about it, but try to make them equidistant from each other for maximum symmetry.

Then, fill in the gaps with everything else. 

You want the board to look like ordered chaos, so don’t put all the cheeses and one side and the meats on the other. Scatter the meat, fruit, and nuts around the cheese or bowls, placing different next to different. Mix up the colors and textures to make your board pop.

Finally, make sure you have the necessary utensils on the board. That means cheese spreaders stuck into the soft cheeses, and spoons or spreaders in the dips. 

Next to the board, place small plates, cocktail napkins, and wine glasses.


You’ll want to have at least two bottles of wine, depending on the number of people joining you. If you’re not sure what your guests prefer, serve a bottle of red and a bottle of white.

Go with popular varietals that most people enjoy drinking

For reds, pick a Cabernet SauvignonMerlotPinot Noir, or Syrah.

For white wines, pick a RieslingSauvignon blancPinot Grigio, or Chardonnay.

If you want to open a third bottle, you can also opt for a sparkling wine like Cava or rosé


Need some more help choosing a wine for your charcuterie board? Email us and we can help.

Arrow Previous Article
May 15, 2021
What Country Does Your Favo...
Next Article Arrow
May 17, 2021
11 Outdoor Wine Accessories...
Featured Articles
Follow Bright Cellars

Articles you might like...

Ready to learn more about wine? Dive right in.

This is a carousel. You can use the slide dots to navigate to a specific slide.

Tips + Tricks
December 01, 2023

7 Wine Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

When in doubt, gift wine. Here are some helpful ideas for gifting to the wine lovers on your list this...

Pairing Tips
October 08, 2022

Wine and Pierogi Pairings For National Pierogi Day!

Happy National Pierogi Day! This Polish dumplings can be savory or sweet. Here are 7 wine and pierogi pairings to...

Tips + Tricks
July 12, 2022

10 Ways to Get Out of a Wine Rut

Looking to rediscover your love for wine? Here are 10 fun, foolproof ways to get out of that wine rut...

Wine Spotlights
July 07, 2022

Wine Spotlight: Paper Tiger Wines

We're introducing our new wine brand, Paper Tiger wines. These varieties are rare, enticing, and, above all, worth trying.

Tips + How To
June 12, 2022

Wine Wisdom: How to Learn About Wine

Introducing Wine Wisdom — a series of bite-size, sommelier-approved lessons that allow you to learn about wine on your own...

June 01, 2022

All for Wine & Wine for All: Raising a Glass to our Differences

Happy June, fellow wine drinkers! This month, we’re celebrating with a reminder: There’s enough room at the table for all...

May 26, 2022

Wine Spotlight: Dreamlet Wines

These California wines are exploding with flavor, but we’ve also added a new bottling technique with a little bit of...

May 13, 2022

New Wine Alert: Unsinkable Wines

Bright Cellars is excited to announce the launch of a captivating new brand ready to hit boxes – Unsinkable wines.

Wine 101
May 11, 2022

From the Judge's Corner: Wine Competitions Explained

Our own Julie Albin recently judged two wine competitions in London – the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine...

Wine 101
May 02, 2022

What’s the Deal with Chilling Red Wine?

Should red wines be chilled? The short answer: yes, but don’t go tossing any red wine in your fridge. Here...

April 20, 2022

Best Cellars Spotlight: Folk & Fable Wines

Of all our Bright Cellars wines, there’s one that never fails to impress, time and time again. From its bold,...

Wine 101
April 14, 2022

7 Things to Know About Malbec Wine

You know about the ever-popular Cabernet Sauvignon, and you probably know a thing or two about Merlot. It’s time we...

Wine 101
Wine Facts
April 07, 2022

What Is a Red Blend Wine?

What is a red blend wine and why do winemakers blend wines? We're explaining the magical process that is blending...

Tips + Tricks
March 29, 2022

Spring Cleaning: Wine Bar Cart Essentials

As the weather warms, use this handy checklist of wine bar cart essentials to prepare yourself for spring sipping.

March 25, 2022

NEW! Colorfast Wine Label Spring Cleaning

In the true spirit of spring cleaning, we’re excited to unveil something we’ve been working on behind the scenes. Introducing...

Wine Inspiration
March 22, 2022

Sipping Through Spring: Wine Playlist

Imagine: You're sitting on a blanket at the park with sunshine on your face, a good read in one hand,...

Wine 101
March 16, 2022

A Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of White Wine

Not sure where to start with white wine? Here are the most common types of white wines you'll see at...

February 28, 2022

How to Be the Main Character of Your Wine Experience

Some call it main character energy. We call it good wine vibes. Everyone’s story is different – whether you’re just...

Wine 101
Wine Facts
February 09, 2022

How to Talk About Wine: Wine Terms to Know

From tannin to terroir, here's how to talk about wine and the top wine terms to know for your next...

Wine 101
January 27, 2022

What Are Wine Sulfites & Which Wines Are Low Sulfite Wines?

Sulfites get a bad rap in the wine world, but the truth is, they’re essential to the winemaking process. So,...

Wine Inspiration
January 21, 2022

37 Wine Quotes to Keep You Inspired

Wine quotes are like a good glass of wine - they can truly take your day from good to great....

Wine 101
January 21, 2022

What is Wine Sediment and How Does It Get In My Glass?

In your wine lifetime, you may have experienced wine sediment - traces of the winemaking process left in wine that...

Wine 101
January 14, 2022

Can Wine Freeze? 3 Hacks for Frozen Wine

We know hard alcohol can’t freeze, but can wine freeze? Here's the explanation you've been waiting for and a few...

Wine 101
January 12, 2022

Red Wine vs White Wine: What’s The Difference?

We're sharing the fundamental differences of red wine vs. white wine, plus how you should serve both types of wine.

Tips + How To
January 07, 2022

7 Ways to Embrace Try January, Instead of a Dry January

New Year’s resolutions don’t always have to involve giving something up. Here are 7 ways to make this month a...

Wine 101
December 31, 2021

Sparkling Wine VS Champagne: What’s the Difference?

As we ring in the New Year, it’s important to address this surprisingly common question - what is the difference...

Tips + How To
December 16, 2021

7 Wine Holiday Traditions to Start this Year

Some holiday traditions are just better with wine. Here are 7 creative ways to celebrate the season with vino, year...

Wine Inspiration
December 10, 2021

Last Minute Gifts That Will Arrive In Time

These last minute gifts are great for wine lovers and are guaranteed to arrive before the holidays. Check out these...

Wine Inspiration
December 03, 2021

25 Best Christmas Songs and Wine Pairings

From classic carols to modern hits, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the best Christmas songs and pairing them...

Tips + Tricks
Wine Inspiration
December 03, 2021

Holiday Hacks: How to Reuse Your Bright Cellars Box

Instead of tossing your box on the curb, here are a few holiday hacks and DIY wine bottle crafts to...

Pairing Tips
December 02, 2021

Top Wine Pairings for Your Holiday Dinner – No Matter What You Cele...

The holidays are all about enjoying good food! Here are the perfect holiday dinner and wine pairings – no matter...

Wine 101
November 29, 2021

Winter Wine: The Best Winter Reds

There’s nothing like cozying up next to a fire with a glass of winter wine in hand. Here are the...

Wine Inspiration
November 26, 2021

Gift Guide: Gifts for Wine Lovers

Wondering what to get someone who loves wine? From the Wine Newbie to the Cocktail Connoisseur, here are the perfect...

Wine Inspiration
November 24, 2021

7 Reasons to be Thankful for Wine

When you go around the table this Thanksgiving and share what you're thankful for, don't forget to be thankful for...

By The Numbers
November 23, 2021

Your Favorite Wine Cocktails, Ranked

There’s something special about the seasons changing. It’s the perfect time to try a new wine or get out of...

Pairing Tips
November 19, 2021

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes & Wine Pairings

You can only eat turkey so many days in a row. Here are the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes and the...

Wine Inspiration
November 19, 2021

2021 Black Friday Wine Deals

Whether you're a wine beginner or seasoned sipper, here are the best Black Friday wine deals for wine lovers alike.

Wine Inspiration
November 12, 2021

The Best Holiday Wine Gift Subscription On The Internet

We found the perfect holiday wine gift to give your loved one all the warm and fuzzies this holiday season.

Wine 101
November 12, 2021

How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Grab your corkscrew and your favorite Bright Cellars wine - we're teaching you how to open a bottle of wine...

Wine 101
November 04, 2021

How to Read a Wine Label

Deciphering wine labels can be downright confusing. Today we're teaching you how to read a wine label in four easy...

Wine Inspiration
October 29, 2021

Have You Ever Visited a Vineyard?

There are some experiences that are simply irreplaceable when it comes to wine. We asked our Bright Cellars’ community, “Have...

Tips + Tricks
Wine 101
October 29, 2021

How to Taste Wine

How to Taste Wine in 3 Easy Steps Anyone can drink wine, but tastin’ wine ain’t easy. In order...

Hosting Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 28, 2021

Don’t Forget the Wine: A Holiday Hosting Checklist

Are you hosting for the holidays? Check out our holiday hosting checklist focused on, you guessed it, wine!

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 21, 2021

How to Pair Wine With Your Fall Charcuterie Board

Get creative for your next fall get together! Here are our recommendations for pairing wine with your next fall charcuterie...

Pairing Tips
October 19, 2021

Thanksgiving Wines Based on Your Favorite Side Dish

In some situations, it’s okay to play favorites! Here’s which wine you should drink based on your favorite Thanksgiving side...

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 19, 2021

5 Apple Dessert and Wine Pairings Perfect for Fall

Move over pumpkin, it's apple's time to shine! These 5 fall apple desserts and wine pairings are perfect for celebrating...

Hosting Tips
Tips + How To
October 15, 2021

How to Throw a Hallowine Party

If you think Halloween is just for kids, think again. Here are 5 foolproof ways to take your celebration from...

Wine Cocktails
Wine Inspiration
October 15, 2021

How to Make Mulled Wine (And Other Fall Cocktails)

There’s just something special about a homemade fall wine cocktail. Here's how to make mulled wine (and other fall cocktails!)

Pairing Tips
Wine Inspiration
October 14, 2021

Pairing Wine With Halloween Candy: The Ultimate Guide

Sometimes you have to treat yourself! These 12 Halloween candy and wine pairings are perfect for ending spooky season and...

Pairing Tips
October 11, 2021

9 Wines for Pumpkin Spice Lovers

Some call it fall, others call is pumpkin spice season! Here are 9 wines perfect for pumpkin spice lovers for...