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How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Board for Christmas

Start planning your holiday parties with this guide on creating the perfect holiday charcuterie board. Unleash your inner food artist and craft a festive charcuterie board that is a great addition to your Christmas party and steals the spotlight as the centerpiece of your family gatherings. 

A round charcuterie platter of meats, cheeses and pickles with crackers on the side.
Photo credit: Envato Elements.

Forget chips and dip; a gorgeous charcuterie board is the better way to indulge in finger foods during the holiday season. 

Hang a winter wreath on your front door, and get ready to impress your guests with a holiday charcuterie board that turns every bite into a festive celebration!

Best Holiday Charcuterie Board Ideas

Charcuterie boards can be super fun to make because you can create a whole new masterpiece from your favorite ingredients with every board. And the best part is, you can create one for any theme – you can make a beach-themed charcuterie board for summer, a red, white, and blue one for 4th of July, a bunny-themed board for Easter holiday, and even a gorgeous wedding charcuterie board depending on your theme or motif.

Wondering what to add to your snack board? Start with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Pair soft cheeses with hard cheeses, mix in various cured meats, and sprinkle some fresh fruit for that burst of flavor. 

Don’t leave empty spaces; instead, fill them with a variety of crackers that complement the assortment of flavors. Embrace the fun way of assembling a charcuterie board, playing with a variety of colors and seasonal produce to make your creation a masterpiece.

The good thing is that combining your favorite things for a grazing board isn’t reserved for experts—it’s perfect for first-timers, too!

Hosting a stress-free holiday party is possible, and a charcuterie board can help.

People's hands serving from a table with cheese, cold cuts, fruits, crackers and wine.
Photo credit: Envato Elements.

Cheeses

A traditional charcuterie board always features cheese, so we want to mimic that in our holiday cheese board. Select four to five cheeses, depending on how many guests you have, and set them in the center.

Mix it up with different textures and flavors to create a noteworthy cheese platter. Opt for a mix of harder cheeses and soft cheeses.

For a foolproof start, cover the basics that everyone adores:

  • Aged cheese: Any type of cheddar cheese for that timeless classic flavor.
  • Alpine cheese: Gruyere, Comte, or Gouda, offering a delightful nutty profile.
  • Soft cheese: Indulge in the velvety textures of Brie, goat cheese, or mozzarella.
  • Strongly flavored cheese: Add the bold and distinct taste of blue cheese.

Ensure your cheese board is well-equipped with cheese knives for easy serving, and let the array of flavors, from the sharpness of cheddar to the spiciness of pepper jack cheese, make your holiday cheese board a true crowd-pleaser.

Avoid overwhelm if this is your first time making a charcuterie board. Start with the basics, then work your way into the rare and unique types of cheese.

Making a plan and staying organized during the holidays is a big help to minimize stress. We can’t be perfect, but we can continually improve. Do your best to keep perspective on the joy of being with family, and don’t worry too much about the details if they fall out of your reach.

Meats and Cold Cuts

When crafting the perfect charcuterie board for your holiday gatherings, the star of the show is undoubtedly the variety of meats. Your festive board can feature an array of cold cuts, from the classics like beef, turkey, ham, and chicken to the more adventurous addition of salmon. 

The best thing about incorporating meats into your board is that it’s a great option for serving a variety that suits everyone’s taste.

Arrange the slices in a way that makes it easy for your guests to grab and serve themselves. Whether you roll, fold, or stack them neatly, the goal is accessibility. 

For a visually appealing touch, consider creating a fun flower design with the meat slices—it adds a festive flair to your board.

Similar to the cheeses, you should start with the basic meats, like pepperoni and prosciutto, for example. These favorite meats offer a burst of flavor and complement holiday boards’ colors and themes. 

Customize your selection based on what’s available at your local grocery store or deli, ensuring your holiday charcuterie board is tailored to your preferences and dietary restrictions.

Here are some common types of meats and cold cuts that can grace your holiday charcuterie board:

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Italian Dry Salami
  3. Smoked Turkey Breasts
  4. Prosciutto
  5. Bresaola
A tray full of meats, cheeses, snacks and crackers.
Photo credit: Envato Elements.

Fruits and Berries

Now that your charcuterie board is shaping up with cheeses and meat, let’s talk about adding a touch of sweetness with seasonal fruits. It’s the best part, in my opinion. I love the delightful contrast to all the savory ingredients.

Choose fruits that are in season to align with the holiday theme. 

The best part? You can get creative with the colors. Red is a classic holiday staple, but why not go the extra mile and introduce contrasting hues like red and green for an extra festive vibe?

Here’s a handy list of fruits to slice up and showcase on your board:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Grapes
  3. Figs
  4. Cranberries
  5. Apples
  6. Pomegranate
  7. Oranges
  8. Fresh berries
  9. Cherry tomatoes
  10. Green olives

Consider incorporating dried fruit like mango or prunes to add a chewy texture and concentrated sweetness.

Now, your holiday charcuterie board is not just a feast for the taste buds but a visual treat that adds color and sweetness to your festive celebrations.

Nuts, Crackers, and Bread

Now, back to more savory items. Let’s address the great thing that ties everything together on your holiday charcuterie board—nuts, crackers, and bread. 

They’re the unsung heroes, providing the perfect canvas for your cheeses, especially those soft and creamy ones. 

These ingredients give the essential crunch that elevates your board to perfection, making it a great idea for a memorable holiday table centerpiece. Your regular DIY winter centerpiece will take a backseat while the food is around.

For the perfect ratio of crunchiness, lay out an assortment of options:

  1. Salted crackers
  2. Sliced baguette
  3. No-knead sourdough
  4. Pretzels
  5. Multigrain crackers

And now, the nuts that add a delightful nuttiness to your board:

  1. Cashews
  2. Walnuts
  3. Almonds
  4. Hazelnuts
  5. Pistachios

These additions not only serve as a great way to complement the flavors of your cheeses, meat, and fruit but also provide your guests with a variety of textures to enjoy. 

Arrange them on your serving tray, and you have the perfect holiday appetizer ready to steal the spotlight at your festive family gathering. 

A wooden board with a variety of fruits, meats and cheeses on it.
Photo credit: Envato Elements.

Pickles

A simple vinegar or sour addition to your board is a great way to give your palate a break between all the cheeses and meats. 

Set up small bowls or ramekins to add some pickles, marinated artichoke hearts, or cornichons, also called gherkins. Plus, the green color goes perfectly with the red hues of the meat. 

Dips and Spreads

Add yet another layer of texture with dips and spreads for the fruit and crackers.

This suggestion is optional, but sure to fill in any extra space and taste amazing.

Some of the best ideas are:  

  • Honey Mustard: A sweet and tangy classic that pairs well with meats and cheeses.
  • Fig Jam: The perfect balance of sweetness and earthiness, adding a touch of sophistication.
  • Olive Tapenade: Briny and savory, this spread complements the flavors of cheeses and cured meats.
  • Whipped Goat Cheese: A great spread on meat, crackers, or bread and also pairs well with fruits.
  • Cranberry Compote: A festive addition that brings sweet and tart flavors, ideal for holiday gatherings.
  • Hummus: A versatile option that adds a creamy texture and a hint of garlic to your charcuterie experience.
  • Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle over cheeses or pair with fresh fruits for a sweet and tangy touch.

Fresh Herbs for Decoration

Lastly, a holiday charcuterie board is never complete without a few herbal touches for decoration. 

You could choose fresh rosemary, thyme, or mint to lay out on your board and add a festive flare. Take a bonus point if it’s from your indoor herb garden!

Michelle from Blackberry Babe emphasizes the importance of a thoughtful final touch. She says, “Incorporate plenty of fresh green rosemary sprigs and red grape tomatoes or fresh cranberries for garnish. It’s the easiest way to highlight the colors of the season.”

These herbal delights add a pop of color and infuse a fragrant freshness that takes your board from delightful to downright dazzling.

Go all out and coordinate your colors with a complimentary balloon arch displayed over the snack table.

In a Nutshell

Charcuterie boards are a fun and artistic way to present snacks and munchies before the main course to your guests at family gatherings and Christmas parties. 

Take a look at a rustic holiday charcuterie board or winter white charcuterie board for more specific Christmas charcuterie board ideas. 

You could even spin off with a sweet dessert board and add sweet treats, candy canes, and Christmas cookies for a festive touch on dessert. Once you pick a theme, I’m sure you’ll have many great ideas! 

You could customize your boards for almost every event imaginable. All you need is your favorite ingredients and a nice wooden board. Then you’re all set. Enjoy them through the holiday season and by the time spring arrives, you be a pro with an Easter charcuterie board too.

Yield: 1 board

The Easy Way to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Board

A charcuterie board of meats, cheeses, and crackers.

Create a stress-free and delicious experience for your holiday party or Christmas dinner by making a holiday charcuterie board. It's the perfect way to accent your festive celebrations without the fuss. Simply gather an assortment of cheeses, meats, fruits, and accompaniments, arrange them thoughtfully on a holiday board, and voila—your easy holiday masterpiece is ready to impress. This holiday board adds a touch of sophistication to your gathering and also ensures that everyone can indulge in a variety of flavors, making it the perfect centerpiece for your easy holiday festivities.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Cheese: soft and hard cheese like cheddar, gruyere, brie, goat, or blue
  • Meat: cold cuts, pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, roast beef, or ham
  • Fruits: berries, figs, cranberries, apples, pomegranate, or oranges
  • Nuts, crackers and bread: baguette, crackers, pretzeles, almonds, walnuts, or pistachios
  • Something sour: pickles, green olives, marinated artichoke hearts or cornichons
  • Dips and spreads: olive tapenade, fig jam, cranberry compote, or hummus, optional
  • Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme or mint

Instructions

  1. Start with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Be creative and spontaneous with your presentation.
  2. Place spreads and soft ingredients in little bowls and arrange on a big board.
  3. Display the cheese, whole or sliced. Make a cheese knife available if needed.
  4. Add meat to make it easy for guests to grab and serve themselves. Roll, fold, or stack pieces.
  5. Sprinkle fruit between all the ingredients or make separate piles on the sides.
  6. Tuck in bread, crackers, and nuts.
  7. Add a bowl of pickles.
  8. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Carrie Robinson

Monday 27th of November 2023

Charcuterie boards are pretty much a staple now for us during the holidays! I am loving all of these ideas- definitely gives me some new inspiration for my next board. :)

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 27th of November 2023

Love hearing that we have provided inspiration! That's the goal.

Moop Brown

Monday 27th of November 2023

I appreciate how this post includes different options for meats, cheeses, nuts and more, that can paired and utilized to make a tasty charcuterie board for the holidays!

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 27th of November 2023

Glad you found it helpful, Moop. Thanks for your readership.

Jenny

Monday 27th of November 2023

Excellent ideas. I love these charcuterie boards but never knew where to start. Thank you for your guidance!

jamie

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Wow! This is my kind of charcuterie board! It got all our favorites in one! Everything just looks so yummy! I'll definitely make this for this Holiday season! Thanks!

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 27th of November 2023

It's all about including everything. Lol. Thanks for the comments, Jamie.

Loreto and Nicoletta

Sunday 26th of November 2023

We love everything about your charcuterie board. Liads of options, and fruit and nuts a must for us. A great way to decorate up food for a festive holiday party! ❤️ 😍

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 27th of November 2023

So festive!

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