Today I am sharing exactly How to Make an Easy Holiday Cheese Board…because nothing is more impressive than a beautiful spread of cheese and meats. I keep mine simple, delicious, and pretty using store-bought ingredients that everyone loves. Fill out your cheese board with your favorite cheeses, seasonal fruits, meats, and crackers to create the perfect appetizer for all your upcoming dinner parties and gatherings with friends.
Is it really a holiday party without a cheese board? In addition to a good baked Brie appetizer (or the blue cheese bites in HBH Super Simple), I always serve a cheese board for Thanksgiving and Christmas entertaining. Everyone loves snacking on a cheese board as they chat throughout the kitchen. And I have to say, I really love creating them! There’s something so inviting about walking into a kitchen with a cheese board on the counter. For me, it’s pretty much a must at any gathering.
And the best part? Cheese boards can be thrown together in minutes if you keep a well-stocked pantry. It’s a great last-minute appetizer that’s always impressive.
With Thanksgiving just one day away, and the Christmas entertaining season upon us, I figured it was the perfect time to share with you guys just exactly how I put together my cheese boards. My biggest secret? Keep it simple…but make it look impressive.
Here is how I do it (I have many words)…
added the cheese
next up the meats
slowly filling it in
…and almost there
The Essentials to a Good Cheese Board.
The cheeses: keep it simple and stick to using only three or four of your favorite cheeses. I know it can be so tempting to go overboard at the cheese counter, but trust me, simple is best. Pick cheeses that you love, but also that you know will go over well with guests. For a holiday board, I always use a creamy Brie, a sharp cheddar, and a block of goat cheese (I love using Humboldt Fog or an herb rolled goat cheese log). This combo is usually pretty well-loved by everyone, and each of these are relatively affordable as well.
And then, since I love a funky blue cheese, I always throw a wedge of that on my board as well. Another great cheese is Mimolette, which is a little pricer, but so delicious.
Here’s my secret to creating a big, beautiful board with only three cheese varieties…buy multiple wedges/blocks of the same cheese and arrange them throughout your board. This makes the board look super full but keeps the flavors from becoming overwhelming to guests.
The meats: every good board needs some deli meats. My favorites are prosciutto and spicy salami. Again, these are simple but always loved by all. You don’t need to get fancy with the meats. Just use one or two that you really love.
The fruits: you know me, I have to have several fruits. For holiday boards, I always include ruby red pomegranates, persimmons, winter citrus, and either apples or pears. Grapes are pretty classic on a cheese board too, but personally, I love to switch it up and give everyone a board that’s not as “basic” and expected. Throw on some different fruits and have fun. Some other ideas are dried apricots, cranberries, and figs…if you can find them.
The spreads: fig preserves are always on my boards as well as honey. I just don’t make a cheese board without either of these. This season I’m also adding some cranberry sauce because after making a huge batch of homemade sauce, I’ve been obsessed with pairing it with cheese and crackers. Delicious.
The Crackers and Nuts: I’m such a huge fan of crackers and nuts on cheese boards. I like to use a good variety of them to keep the board interesting. Not going to lie, I usually just run into Whole Foods and buy everything that catches my eye…sea salt pita crisps, fig and olive crackers, and everything spice thins. You whatever you’d like here. Also? I will not be upset with you if you were to put Ritz crackers on your board. I will forever LOVE buttery Ritz crackers and a slice of cheddar…so good.
For the nuts, again any combo works, but I love salty Marcona almonds, roasted pistachios, and candied walnuts.
Odds and ends: salty olives are a must (for me), marinated artichokes are a delicious addition, and pickles are great too.
How to Arrange Your Cheese Board
One of the questions I get asked most is how to arrange a cheese board.
The truth? There is no exact right way. It’s a lot of arranging and rearranging, but here are the steps I take.
I always start with the cheese and place the wedges evenly throughout my board. These are my “anchors”, simply arrange everything else around the cheese. If you plan to cut any of the cheese wedges, do this now while the cheese is still chilled. The cheese will be much easier to cut when cold.
From here I always add the spreads, then meats, arranging them around the cheese. From here I’ll usually start adding any fruits and veggies that I’m using. Again, I arrange them evenly around what is already on the board, making small adjustments as I place each food.
Finally, I like to save the crackers and nuts for last. I use these to fill in all the blank spaces on my board. I love a very FULL cheese board, so these are my “fillers” that end up perfectly rounding out the board.
My best tips…
Always serve cheese at room temperature. People assume cheese should be cold, but its flavor is best at room temp. This makes it great for serving at parties. You can assemble your board before guests arrive. By the time everyone gets to snacking, the cheese should be perfect.
To create a super full looking board with minimal ingredients, just buy multiples of each ingredient and arrange them evenly throughout the board. This creates a full look. You don’t have to buy a million and one different ingredients…that quite possibly no one will eat.
And on that note, use only foods you know you LOVE. Not into olives, skip them. This is your board, so make it with the ingredients you love most. This way you’ll be able to enjoy anything that’s leftover.
Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with all your favorite cheese board ingredients…at all times…but especially throughout the holiday season. You never know when someone might stop by for a five o’clock cocktail and appetizer. In my case, this happens often. Sometimes it’s only one or two people, but around here, it can be as many as twenty. My point…be prepared.
And that’s my simple process. Nothing too fancy, but when it comes to a cheese board it really should be simple. Use your favorite ingredients, always include colorful fruits, and many delicious crackers.
You can’t go wrong! Fingers crossed you still have a little wiggle room in your Thanksgiving menu to include this board. I’m excitedly waiting to see them all on Instagram this week! If you think I’m joking, I’m not. I LOVE looking at the recipes you all make. Favorite part of my day!
If you make this easy holiday cheese board be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Easy Holiday Cheese Board.
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- 3-4 cheese wedges/blocks, such as Brie, goat cheese, cheddar, and blue cheese
- assorted meats, such as salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni
- assorted nuts, such as Marcona almonds and pistachios
- assorted fruit, such as pomegranate, pears, citrus, and persimmons
- assorted veggies, such as marinated artichokes, mixed olives, and pickles
- spreads, such as honey, fig preserves, and cranberry sauce
- crackers or a variety of your favorites
- 1. Arrange the cheese on a large serving board. While the cheese is cold, slice or cube some of the cheese blocks/wedges, if desired. 2. Fill the board in with the meats, nuts, fruits, veggies, and spreads as desired. Add the crackers on the outside of the board, filling in the empty space. Serve the cheese board at room temperature.
Slice the Cheese Cold: while the cheese is still cold, slice the hard cheeses into slices and crumble some of the softer cheese so guests have an idea what to do. Serve at Room Temp: room temperature is always best for a cheese board. My Four Favorite Cheeses: For a holiday board, I use Brie, Humboldt fog goat cheese, sharp cheddar, and blue cheese.