Small Charcuterie Board is a perfect appetizer for a girls’ night in, movie night or a lazy dinner when you don’t feel like cooking anything. If you love the idea of a mini cheese and meat board accompanied by fresh fruit, briny olives, nuts and chocolate, this one is for you!
- Why is charcuterie board a perfect meal
- What usually goes in a charcuterie board
- Ingredient notes
- Best cheese for a charcuterie board
- Which meat to choose
- How to assemble a small charcuterie board
- Serving suggestions
- More tips and variations
- How to make your charcuterie board budget friendly
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More charcuterie boards
- You may also like
- Meet the Author
I’m a huge fan of charcuterie boards and they’re my number one appetizer for holidays or when I’m entertaining. There’s just something ultimately joyful about sharing a big, pretty wooden board piled with different kinds of cheese, meats, fruit, nuts and pickles.
If you’re looking for charcuterie ideas for different occasions, try this epic Fall Charcuterie Board made with Trader Joe’s ingredients or this cute Easter Grazing Board featuring spring veggies and a chocolate bunny (there is no charcuterie board without chocolate, in my opinion). For Holiday season try this gorgeous Christmas Charcuterie Board.
Why is charcuterie board a perfect meal
It’s versatile, it’s fancy, it’s easy to assemble, it’s great for picky eaters, it requires no cooking and it makes clean up a breeze!
Don’t get me wrong, I love cute little hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties but let’s face it: who has time for making tiny brie tarts and canapes. Not me! If your life is super busy and you don’t want to slave over making a million individual appetizers, just make a board.
This one is special because it’s small and perfect for 2-3 people. I make it when I have a girlfriend come over for movie night or when the kids are tucked in bed, it’s 9PM and we (the grown ups) haven’t had any dinner yet. Rather than turning on the stove and dirtying multiple pots and pans, I defer to this cute mini cheese and meat board. It makes us both happy and it’s a perfect dinner for 2 for watching reality tv on the couch.
Best part? As long as you have some cheese and some fruit on hand, you just can’t go wrong with it! There are no hard and fast rules for charcuterie boards. If it fits on the board, pile it on and enjoy!
What usually goes in a charcuterie board
I like to think out of the box when putting together charcuterie boards. This brunch-friendly Smoked Salmon Charcuterie Board is a perfect example of the idea that any meal can be turned into a board.
However, there is a general combination of ingredients that can TYPICALLY be found on a charcuterie board. From what I’ve seen and experienced, here’s what usually goes on a grazing board:
- Cheese: usually a combination of hard and soft cheeses
- Meat: typically cured sliced cold cuts
- Fruit: fresh or dried, or both
- Nuts: plain or trail mix
- Something briny: usually pickles or olives
- Spread or preserve: fig spread, jam, jelly or honey
- Crackers or bread: these can go on the board or as a side
- Something sweet: typically chocolate or candy
Obviously, you don’t need ALL of these items to create a fabulous charcuterie board, especially if it’s small and only meant to feed 2-3 people. Your board, your rules!
To recreate my board from the photos, here’s what you will need:
- Cheddar: I went with white sharp cheddar
- Blue cheese: I picked up a small, 4oz wedge at Target and used half of it for the board
- Salami and Sopressata: 4 slices of each
- Fresh Fruit: green grapes and mixed berries (sliced strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)
- Dried Fruit: apricots and mission figs – I love Trader Joe’s for dried fruit
- Nuts & Chocolate: I used Just a Few Almonds, Cashews and Chocolate trail mix from Trader Joes which includes raw cashews, almonds and dark chocolate
- Olives: a mix of green and kalamata olives
- Spread: I love using fig jam for charcuterie boards!
Note: I originally wanted to include both the fig spread and the olives as my container items but ultimately decided that the board is too small for both. The photos in this post show two versions of the board, one with the spread and one with olives. The choice is yours!
Best cheese for a charcuterie board
Any cheese can be used on a charcuterie board but here are some of my favorite kinds:
- Gouda (regular or smoked)
- Blue cheese
- Goat cheese
Which meat to choose
Dried cured meats work best. I recommend 1-2oz of cured meat per person. Here are some meat ideas that go well on a grazing board:
- Salami or soppressata
- Sliced chorizo
Note: if cured meat is not your thing, you can absolutely skip it and maybe add another kind of cheese. The more cheese, the merrier!
How to assemble a small charcuterie board
Step 1: Start with containers. Place whatever you will be serving in a container: olives, spread or spreadable cheese.
Step 2: Time for cheese. Place a block of cheddar (or other hard cheese) close to the edge and cut a couple slices. I like to only cut a few and provide a small knife because I like the way it looks but feel free to slice it all, if you prefer! Add the blue cheese on the other side of the board so they’re not close to each other.
Step 3: Add meat. You can roll the salami and soppressata into thin tubes, like me, fold them into quarters or fan them out – it’s up to you!
Step 4: Arrange the fruit. I filled the space next to blue cheese with berries and placed the grapes on the opposite side. I like to keep the grapes on the vine so they don’t roll off the board.
Step 5: Fill the gaps with dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. I cut the mission figs and apricots in half because I like smaller bites. My trail mix already came with dark chocolate but if you’re using plain nuts, you can add a couple squares of chocolate or even some chocolate chips.
Step 6: Add finishing touches. Mini knives, forks and spoons make serving the board easy and more fun! I recommend this nifty and inexpensive set of charcuterie board utensils.
Serve your small charcuterie board with a side of crackers or sliced baguette. I like to use two kinds of crackers, one more standard, such as wheat thins or triscuit and one gluten free, such as rice crackers or the chia crackers you see in my photos.
The best beverage to go with a cheese board is wine, of course. Both red and white wine will work well. I’m more of a red wine person and my go-to is Montepulciano D’Arbuzzo from Tuscany. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merolt or Malbec are all great choices, too.
For white, you can’t go wrong with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
More tips and variations
I said that earlier but I’ll emphasize it again: there are no hard and fast rules for charcuterie boards. Make it super full or sparse. Swap fruit for fresh or pickled veggies. Add candy and cookies, if that’s your thing! Here are some more tips and substitution ideas:
- Fill any gaps with more fruit and nuts. I like the look of a super full charcuterie board, plus it never hurts to throw in some extra berries, nuts or chocolate.
- To make your small board vegetarian, skip the meat all together and add another kind of cheese. Or not.
- Add pickles. Swap olives or fig spread for cornishons or baby dills. If you have other pickled veggies, such as cauliflower, carrots or red onions, those will also work beautifully as your “container item”.
- Use different fruit. No grapes or berries? Use sliced apple, pear, fresh figs, oranges or pomegranate instead.
- Put crackers on the board, especially if your fridge or pantry are rather scarce. One type of cheese, grapes, some nuts and crackers make the easiest and fastest, no-fuss board that’s also perfect for picky kids.
- See the next section for affordable board ideas
How to make your charcuterie board budget friendly
Charcuterie boards ingredients tend to get expensive but they certainly don’t have to be! If you’re looking for a more affordable board that still looks and tastes amazing, here are some tips for you:
- Use sliced deli cheese, whatever is on sale. Cut the slices into smaller squares to fit the crackers better.
- Cream cheese is a great swap for soft cheese. Place it in a small container and top with a bit of hot pepper jelly, if you like.
- Summer sausage or packaged peperoni are fantastic affordable meat choices.
- Pick fruit that are on sale or use sliced apple or pear.
- Baby dills will work as “something briny” in place of olives.
- You can find great, high quality cheese for cheap at Trader Joe’s or Aldi’s.
- Use dry roasted peanuts or whatever nuts you have on hand!
Frequently Asked Questions
This board will feed 2 people as quick and easy dinner or 3-4 as appetizer. I generally recommend 1-2oz each of cheese and meat per person.
Yes. Assemble your board up to 6 hours before serving and store in the fridge as soon as it’s assembled. If you’re using crackers, don’t add them until ready to serve as they will get soggy in the fridge.
My favorite places to shop for charcuterie items are Trader Joe’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, European delis (especially for interesting jams and spreads) and Home Goods. Aldi also has some great options that at great prices.
Yes, absolutely! I recommend one type of cheese and one type of meat. Cut fruit and nuts amounts in half. Use a mini board or just a small plate.
You can use either a round or rectangular board. I bought my round board at Home Goods but you can find some great boards at Target or on Amazon, too.
More charcuterie boards
If you make these Small Charcuterie Board, be sure to leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating. Or better yet, send me a photo! I would love to hear from you and see how it turned out for you! You can also share and tag me on Instagram!
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Small Charcuterie Board
- 2 oz block of cheese such as cheddar, gouda or Gruyere
- 2 oz soft cheese such as blue cheese, goat cheese or Boursin
- 4 slices salami
- 4 slices soppressata
- 2 dried apricots
- 2 dried figs
- ¼ cup nuts or trail mix
- 1 cup grapes green or red
- ½ cup berries strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
- ⅓ cup mixed olives optional
- ¼ cup fig spread or preserve optional
- Place olives or fig spread in a small container and place on the board.
- Cut a couple slices of the hard cheese and arrange on the edge of the board with the whole block (OR slice the whole block).
- Place soft cheese away from hard cheese. If it's spreadable cheese, such as Boursin, you can place it in a container first.
- Add grapes on the vine.
- Place mixed berries opposite to grapes.
- Fill gaps with nuts and dried fruit.
- Add utensils, such as small forks, spoons and knives.
- Serve with a side of crackers or bread.