How to Create the Perfect Cheese Platter

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Everything you need to know for creating the most perfect meat and cheese platter! With this guide, you’ll easily be able to assemble your own beautiful cheese board to serve at parties and holiday events. 

You’ve seen countless beautiful cheese boards that actually look like a work of art. They are perfectly piled with cheese wedges, fruit, and nuts. And if you’re like us, you think I want a delicious glass of wine and an invitation to that party! 

Lucky for you, you will be able to create those beautiful boards with our tips!

Read on for tips and tricks and everything you need to know on how to create a cheese board. We cover the ingredients, and how to assemble the cheese platter using step-by-step instructions and answer all your questions about making the best cheese board.

cheese platter with meat, cheese, nuts, berries and crackers

I’ll never forget the first time I made a cheese platter, literally years ago! I was hosting a party and wanted to serve something impressive for an appetizer. I went to the store and picked out a variety of cheeses, fresh produce, and some nice crackers.

The best part was that it only took a few minutes to put together. Everyone loved it and I’ve been making them ever since. It’s such a great choice for parties because they’re easy to make and always look impressive.

Plus, there’s something for everyone on a cheese platter. Whether you like sharp or mild cheese, there’s bound to be a variety that you’ll love. So next time you’re hosting a party, don’t stress about what to serve. Just make a cheese platter!

Why We Love Cheese Platters

Cheese platters are great if you want to host a gathering without the hassle of cooking a large meal. Serve at simple wine and cheese gatherings, birthday partiesbaby showerspool parties, graduation partiesgarden parties, or a fall charcuterie gathering. The ideas for serving cheese platters are endless.

If you’ve followed Sugar and Charm for a long time, you know that we make some gorgeous cheese platters. Check How to Create the Most Beautiful Halloween Cheese BoardThanksgiving Appetizer Cheese Board, Dessert Charcuterie Board, and the best fruit and cheese platter

cheese and meat platter

How to Make a Cheese Platter

Before we dive into our step-by-step guide let’s talk ingredients! Here is everything you need to know about the ingredients you need to create an epic cheese board.

What You’ll Need

Here are some items you’ll need to create a good cheese board:

Serving Platter – A large platter or marble serving platter.

Wooden Cutting Board

Set of Cheese Knives

Little Bowls

Cheese Choices and Varieties

What kind of cheese goes on a platter?

Since the platter is supposed to be about the cheese (meat comes second for us!) let’s start there. You want a variety of hard and soft cheese and cheese that come from a variety of milk sources. Cheese varies so much in texture, flavor, and tang. 

cheese varieties
  • You want to use a variety of cheeses on your platter. Variety comes in the form of hardsoft, and semi-soft cheeses. Also aged and new
  • Along with the texture, you want to buy cheese from different sources. So add one cow’s milksheep’s milk, and goat’s milk cheeses. 
  • Buy cheese from different locations. Cheese is made around the world and imported so have cheese from Vermont to California and anywhere between as well as overseas like Italy and France.

Here’s an example of animal, texture, and location:

  • Triple Cream – Cow Milk – Soft Cheese – Hudson Valley
  • Humblot Fog – Goat Milk – Soft Cheese – California
  • Aged Pecorino – Sheep Milk – Semi-soft Cheese – Italy
  • Ages Gouda – Cow Milk – Hard Cheese – Netherlands
  • Parmesan – Cow Milk – Hard Cheese – Italy

As you are selecting your cheeses, also think about how you will present them. Some can go on the platter in a block that guests can cut from, others already cubed or sliced.

While some of your softer cheeses may need a knife to spread them. 

hard parmesan cheese

Hard Cheeses

Hard cheeses are the ones you will likely pre-cut into small cubes or slices. They pile well on a heartily stocked cheese platter. Some good options for hard cheese choices include:

  • Sharp Aged Cheddar Cheese
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Gouda
  • Manchego
  • Gruyére

Think about both texture and color as you select the hard cheeses. Depending on the size of your cheese platter, 2 to 3 hard kinds of cheese are a good choice.

cheese for a cheese plate

Soft Cheeses

Soft cheeses will either spread or crumble. Consider these choices:

  • Brie
  • Blue or Gorgonzola
  • Burrata or fresh Mozzarella
  • Goat 
  • Camembert
  • Epoisses

These are often presented on the platter in the form of wedges, or rounds. Again, depending on the size of your platter, 2 to 3 choices of soft cheeses are good. 

Crumbly Cheeses

Crumbly cheese is a type of cheese that has a crumbly texture. Here are a few different types of cheese with a crumbly texture.

  • Asiago
  • Blue Cheese
  • Cheshire
  • Cotija
  • Feta

How Much Cheese Per Person?

A good rule of thumb is to plan for about 3 ounces of cheese per guest. If you plan on serving a cheese board for dinner, provide 4 ounces of cheese per guest as well as meats, nuts, berries, and more.

If your guests prefer less cheese, then make a meat-heavy board or add vegetables and dips. 

You can also serve half of the cheese and save half in the refrigerator. If you need more, simply unwrap it and add it to the platter.

What should go on a cheese platter?

Now that we’ve covered the main ingredient on a cheese platter, what else should go on it? Keep scrolling to see all the details on what else you put on a cheese platter.

crackers for a cheese platter

Crackers

Have a variety of crackers and bread. Offer 2-3 options for crackers or crostinis:

Crostini – Small pieces of toasted bread that are typically served with a variety of toppings, such as cheese.

Crackers – Type of biscuit that is typically made from flour, water, and seasoned with herbs and spices.

Flatbread – A type of bread that is typically made from flour, water, and yeast.

Crusty Bread – Has a crispy crust and a chewy texture.

French Bread – Slice fresh french bread from the store. It has a long, thin shape and a crispy crust. The inside of the bread is typically soft and chewy. You can also bake this bread to make it nice and toasty.

Breadsticks – These look pretty on a platter because they are often long and thin, and have a crispy texture. Breadsticks are often served with a variety of dipping sauces.

crackers and fruit on a cheese board

My favorite crackers are the Rustic Bakery and Crisps with fruit baked into them.

Meat Choices for Cheese Platters

Charcuterie will add spice and salt to your charcuterie tray. Consider 2 to 3 of these choices. 

Commonly called charcuterie, add a few meat choices to make a wonderful meat and cheese board! Some choices include:

Prosciutto – A dry-cured ham that is typically thinly sliced. It goes great with fruit as well as cheese. You can also wrap it around sliced melon and place it on a cheese board.

Soppressata – Dry-cured salami that is typically thinly sliced and served as an appetizer. It’s one of our favorite meats to add to a cheese platter.

Chorizo – A dry-cured sausage. It has a spicy flavor to it but it’s very good when thinly sliced.

Pancetta – Dry-cured bacon that is salty and delicious. It also happens to be one of the main ingredients in our carbonara recipe.

Bresaola – Cured beef that is typically thinly sliced.

Lardo – Cured pork fat that you can thinly slice.

Coppa – Dry-cured pork that is hand-rubbed with spices and dry-cured for months. It has a similar texture to Prosciutto.

Jambon de Bayonne – Cured ham that is similar to prosciutto. It’s less salty and has an earthy flavor to it.

Guanciale – Cured pork cheek.

charcuterie

Condiments for a Cheese Platter

Now comes the fun part, adding condiments to a cheese board gives it texture, depth, color, and more flavor!

Fresh Fruit and Dried Fruit 

Choose 2 berries and 2-3 fruits to slice.

Add both fresh and dried fruit choices to your platter. The sweetness of the fruit pairs well with both the tang and texture of the cheese.

Olives, candied walnuts, almonds, dried blueberries in mini bowls on a marble table.

We also like to keep it seasonal, so choose seasonal produce when shopping. Here are some options:

  • Apple slices
  • Pear slices
  • Fresh Figs
  • Red Grapes on the stem
  • Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Pomegranates

Quick tip – Slice the apples and pears and soak them in either lemon or orange juice to prevent them from getting brown on the platter.

sliced apples with lemon juice

Quick tip – Slice the apples and pears and soak them in either lemon or orange juice to prevent them from getting brown on the platter. 

Nuts

Choose 2 types of nuts to serve.

A cheese plater must have a few varieties of nuts! Adding crunch and texture to the platter. They also pair so nicely with cheese, fruit, and honey. 

We always choose 2 of these varieties:

  • Marcona Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Candied Walnuts and Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

Marinated Olives

Choose 1-2 varieties of olives to serve.

Another must-have condiment for a cheese platter are marinated olives. Don’t serve an olive with a pit as it is tricky for guests to eat. Pitted olives only.

Some grocery stores have olive bars which are a great option for marinated olives. You can get spicey or garlic olives which are so good! Here are some common olives to serve:

  • Picholine
  • Calamata
  • Morrocan Salt Cured
  • Cerignola
  • Niçoise

We also love adding mini cornichons to the platter! They are tiny pickles and they taste so good! You can find these in jars or at the olive bar.

cheese tray with honey, fruit, meat and nuts

Honey and Jams

Add sweetness to the cheese platter with jams like fig jam, raw honeycomb, or other fruit spreads.

Imagine how your guests can create their own individualized crudité bites with bread or cracker, cheese, and a dollop of jam. 

Homemade Dips

There are a variety of dips that you can add to a cheese plate. These will add different flavors to the platter and are perfect for dipping fruit, cracker, and of course cheese. Some great options include:

Whipped Goat Cheese Dip

The Best Blue Cheese Dip

Cilantro Dip

Super Easy Garlic Dip

Best Beet Dip

Bake Brie with Marinated Olives

Arranging a Cheese Platter in 9 Steps

Now comes the fun part! Arranging all of these ingredients and choices onto your platter.

Here are 5 things you’ll need:

  1. A large cheese platter or board.
  2. Small white bowls for olives, jams, nuts, and more.
  3. Small serving spoons.
  4. Cheese knives.
  5. Small cutting board and knife to slice fruit for the board.
marble cheese platter

1. Cheese Platter or Board

Start with a platter or cutting board. Don’t be afraid to choose a larger piece and really make a statement with the arrangement. 

how to make a cheese platter

2. Place Cheese Around the Board

Next, place all of the cheese around the platter. Space them out, separate soft cheeses, cut larger wedges into two, and place next to each other.

cutting soft cheese

Also, think about cutting cheeses in a variety of ways like slices, wedges, and cubes. 

3. Fill Mini Bowls with Condiments

Fill mini bowls with olives, nuts, jam, and honeycomb.

Place the bowls around the cheeseboard.

4. Add the Crackers

Then, add the crackers. Crackers are a crucial part of the cheese platter. Add them around the platter. If you’re using a smaller board you can put these on the side, but we love them on the platter.

meat and cheese on a charcuterie board

6. Add the Charcuterie

After the larger items are placed, add the charcuterie to the platter. Think about putting these on in a variety of ways by rolling, folding, and cutting into chunks. 

adding charcuterie to a cheese board

For round salami, I like to quickly fold it so it looks more like a pretty flower than just a flat piece of salami. Furthermore, make a meat rose for a platter.

adding meat and cheese to a marble platter

Rolling the meat or folding it helps to add height and shape to the cheese platter.

cheese board ideas

7. Add Sliced Fruit

Fill in areas with pretty sliced fruit. Fan the fruit out for a pretty look.

fruit on a cheese platter

8. Fill in Empty Spots with Berries

Step back and take a look at the board. If there are empty spots those are the areas you will place the berries. Fill those areas with fresh berries and extra nuts.

cheese platter

Continue filling in the empty spots on the cheese and meat platter until it’s nice and full!

9. Finishing Touches

Add more color and charm with edible flowers or fresh herbs! Little bits of seasonal greenery or winter pines will look beautiful!

Lay cheese knives next to each cheese for easy cutting.

When to Make Your Cheese Platter

Cheese tastes best when it has come to room temperature. So, it’s best to have your cheeses out at least 30 minutes ahead of when you hope to serve it.

the best cheese platter guide

How far in advance can I make a cheese platter?

Having said that, you don’t want to put this together days in advance, as the flavors on your platter will meld together and items will get soggy. 

Assemble the platter a few hours before the party and take it out of the refrigerator an hour before.

If you’re serving a cheese and meat platter outside, please always make sure it’s covered to avoid unwanted bugs! These food covers are perfect for keeping bugs off.

Simple Cheese Platters

Don’t be intimidated by fancy platters. Creating your own cheese platter is about choosing a small variety of quality ingredients and then having some fun displaying them all together on a platter. 

meat and cheese platter

Tips for Making An Affordable Cheese Platter

Cheese platters can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. Truly it’s just about spending less money on items. Maybe instead of a honeycomb, you can add honey into a small bowl. 

  • Serve cheese at room temperature. Let it sit out for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Use packaged cheese like cheddar and cut it into cubes. Not all of the cheese has to be fancy imported cheese. Add a little bit of both. 
  • Trader Joe’s has a wonderful selection of cheese and crackers for good prices. You can find almost everything on this platter there. 
  • Buy items on sale to save money and make an affordable cheese board. I always see cheese fruit and nuts on sale and it’s a great way to save money on the end total. 
  • Add charming details depending on the season. For example, add a spooky hand and little pumpkin cheese.
  • You won’t be breaking any rules by just starting. Avoid any big open spaces and your platter will be a hit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a cheese platter and a charcuterie board?

A cheese platter is a board that includes a variety of cheeses. A charcuterie board is a board that includes a variety of meats.

What does charcuterie mean literally?

Charcuterie is a French word that literally means “cooked meats.” It usually refers to a variety of cured meats, such as ham, bacon, and sausage.

Is charcuterie an appetizer?

Charcuterie can be served as an appetizer or main course. When served as an appetizer, it is usually accompanied by bread, crackers, or fruit.

More Cheese and Meat Platter Ideas

More beautiful cheese boards and recipes to add to the platters:

Southern Cheese and Meat Platter

Tropical Cheese Board

Lavender and Rosemary Almonds

How to Make a Greek Mezze Platter

Christmas Appetizer Platter for Kids

Valentine’s Day Charcuterie and Dessert Platter

Crudite Wreath

Greek Mezze Platter

Serve any of these cheese boards with a seasonal fruit platter and the best fruit dip.

cheese platter with olives, fruit, meat and orange slices

What Drink to Serve With a Cheese Platter

Wine is always a favorite for us when serving a cheese board. However, there are several fantastic cocktails that go great with cheese as well, especially sangria. Here are a few cocktail ideas that will pair nicely with cheese platters:

Fall Sangria with Apple Cider – The most perfect cocktail to serve with a seasonal fall cheese platter.

Floral Sangria Recipe – Fun for a bridal shower or baby shower.

Red Sangria Recipe – Great for holidays.

Black Sangria Recipe – This goes really well with our Halloween charcuterie board.

For a summer gathering serve these drinks with a cheese platters:

White Wine Sangria – A traditional sangria made with white wine and juicy fruit.

Aperol Spritz – Perfect for a summer gathering.

Ranch Water – An easy tequila drink that is super refreshing.

Arnold Palmer – A mix between ice tea and lemonade.

Mix and Match Garden Bar – This is a fun party theme that would go perfectly with cheese platters.

Also check out more great cocktail recipes our favorite brunch recipes, the best-mixed drinkstequila cocktails, gin cocktails, vodka cocktails, and cheap drinks to make at home!

When to Serve a Cheese Platter

This is the perfect appetizer to serve year-round. It can be customized to any season, holiday or special occasion. From baby showers to graduation parties to just a chill girls night at home. A cheese board is perfect for any event!

Let us know your thoughts!

Let us know if you make this cheese platter! We would love to know your thoughts so please leave a comment and review below.

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The Perfect Cheese Platter

These are the ingredients we used to create this cheese platter. Use this as a general guide for creating your own platter! Add different cheese and seasonal fruit to your platter.
5 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 287kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Cheese

  • Humbolt Fog Goat Cheese
  • Mitica Aged Pecornio Toscano Cheese
  • St Andre Triple Cream 
  • Clarina Aged Gouda
  • Aged Parmesan

Condiments

  • Marinated Olives
  • Marcona Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Candied Walnuts

Charcuterie

  • Napoli Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Soppressata

Fruit

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Apples, Sliced
  • Oranges, Dried
  • Pineapple, Dried

Sweets

  • Jam
  • Honey Comb

Instructions

  • You want to use a variety of cheeses on your platter. Variety comes in the form of hardsoft, and semi-soft cheeses. Also aged and new.
  • Start with a platter or cutting board. Don’t be afraid to choose a larger piece and really make a statement with the arrangement. 
  • Place all of the cheese around the platter. Space them out, separate soft cheeses, cut larger wedges into two, and place next to each other.
  • Fill mini bowls with olives, nuts, jam, and honeycomb. 
  • Place the bowls around the cheeseboard.
  •  Crackers are a crucial part of the cheese platter. Add them around the platter. 
  • After the larger items are placed, add the charcuterie to the platter.
  • Fill in areas with pretty sliced fruit. Fan the fruit out for a pretty look.

Notes

Use this as a general guide for creating your own platter! Add different cheese and seasonal fruit to your platter. 
Garnsih with edidble flowers and herbs.
Make one hour before your party.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
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17 thoughts on “How to Create the Perfect Cheese Platter”

  1. 5 stars
    This post had so many helpful hints and tricks for building the perfect cheese plate. I love a good board, and this helped make my board even better. I also loved the wine pairing and drink ideas. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. I love the idea of adding in some berries and other fruits. Most cheese platters I’ve seen just have meats, cheese, and crackers. Perfect to add a bit of sweetness to the mix!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    I’ve started making these on Friday afternoons to hold my family over until our late dinner. You have so many amazing options (dried pineapple sounds fantastic!). I’m heading to TJs right now to pick up a few of your suggestions to add to our platter.

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I am loving all of these tips and tricks for a perfect cheese platter. Thank you for this easy to follow explanation it will make help girls brunch a lot more beautiful.

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    What I love about cheese platters is they’re perfect not just for entertaining, but they’re also great for just chilling on the couch and snacking while watching a movie with the family. You have a ton of great options to include, I love it!

    Reply

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