How to Make The Ultimate Cheese Platter

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This guide covers everything you need to know to create the most impressive meat and cheese platter. With it, you’ll quickly assemble your beautiful cheese board to serve at parties and holiday events. 

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

You’ve seen countless beautiful cheese boards that look like 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 can create those beautiful boards with my tips!

Read on for tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about creating a cheese board. I 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.

The best part is that 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 host a party, don’t stress about what to serve. Just make a cheese platter!

Why I Love Cheese Platters

  • Cheese platters are great if you want to host a gathering without the hassle of cooking a large meal.
  • The ideas for serving cheese platters are endless.

If you’ve followed Sugar and Charm for a long time, you know that I make some gorgeous cheese platters. Check out my Halloween Cheese BoardThanksgiving Appetizer Board, Dessert Charcuterie Board, and the best fruit and cheese platter

Instructions to make a beautiful homemade cheese platter for any party. This photo has cheese, blackberries, crackers and honey comb.

How to Make a Cheese Platter

Before I dive into my step-by-step guide, let’s talk about ingredients. Here is everything you need to know about the ingredients 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 – You can use any shape of board or platter to make this easy appetizer.

Wooden Cutting Board – This is used to cut cheese and berries. 

Set of Cheese Knives – Always serve these with the cheese platter.

Little Bowls add smaller items like nuts, berries, and honeycomb. 

Cheese Choices and Varieties 

You want a variety of hard and soft cheese and cheese from a variety of milk sources. Cheese varies greatly in texture, flavor, and tang. 

You want to use a variety of cheeses on your platter. Variety includes hardsoft, and semi-soft cheeses, as well as aged and new cheeses. 

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 you can have cheese from Vermont to California and anywhere between, as well as overseas, like Italy and France.

Five different types of cheese on a marble table.

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 select your cheeses, 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 Cheeses

You will likely pre-cut hard cheeses 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 texture and color as you select the hard cheeses. Depending on the size of your cheese platter, two to three hard cheeses are a good choice.

Hard parmesan cheese crumbled.

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 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 with a crumbly texture. Here are a few different types of crumbly cheese.

  • Asiago
  • Blue Cheese
  • Cheshire
  • Cotija
  • Feta

Crackers

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

Crostini are small pieces of toasted bread typically served with various toppings, such as cheese.

Crackers – A biscuit 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. They are usually served with a variety of dipping sauces.

My favorite crackers are the Rustic Bakery and Crisps, which have fruit baked into them.

Crackers, cheese, apples, blackberries, and meat on a cheese board.

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

Chorizo is a dry-cured sausage with a spicy flavor. It’s very good when thinly sliced.

Pancetta is dry-cured bacon that is salty and delicious.

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.

Cheese tray with honey, fruit, meat and nuts on a platter.

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 fruit’s sweetness pairs well with the tang and texture of the cheese.

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
  • Dried orange slices

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.

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 platter 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 is marinated olives. Don’t serve an olive with a pit, as it is tricky for guests to eat. Serve pitted olives only. 

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

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 individualized crudité bites with bread or crackers, 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, crackers, and cheese. Some great options include:

Arranging a Cheese Platter in 9 Steps

Now comes the fun part! Arrange 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. A small cutting board and knife are needed to slice fruit for the board. 
Large marble cheese platter to make a cheese board.

1. Cheese Platter or Board

Start with a platter or cutting board. Be bold, choose a more significant piece, and make a statement with the arrangement. 

Different varieties of cheese, soft cheese, hard cheese, and goat cheese on a platter with nuts and olives.

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 put them next to each other. 

Think about cutting cheeses in various ways, like slices, wedges, and cubes. 

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

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 placing more oversized items, add the charcuterie to the platter. Consider putting these on in various ways by rolling, folding, and cutting into chunks. 

Adding charcuterie to a cheese board rolled like a rose.

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

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

7. Add Sliced Fruit

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

Sliced apples, dehydrated orange clauses, blueberries, and cheese on a platter.

8. Fill in Empty Spots with Berries

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

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.

The best cheese platter guide with beautiful cheese and berries on a platter.

Tips for Making An Affordable Cheese Platter

Cheese platters can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. It’s just about spending less money on items. For example, you could add honey to a small bowl instead of a honeycomb. 

  • 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 beautiful selection of cheese and crackers for reasonable 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 a 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. 
  • Cheese tastes best when it has come to room temperature. So, it’s best to have your cheeses out at least 30 minutes before you hope to serve it.
Large meat and cheese platter filled with cheese, berries, slices of fruit, and crackers. Perfect for a party.

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 and meats, nuts, berries, and more.

Make a meat-heavy board or add vegetables and dips if your guests prefer less cheese. 

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

More Platter Ideas

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

Serve any of these cheese boards with a seasonal fruit platter and the best fruit dip. If you’re looking for something fancy, try our caviar platter!

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, several fantastic cocktails also go great with cheese, especially sangria. Here are a few cocktail ideas that will pair nicely with cheese platters:

For a summer gathering, serve these drinks with a cheese platter:

Let me know if you make this cheese platter. I 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 25 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 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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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 consists of a variety of meats.

What does charcuterie mean literally?

Charcuterie is a French word that means “cooked meats.” It usually refers to cured meats like 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.

How far in advance can I make a cheese platter?

You don’t want to put this together days in advance, as the flavors on your platter will meld, and the 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 ensure it’s covered to avoid unwanted bugs! These food covers are perfect for keeping bugs off. 

Cheese platter with title text.

18 thoughts on “How to Make The Ultimate Cheese Platter”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful service site. Your website is very helpful. I love reading your blogs.

    Reply
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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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