How to make the perfect simple small charcuterie board for your next dinner party or gathering! In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn exactly what you need to make a delicious and gorgeous small charcuterie board for 4-6 people.
If you have a small dinner party, date night, get together, or impromptu gathering of friends, a small charcuterie board is the perfect addition! I absolutely love making simple charcuterie boards because they are easy to throw together and work for so many different occasions.
Because charcuterie boards can be rather intimidating, I’m including everything you need to know to keep it simple, including ingredient and board recommendations and helpful step-by-step photos. You’ll have a gorgeous board ready for guests in no time!
My best tip? Use what you already have! Splurge on a special cheese or two, but stick with what’s already in the fridge.
What to Include
A charcuterie board will typically include five simple components. If you feel overwhelmed with building a board, just keep your focus on the big three: cheese, meat, and crackers. Then, add a spread and some small accents depending on what you like or what’s in the fridge. Here are my recommendations for a small charcuterie board:
Cheese is the star of the board and there’s so much to choose from. You can include cheese made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. It’s best to include both soft cheeses and hard (or semi-hard) cheeses on your board. For a small board, I recommend including 2-3 different types of cheese. I like to include two semi-hard cheeses, and one soft, spreadable cheese. Here are some of my favorite types:
- Hard cheese: Parmesan, Pecorino, or Manchego
- Semi-hard cheese: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, provolone, Gouda, or havarti
- Soft cheese: Brie, Chèvre, soft goat cheese, or fresh mozzarella
- Crumbled cheese: Blue cheese or feta (this will go in a serving bowl)
You’ll find many different types of meat you can include on charcuterie boards at the deli counter. I recommend including both cured meats and cold cuts. You can use anything you or your guests will like. For variety, include something spicy. Here are my favorite options:
- Cured meats: Prosciutto, salami, or pepperoni (Note: preserved uncured meats also work)
- Cold cuts: Thinly sliced roast beef, smoked chicken or turkey, or black forest ham
Crackers serve as a vehicle to enjoy the cheese, meat, and spreads. To keep it simple, grab your favorite crackers from the cabinet! I like to include two varieties: a baked cracker that is light and salty, and a thicker option like bagel chips. You can also grab a baguette and add toasted slices for a simple charcuterie board. Use gluten free options if you have guests with sensitivities.
Preserves and spreads add a nice topper for cheese and crackers. To keep it simple, include your favorite fruit preserves or jam (I love strawberry or fig jam), or honey with a honeycomb stick for drizzling.
Fruits & Accents
Fresh fruit and accents provide texture, color, and flavor, and help fill in the empty spaces. Use the fruit you already have on hand, or grab your favorites! Here are my favorite grazing accents:
- Green grapes
- Dried apricots
- Nuts: Almonds, macadamia nuts, or pistachios
Do I Need Sweets?
While totally optional, sweets are a nice way to add a little excitement and variety to your charcuterie board. I like to include either chocolate covered almonds or just a few squares of dark chocolate.
How to Make a Simple, Small Charcuterie Board
Step 1: Choose your board and bowls
Grab a serving or cutting board 10-14-inches in diameter and lay out 3 small condiment bowls. Add the spread, olives, and nuts to the small bowls and arrange the bowls on the board.
Step 2: Add your cheese
Slice or cube your cheese and add it to the board. I like to use brie as the anchor on one side, and place cubed cheese and cheese slices on the other side.
Step 3: Layer the meats
Arrange the meats on the board. For the cured meats, you can layer the slices or drop the prosciutto pieces on the board so they look like ribbons. For the cold cuts, fold each slice in half, then in half again to make a rough triangle with one rounded edge. Tuck the rounded edge around the cheese or bowls to give a “flower like” appearance, or layer them on top of one another.
Step 4: Add the crackers
Place the crackers in the remaining large empty spaces.
Step 5: Fill in with fruit
Fill in the empty spaces with grapes, blueberries, strawberries, dried apricots, and chocolate. Don’t leave any empty spaces on the board. Serve with mini spoons, forks, and a small cheese knife.
Choosing the Right Board
To make a small charcuterie board, you’ll need a board that is around is 10 to 14 inches in diameter, or the size of a dinner plate. You do not need to buy anything fancy to serve up a beautiful charcuterie platter. You likely already have something on hand that will work great! Here’s what you can use:
- Cutting board – Round, square, or rectangle cutting boards all work great.
- Wood or marble cheese board – These are now widely available at most stores including Walmart and Target. Find one that’s about 12-14 inches long.
- Dinner plate – These are usually about 10 inches in diameter—the perfect size for serving 4-6 people.
- Charger – A charger is the large plate that goes under a dinner plate. It’s typically slightly larger than a dinner plate.
- Serving tray – Got a serving tray with handles that you use as a centerpiece or for serving drinks? This makes for a great board!
The easiest way to store a charcuterie board is to return everything back to its original packaging. Place any leftover nuts, fruit, crackers, and chocolate in sealable bags or containers. Jams or spreads can be placed in a small condiment container or you can wrap the bowl in food storage wrap to reuse later. For your cheese and meat, place them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge.
If you want to reassemble your board with leftovers, just place your meat, cheese, and spread on the board, and fill in with any leftover fruit and accents as needed.
Charcuterie is actually a french term that translates to “pork butcher”. It generally refers to any processed or cured meat product. While the term dates back to the 15th century, modern charcuterie boards are snacking platters that include different types of cheese, meat, crackers, condiments, and fruit. They are traditionally served as an appetizer for get togethers and parties.
To make a small charcuterie board, you’ll need a board that is around is 10 to 14 inches in diameter, or the size of a dinner plate. A small board serves 4-6 people, so it’s great for small gatherings or dinner parties.
Most items can be assembled on your board a few hours ahead of time. Place any cheese, meat, fruit, and condiments on your board and wrap it in food storage wrap and place it in the fridge. Leave off any crackers, bread, or nuts until right before serving so they stay crisp and fresh.
You sure can! Just use a small serving board or appetizer plate that is about 5 inches in diameter. You can simply half the recipe below if you want to make it a board for two.
Roughly 4 oz per person. A good rule of thumb is to serve 2 oz of cheese and 2 oz of meat per person if the board is being served as an appetizer.
Tips for Small Charcuterie Boards
- Use small dipping or condiment bowls for serving. These are perfect for jam, nuts, and olives.
- Include what you have. To keep it simple, use whatever you have in the fridge or you eat regularly. It doesn’t have to be unique or fancy.
- Don’t fill the entire board. If you only have a larger cutting or serving board, just fill up the center and leave room around the side for serving utensils.
- Go for budget-friendly. Stick with two types of cheese and cut the hard cheese in different ways (cubes and slices). Stick with fruit that can be bought individually or in small containers so you aren’t buying bulk items.
Serve your simple charcuterie board with a mini spoon, small fork, and spreading knife. You’ll also want to include some mini plates and napkins for guests to use as they graze. Let your board sit out for at least 15 minutes to let the ingredients come to room temperature.
Because smaller charcuterie boards are great for entertaining, it’s best to serve your board on the center island in your kitchen or coffee table. This really depends on whether your guests will be sitting or standing while socializing. I also highly recommend serving your board with your favorite red wine. Charcuterie boards pair perfectly with Cabernet or Chianti.
More Entertaining Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Skewers
- Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
- Crispy Pork Carnitas
- Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic and Herb Vegetable Dip
- 4–6 oz soft cheese: Brie, Chèvre, or fresh mozzarella
- 4 oz semi-hard cheese: Cheddar, Monterey, Provolone, or Havarti (I usually pick two and cut one into cubes and cut the other into slices)
- 4 oz cold cuts: thinly sliced roast beef, smoked chicken or turkey, or black forest ham
- 4 oz cured meats: Prosciutto, salami, or pepperoni
- 15–20 baked crackers: I like almond flour crackers
- 15–20 bagel chips or toast crackers
- ¼ cup jam or local honey
Fruits & Accents:
- Handful of green grapes
- Handful of blueberries
- 3–4 strawberries, cut in half
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 4 dried apricots
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios (or your favorite nuts)
- Optional chocolate: a few chocolate covered almonds or chocolate squares
- Choose your board and bowls: Grab a serving or cutting board 10-14-inches in diameter and lay out 3 small condiment bowls. Add the spread, olives, and nuts to the small bowls and arrange the bowls on the board.
- Add the cheese: Slice or cube your cheese and add it to the board. I like to use brie as the anchor on one side, and place cubed cheese and cheese slices on the other side.
- Layer the Meats: Arrange the meats on the board. For the cured meats, you can layer the slices or drop the prosciutto pieces on the board so they look like ribbons. For the cold cuts, fold each slice in half, then in half again to make a rough triangle with one rounded edge. Tuck the rounded edge around the cheese or bowls to give a “flower like” appearance, or layer them on top of one another.
- Add the Crackers: Place the crackers in the remaining large empty spaces.
- Fill in with fruit: Fill in the empty spaces with grapes, blueberries, strawberries, dried apricots, and chocolate. Don’t leave any empty spaces on the board. Serve with mini spoons, forks, and a small cheese knife.
- Keep it simple and use your favorite things! The easiest way to make a simple charcuterie board is to fill it with the things you love. If you’re not a fan of fancy cheese, don’t use it. If you’re gluten free, use your favorite gluten free crackers and breads. Add the nuts, fruit, and dried fruits you already purchase regularly.
- Play with colors! For a beautiful board, include a variety of colors with your fresh and dried fruit. The dried apricots and green grapes really balance out the board and give it a pop.
- Here are some great tips for folding the meat into ribbons and flowers.
- Cut your cheese chilled.
- Let your board sit out for at least 15 minutes to let the ingredients come to room temperature.
- Not a fan of crackers? Just use a fresh baguette and toast the slices.
Recipe by: Noelle Tarr / Coconuts and Kettlebells | Photography by: Casey Colodny / The Mindful Hapa