Here’s how to make a cheese board! These cheese board ideas will help you to build the ultimate appetizer to impress everyone.

Cheese Board

Throwing a party? Here’s the best easy appetizer: the Ultimate Cheese Board! Cheese boards are our go-to for entertaining: they’re simple to put together, easy to customize for various diets, and look simply brilliant. Building a spread like this one can feel intimidating at first: and some articles on the subject can make it feel like rocket science. Good news: it’s not! Here’s an easy way to make a cheese board, with loads of cheese board ideas so you can build the spread of your dreams.

Selecting cheese for a cheese board

First step of a cheese board? Start with the cheese! Focus on finding a variety of types and origins for maximum contrast in flavor and texture. Buy 4 different types of cheese: a soft cheese, a mild slicing cheese, an aged crumbly cheese, and a wild card cheese (whatever looks good!). Here’s more about each type:

  • Soft cheese: try a blue cheese or a goat cheese: either fresh (chevre), soft ripened or aged. Here we used an artisan soft ripened goat cheese.
  • Aged cheese: try an English white cheddar or French blue cheese, which add those savory umami notes. For this board we used a semi-hard aged cheddar.
  • Mild slicing cheese: Try a Manchego or a gouda. Here we used a Spanish drunken goat cheese (Murcia al vino).
  • Wild card cheese: Find something that looks interesting at the cheese counter! Here we used Red Dragon cheese with mustard seed.
How to Make a Cheese Board

Cheese board ideas

Got your cheeses picked out? Here’s a list of other cheese board ideas for ingredients to pair with that queso. It’s overwhelming when you look at a photograph of a beautiful finished spread, so we like to group our ingredients into categories. Here are some cheese board ideas:

  • Bread and crackers: crostini, crackers, focaccia bread slices
  • Mustards: Spicy mustard, Dijon mustard, etc
  • Jellies or preserves: fig, blackberry, blueberry, apricot, lingonberry, peach, orange
  • Grapes: Red or green seedless grapes; we used Gum Drop grapes for a candy-like flavor
  • Fresh apples, stone fruit, or figs: Sliced apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, or figs
  • Fresh berries: raspberries, blueberries or black berries
  • Dried fruit: dried figs, cranberries, or cherries
  • Mixed pickles: dill pickles, pickled cauliflower, pickled carrots, pickled peppers, pickled radishes, etc
  • Olives: ripe green or black olives, Castelvetrano olives, or other varieties
  • Salted nuts: marcona almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pistachios
  • Marinated vegetables: artichokes, peppadews, or other marinated veggies
  • Cured meats: prosciutto, salami, chorizo, etc
  • Fresh herbs or flowers: rosemary or thyme sprigs, or other
Cheese Board

How to make a cheese board

Once you’ve got all your ingredients, making a cheese board is a breeze! However, it can feel overwhelming when you start with a blank slate. Here are a few tips to how to make a cheese board:

  1. Start by placing the largest ingredients, then fill in with smaller ingredients.
  2. Add the cheese onto the board first. Slice cheese that slices easily, and add a knife for more crumbly cheese. Place the cheese at angles that look pleasing. (Cheese markers are nice to label the cheeses.)
  3. Next, add items in bowls. Place ingredients like mustard, olives, and jam or preserves in small bowls and place them on the board. Make sure the bowls aren’t too large so they don’t crowd the board.
  4. Fill in the remainder of the space on the board with piles of fruit, crackers, breads and other items. Arrange the ingredients with variation in color and shape in mind. Apple slices look nice placed in a fan, and other fruits can be casually dropped in groups. Stems of grapes always make a nice statement. Start with the largest ingredients and gradually fill in the smaller items.
  5. Add garnishes like herbs and flowers. Once the board is mostly complete, tuck in a few sprigs of fresh herbs to complete the tray. Voila: your cheese board is complete! Serve with small plates, forks and toothpicks if desired.
Cheese Board Ideas

How long can a cheese board sit out?

Making your cheese board in advance? If you’re making this for a party, here are a few serving tips to make prep a breeze:

  1. A cheese board can sit out for up to 2 hours at room temperature. This source suggests a 2 hour maximum for cheese.
  2. Make the board up to 24 hours in advance, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. This makes party prep easy! Allow it to come to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. 

And that’s it! Let us know how it goes and add any questions in the comments below!

How to make a cheese board

More appetizer recipes

Want more ideas for tasty party appetizers? Here are some favorites:

This cheese board is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free crackers.

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Cheese Board

Ultimate Cheese Board


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 appetizer servings 1x

Description

Here’s how to make a cheese board! These ideas will help you to build the ultimate appetizer to impress everyone.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 ounce soft cheese, such as a blue cheese or goat cheese
  • 4 ounce aged cheese, such as English white cheddar or French blue cheese 
  • 4 ounce mild slicing cheese, such as Manchego
  • 4 ounce wild card cheese (anything that looks interesting!)
  • Bread and crackers: crostini, crackers, focaccia bread slices
  • Spicy mustard
  • Jellies or preserves: fig, blackberry, blueberry, apricot, lingonberry, peach, orange
  • Seedless grapes
  • Sliced apples, pears, peaches, plums
  • Fresh berries: raspberries, blueberries or black berries
  • Dried or fresh figs 
  • Mixed pickles
  • Olives: ripe green or black olives, Castelvetrano olives, or other varieties
  • Salted nuts: marcona almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pistachios
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Peppadews
  • Cured meats like prosciutto, salami, chorizo, etc
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish (rosemary or thyme sprigs, or other)

Instructions

  1. Start by placing the 4 types of cheese onto the board. Slice cheese that slices easily, and add a knife for more crumbly cheese. Place the cheese at angles that look pleasing on the board. (If you have them, cheese markers are nice to label the cheeses.)
  2. Place the ingredients that need bowls into small bowls on the board, like the mustard, olives, and jam or preserves. Make sure the bowls aren’t too large so they don’t crowd the board.
  3. Fill in the remainder of the space on the board with piles of fruit, crackers, breads and other items. Arrange the ingredients with variation in color and shape in mind. Apple slices look nice placed in a fan, and other fruits can be casually dropped in groups. Stems of grapes always make a nice statement. Start with the largest ingredients and gradually fill in the smaller items.
  4. Once the board is mostly complete, tuck in a few sprigs of fresh herbs to complete the tray (like rosemary or thyme sprigs).
  5. Serve immediately, with small plates, forks and toothpicks if desired. The cheese board can sit out for up to 2 hours at room temperature. Make the board up to 24 hours in advance, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate: allow to come to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Appetizer
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Cheese board, how to make a cheese board, cheese board ideas, cheese boards

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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