Make a Thanksgiving charcuterie board for your next holiday gathering. This appetizer tray is filled with plenty of meats and cheeses, plus your favorite seasonal flavors like pecans, cranberry sauce, and apple butter.
A charcuterie board is a crowd pleasing appetizer that's easy to assemble! Made with a variety of meats, cheeses, candied pecans, cranberry sauce topped brie, apple butter, and seasonal produce - there's a little something for everyone.
Never made a charcuterie board before? No worries! Make your board as simple or complex as you want. I'll take you step by step through the basics needed to make a nice charcuterie board. Plus, a few easy ways to customize your board for Thanksgiving.
Charcuterie boards can be made for two to twenty people - the sky's the limit! Serve this charcuterie board at your next Thanksgiving day meal, or as a post-Thanksgiving snack tray.
What is a charcuterie board?
Charcuterie (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is a term that refers to the preparation of cured and cooked meats.
A charcuterie board is frequently made up of several cold, cooked meats and cheeses. Optional additions include sweet or savory spreads, fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers, nuts, and more.
Making your own charcuterie board can be focused on flavor pairings or simply your favorite meat and cheese selections. They are a fun appetizer and easy to customize with seasonal produce and extras for the holidays.
Meats and cheeses
Choose three meats and three cheeses for your charcuterie board. Odd numbers look nice together when assembled on your board, and give just enough variety for your guests.
Any cured meats work well on a charcuterie board - pictured above is sopressata, pepperoni, and cappocollo. If you can find a variety pack of meats at your local grocery deli, they're often cheaper than purchasing each meat separately.
When choosing your cheeses, try to use a combination of soft and hard cheeses with a variety of mild and strong flavors. I chose brie, pepper jack, and colby-jack (pictured above). Hard cheeses should be sliced beforehand, and soft cheeses should include a knife or spoon so guests can serve themselves.
Crackers and bread
Add at least two types of crackers or bread to your charcuterie board. I like to use a thinly sliced baguette (toasted or untoasted, your choice) and one or two types of crackers.
Thinly slice your baguette and (optionally) lightly toast the slices in the oven before adding to your board.
Fresh produce cuts through the heaviness of the meats and cheeses, making them a great addition to your charcuterie board.
Try to add seasonal fruits or veggies that fit the theme of your board. Red or black grapes and baby carrots are bite-size and easy to grab. I also added baked apple chips to my Thanksgiving board - these can be homemade or store bought.
Spreads and seasonal extras
At least one jam or spread should be added to your charcuterie board. I added two sweet spreads to my Thanksgiving board, but a savory spread like stone-ground mustard is another great choice.
I served the cranberry sauce over a wheel of warmed brie. However, you could serve both the apple butter and cranberry sauce in small jars with spreading knives.
I recommend adding one salty item to your board, like olives or pickles. Nuts and seeds are another great addition. I also added some candied pecans.
Feel free to get creative here - any seasonal candies you can find at your local grocery store can be added to your Thanksgiving tray. Tiny candy pumpkins, candy corn, or caramel corn are great additions. I found some seasonal orange pretzels to add to my board.
Items needed for a charcuterie board
You'll need a board to assemble your meats and cheeses on. If you don't plan on entertaining often, don't bother buying an expensive charcuterie board. Instead, use a clean wooden cutting board or half sheet pan (like pictured) covered in a sheet of parchment or butcher paper. A sheet pan with a small lip around the edge helps hold your items in place.
You'll also need a few small cups, bowls, or short mason jars for jams and messier items (like pickles and small candies). I like to use a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors - it adds character to your board!
Lastly, you'll need a few serving spoons and knives. If you don't have a set of cheese knives, any small spoons and knives you have on hand will work just fine. No one is looking at the utensils anyway - all eyes are on the food!
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Meats and cheeses
- 12 ounces cured meats, thin sliced sausage, pepperoni, capicola, prosciutto, ham, etc.
- 20 ounces cheese, a variety of hard and soft cheeses work best
Crackers and bread
- 8 ounces crackers
- 1 thin baguette
Spreads and seasonal extras
- 4 ounces apple butter, or honey
- 4 ounces cranberry sauce
- 8 ounces green olives, or pickles
- 6 ounces candied pecans
- 8 ounces chocolate covered pretzels, or other seasonal candy
- 16 ounces seedless red grapes
- 16 ounces baby carrots
- 4 ounces apple chips
- Line a half baking sheet or large wooden cutting board with parchment paper.
- Add meats and cheeses to board. Slice hard cheeses beforehand, and include a serving knife with soft cheeses (if using a wheel of brie, warm in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then top with one of the jams in step 4). Fold thin sliced meats into halves or quarters for added visual appeal.
- Thinly slice your baguette, lightly toast the slices, and add along with your crackers to the board.
- Add jars of apple butter and cranberry sauce to the board. Pour nuts, pretzels, and pickles/olives into serving dishes and add to board.
- Cut grape vines into small portions, making it easy for guests to pick up one small bunch at a time. Use produce to fill in any gaps and small spaces you find around the board.
- These ingredients are suggestions - add your favorites and customize your own board to suit your tastes. Enjoy!
- Not all of the items listed will fit onto your board at once. Extra produce/crackers/nuts/cheeses that don't fit can be set aside to refill as needed.
- I used a half sheet pan for my board (as shown in the photos), which is 13 inches by 18 inches. Any large wooden cutting board or sheet pan you have on hand will work well. Or, divide your items between two smaller pans/boards.