When it comes to entertaining, a charcuterie board is a go-to for hosts—and a fan favorite of guests—for good reason. While "charcuterie" technically means a range of different cured meats, these platters go beyond salami and prosciutto, typically featuring various cheeses, crackers, spreads and produce. But what exactly makes them so popular? For starters, they're extremely flexible: you can adjust the ingredients for different preferences, scale the portions up or down based on the number of guests, make them as affordable (or high-end) as you'd like and can even tie them to a certain theme, like a color or season. But perhaps the main reason is that they require zero culinary skills to assemble. Sure, there's an art to making a charcuterie board look as impressive as the ones you've seen all over Instagram and Pinterest. Don't worry—we're here to give you some wow-worthy charcuterie board ideas for your next gathering or holiday party.

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How to Create a Charcuterie Board

Believe it or not, you don't need to be artistically inclined to make a memorable charcuterie board (though it definitely doesn't hurt). It's actually a pretty formulaic process that's as simple as breaking your board up into categories, then choosing ingredients for each category that complement each other. For instance, charcuterie boards should have soft, easy-to-grab meats on it that are already sliced (like prosciutto or jamón Ibérico), in addition to harder meats that need cutting (like a log of salami or soppressata). Since the harder meats need to be sliced, they're often placed alongside harder cheeses, like a block of sharp cheddar or Manchego. Many boards also include soft, spreadable cheeses, like chevre, but you can swap in any spread or dip to get the same rich, smooth effect, like tzatziki or hummus.

Once you have your main meats, cheeses and spreads or dips figured out, it's time to decorate with allllll the accents. We're talking crackers, jam, bread, pickles, fruit, honeycomb and whatever else you fancy. In terms of presentation, you'll need a flat surface to serve everything on, like a pretty wooden butcher block or a marble cutting board. Tiny tags for each component are both cute and helpful, while little bowls and plates used to hold preserves or fruit can add color and dimension to the spread.

Ready to get started?

20 Charcuterie Board Ideas

1. Prosciutto and Fig Salad Board

The tough part about serving salad from a bowl? All the toppings (read: the best part) fall to the bottom. Using a fancy cutting or charcuterie board solves that problem.

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2. Presidential Cheese Board

Treat your guests like VIPs. All of the board's components are inspired by past presidents' favorite foods.

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3. Dairy-Free Cranberry Rosemary Cheese Roll and Charcuterie Board

Yeah, we’re serious. Soaked cashews and light miso make this dairy-free gem possible.

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4. Easy Spanish-Inspired Cheese Board

Manchego cheese, smoked chorizo and jamón Ibérico? This calls for a fiesta.

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5. Charcuterie Board Two Ways

The first board is for meat and cheese lovers. The second puts hummus, tapenade, nuts and crudités front and center for your vegan friends.

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6. Summer Charcuterie Snack Board

We’d have this for our last meal, Gaby Dalkin. Catch us munching away on the patio with a glass of vino in hand.

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7. Antipasto Appetizer Cheese Board

This starter has a little something for everyone. Our favorite part is the pearl mozzarella marinated in olive oil, herbs and spices.

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8. Maple Cream and Apple Baked Brie Board

That crostini bar, though. This seasonal beauty has Thanksgiving cocktail hour written all over it.

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9. The Ultimate Burrata Cheese Board

Forget the guests. We're betting we can tackle the whole thing solo.

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10. Meat and Cheese Platter

BRB, stuffing our faces. We love the addition of sweet caramelized pecans.

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11. Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Yep, we’ll just have this for dinner. And we're going the extra mile by using homemade sourdough bread instead of store-bought.

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12. Winter Cheese Board

Between the persimmons, pomegranate arils and kumquats, it's destined for your Christmas tablescape.

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13. Simple Charcuterie Flatbreads

If you're only serving a few people, there's no need to craft a massive charcuterie board. Try these individual prosciutto-burrata flatbreads instead.

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14. Charcuterie Board with Bacon Onion Jam

Trust us, it's easier than it looks. For instance, the bacon-onion jam is made almost entirely from pantry staples.

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15. Butternut Squash Cheeseball and Cheese Board

You only *think* cheeseballs are outdated. This modern take infuses cream cheese with Parmesan, butternut squash, brown butter and herbs.

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16. Dinner-Worthy Charcuterie Board

Hearty enough to play the role of main course. Our favorite part is the homemade basil-artichoke tapenade, hands down.

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17. The Lighter Cheese Board

This pick features cheeses that are lower in fat, perfect for the warmer months. (P.S., we love you, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe.)

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18. Cheese Fondue Board

The only thing better than a board of sliced cheese? A pot of melted cheese, of course. Choose between white wine-Swiss and beer-cheddar fondues (or heck, make both).

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19. Brunch Board

Trade usual suspects like capicola and salami for crisp bacon and smoked salmon. Then, dress them up with waffles, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, pancakes or even homemade doughnut holes.

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20. Chocolate Charcuterie Board

Hey, not every board needs cheese! Watch this video to see how it's done.

Additional reporting Alexandra Hough

RELATED: How to Throw Together a Gorgeous Cheese Plate for Under $25

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