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, and make them as affordable (or high-end) as you'd like. You can even tie them to a certain theme, like a color, geographic region 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 recipes and charcuterie board ideas for your next gathering or holiday party.

RELATED: 55 Christmas Snacks Even the Busiest Hosts Can Pull Off

charcuterie board ideas how to make a charcuterie board
EasyPx/Getty Images

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 those categories 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 label 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?

31 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.

Get the recipe

2. Fruicuterie Board

If there are vegetarians at the party, build an epic cheese board sans-meat. Here, five types of cheese meet an array of fresh fruits (kiwi! peaches! figs! berries!) that gives the app a naturally stunning appearance.

Get the recipe

3. Ultimate Cheese Plate with Roasted Grapes

Every charcuterie board should have something unexpected on it, like herb-kissed roasted grapes. They turn uber sweet and jammy after a stint in the oven.

Get the recipe

4. Spanish Tapas Board

If you're having trouble nailing down your cheese board's elements, choosing a specific theme can help. This pick boasts Spanish favorites like heirloom pan con tomate, patatas bravas with saffron aioli, manzanilla olives, marcona almonds and Serrano ham.

Get the recipe

5. Presidential Cheese Board

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

Get the recipe

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

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

Get the recipe

7. 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.

Get the recipe

8. 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.

Get the recipe

9. 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, but the marinated artichoke hearts are a close second.

Get the recipe

10. Maple Cream and Apple Baked Brie Board

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

Get the recipe

11. 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.

Get the recipe

12. Meat and Cheese Platter

BRB, stuffing our faces. We love the addition of sweet caramelized pecans, since they cut through the saltiness of the cheese beautifully.

Get the recipe

13. 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.

Get the recipe

14. Winter Cheese Board

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

Get the recipe

15. Sweet-and-Salty Fruicuterie Board

A halved pomegranate can make any dish look gorgeous. It's paired with fresh berries, grapes, pretzels (both plain and yogurt-covered, mini marshmallows and goji berries.

Get the recipe

16. Easy Spanish-Inspired Cheese Board

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

Get the recipe

17. 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.

Get the recipe

18. 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. (If you don't eat meat, try our vegetarian onion jam on for size instead.)

Get the recipe

19. 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.

Get the recipe

20. Dinner-Worthy Charcuterie Board

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

Get the recipe

21. 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.)

Get the recipe

22. 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).

Get the recipe

23. The Ultimate Burrata Cheese Board

Forget the guests—we're betting we can tackle the whole spread solo. The hardest part will be choosing which burrata to have first: balsamic, pesto or truffle.

Get the recipe

24. Smoked Salmon Appetizer Platter

Creamy labneh and briny feta hold down the fort on the cheese front, while tender slivers of smoked salmon take over for cured meats. Serve with fresh toast or warm pita.

Get the recipe

25. Mediterranean Mezze Platter

Want to take this Greek-inspired app over the top? Start by making your own hummus. (We're partial to spicy avocado hummus in the summer and sweet potato hummus in the fall, but you can never go wrong with the O.G.)

Get the recipe

26. Midwest Charcuterie Board

Think venison sausage, mini cheeseballs, Ritz crackers and red pepper jelly over cream cheese for dipping.

Get the recipe

27. Breakfast Board

When it comes to making a killer brunch charcuterie spread, the key is making minis of the basics, like silver dollar pancakes, French toast sticks and bite-sized quiches. Instead of cured meat, use bacon and sausage. As for the cheese, we'd pair either mascarpone, ricotta or a mini wheel of Brie with fresh fruit.

Get the recipe

28. Chocolate Charcuterie Board

Hey, not every board needs cheese! In fact, dessert charcuterie is (almost) our favorite kind. Watch this video to see how it's done.

29. Candy Land ‘Jarcuterie’

Jarcuterie, aka single-serve charcuterie served in glasses or mason jars, is still all over social media. Our sweet take on the trend stars yogurt-covered pretzels, fun-size candy bars, lollipops and lots of gummies.

Get the recipe

30. Dessert Board with Cranberry Chocolate Truffles

First, cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese and cream cheese are whipped until smooth. Then, the mixture is sweetened, spiked with graham cracker crumbs, rolled into truffles and dunked in melted chocolate.

Get the recipe

31. Dessert Charcuterie Board with Cheesecake Dip

Bring on the cookies, candied nuts, caramels, marshmallows and fresh fruit. Cheese still makes its way onto the board in the form of cheesecake dip.

Get the recipe

Additional reporting Alexandra Hough

RELATED: 40 Cheese Appetizers That Are Ooey, Gooey and Oh So Easy to Make

From Around The Web