Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board – This fall-themed charcuterie board is absolutely stunning and filled with delectable treats your friends and family will love! It’s also the perfect appetizer to keep your guests grazing while they wait for the main course.
If your family is like mine, they show up for Thanksgiving hungry – I’m talking borderline hangry. Needless to say, I need an appetizer to tide them over until the turkey is on the table and ready to carve. For the past couple of years, a Thanksgiving charcuterie board has been the perfect solution. 😅
Of course, this charcuterie board is all about fall and winter colors and flavors, making it perfect for any fall get-together, regardless of the occasion. That’s the beautiful thing about charcuterie boards; they are easy to put together, beautiful, and totally versatile.
Why It’s Perfect for Thanksgiving
Why Charcuterie Boards are Perfect for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving dinner traditionally means a ton of work. And if you do the bulk of the cooking, you already have a lot on your plate. So forget those complex appetizers. Enter the charcuterie board – no cooking needed, super easy to prep, gorgeous to look at, something for everyone, and you can even throw it together the night before. The perfect solution. 🙌
- Meats and Cheeses – These guys are the main ingredients on your charcuterie board because cured meats and various kinds of cheese will lessen your guests’ pre-dinner hunger.
- Crackers and Bread – Who doesn’t love to pile meat and cheese on top of a good cracker or crostini? You’ll definitely want to include some carby elements on your board.
- Spreads and Dips – A few different spreads and dips add flavor and texture to your board and make for endless flavor possibilities for your grazers.
- Fresh Produce – Fresh fruits and veggies are great for adding a pop of color to your board and balancing the rich meats and cheeses with something refreshing and crunchy.
- Nuts – Another popular charcuterie board element, the nuts’ textures and colors are spot-on for a fall-themed charcuterie board.
- Decorative Elements – Flowers, herbs, whole fruits, mini pumpkins – you can get really creative and make your board extra beautiful! ✨
How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Select Your Board and Utensils
- Choose a Board. A large wood cutting board works great, but if you want to get fancy, try a slate board or a marble slab. 😍
- Gather Bowls and Tools. You’ll need a few ramekins or small bowls along with serving utensils. Think small forks and spoons for serving and knives to cut up any fruit or cheese, if necessary.
Prep Your Elements
- Chop or Slice – Fruit, veggies, meats, and cheeses may need to be sliced, chopped, or cubed. Of course, you can buy these items already prepped or do it the night before.
- Store the cut-up elements separately in airtight containers in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the board.
Arrange the Board
- Fill your Ramekins. Dips, spreads, jams, and other wet items, such as pickles or olives, can go in the small bowls. Fill them up and arrange them on the board, evenly spaced.
- Large First. Directly on the board, start with larger items like cheese wheels or that tiny decorative pumpkin you picked up for the occasion. (Photos 1-2)
- Slices. Fold sliced meats into quarters or your decorative fold of choice and place them on the board. (Photos 3-11)
- Crackers. Lay out any crackers or bread you’re including here and there around the board.
- Smaller Last. Start filling in the gaps with smaller items, such as fruit, veggies, nuts, candies, and chocolate. (Photo 12)
- Final Touches. Take a look at your finished board and make necessary adjustments to fill in holes or balance out the colors and textures evenly.
You can literally make a charcuterie board for any occasion by simply varying the ingredients.
- Make a Mexican-themed board with meats and cheeses, salsas, tortilla chips, guacamole, mini tacos, mini churros, and brightly colored peppers.
- Or try a breakfast charcuterie tray with bacon, mini pancakes, syrups and jams, French toast sticks, egg bites, and fresh fruit. Literally, you can make a charcuterie board with any theme, so use your imagination and get creative! 😄
- Make any board gluten-free or dairy-free. Simply substitute traditional ingredients with non-dairy cheeses and dips and gluten-free crackers and breads.
Tips and Tricks
- Don’t have a cutting board or serving tray you love? A cake stand or a pizza stone would also work great for your Thanksgiving charcuterie board.
- Remember to ask your guests about food allergies. For example, if someone has a peanut allergy, you’ll want to keep those off your board as they could contaminate other ingredients.
- Cut cheeses into various shapes to add visual interest to your board. Cube the cheddar, make little triangles from the gouda wheel, rectangles with the Colby jack, you get the idea.
- Check out my post on charcuterie board ideas for more tips and tricks. 😉
To save time, you can prep all of your ingredients ahead of time. Washing fruit, cutting meats and cheeses, etc. Store prepped ingredients in the fridge in airtight containers if they are perishable until you are ready to create your masterpiece. However, it’s best to assemble your charcuterie board on the day of your event. The ingredients will taste so much fresher, and it only takes a few minutes.
Serving and Storage Instructions
To serve your charcuterie board, simply place it on the table and let the grazing begin! If you have leftovers, keep them in airtight containers separately and snack on them whenever you feel like it! Depending on your chosen ingredients, they’ll keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or maybe longer.
Meats and cheeses are where you will spend the most, so calculate about 3-4 slices of meat per guest and 1-2 ounces of nuts and cheese per guest. From there, feel free to be as generous as you like with fruits and veggies, candies, and the rest of your ingredients.
You bet it can! It’s totally up to you. I usually leave it out on my Thanksgiving board because my main course is all about the turkey. But feel free to include slices of turkey on your charcuterie board. In fact, a post-Thanksgiving charcuterie board with sliced turkey is a great way to use up any leftovers you have.
Charcuterie is actually a French word that refers to cured meats, so a charcuterie board is a selection of cured meats served together, while a cheese board is all about a variety of cheeses served together. They’re similar and depending on what your board contains, the terms could be interchangeable.
What to Serve With a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
More Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes to Try
- Smoked Turkey
- Baked Spatchcock Turkey
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Cranberry Sauce
- Green Bean Casserole
- Southern Jiffy Cornbread Dressing
The ideal appetizer for your Thanksgiving dinner is here! You can whip up this work of art in just a few minutes and watch your guests be wowed! What favorites do you plan on using to decorate your charcuterie board? Please give me your best ideas below.
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Ideas
- Cranberry cream cheese
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Swiss cheese
- White cheddar
- Fresh mozzarella
- Goat cheese roll
- Smoked sausage
- Capicola (Capocollo)
- Turkey (yes you can used sliced turkey if you want)
Crackers and Breads (Carbs)
- Assorted crackers (butter, water, soda, saltine, etc.)
- Baguette slices
- Pretzel Crisps
Fruit and Fresh Produce
- Figs, fresh or dried
- Red grapes
- Dried cranberries
- Baby carrots
- Apples, red, yellow, or green
- Olives (Niçoise, Kalamata, green, black, etc.)
- Tiny pickles (cornichons or gherkins)
- Pickle spears
- Candied pecans
- Roasted almonds
- Chocolates, individually wrapped
- Fall candies (candy corn, fall-colored M&M's, individually wrapped mini peanut butter cups, etc.)
- Pick a Board – Wooden cutting boards, marble boards, serving trays, or even a large plate works well.
- Begin with large items and cheeses. Place cheese that needs to be cut closer to the side of the board. Evenly space the cheese throughout the board.
- Thinly slice the meat and fold it into quarters or rose shapes as in the photos. Arrange them on your board, then repeat with the remaining cold cuts.
- Then arrange the crackers as desired. (See photos for more ideas)
- Continue arranging the rest of the items. Fruit goes well next to cheese but don't worry if it does not work out perfectly. You can put the nuts and smaller items like olives into small bowls or cups.
- Fill in the nooks and blank spots with remaining small items (fruits, snacks, crackers, candy corn, or whatever rocks your world). Remember, you might have to move a few things around while creating your board.