Recipes

How to Make a Charcuterie Board on a Budget

We recently assembled a Charcuterie Board for a family gathering and instead of spending the big bucks on all the snacks, we kept to a budget. Let us show you how to make a charcuterie board – a FANTASTIC one, at that! – with a budget in mind!

If you’ve ever made a charcuterie board, you’ll know that shopping for all of the components you need can get a little pricey. A beautifully organized board can make a huge impact while entertaining but it’s certainly not a cheap way to impress your friends and family!

Overhead photo of a French-inspired charcuterie board.

We’re pros at shopping at budget grocery stores like Lidl, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi so entertaining without spending a ton of money is kind of our thing. So, we decided to show you how to make a charcuterie board that will WOW your guests and won’t break the bank.

Step 1: Plan Your Board

Before you even step foot in a grocery store to shop for your charcuterie board components, you’ll need to do a little basic planning.

First, decide on what kind of board you’re going to make. An Italian antipasti or caprese board? A breakfast or brunch charcuterie board? A fall-inspired bruschetta board? A dessert board? The possibilities are endless!

But also remember, you don’t have to have a theme for your charcuterie board! Some of the best boards I’ve ever made just have included just a random selection of our favorite meats, cheeses, veggies, crackers, and spreads.

Next, consider how large your board will be by answering a few questions:

  • How many people you’ll be serving?
  • Will the board be served as part of a meal, like as an appetizer, or will it BE the meal?
  • Do you have the right sized boards, platters, and/or bowls to accommodate your needs?
  • What is your budget?

Step 2: Make a Master List

Once you have decided on your board’s theme and answered the questions above, make a list of the components you’ll need. The list should include everything that will be going on the board.

This will be your Master List that you’ll use to shop and check off as you assemble the board.

You’ll be SO thankful you made this list because when you’re in the thick of assembling your board, it’s really easy to forget an item or two that you had planned to include.

What To Do with the Leftovers?

When making your list, consider what you can do with any leftover ingredients. You’ll inevitably have extras and to keep your budget in mind, plan for how you can make double-duty use out of some of these elements.

Can you make mac and cheese with leftover cheese? Would the leftover meats work for sandwiches or pizza toppings?

Step 3: Shop Your Pantry and The Grocery Store

Using your Master List, go through your cabinets, pantry, and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Obviously, this will help to keep your budget in check! Mark off what you won’t need to shop for with an X next to the item(s).

Components of a charcuterie board on a budget.

Then, hit up the grocery store, farmers market, dollar store, or wherever else you shop to finish shopping for your board components.

We shopped at Lidl for the groceries we didn’t already have on hand from both of our kitchens.

Step 4: Gather Supplies

You may already have a favorite serving board or platter that you like to use for entertaining which could be perfect for a charcuterie board. So pull it out and dust it off!

But don’t forget that all type of boards, large plates, and platters will work. And in a pinch, you could even use a cookie sheet!

Here are some of our suggestions for tools that you may need for your board:

  • Wood, marble, or slate serving, cutting, or cheese board – Round, square, and rectangle all work great!
  • Ceramic or porcelain platter
  • Small bowls for tiny food and spreads, jams, and dips
  • Cheese knives
  • Small spoons for scoping and serving
  • Appetizer plates, forks, and napkins for serving time

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Step 5: Prep and Lay Out Components

If there’s anything you need to cook for your board, like blanching vegetables or boiling eggs, be sure to get this over with well before you start to assemble your board. You’ll want to have all of your board components ready to go at the same time.

Once everything is ready, place all of your components on a large, open surface. Refer to your Master List and cross off each item as you put it on your work surface.

Next, open all of the packages, jars, and bags. No one wants to wrestle with tricky packaging while in the middle of assembling!

Step 6: Assemble Board

There’s no “right” way to assembling a charcuterie board but there are a couple of key concepts to keep in mind as you go. These ideas will help to keep you organized as you put your board together so you don’t end up with a mish-mosh of randomness.

  • Start with the largest components and save the smallest until the end. For us, this meant arranging the large bunches of grapes first. For you, it might mean a wheel of brie or a cheeseball.
  • Consider your colors. Complementary colors look best next to each other. If needed, use a color wheel to assist with this.
  • Small items look great in small bowls. This will also make it easy for you to move the small food around as you arrange the board.
  • Fill in the gaps with tiny elements. Keep some extra nuts, roasted chickpeas, or edamame to fill in the holes around the larger elements. It’s helpful if you look straight down on your board to see the empty spaces; they’re difficult to see from the side view.
  • Include multiple textures. The best boards have lots of texture going on. Add crunchy things like crackers, nuts, pretzels, roasted chickpeas and/or edamame, bread sticks, crispy dried fruit, corn or tortilla chips, or popcorn. The crunchy foods will complement the soft foods like sliced, dried meat and cheeses like Cambozola, brie, and soft gouda.

The Biggest Takeaway!

The most important thing to remember when assembling a charcuterie board is that it’s an art. And if you don’t think you have any artistic ability, fear not!

The wonderful thing about creating art is that it’s personal to ONLY YOU! No two boards will be the same and that’s perfectly OK! And what you may see as wonky or messy, others will see the beauty, work, and thought you put into creating your board.

Have fun creating, friends!


@twocousinshaulitall

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