If you’re looking for some charcuterie board ideas and your budget is constrained, it doesn’t mean your creativity has to be. It’s absolutely possible to keep it simple, stay under budget, look fancy, and wow your friends and family all at the same time.
We’ve got tips for how to build a charcuterie board, how to make it wow-worthy with tools you already have at home, a few suggestions on where to shop for the cheapest charcuterie board ingredients. Plus, we share some themed charcuterie board variations for kids and other holidays.
Whether this is your first charcuterie board or you’re a pro, we’ve got loads of tips and tricks to make it easy but beautiful. Plus, a lot of what you need might already be in your pantry or refrigerator. Prices are high at the grocery store, but we do lots of research to fill you in on where to find savings on everyday items, like butter, sugar, and the like.
For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, text HACKS to 57299, and be sure to download the Krazy Coupon Lady app.
1. Create a charcuterie kit using basic household items.
Charcuterie boards are beautiful. But maybe you’re not ready to invest in one yet. A regular, wood cutting board works just fine. If you end up loving it, you might consider paying for a fancy board or set. But, for today, you likely have these items sitting around your house can can use them without spending a dime.
If you do decide you want to splurge on a proper board, we’ve got some affordable options for you below.
Basic household items you can use for your charcuterie board:
- Wood cutting board or cardboard boxes
- Spreading knives and mini serving spoons
- Holiday cookie cutters
- Faux flowers and (or) dried greenery
- Bowls, mini containers, candy dishes
2. Wondering what to put on a charcuterie board? It’s easy as 1-2-3.
And by 1-2-3, I mean:
- One condiment
- Two different crackers and fruits
- Three different meats and cheese
We could talk about flavor profiles, texture, and color, and if that means something to you, go with it! But if you’re a total charcuterie board rookie, just focus on putting one condiment with two crackers and fruits and then three meats and cheeses. The result will be a simple board that you can stick with or build out with more items if you want to!
Learn all the bizarre and extreme ways to get meat for cheap.
3. The best charcuterie boards feature sweet, salty, savory, and spicy flavors — all four.
When mixed and matched across the board, these four flavors create a balance that feels complex to your guests, but since you know the secret, you know it’s easy.
In addition to meats, cheeses, and crackers, you could also add nuts, dried fruits, veggies, dips, jams, honey, mustards, candy, and cookies.
To get a good price on the spendier items like meats and cheeses, ask your local deli what’s on sale (or in season). Costco is a great place to buy bulk spreads, meats, and cheeses too. Aldi also has excellent charcuterie options at low prices. Hit up Dollar Tree for crackers and cookies.
See all produce deals.
4. Make a star party food platter with cheap kitchen tongs.
Again, the dollar store is your party-planning BFF. Spend $5 on five pairs of tongs. If your tongs are small, keep them intact. But if they’re large, pull the plastic ends off (unless you want a ginormous star, in which case carry on!).
Lay wax paper down under your tong star and fill it with all the charcuterie goodness.
5. Turn a Pringles can into a food holder to create charcuterie shapes.
Save your empty Pringles cans and cut them lengthwise. This creates little boats that’ll help keep the messier board items contained. Best part? You can customize the sizes of your Pringles boats and build a Christmas tree board!
6. Use a wine glass to make meat roses for a holiday wreath charcuterie board.
What You’ll Need
- Hard meats like salami
- Wine glass (Use varying sizes of wine glasses to create different sizes of roses)
- Ribbon for your wreath
- Crackers, fruit, candy, cheese of your choice
What You’ll Do
- Fold the meat around the rim of the glass.
- Create three or four layers of meat.
- Hold the meat as you flip the glass over.
- Guests can peel the slices of meat off the roses.
7. Create your own gourmet cheese log to level up a simple charcuterie board.
Choose any combination of ingredients and create a custom gourmet cheese log to make a simple charcuterie board look fancy.
What You’ll Need
- Soft cheese log (goat cheese works beautifully)
- Wax paper
- Dried fruits like cranberries or blueberries
- Dried nuts like pecans or pistachios
- Fresh herbs like rosemary
- Edible flowers
What You’ll Do
- Organize the herbs, fruit, nuts, or flowers in the design you want the cheese log to showcase
- Roll your cheese with wax paper on the cutting board
- Place the cheese (still rolled in wax paper) in the fridge until you’re ready to place it on the charcuterie board.
8. Make cucumber slice Christmas trees for your food platter.
Give some dimension to your board with these standing cucumber Christmas trees!
What You’ll Need
- Vegetable peeler or knife
- Tomatoes or radishes
What You’ll Do
- Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to cut cucumber slices thin.
- Weave each slice on a toothpick, creating a tree shape.
- Stick the bottom of the toothpick into a radish or tomato for stability.
- Attach a cheese cutout (see below!) for the tree topper.
9. Use any leftover toothpicks, try creating festive cheese and olive bites for your board.
Create colorful skewers to serve alongside your meats by adding olives, cheese, and tomatoes to a toothpick. You can use whichever ingredients you choose, but make sure the pieces are bite-sized for easy and convenient snacking.
10. Use cookie cutters to add any shape to cheese, fruits, and veggies.
Brie gets the spotlight with this one. Cut a shape out of the middle and fill it with fruit jam or chutney.
Or shape any cheese to add a special touch to your board.
You can also use an apple corer to cut out little shapes in cheese slices.
11. Cut zig-zags at the halfway point to give a kiwi some personality.
Slice a kiwi in half and then use a small paring knife to remove triangle-shaped pieces, creating a zig-zag pattern. Alternatively, you could cut the zig-zags into the whole kiwi, ensuring your cuts all extend to the middle, and then take the two pieces apart to reveal the kiwi shapes.
12. Create a grazing table with three Dollar Tree supplies for $20.
Dollar Tree is a hotspot for charcuterie board inspiration. You can use cookie tins, baking sheets, boxes, platters, and whatever other flat surface calls to you.
Head over to the seasonal aisle and then fill your little green cart with foods like cheese, crackers, cookies, ciders, and more. Check out the grazing table I put together. It features three, holiday charcuterie containers full of goodies. And the best part? My total came to just $20 for everything you see.
Learn how to save money at Dollar Tree.
13. It’s not all meat and cheese! Try a breakfast-themed charcuterie board.
A waffle, cookie, and hot cocoa board on Christmas morning, anyone?
You don’t have to play by the meat, cheese, and cracker rules every time. Not only does a breakfast charcuterie board not play by the rules, but it can streamline your Christmas morning too.
(Check out this Dash snowflake mini waffle maker to keep your board bite-size and on theme).
14. Charcuterie board ideas for kids using a recycled egg carton.
This is such a fun snack for kids. Use an old egg carton to organize some of their favorite bite-size snacks. Or let them build it themselves using ingredients on your board. Serve it alongside your adult-size charcuterie board so kids can feel a part of the snacking action.
15. Prepare a Christmas board fit for Santa and his elves.
Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this sweet charcuterie board? Stamp mini pancakes lightly with snowflake cookie cutters to make a festive imprint. Fill cups of hot cocoa topped with cheerful marshmallow snowmen. Peppermint white chocolate pretzels, butter cookies, gingerbread, and bananas fill out the other treats. Decorative pomegranates will make for delicious cocktails when you release their juicy seeds later in the day. Add some pinecones to spruce up the board.
16. File this cornucopia board away for your next Thanksgiving feast.
When it comes to the different holidays, the charcuterie board ideas are endless. We love this cornucopia board that puts carbs in the spotlight. A horn-shaped loaf of bread takes center stage, with bunches of grapes bursting from it. Use leaf-shaped cookie cutters to turn ordinary slices of cheese into yummy adornments. Add apples, salami roses, and cheese logs covered in pomegranate seeds and you are golden.
Dare we suggest turning that horn-shaped bread into Santa’s hat to fit in with a Christmas theme? You betcha.
17. Spring forward to Easter.
Let’s be honest, it is never too early to consider the spring holidays and plan an Easter-themed charcuterie board. For the centerpieces of your board, scoop out the contents of two small boules of bread. Fill each with your favorite dip (store-bought is fine). Use the leftovers from the tops of the boule to create bunny ears. Then, outfit the top of the dip with olives for the eyes, green onions for the whiskers, and cherry tomatoes for the nose.