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Charcuterie board ideas on a constrained budget don’t have to lack creativity. It’s absolutely possible to keep it simple, stay under budget, look fancy, and wow your friends and family all at the same time.
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. We’ve even done a cost comparison to help you get the cheapest charcuterie board ingredients.
1. Create a charcuterie kit using basic household items.
Charcuterie boards are beautiful. They have that handle that really makes the thing look nice. 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, but as far as today is concerned, it’s likely you have these items sitting around your house. And hey, don’t feel like you have to stick to this list; it’s just a springboard.
What You’ll Need:
- 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 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, focus on 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. Hit up Dollar Tree for crackers and cookies.
See all produce deals.
4. Create a grazing table with three Dollar Tree charcuterie boards 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 boards full of goodies. My total came to $20!
Learn how to save money at Dollar Tree.
5. 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.
6. 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 (something like goat cheese)
- 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.
7. 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.
8. It’s not all meat and cheese! Try a themed breakfast 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).
9. Use these tricks to keep your charcuterie board easy but make it look fancy.
Cut zigzags at the halfway point to give kiwis personality.
Assign olives, cherry tomatoes, and more to toothpicks where they can stand out.
Use an apple slicer to add shape to cheese.
10. Make Christmas tree cucumber slices for your food platter.
Cut cucumber slices real thin, then weave each slice on a toothpick. Stick the bottom of the toothpick into a radish, and attach a cheese cutout for the tree topper.
11. Use empty egg cartons and wax paper to make a kids’ charcuterie board.
12. 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.
13. Turn a Pringles can into a food holder.
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!
14. Prepare a Christmas board fit for Santa and his elves.
Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this sweet charcuterie board idea? 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 later in the day when you release their juicy seeds. Add some pinecones to spruce up the board.
15. File this away for you next Thanksgiving bounty.
When it comes to the different holidays, the charcuterie board ideas are endless. We love this cornucopia board that puts a carb 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 adornments. Add apples, salami roses, and cheese logs covered in pomegranate seeds. You are golden.
Dare we suggest you could turn that horn-shaped bread into Santa’s hat to fit in with a Christmas theme? Go with your heart.
16. Spring forward to Easter.
Let’s be honest, it’s never too early to consider the spring holidays. Whip up a charcuterie board that will really make the Easter Bunny hop into action. 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). We’re thinking spinach artichoke dip or a traditional veggie dip. Use leftovers from the tops of the boule to create bunny ears. Then outfit the top of the dip with olives for eyes, green onions for whiskers, and cherry tomatoes for a nose. Surround this goodness with fresh veggies and any extra bread.