IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How to build the perfect charcuterie board, according to experts

Charcuterie boards are a common hosting essential — experts share the best boards and accessories to shop.
Whether you’re a hosting pro or not, our charcuterie board guide includes everything you need to impress guests.
Whether you’re a hosting pro or not, our charcuterie board guide includes everything you need to impress guests.Becca Delman / NBC

Charcuterie boards can make any occasion feel fancy and festive, be it a casual book club meeting or a large wedding. The best part? You can get as creative as you want with them.

However, building one successfully takes practice whether you’re a hosting pro or not. To help you create a delicious and beautiful charcuterie board, we asked food experts about what to keep in mind — they also shared their favorite ones.

SKIP AHEAD Best charcuterie boards | A step-by-step guide to assembling your charcuterie board

How we picked the best charcuterie boards and accessories

When shopping for a charcuterie board, our experts recommend keeping the following factors in mind:

  • Type of spread: Your charcuterie spread — meaning the different foods you’ll be presenting — directly impact the type of board and tools you’ll need. Consider whether your focus is strictly meats or cheeses, or if you’re adding spreadables like jams or honey, fruits, nuts and other extras that’ll require more room (and more flavor and texture considerations).
  • Board size and food amount: The size of your board depends on how much food you’re preparing and how many guests you’re feeding. Keep in mind, you should have a minimum of 2 to 3 ounces of meat and cheese per person for an appetizer, and double that amount if it’s the main course, according to Sarah Simms, co-founder of cheese and charcuterie shop Lady & Larder.
  • Material: Most charcuterie boards are made of wood or marble — both are aesthetically pleasing, and each has its own unique benefits. A wooden board is a favorite among our experts because it’s sturdy, durable and often comes with side ridges, dips and handles to add space and avoid spillage. Marble boards can keep cheeses and meats at a colder temperature, according to our experts.

Best charcuterie boards of 2023

You can use all kinds of boards for your charcuterie spread, including cheese boards and even cutting boards. Keep in mind that the difference between a charcuterie board and a cheese board is essentially what you put on it — a charcuterie spread is a combination of meats and cheeses, while a cheese plate only requires cheese, according to our experts. Below, we rounded up expert-recommended and Select staff-favorite boards to consider.

Mark & Graham Wood and Marble Appetizer Serving Platter

Mark and Graham offers a variety of attractive, classy boards that you can personalize with an engraved monogram, says Emmy Rener, founder of cheese and charcuterie shop Sophisticated Spreads. Made from a combination of wood and marble, this serving platter comes with three small condiment bowls for your extras and spreadables, like jams, honey, olives and more. The brand recommends wiping the platter clean with a damp cloth, and warns that the marble is naturally porous, so it might stain from extensive contact with oily or colorful foods.

Size: 16 in. L x 2 in. W x 0.75 in. H | Material: Acacia wood and marble | Included accessories: 3 condiment bowls 

CTFT Cheese Board and Knife Set

I’ve had this cheese board for several years, and love its sleek design, large surface area and raised edges that prevent any food or juices from falling off the sides. There's also a hidden drawer with multiple accessories, including four small cheese knives, two pieces of chalk and two slate labels that I can write on. The sharp spade knife can cut hard cheeses into wedges, the narrow plane knife can easily slice semi-hard and soft cheeses, and the pronged cheese fork is great if you have smaller, bite-sized cheeses, according to Rener. 

Size: 13 in. L x 13 in. W x 1.4 in. H | Material: Bamboo wood | Included accessories: 4 cheese knives, 2 ceramic bowls, 2 slate labels, 2 pieces of chalk

Mark & Graham Wood and Marble Beveled Cheese Board

This engravable cheese board is a favorite of Select senior social commerce editor Rosalie Tinelli. “As a cheese-lover, I often receive boards of all shapes and sizes as gifts. But this one feels like an upgrade from your standard everyday one,” she says. “I especially like the weight — it feels heavy and good quality, and its shape and mix of materials make it feel more special for hosting.” 

Size: 10 in. L x 6 in. W x 1 in. H (small); 16 in. L x 9 in. W x 1 in. H (large) | Material: Acacia wood and marble | Included accessories: n/a 

Statement Home Jack of All Trays Acrylic

This acrylic tray from Statement Home is one of Rener’s charcuterie favorites because its raised edges keep everything in place. The brand also offers reversible inserts to better match your personal style, according to Rener — they include bamboo, stone, confetti and more.  

Size: 20 in. L x12 in. W x 2 in. H | Material: Acrylic | Included accessories: n/a 

Heath Ceramics Coupe Serving Platter 

This circular serving platter is an elegant and attractive base to assemble your charcuterie spread on, according to Simms. It’s both microwave- and dishwasher-safe, and comes in three colors: white, slate and aqua.

Size: 13.25 in. D | Material: Ceramic | Included accessories: n/a 

Compact Swivel Cheese Board with Knives

This round board folds into itself for compact storage but expands to make room for all of your favorite treats. It has four levels that let you designate a specific food to each one if you prefer they don’t touch. It also includes a slide-out drawer equipped with cheese knives. Choose between a 13-inch diameter size that features two cheese knives (an all-purpose, stainless steel cheese knife and a cheese fork) or a larger 17-inch size that includes an additional flat cheese knife.

Size: 13 in. D (small); 17 in. D (large) | Material: Bamboo wood | Included accessories: 2 cheese knives (small); 3 cheese knives (large)

Williams Sonoma Marble Honeycomb Cheese Board with Cheese Knives

I was given this marble board and it’s as functional as it is display-worthy. The board is adorned with an etched honeycomb pattern and small gold-finished honeybees. It also comes with three stainless steel, brass-finished cheese knives in a matching design, including a pronged knife for hard cheeses, an oval knife for soft cheeses and a wide-blade knife for semi-hard cheeses, according to the brand. There’s also a round version

Size: 16 in. L x 9 in. W x ¾ in. H | Material: Marble | Included accessories: 3 cheese knives 

Mark & Graham Scalloped Marble Cheese Board

For something small and simple, consider this Mark & Graham marble board, a favorite of Rener’s due to its whimsical scalloped design. If you’re stuck on unique gift ideas, you can also customize it with a monogram. Keep in mind, the brand recommends hand washing only. 

Size: 15 in. L x 11 in. W x 0.5 in. H | Material: Marble | Included accessories: n/a

Caraway Cutting Board Set

There are many reasons to love this cutting board, according to Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin. It includes boards in three sizes, so you can choose one that makes the most sense for your spread. “You can also make up to three charcuterie boards at once — for example, sometimes I do one with meat, one vegetarian and a nut-free one, depending on who I’m serving,” says Malin. The boards also have built-in recessed indents to keep food that tends to roll away (like olives or chocolate covered almonds) in place. Plus, they’re easy to clean: Malin washes them with warm water and dish soap, and they dry quickly.

Size: 17 in. L x 12 in. W (large); 14 in. L x 10 in. W (medium); 10 in. L x 7 in. W (small) | Material: Birch wood | Included accessories: n/a

Sophistiplate Charcuterie Board with Placement Guide

If you’re a charcuterie beginner, the visual map on this one indicates where to place cheeses, meats, fruits and more. The board, recommended by Rener, measures 22 inches by 17 inches, and it comes with a handle to ease transport. 

Size:  22 in. L x 17 in. W | Material: Wood | Included accessories: n/a

Turntable Cheese Board

If you’re a music lover, consider this unique board with a turntable-inspired design. It comes with a removable slate platter designed to look like a record, as well as a wooden outer base to hold the platter. Lift up the record player “needle” and you’ll find a hidden cheese slicer too. 

Size: 9 in. L x 9 in. W x 2 in. H | Material: Slate and wood | Included accessories: Cheese slicer, removable platter

Villa Acacia Marble Cutting Board

Marble helps food stay cold, so this board is great for keeping meats and cheeses fresh, according to Malin. The board also doesn’t tend to absorb odors or colors, so she can serve colorful fruits or veggies (like beets) without worrying about stains, she says. Plus, it sits on non-slip rubber feet, which allows Malin to easily lift and move it. “I think the elevation is a nice way to showcase a beautiful board you created,” she adds.

Size:  16 in. L x 12 in. W x ½ in. H | Material: Marble | Included accessories: n/a

Doodle By Meg For Deny Zodiac Round Cutting Board

This board, recommended by Select production coordinator Kelsey Fredricks, displays your astrological sign, six of which are currently available: Taurus, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Pisces. The printed side has a semi-gloss finish and is purely decorative (meaning you shouldn’t place or cut food on it), but you can use the unprinted side for food prep and charcuterie displays, according to the brand.

Size: 11.5 in. D | Material: Fiberboard | Included accessories: n/a

A step-by-step guide to assembling your charcuterie board

One of the most important considerations when crafting a charcuterie board is how to arrange the foods. Below, our experts share their step-by-step guide for assembly.

  1. Consider what foods you’ll be incorporating. There are several delicious food combinations you can make on a charcuterie board. But one thing remains consistent among our experts: it’s the perfect time to work with flavors you love and get creative with other tastes and textures. “When you have something out of the ordinary [on your board], that’s when it becomes a conversation piece. Charcuterie boards actually have a lot of ways of getting people connected,” says Serge Krikorian, owner and head chef of Vibrant Occasions Catering.
  2. Prioritize quality over quantity. “If you take the time to source intentionally, your board will always be delicious,” says Simms, who recommends checking out your local farmers market to find out what is in season near you.
  3. Select a good quality serving board. Choose the right sized board to fit all of your foods without them overflowing, and consider ones with indented edges to catch any loose bites or leftover juices. Some boards might also have specific dips for ramekins or handles for easier transport and storage, according to our experts.
  4. Determine your arrangement. A basic stack of meats and cheeses won’t be aesthetically pleasing — they need to be assembled the right way. For meats, a salami river and prosciutto ribbons are some of the prettiest and easiest ways to make meat look good, allowing them to flow across or around your board, says Rener. Don’t be afraid to work with different colors and textures, too: red grapes, for example, can make a board look more elevated compared to green grapes, and adding a darker berry, like blackberries, on top can add more height, texture and a contrasting color, according to Rener.
  5. Add bowls and other decorations. To hold loose foods like nuts and olives, consider a ramekin or small bowls for extra flair. Mini dishes are also great for jams and spreads, which not only makes them look good, but keeps them from touching other foods on the board.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust Select?

Mili Godio is an editor at Select who has covered a variety of home and kitchen articles, including meal kit delivery services, indoor gardening kits and more. For this article, she interviewed four chefs and charcuterie experts and compiled their favorite boards to shop. She also researched dozens of charcuterie boards to find ones that aligned with their guidance.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.