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How to Make a Grazing Table for 40

Learn how to make a grazing table for 40 people! Includes a shopping list for all of the grocery items you will need.

Ready to upgrade your charcuterie game? The first time I made a grazing table for a party, I was hooked!

Grazing tables are a super fun way to provide dinner or snacks for a larger group, even weddings! Learn how to make a grazing table is easy, it just takes time, and a little preparation.

This post is intended for a larger group of 40+ people. If you have less people, check out this post: How to Make Charcuterie for 15.

Grazing Table for 40

"You are a lifesaver. I'm 34 weeks pregnant, finishing work this week, and it's two weeks til Christmas. My fiance has invited 20 people around on Saturday for baby shower/leaving drinks, and I could not get a caterer for love or money. Neither do I have two brain cells to rub together to put on a grazing table. This is absolutely brilliant, thank you!!!"

Decide the Location of your Grazing Board

A sanitized countertop is a great option for your grazing board. The one pictured stretched about 7 feet wide, a bit over 1 foot wide.

You can choose to lay butcher paper or parchment paper down, or put the items directly on the countertop.

I chose to use parchment paper for easy clean up.

I did have to use a double layer of parchment, because one layer was not quite wide enough. I had the two sheets overlap a bit to give more width.

If you don't have a countertop available to you, consider using a portable card table.

Ideally, guests will be able to graze from both sides, but that is not always possible.

Grazing Table for 40

Shop for your Grazing Table Ingredients

Now, it's time to get shopping! The ingredients for a grazing table can be expensive. My secret weapon? Aldi!

Aldi has wonderful specialty cheeses and cured meats. They also have a good assortment of crackers, fruits and nuts, especially during the holiday season. It's a great place to get the bulk of your charcuterie ingredients!

The ingredients for the spread pictured in this post cost around $200, totally from Aldi. This makes the cost for feeding people at this party around $5 per person, since there were 40 guests in attendance. Not too shabby!

The shopping list at the very bottom of this post is designed to be HEAVY portions for 40 people. If you're serving dinner in addition to your grazing table, cut the list in HALF to have the right amount of charcuterie appetizer for 40 people.

You don't need to splurge on every single ingredient. Buy the staple meats and cheese that everyone enjoys, and just a few special high-end cheeses or meats to mix throughout your grazing board.

Grazing Table for 40

How to arrange your Grazing Table ingredients 

Arranging the ingredients on your grazing table is truly more of an art than a science. Because of that, I've included suggestions below, but want to encourage you to do what feels best! 

  • Add height: Add 1-2 serving small plates or serving trays. If you have a pedestal server, this is a great time to use it! If you don't, I like to put a serving plate on top of an upside-down bowl to make a pedestal.
  • Place bowls: Place 2-3 small bowls for dips and nuts. 
  • Dips and jams: Place these in small bowls or in their original containers, with a small spoon. 
  • Add cheese: Cheese is truly the star of charcuterie tables, although charcuterie technically means meat! Cheese is ALWAYS the first thing to be eaten! 
    • Place a variety of sliced and whole chunks of cheese on the table. 
    • If you place a whole chunk of cheese (like a wheel of brie, or blue cheese wedge), make sure you have a cheese knife placed by it, and slice the first slice. People are typically timid about being the first ones to cut into a whole piece of cheese!
    • Arrange sliced cheeses in both tall piles and lines for visual interest. 
  • Add fruit and veggies: I typically add fruit and veggies next because I want to make sure that there is COLOR interspersed throughout the grazing table. If you hold these items until last, you'll have to squeeze them into the empty spaces. 
  • Add meat: Now, it's time to add the meat! I like making tall piles of salami circles. You can also lay meat slices next to your lines of cheese slices, or in a circle around a chunk of cheese. Make a few salami roses for visual interest, if you have time!
  • Add everything else: Now, add nuts, desserts and crackers. Fill in all of the gaps and any empty serving trays that you have left. If you don't have space for all of these, no worries! You can replenish them throughout the night. 
Grazing Table for 40

In addition to the food, there are just a few non-food items you may need to complete your grazing table:

  • Toothpicks: Place these close to olives or other small items that can be skewered. 
  • Serving tongs: Place these around the edges so that your guests can grab their items hands free. 
  • Small plates: Enough for each of your guests to have two rounds of charcuterie. 
  • Napkins: Cocktail sized napkins work great!
  • Spoons: 1 for each dip, jam or mustard. 
  • Cheese knives: 1 for each whole block of cheese you plan to serve. I typically leave brie and blue cheese wedges whole. 

Looking for a healthy option? You may like: How to make a Fruit Charcuterie Board

Grazing Table for 40

Remember to give yourself enough time to get the board together!

For the grazing table pictured in the post, it took my husband and I about 1 hour total to get everything set.

And remember, cheese can sit out at room temperature for about 4 hours. So, set the timer and encourage your guests to enjoy the grazing table when they arrive!

Grazing Table for 40

How to Make a Grazing Table for 40 People

Yield: Serves 40
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Learn how to make a grazing table for 40 people! Includes a shopping list for all of the grocery items you will need.

Materials

  • 2 soft cheese rounds (brie, camembert)
  • 10 ounces goat cheese logs (plain, herbs or fruit covered)
  • 50 ounces affordable cheese (cheddar, Colby jack, gouda)
  • 25 ounces specialty cheese (blue cheese wedges, aged cheddar, truffle cheese, wine-soaked cheese, Manchego, Port Salut, fontina)
  • 40 ounces affordable meat (salami, summer sausage)
  • 20 ounces specialty meats (prosciutto, speck, capicola, Iberico ham, sliced chorizo)
  • 2 varieties jam and/or mustard (one sweet, one savory) I like fig or sour cherry jam and/or pepper relish, onion jam and whole grain mustards.
  • 20 ounces nuts (spiced, candied or chocolate covered)
  • 8 ounces olives or pickled goods (peppadew peppers and stuffed olives are always a hit)
  • 24 ounces prepared dips and spreads (spinach artichoke dip, dill dip, etc.)
  • 80 ounces crackers, crostini and flatbreads, assorted
  • 20 ounces berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes)
  • 20 ounces vegetables (grape tomatoes, sliced vegetables)
  • 15 ounces dessert (chocolate covered pretzels, small cookies, brownies, truffles, pirouette cookies

Tools

  • Toothpicks: Place these close to olives or other small items that can be skewered. I use shot glasses to hold my toothpicks.
  • Serving tongs: Place these around the edges so that your guests can grab their items hands free.
  • Small plates: Enough for each of your guests to have two rounds of charcuterie.
  • Napkins: Cocktail sized napkins work great!
  • Spoons: 1 for each dip, jam or mustard.
  • Cheese knives: 1 for each whole block of cheese you plan to serve. I typically leave brie and blue cheese wedges whole.
  • Forks: Enough for each of your guests to have two rounds of charcuterie.

Instructions

  1. Add height: Add 1-2 serving small plates or serving trays. If you have a pedestal server, this is a great time to use it! If you don't, I like to put a serving plate on top of an upside-down bowl to make a pedestal.
  2. Place bowls: Place 2-3 small bowls for dips and nuts.
  3. Dips and jams: Place these in small bowls or in their original containers, with a small spoon.
  4. Add cheese: Cheese is ALWAYS the first thing to be eaten! Place a variety of sliced and whole chunks of cheese on the table. If you place a whole chunk of cheese (like a wheel of brie, or blue cheese wedge), make sure you have a cheese knife placed by it, and slice the first slice. People are typically timid about being the first ones to cut into a whole piece of cheese! Arrange sliced cheeses in both tall piles and in lines for visual interest.
  5. Add fruit and veggies: I typically add fruit and veggies next because I want to make sure that there is COLOR interspersed throughout the grazing table. If you hold these items until last, you'll have to squeeze them into the empty spaces. Arrange them in piles and in lines flanking the cheese.
  6. Add meat: Now, it's time to add the meat! I like making tall piles of salami circles. You can also lay meat slices next to your lines of cheese slices, or in a circles around a large chunk of cheese. Make a few salami roses for visual interest, if you have time!
  7. Add everything else: Now, add nuts, desserts and crackers. Fill in all of the gaps and any empty areas. If you don't have space for all of these ingredients, no worries! You can replenish them throughout the night.
  8. Place all of the serving utensils, and enjoy!

Notes

This list serves about 40 for heavier appetizers. If other appetizers and/or a meal will be served, halve the ingredient list.

Looking for a list for a smaller group? Check out my instructions on making a charcuterie board for 15 people.

Did you make this?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Carley

Saturday 30th of July 2022

We want to make a grazing table for our wedding this October. Our guest count will be 60-80 people. How do we adjust the numbers to make sure we get the right amounts? We aren't worried about running low since this will just be for cocktail hour. Thank you!

Rebecca Deakle

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

In the story you say its for 50 people for dinner...this list says 15 people. can you please clairify. We are doing this at our micro wedding around dinner time so I want to make sure people get enough food. Plus I am from the south. lol

Savannah

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Hello Michelle. I have a few questions and just need tips lol. I’m doing a grazing table for a wedding reception for around 200 people. There will also be dinner served so this will just be for snacking on all night. The bride wants mainly fruits and vegetables and adding a few cheeses and meats. I’m not sure how much to charge and any tips you could give me would be great!

Tassie Byrd

Wednesday 6th of July 2022

@Michelle Goth, When I go to Aldi they do not have much selection, who is your second go to on a budget?

Michelle Goth

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Hi Savannah! Since she wants it to be more fruit and veggie heavy, I'd at least double the fruits and veggies that this calls for, and halve the meats and veggies.

Lucky for you, fruits and veggies are cheaper per pound than meats and cheese! This should help you build a nice little cushion into your pricing.

I typically charge $8-10 per person for big spreads of charcuterie, and my costs are $4-5 per person. This is shopping at Aldi for ingredients, mostly.

Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] if you need more help! GOOD LUCK!

Marnee Geer

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Thank you so much for you information. I'm trying to plan a stationary cocktail hour table. The suggestions you made for food was exactly what I was thinking, but had no clue how much to buy for 80-100 guest for the hour long event. I didn't want a lot of waste, but also didn't want anyone to go hungry before dinner is served.

Michelle Goth

Monday 7th of March 2022

Marnee,

I'm so glad this was helpful to you! You've got this! :)

- Michelle

Niusha

Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

What do you put your gaze on? any recommendations?

Michelle Goth

Monday 7th of February 2022

Hi Niusha! I usually put it on the countertop, and use kraft paper or parchment paper to line the countertop! You could also use a table (or folding table)!

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