How to Make Charcuterie for 15
Learn how to make a charcuterie board for 15 people! Includes shopping list and tips and tricks for arranging.
Ready to upgrade your charcuterie board game? I’m here to help! Through 2020 and 2021, I made hundreds of charcuterie boards! A friend requested that I make her a small board for her wedding anniversary. She posted a photo of the board I made for her, and the requests started flooding in.
If you are preparing for a larger group, check out my original post: How to Make a Grazing Table for 40 people.
It was the perfect way to bring joy to people staying at home. And once life started happening again, I even did charcuterie cups for a wedding, which was so fun!
This post is intended to help you put together charcuterie for 15 people. It includes a list of equipment you’ll need and tips and tricks for arranging your charcuterie.
“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 for your grazing table. A sanitized countertop is a great option for your grazing board. The one pictured stretched about 7 feet wide, and a little 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 each clean up. I did have to use a double layer of parchment, because one layer was not quite wide enough. 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 isn't always possible.
- 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! Place 2-3 small bowls on the surface 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 these colorful items next to the cheese.
- 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.
Step 1: Decide the Location of your Charcuterie Board
You may be stressed that you don’t have a board big enough to hold everything. That’s okay!
A sanitized countertop or a portable table is a great option for your grazing board.
You can choose to lay butcher paper or parchment paper down, or put the items directly on the countertop.
You can also make multiple boards to spread across different rooms of the house or party.
Step 2: Shop for your Charcuterie Board Ingredients
With the rising price of well, everything, putting together charcuterie for a group can be quite expensive.
I typically shop for my charcuterie ingredients at Aldi. They have a wonderful assortment of specialty cheese, cured meats, crackers, dried fruit and nuts, especially during the holiday season!
I can typically get everything I need for my charcuterie boards around $5 per person at Aldi.
If you don’t have access to Aldi, I recommend using another budget option like Walmart, Sam’s Club or Costco. While they won’t have super specialty options, you’ll be able to get the basics at an affordable price.
You truly don’t need to splurge to make a beautiful spread!
Step 3: Arrange your Charcuterie Board ingredients
Making a charcuterie board is truly more of an art than a science, and you get better at it the more of them you do!
I’ve included suggestions below to help you make a beautiful board on your first try, and several photos of different boards that I’ve made for inspiration!
One of my favorite ways to arrange charcuterie is by using the concepts of “rivers and ponds,” making wavy ribbons of cheese or meat and nestling varying sizes of bowls or piles of items next to the “rivers.”
Equipment needed for Charcuterie:
Here are a few items you’ll need to facilitate your charcuterie spread:
- 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.
Allow yourself at least an hour to arrange your board. You will get faster the more that you do! You can reduce this time by having all of your cheese and veggies pre-sliced.
Many hands make the work light, so recruit a friend to help. Remember to give yourself enough time to get the board together!
Remember, cheese can sit out at room temperature for up to 4 hours. This includes the time it’s been out while you’re doing the arranging. So, encourage your guests to enjoy the charcuterie board as soon as they arrive.