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Ideas for Your Grazing Board

Ideas for Your Grazing Board

Photo of a round wooden board on a gray cement counter top. Grazing board is arranged on wooden board and includes breadsticks, dried figs, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, smoked cheese, a bowl of jam, green olives, raisins, whole almonds, and fresh herb leaves. The text "Ideas for Your Grazing Board" and the Big Plate logo are on the photo.

Everybody loves a grazing board, and we’re full of fun ideas and inspiration on the subject! Lately they’re often called charcuterie boards. Now technically, a charcuterie board is a collection of cold cooked meats. But most people like an assortment of ready-to-eat foods (usually including cold cooked meats) arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner on a serving board or tray. Therefore the term “grazing board” is more accurate. But whatever you call them, these boards are a fun, easy, appealing way to serve food.

Before reading further, you may want to watch this video. Chef Angie Ragan shows us how she assembles a grazing board. Does she look familiar? She was a finalist in Season 1 of Gordon Ramsey’s Next Level Chef!

Use grazing boards for parties, events, snack time, or even full meals. Make your board fancy or casual. Customize it for any age group. Throw it together with the stuff in the fridge, or plan it completely with the finest items you can buy. Most importantly, have fun and make it an expression of YOU!

Photo of a grazing board arranged in a shallow wooden serving tray sitting on a white tablecloth. Surrounding the tray are plates, glasses, green plants, and a cutting board with bread. The classic grazing board consists of dates, cashews, a variety of hard and soft cheeses, breadsticks, pears, honey, grapes, dried apricots, green and brown olives, and almonds.

Elements of a Classic Grazing Board

Start with cold cooked meats. Next add in a variety of cheeses. Third, choose savory accompaniments. Then, add some sweet elements. Finally, offer crackers and/or bread.

Photo of a round wooden cutting board sitting on a plank wooden table. On the cutting board are arranged a variety of cold, cured meats, including salami, prosciutto, and sausage. Two glasses of wine stand near the board.

Meat Ideas for a Grazing Board

salami, pastrami, pepperoni, prosciutto, ham, turkey breast, summer sausage, rillettes, saucisson sec, soppressata, mortadella, Spanish chorizo, ‘nduja, bresaola, pancetta, Jamon serrano, smoked kielbasa, paté, smoked salmon, meatballs

Photo of a round wooden cutting board sitting on a plank wooden table. Arranged on the board are a variety of hard and soft cheeses with a cheese knife, walnuts, mint leaves, crackers, and a glass of red wine.

Cheese Ideas for a Grazing Board

Soft Cheeses: pimiento cheese, goat cheese, cream cheese, brie, triple cream, havarti, burrata, cheese ball

Hard Cheeses: Monterey Jack, Colby, Swiss, cheddar, Manchego, gouda, gruyere, parmesan, vegan cheese

Funky Cheeses: gorgonzola, blue cheese

A slice of a tree trunk, a wooden cutting board, and a green lace table cloth are sitting on a wood plank table. On the boards and cloth are a loaf of rye bread topped with sunflower seeds, chestnuts, blue cheese, almonds, walnuts, a bowl of green olives, and a bowl of dried mushrooms.

Savory Ideas for a Grazing Board

nuts (almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts), olives, cocktail onions, cornichons, pickles, pepperoncini peppers, tapenade, mustard, hummus, ranch, veggies, balsamic dip

Photo of chocolate covered strawberries, blueberries, mint leaves, heart-shaped candy, cheese cubes, dried cranberries, and crackers.

Sweet Ideas for a Grazing Board

candied nuts, fresh fruit (figs, grapes, cantaloupe, honey dew, pears, peaches, apples, oranges, kiwi), berries (strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), dried fruit (apricots, apples, dates, raisins, pineapple, mango, cherries, craisins), fruit butter, jam, jelly, chocolate, marmalade, candy, cake, muffins, cookies

Photo of a white rectangular serving tray surrounded by small white bowls sitting on a white background. In the bowls are cubes of cheese, sauces, and chickpeas. On the tray are breadsticks, sliced and toasted bread, and a variety of crackers.

Bread/Cracker Ideas for a Grazing Board

sliced baguette, mini toasts, pita crackers, crisps, potato chips, corn chips, crackers of any kind, pretzels, breadsticks, tortillas, croissants, hot rolls, sandwich rolls, focaccia, any fresh bread (sliced or served for pulling apart), goldfish, bread bowl

Photo of about 23 wooden boards in a variety of shapes and sizes stacked on each other and arranged on a weathered wooden background.

Ideas for Serving a Grazing Board

cutting board, serving tray, butcher paper, TV tray, big plate, baking trays of any size, lazy Susan, slate, marble, large tile, wood slab, shallow box, cheese board, tiered serving trays, butcher block, large baking dish, cafeteria tray, charger, ironstone, cake stand, pizza peel

Photo of a grazing board arranged on a wooden serving board on a burlap tablecloth. Wooden dishes, wine, whole persimmons, flatware, walnuts, and crackers surround the board. Grazing board includes crackers, persimmons, kumquats, a variety of cured meats, stuffed red peppers, olives, and pearl onions.

Tips for Arranging a Grazing Board

  1. Always remember to work in odd numbers (for example: 3, 5, or 7 different types of cheese) for maximum visual appeal.
  2. Importantly, keep “wet” items in bowls so they don’t ruin the foods they’re next to.
  3. Similarly, make sure the board is dry before placing crackers or anything crispy on it.
  4. It’s usually easiest to work from the inside out.
  5. First, arrange your cheeses, separating them around the board. Slice, cube, or provide a cheese knife for soft cheeses.
  6. Then add your meats, folded or rolled for easy grabbing.
  7. Next add savory & sweet elements, separating foods of similar color. When possible, place items next to each other that should be eaten together (fruit near soft cheeses, mustard near a meat or pretzel, etc.).
  8. Remember to provide a variety of textures.
  9. Then fill in gaps with crackers or bread.
  10. Finally, sprinkle nuts or seeds in any small “holes.”
  11. Make the food touch. Negative space isn’t appetizing on a grazing board.
Photo of a breakfast-themed grazing board arranged on a wooden cutting board sitting on a cream colored kitchen towel on a wooden table. Board is surrounded by blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, a whole peach, and half a red apple. Grazing board includes a bowl of syrup, mini pancakes, pats of butter, sliced apple, sliced peaches, blueberries, cubes of cantaloupe, pieces of pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, and bacon.

Theme Idea: Breakfast Board

Breakfast Board – waffles, peanut butter, fruit, bacon, sausage links, mini donuts, bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, mini muffins, French toast sticks, bite size quiches, capers, hard boiled eggs, whipped cream, syrup, jam, yogurt, pancakes, granola, granola bars, scones, cheese, pastries, avocado, asparagus, honey, nutella, fruit compote, toast, ham, tater tots, English muffins

Theme Idea: Seafood Board

Seafood Board – smoked salmon, anchovies, shrimp, tartar, cocktail sauce, bread/crackers, grilled artichoke hearts, fresh veggies, caviar, nori chips, seafood pate, oysters, lemon & lime wedges, seafood salad, calamari, grilled veggies, spring rolls, mussels, lettuce leaves, pickled onion, crab legs, hush puppies, mini garlic cheddar biscuits

Theme Idea: Christmas Board

Christmas Board – Shape the foods into a wreath or a Christmas tree. Choose lots of red and green foods. Apples, grapes, gingerbread cookies, cucumbers, red meats, berries, pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, red & green peppers, star-shaped cookies & crackers, orange slices, caprese salad, dried cranberries, dried cherries, nuts, etc.

Theme Idea: Dessert Board

Dessert Board – fruits, fruit dips, variety of cookies (vary the color, size, & shape), melted chocolate, marshmallows, hard cheeses, chocolates, truffles, chocolate-dipped fruit, nuts, candy (wrapped & unwrapped), peanut butter, shortbread, cake slices, berries, whipped cream, mini candy bars, pastries, nuts, edible flowers

Theme Idea: Candy Board

Candy Board – assorted loose candies (candy corn, skittles, twizzlers, gum drops, dots, jelly beans, red hots, bottle caps, Reese’s pieces, etc.), gummy candies, mini candy bars, lollipops, ribbon gummies on a skewer, chocolate covered pretzels, macarons, marshmallows, mini candy bars, wrapped candies (Jolly Ranchers, Werther’s, peppermints, salt water taffy, Lindor truffles, Ghirardelli squares, bubble gum), pixi sticks, rock candy, ring pops, cookies, wax candies, Cadbury eggs, Peeps

Theme Idea: Kid-Friendly Board

Kid-Friendly Board – fruit, veggies, dip, PBnJ sandwich triangles, popcorn, cheese sticks, crackers, gummy bears, Little Debbie snacks, fruit skewers, granola bars, goldfish, potato chips, pinwheels, peanut butter-stuffed celery, veggie sticks, cookies, meat & cheese roll ups, gogurt, bagel pizza bites, chicken nuggets, ranch dressing, hard boiled eggs

Theme Idea: Regional Board

Geographic Region Board – Spain, Asia, American, German, French, Greek, etc.

Theme Idea: Movie Night Board

Movie Night Board – popcorn, Twizzlers, Junior Mints, M&Ms, mixed nuts, gummies, peanut butter cups, Twix, pretzels, fresh fruit

In conclusion, we hope you’ll make grazing boards a regular part of how you entertain. What else would you add to our idea list? Let us know…

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