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How to Create a Simple Summer Charcuterie Board

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Have you ever wanted to make a summer charcuterie board but don’t know where to start? Today I am so excited to share all of my tips and tricks for creating a Simple Summer Charcuterie Board that everyone will love.

An overhead shot of the finished summer charcuterie board.
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What is a Charcuterie Board?

A charcuterie board is a combination of select meats and cheeses that are surrounded by foods that pair well with them.

Oftentimes those items include crackers, fruit, olives, vegetables, nuts and dips. The fun part is that this is where you can get creative.

There are not any rules, so the sky’s the limit and you can customize it to be whatever you want it to be.

What do you put in a Summer Charcuterie Board?

A summertime board should be fresh and light.  It is time to let all of the fresh fruits and fresh produce shine.  Going with what is in season ensures that everything will taste amazing and be affordable.

Step-by-step guide for choosing the food

Meats

A variety of meats is always the way to go.  Slices of salami, prosciutto, soppressata and pepperoni all work great. You can also go with turkey or ham from the deli section of the grocery store.

Transforming the meat into a rose is a wonderful way to elevate the end result. Let me show you two ways to make salami roses here.

Cheeses

Go with a variety of different types of cheeses.  I love to start with a wheel of brie but goat cheese and blue cheese are also great soft cheeses to choose from.  I also suggest adding at least one hard cheese so that there are choices. 

​Crackers/Breads

A typical charcuterie board always has a variety of everyone’s favorite crackers.  You could also use baguette slices, pita chips or thin pretzels.

Fruit

Start with your favorite summer fruits.  Seasonal fruits like watermelon, pineapple, cherries, fresh berries and seasonal stone fruit are a great way to put a summer twist on the board.  Of course you could always use dried fruit which is easy to find all year long.

A summer charcuterie board with fresh flowers.

Vegetables

Using garden-fresh veggies from a farmers market or the local grocery store is great because everything you find will be ripe and ready to use.  Plump cherry tomatoes add a wonderful pop of color, along with carrots and sliced cucumbers.

Dips

There is something about a fig jam with meat and cheese that is always inviting. Although hummus with a drizzle of olive oil or even a homemade ranch dressing are also amazing options.

If you can’t choose, go with a couple different flavors. A sweet option like this 3 ingredient cheesecake dip would also be fabulous.

Additional Savory Items

Use a combination of nuts, like marcona almonds or pistachios.  Everyone loves olives and pickles or even pickled vegetables and they make a great addition. 

Sweets

Every good board has a sweet element in my opinion. Make your life easier and go with store bought treats that everyone will love. Small cookies and candies are always my go-to.

You can also make Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies or Mini No Bake Cheesecakes for a fun treat.

Other Ideas

Cut finger sandwiches into different shapes.  They scream summer time and everyone loves a good sandwich.

​Finishing Touches

Using edible flowers and fresh herbs are a fun way to add just the right touch for a perfect summer charcuterie board.

Expert Tips

  • Get creative with what you use for the base. A cutting board is traditional but there are so many items you can use. Lay brown paper on the counter, use a baking sheet or crate for other options. See what I used for this Fall Charcuterie Board.
  • Know how many people you are serving and the size of the board you want to use before going shopping. Both of these numbers will determine how much food you need to purchase.
  • Always start with the larger and main ingredients first. Adding the meat and cheeses first allows you to arrange all of the supporting ingredients around them.
  • Have a combination of fresh and shelf stable items. During the summer, fresh items are a must but require that you only purchase them a day or two in advance. Foods like crackers and nuts can be bought ahead of time and will last long after.
  • Use small bowls to contain items you don’t want rolling around the board.  Using bowls for smaller items like olives, pickles and fruit can keep everything in place and help with pulling it together.
  • Go back and add in smaller foods like nuts to fill in any empty space.  To get a lush and gorgeous summer charcuterie board it should be full and covered.
  • Keep everything fresh, especially if you are serving it outside. Restock items and keep it in a cool and shady area to keep it fresh for hours.
A summer charcuterie board with fresh fruit, cookies and crackers.

Charcuterie FAQs

Where do I serve a summer charcuterie board?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to where you serve this.  The summer months are full of opportunities to put one together.

I love adding them to my summer entertaining menu for dinner parties, date night, a pool party or a warm summer night under the stars.

Can I make one in advance?

You can easily make it up to 4 hours in advance but be sure that you have room in the refrigerator.  It should also be covered in plastic wrap to keep everything fresh.

What cheeses are best for summer?

Add fresh and bright cheeses that will remind you of the season. Burrata, dill flavored cheese and cheeses with summer flavors all work wonderfully.

The great news is that there are not any wrong answers. Go with exactly what you want, what you can find and what will go with all of the other ingredients.

What should I not put on a charcuterie board?

There are no rules as to what you should and shouldn’t put on a board but I would keep my audience in mind.

Do they like spicy foods? If not, steer away from anything with spicy flavors. Do your guests like strong cheeses? If they do, go with a blue cheese but if not try another soft cheese.

What is the 3, 3, 3, 3 rule?

The 3, 3, 3, 3 rule helps to give you a guide for a super simple but complete board. Using 3 meats, 3 cheeses, 3 starches and 3 accompaniments will give you a well rounded and delicious appetizer.

A close up of the salami rose on the summer charcuterie board.

Want to make a few homemade desserts? Try these mini treat recipes…

An overhead shot of a finished summer charcuterie board.

Simple Summer Charcuterie Board

Impress everyone with a simple summer charcuterie board that is perfect for any occasion and that everyone will love.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
5 from 2 votes
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Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cured meats {or deli slices}
  • 8 ounces cheese in a variety of flavors
  • 8 ounces crackers in a variety of flavors and shapes
  • 6 ounces ripe fruit
  • 6 ounces fresh vegetables
  • 1 cup black or green olives
  • ½ cup mini pickles
  • 1 cup candy
  • 2 cups cookies
  • fresh herbs and edible flowers {for garnish}

Instructions

  • Add the large items {meats & cheeses} to the board. Then place the crackers around the board.
  • Next, arrange fruits and vegetables around the meat and cheese. Add bowls of dip, olives and pickles {or whatever you prefer}.
  • Fill in any empty areas with candy and cookies. Finally, go back and fill in any areas and add fresh herbs and edible flowers. Serve or cover for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Get creative with what you use for the base. A cutting board is traditional but there are so many items you can use. Lay brown paper on the counter, use a baking sheet or crate for other options. 
  • Have a combination of fresh and shelf stable items. During the summer, fresh items are a must but require that you only purchase them a day or two in advance. Foods like crackers and nuts can be bought ahead of time and will last long after.
  • Use small bowls to contain items you don’t want rolling around the board.  Using bowls for smaller items like olives, pickles and fruit can keep everything in place and help with pulling it together.
  • Keep everything fresh, especially if you are serving it outside. Restock items and keep it in a cool and shady area to keep it fresh for hours.
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