Sometimes, a charcuterie board of meat, cheese, fruits, and nuts is about all you can handle prepping. Even if you’re just making one for yourself, presentation is key, and a lot of that comes down to the board you choose. Sure, you could use a plate, but a board is much more official and aesthetically pleasing.
There are plenty of boards to choose from, so it’s important to keep some things in mind. First, what size board do you need? If you’re looking to feed a crowd, the standard 9 x 13 inches should be big enough for you (but not too big that you can’t use it for just yourself). Or, maybe you keep things intimate and consider a mini. And of course, there are bigger ones out there, around 12 x 18 inches, that are great for parties.
Material is also a consideration for not only presentation but also weight. A lighter wooden board can make carrying a fully loaded charcuterie plate so much easier, but you may not get any presentation points. Whatever you're looking for, I've got the best charcuterie boards to have on your table.
Best Overall: EtuHome Reclaimed Wood Charcuterie Board
What We Love: Each has its own unique beauty, sustainable
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Although these boards are on the higher end of the price range, I think they’re worth it. Made from reclaimed European pinewood, these boards are finished in Hungary, and since it's reclaimed, no two will look alike. This also means that there is a built-in character with varying crevices and splits. What’s not to love about that?
The boards are a classic rectangular shape with contrasting timber on one side and feature a twine handle to make it easy to hang these on a wall and clear up counter space. The boards, which weigh between two and six pounds, are only intended for serving and should be hand-washed.
Material: European pine | Dimensions: 22 x 8 inches, 22 x 16 inches, 28.5 x 16 inches, 33.5 x 16 inches
Best Budget: Royal Craft Wood Bamboo Cheese Board & Serving Platter
What We Love: Handy serving compartments, side handles for carrying, easy to maintain
What We Don't Love: No edges
If you're on a budget and need a charcuterie board that works hard for you, then this bamboo tray from Royal Craft Wood is a great choice. Nonporous bamboo is supposedly gentler on your knives and helps to keep them sharper longer.
On the smaller board, the sides of the board are two oblong compartments that can hold treats like nuts and crackers while the center is large enough to hold an array of meats and cheeses. The small board doesn't have an edge though, which might mean a few grapes or berries might fall off the board during transport. The larger board has three compartments along one side as well as a groove to catch any liquids.
Material: Bamboo | Dimensions: 15.5 x 10 inches, 18 x 12 inches
Best Set: Brooklyn Slate Natural Slate Cheese Board Set
What We Love: Dishwasher safe, complete set
What We Don't Love: Can't be used as a cutting board
This isn’t just a charcuterie board, it’s a whole experience! Brooklyn Slate's picturesque cheeseboards are hand-picked from an upstate New York quarry and are nonporous and food-safe.
This set includes a hand-carved wooden cheese knife and soapstone pencils so you can label the cheeses and meats on the board itself. Since it's dishwasher safe, other than a few drops of food-grade mineral oil throughout the year, this is a pretty low maintenance board. When not in use, it's easy to store in its accompanying burlap bag.
"I absolutely love my Brooklyn Slate cheeseboard. Though it's not the largest, it can hold a decent amount of cheese and nibbles, and I feel extra fancy when I label the cheese on the board itself." — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
Material: Slate | Dimensions: 14 x 10 inches, 11.5-inch diameter
Related: The Best Cutting Boards
Best Small: EtuHome Mini Charcuterie Board
What We Love: Well-crafted, fun colors, sustainable
What We Don't Love: Kind of high maintenance
Just because you’re getting a small board doesn't mean it shouldn’t be well-made! etúHOME sources reclaimed pinewood for its wee 1-pound mini charcuterie boards, finishing each one with food-safe food wax.
These boards are the right size for a charcuterie snack, like prosciutto-wrapped papaya, that can feed one to three people (give or take, depending on your appetites). It’s also a cute way to serve up your lunchtime soup and salad. Also, there are so many fun colors to choose from including navy, pink, and denim. It’s recommended that you don't use brightly colored foods directly on the wood to avoid staining it.
Material: Pine | Dimensions: 12 x 7 inches
Related: The Best Cheese Graters
Best Marble: Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Pastry Slab
What We Love: Elegant marble serving board, versatile, durable
What We Don't Love: Heavy
Buying a piece of marble is kind of an investment, so you really want to make sure it’s beautiful and well-made. Since it’s marble, you also don't need any other bells and whistles since the stone does the talking!
Crate & Barrel’s grey-veined marble slab is elegant and sturdy, with non-skid feet to help it stay in place while you position your snacks. Not only does it make an excellent surface for serving cheeses since the material keeps them cool, but it’s also able to handle cutting and pastry-making, just avoid using it with citrus fruits. Keep in mind that these boards are heavy (26 pounds), so don't plan on moving them around the house.
Material: Marble | Dimensions: 24 x 16 inches
Related: The Best Knife Sets
etúHOME's Reclaimed Wood Charcuterie Board (view at Pottery Barn) is incredibly versatile, comes in various sizes, and each has its own unique flair. If you're looking to display your cheeses with elegance, Brooklyn Slate Natural Slate Cheese Board Set (view at Williams Sonoma) will definitely impress whoever you're serving.
What to Look for in a Charcuterie Board
When it comes to the materials of the board, your main choices are wood, marble, and bamboo. They’re all typically hand-wash only, but with varying levels of upkeep. In the wood category, you'll typically see hardwoods like olivewood, teak, and pine since those are nonporous and won't cause any off-flavors in your food. Bamboo is a type of wood, yes, but it tends to be a little easier to maintain, lighter in weight and gets points for sustainability. Marble tends to always be on the expensive side and heavy, but is good at temperature retention and can keep your cheese and meats cooler.
There are also different styles of charcuterie boards to consider. Some are fitted with hidden compartments that store your cheese knives and forks which can be great if you want the whole shebang (or looking to gift someone). The classic board is functional, too, but there are also charcuterie boards that come in different tiers for a multi-level cheese and meat experience. These are great if you’re trying to keep things separate or allow for easy passing around a table.
What other charcuterie accessories should I buy?
If you're entertaining, you can't go wrong with a cheese serving set like this copper set from Williams Sonoma. Make it functional but pretty. Also, consider getting some cheese markers, so your friends don’t have to stand there wondering which cheese they’re about to slice. It also doesn’t hurt to get some mini bowls or ramekins to help make compartmentalizing on the board even easier.
What do you serve on a charcuterie board?
Charcuterie refers to cured meats, so that's a good place to start. Don’t forget cheeses and accouterments like dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, honey, pickles, jams, etc. Here are some suggestions for arranging these things.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lia Picard is a freelance writer with a passion for food writing and a penchant for meats and cheeses. She even wrote about barkuterie for the New York Times. She wouldn’t suggest a product that she wouldn't buy herself (and has done so since she started writing for Simply Recipes).
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