Creating a meat and cheese tray for your next holiday get-together is the absolute easiest way to entertain. It's elegant, delicious, and incredibly simple!
During the holiday season, there are so many great occasions to get together with friends and family. With so much going on, holiday entertaining can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. I'm going to show you how to put together a quick and easy meat and cheese platter for holiday entertaining.
In fact, it is my favorite thing to serve because it's as perfect for a girl's night as it is for game day. In my opinion, the best get-togethers are the ones where I get to enjoy my company, instead of spending all my time in the kitchen.
When I'm in a time crunch, I look for simple shortcuts to make my life easier. (Make-ahead desserts are great too - check out these fun Wine Party Cake Pops to go with your meat and cheese tray.)
Of course, a holiday party isn't the only time a beautiful board of deli meats and different kinds of cheeses is ideal. It's great for a variety of special occasion events like a baby shower, girls' night, a housewarming party, and more.
Serving a meat and cheese platter is probably the easiest party food you can put together. There's no cooking or baking and very minimal prep. When you provide a nice variety of nibbles, all your guests will find something they like. It's perfect for people with special diets, too.
Ingredients for a Cheese and Meat Platter
A little bit of planning goes a long way! The key to the best cheese board is a variety of textures and flavors. Here are some great options for your next party tray:
- Variety of cheeses such as Gouda, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack Cheeses
- Selection of Italian meats such as Peppered Salami, Genoa Salami, and Pepperoni
- Black Olives
- French Bread and Crackers
Round out your meat and cheese platter with some fresh and dried fruits and mixed nuts to balance all your flavors. (Marcona almonds are some of my favorite things to add to a charcuterie plate.)
A spreadable herb cheese spread or goat cheese and chutney or preserves are also delicious on a meat and cheese platter. I also included olive oil and pink Himalayan salt.
Be sure to set out toothpicks, and a small spoon for your chutney or preserves.
Pro-Tip: Plan on 2-3 ounces of meat per person and 1-2 ounces of cheese per person.
For a party with six guests, plan on 12-15 ounces of meats, and 10 ounces of cheeses.
Pro Tip: Serve your cheeses at room temperature for the best flavor.
If you choose to put out larger pieces of cheese for guests to cut themselves, provide a different knife for each kind of cheese you are serving. Different types of cheese appeal to different people. I serve a few different cheese options like one soft cheese and two hard cheeses.
Items You May Need:
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- Serving Tray, Platter or Cheese Board. (I used my favorite extra-large bamboo Cutting Board.)
- Cheese Knife
- Paring Knife
- Ramekins or other small bowls
- Napkins, small plates, toothpicks
How to Build a Meat and Cheese Platter
- Start with the largest items first such as meat, cheese, and bread.
- Add medium-sized items next such as ramekins.
- Fill in with smaller items like dried fruit and nuts.
How many bottles of wine do I need?
Plan on 2-3 glasses of wine per person. For a small gathering of six friends, I estimated three to four 750ml bottles. For this occasion, I served Pink Zinfindel, Pinot Grico, and a Moscato Spritzer.
It's not a bad idea to grab an extra bottle or two just in case you have an unexpected guest drop-in, or your guests favor one wine over another.
Tips for an Amazing Get Together
- Having a great playlist will set the tone of your party. Do you want to be fun and funky or sophisticated?
- Serve foods that can be picked up in one hand so that guests don't have to find a place to set down their drink in order to eat.
- To keep bottles of wine chilled, fill a large tub with salted ice water and set the bottles inside.
- Always have non-alcoholic options on hand for those that would prefer it.
- Prevent guests from crowding around a table of food by placing things in different areas.
More Recipe Ideas for Simple Entertaining
Here are some more great recipe ideas that your guests will love. The best part is that these can all be made up ahead of time, even the day before for most of them.
- If you have a few extra minutes, make our roasted garlic hummus and serve it with homemade pita chips.
- Grab some yogurt and whip up our dill Greek yogurt dip in no time. Serve with fresh veggies.
- Make a batch of Olive Tapanade Crostini or Caprese appetizers ahead of time.
- If you're entertaining for the holidays, you'll love this baked bried with cranberry sauce.
More Charcuterie Board Ideas
I absolutely love making fun platters and trays for guests to graze on. (Did you see my Halloween Charcuterie Board?? So perfect for kids!) Here are a few other charcuterie and cheese board ideas you might like:
How to Make a Meat and Cheese Platter
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Meat and Cheese Platter
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- 2-3 varieties meats such as pepperoni, salami or prosciutto
- 2-3 varieties cheeses such as cheddar, gouda and brie
- fresh fruits such as apples, pears, and berries
- dried fruit such as apricots, figs, raisins
- mixed nuts such as pecans, pistachios, almonds, peanuts
- assorted crackers and/or thinly sliced French bread
- Start with the largest items first. I placed on the slices of bread and piles of cheeses on my board first.
- Next, I rolled the Genoa salami up and fanned it out around the ramekin of Himalayan salt.
- After adding on the jar of fig preserves and dish of olives, I added the crackers.
- Lastly, I added the grapes, dried apricots, apple slices, dried figs, blackberries and mixed nuts.
- Next to the board, add other accoutrements such as olive oil along with napkins, plates, cheese knifes, etc.
For best results, be sure to check our Tips and FAQs above with important tips and questions that can help your delicious recipe come out perfectly.