Easy, quick, and no cooking needed!

By Becky Samford, Sandy Wallace and Erin Michael, Macaroni Kid Publishers January 7, 2024

Charcuterie Boards originated years ago in France and have gained popularity over the past few years. The word charcuterie originally described 15th century butcher shops in France that sold products made from pork.

Today's charcuterie boards may contain pork products and other salt-cured meats, but may also contain a variety of cheese, nuts, crackers, breads, fruits, vegetables, dips, and other goodies.

While I love to cook and try out new recipes, when the school year hits, I am all about a few easy dinners in our rotation to make life a little bit easier. One of my favorite weeknight dinners is "create your own charcuterie board night." 

This no-cook dinner is quick, easy, and has something for everybody — plus it will satisfy even your pickiest of eaters! 

We always make sure our charcuterie boards have a protein, carb, color, and something sweet! Want to give it a try? Here's how to make a charcuterie board at home that the whole family will love:

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If my kids don't have protein with their meals, they don't stop asking for snacks until the next meal rolls around. I always have them add their protein first — so I know that it will be a filling meal for them. For the meats, try to use a variety of thickness and cuts to keep it interesting. Personally, I love salami sliced thin, but prefer pepperoni a bit thicker. 

Here are some protein ideas:


I think we can all agree that the best part of a charcuterie board is the carbs that come with it. Making your own at home is no exception! In my opinion, I find that choosing a cracker without a ton of flavor works best, so that you can taste all of the different flavors on the plate. These are our favorite carb sources:

  • Crackers
  • Round pita chips 
  • Homemade crostini
  • Crusty bread
  • Chips, pretzels, or other salty foods

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I always make sure our boards have some "color," as colorful foods tend to be more nutritious. Some of our favorite ways to add color on our boards are: 

  • a variety of vegetables: celery, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrot chips, snap peas
  • your favorite fruits: strawberries, grapes, apple slices, pear slices, pineapple slices, raspberries, blueberries
  • Dried fruits like apricots, dates, and raisins 
  • Olives (Green and Kalamata)

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Something sweet:

Is there anything better than a salty and sweet combo? I love adding a little something sweet to my plate just for that flavor combination! 

  • Jams (our favorite is Fig Jam) 
  • Red pepper jelly
  • Honey or honeycomb — if you haven't tried it, honeycomb is an amazing addition to a charcuterie plate. Like honey, it is best to buy local, but it can be hard to find.  
  • Dark chocolate (sounds weird, but a piece of dark chocolate drizzled with an amazing olive oil on a slice of cheese, sprinkled with some flaky salt is a flavor extravaganza — seriously, just try it. 

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I always like to add something extra to a board to make it feel a little more special. Here are some ideas for charcuterie extras:

  • Dip it. Add one or more dips, including ranch dressing, salsa, jelly, honey, mustard, or your family's favorites
  • Add some kid favorites. If you have a picky eater, it can help to add a couple of kid favorites to the board too. Heat up some chicken fingers or add grilled cheese — whatever will give your child something familiar to eat, while exploring some new tastes as well.
  • Pick a theme. if you're celebrating a holiday, birthday, or are just feeling festive, try to come up with a theme for your boards.
  • Use cookie cutters. Cut up cheese, meats, and even some fruits into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Separate foods. If your kids don't like their foods to touch, use cupcake liners to separate the foods.

Charcuterie boards are easy and fun for the entire family to create together. Use foods you have on hand or make a trip to your local farmer's market or grocery store for supplies. 

Let each child choose a few favorites. Older kids can help with slicing while younger kids help arrange the foods on the tray.

A charcuterie board is the perfect meal for busy weeknights or a fun treat to enjoy on movie night, while watching the big game, or for parties or holidays. 

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