How to Make a Cheese Plate
Whether you are holiday entertaining, having a party or a simple night in with your friends in front of the TV, a tasty cheese platter is a must-have. Simple and easy to make, yet delicious and impressive-looking, a cheese plate appetizer makes any gathering more fun. It also makes for a quick but hearty meal on days when you’re not in the mood to cook!
While creating a cheese plate is super-simple, having a few tips and tricks in your sleeve can help you make the most gorgeous and mouth-watering appetizer every time.
How to Make a Classic Cheese Plate
A classic cheese plate consists of cheese (the main star!), meat, bread, fruit and nuts, but you can also add a few extra ingredients such as crackers, olives, pickles and dips. To help you make a great-looking and great-tasting cheese platter, we’ve outlined the instructions in four simple steps. Follow these and you’ll have a winning cheese course in no time.
Choose Your Cheese and Board
Let’s start with the most important ingredient – cheese. For a rich cheese plate, you’ll need several different cheeses, ideally five but three can work great too. Pick a few basics and maybe one or two seasonal cheeses you like, just make sure they’re all different from each other. You want a variety of textures and tastes, so include various kinds of cheese: soft, semi-firm and hard cheeses. You may also want different types – cow, goat and sheep cheese. Pick the flavors and prices that work best for you.
As for the cheese board, choose one that is large enough to hold all your cheeses and accompaniments. If you want a beautiful, classic cheese platter look, pick a wooden cheese board, either oval or square shaped.
Pick Your Accompaniments
While cheese is inarguably the most important ingredient on a cheese platter, it’s definitely not the only one. To create a truly delicious and great looking appetizer, you’ll also need nice meat or charcuterie (French for cold cut meat), bread and fresh fruit.
For charcuterie, you’ll want two to three different types, such as Prosciutto, Mortadella or dry-cured salami, perhaps some bite-sized pork, beef or turkey jerky.
Tasty bread and crackers are crucial for a good cheese platter, so go for something like a nice loaf of French baguette or other quality, crusty bread that you can easily cut, as well as a few crackers.
When it comes to fruit, you can choose almost anything you like. Grapes are ideal for cheese plates so we highly encourage you to incorporate them, but nicely cut apples, pears, cantaloupe and other fruits are also wonderful.
Besides cheese, meat, bread and fruit, a nice cheese platter typically also contains extra accompaniments such as nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds and other nuts are all great choices), olives and pickles, and finally condiments (hummus, pesto, mustard, honey or jam). While you don’t have to use all of these on your cheese plate, we’d encourage you to try as many as possible.
Arrange the Mains
Now that you have your cheeses, meats, breads and other ingredients selected, it’s time to create that beautiful plate. We’ll start with the mains – cheese, meat and bread.
- Cheese should always be served at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before serving. While the cheese is resting, you can cut it. Because a plate always looks best when there are a variety of foods and shapes on it, we’ll cut it in a few different shapes. Cut some cheeses into cubes and slices, leave some whole (if they were pre-cut), and roll up others.
- Take your cheese board and place a few small bowls on top if you’re adding condiments. Now, add the cheeses, charcuterie and breads in a way that is most appealing to you. Cheeses can be stacked – this makes it easy for guests to grab a piece, plus saves time. Take your charcuterie and fold the larger pieces into fun shapes such as triangles or small cones. Then, fan them all out either in a line or a half-circle (our favorite way!). Finally, add pieces of bread to one side of the plate, either by stacking pieces or fanning them out.
Arrange the Accompaniments
With the main foods prepared, arranging the accompaniments is a piece of cake.
- Since you’ve already placed a few bowls on the cheese board, you can now fill them with olives, pickles, or dips like pesto, hummus or honey.
- In the gaps, add fruit and nuts. You can add grapes or apples either on one side or break them into small pieces and scatter them across the board. For that crunchy bite, add a few almonds, pistachios or walnuts into smaller empty spaces, such as the middle of the board.
- Extra step: if you still have some gaps on your cheese plate, or you just want to go that extra mile, you can add some greenery such as fresh arugula, rosemary springs or olive branches to the plate.
And you’re done! A carefully curated cheese platter is not only delicious, but visually appealing too, making it a fantastic appetizer for any and all get-togethers.
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