How to Make A Cheese Board

Learn how to make a perfect cheese board for entertaining! Filled with a fun variety of cheeses, fruits, and spreads, it offers something for everyone.

Cheese board

Whether I’m hosting a dinner party, a happy hour, or a holiday get-together, a cheese board is always my go-to appetizer. It’s my #1 choice for so many reasons – it offers a little something for everyone, it looks so pretty and festive, and it’s easy to put together (no cooking required!).

Now, if you’ve never made a cheese board before, it might not seem so easy. What cheeses do you pick? What do you pair with them? I promise that the process really is simple, and to get you started, I’m sharing my favorite way to assemble a cheese board below. You don’t even have to worry about breaking the bank – with this method, you can make your cheese board as fancy or as simple as you like. No matter what, it’ll be a hit.

Appetizer platter with cherry jam, fresh fruit, cheese, olives, and almonds

The Best Cheeses for a Cheese Board

When I’m assembling a cheese board, I always start by picking the cheeses. I like to have a variety of flavors and textures on a board, so I typically choose 3. Below, you’ll find some options that are easy to find at an average cheese shop or grocery store. Have fun mixing and matching cheeses from different categories!

  • Firm or semi-firm cheeses: I like aged white cheddar, Gouda, Edam, Gruyère, Dubliner, and/or Manchego.
  • Spreadable or soft cheeses: Think Brie, Camembert, and/or soft goat cheese.
  • Something funky: Maybe a strong blue cheese, like Gorgonzola, Stilton, or Roquefort. This isn’t for everyone, so if I know I’m not serving adventurous eaters, I might skip it!

If you pick two cheeses from a single category (which is totally fine!), make sure that they still contrast in some way. In the cheese board pictured here, I have two soft cheeses – goat cheese and brie – but their flavors are distinct. The goat cheese is tangy and flecked with herbs; the brie is nice and buttery. Even though these cheeses are both soft, my cheese board will offer a variety of flavors.

Cheese board with nuts, fruit, and cherry jam

More Cheese Board Ideas

Once you’ve picked your cheeses, you can start to think about how else you might add texture and flavor to your cheese plate. Dried fruits and nuts? A fancy jam? Honey? Briny olives? I like to choose at least one item from each of these categories:

  • Something sweet: Balance out the salty, funky cheeses with a little something sweet! Set out a jar of honey or tart cherry or fig jam. Dried and fresh fruits are a great choice too.
  • Something crunchy: Like nuts, crispy chickpeas, and (of course!) crackers to pair with the cheese.
  • Something salty: I like olives or cornichons.
  • And a pop of color: Seasonal fruit such as apples, pears, or grapes will help you out here. In the fall and winter, I also like add festive sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme.

Close-up shot of fresh fruit and white cheddar on an appetizer platter

Assembling a Cheese Board

Now for the fun part: putting your cheese board together!

Wash any fresh fruits, and slice larger ones like apples and pears ahead of time. (You can always squeeze them with a bit of lemon juice if you’re worried about browning!) I also like to slice firm and semi-firm cheeses on a cutting board before transferring them to a serving platter. That way, they’re easy for guests to grab and enjoy.

Arrange the fruits and cheeses on your serving platter or board, and fill in the gaps with the other components. When your guests arrive, make sure you have a few cheese knives handy for slicing and spreading the softer cheeses. Enjoy!

Cheese board ideas

More Favorite Appetizer Recipes

If you love this cheese board, try one of these tasty appetizers next:

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How to Make A Cheese Board

rate this recipe:
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 8
Learn how to make a perfect cheese board! Filled with a variety of textures and flavors, it offers something for everyone. See the post above for different cheese suggestions.


Cheese & Crackers

  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 4 ounces herbed goat cheese or sheep’s milk cheese
  • 8 ounces brie cheese
  • Crackers or flatbread crisps

Other Snacks

  • 2 apples or pears, sliced
  • 8 small bunches grapes
  • ½ cup olives
  • ½ cup almonds
  • Tart Cherry or Fig Jam
  • Honey, optional
  • Roasted Chickpeas, optional
  • Rosemary or thyme, for garnish


  • Choose your desired ingredients from the list above and arrange on a platter.


5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. JoEllen

    5 stars
    This was SO helpful in making my gorgeous cheese trays for Christmas Day dinner. (Unfortunately, my husband forgot to cut any rosemary sprigs and I didn’t remember to check on that until we were halfway to our dinner destination, as we were assembling on site. Doh! The rosemary in your photos is a lovely holiday and seasonal addition!)

    Thank you! I will do this again! It was fun to imagine it, shop for, and create 🙂

  2. Tim

    Came here specifically for the presentation ideas. Thank you so much. 🙂

  3. Sabrina from

    thank you, if nothing else a great checklist to make sure I don’t forget anything!

  4. Nora Crane

    This is so lovely and inviting to dip into! Not only do I appreciate your display and recipes, I’m enjoying your board itself. I’ve been searching for a number of years for a charcuterie/appetizer board that I would have a desire to use, but coming up short. Still on the hunt, but you’re an inspiration. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nora, I really like the boards at Etu Home, and I often find some great affordable ones at Target.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.