How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board Everyone Will Be Thankful For

Give your guests yet another thing to be grateful for this year by making this beautiful Thanksgiving charcuterie board.

If your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, your friends and family hover in the kitchen until the much-anticipated meal is ready. In order to keep people from continually asking “Is it ready yet?,” a Thanksgiving charcuterie board is the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer to serve while you’re finishing up the mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey. Packed with meat, cheese, nuts, fruits and veggies, this seasonal spread has something for everyone.

How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Foods to Include

Cheeses and meat: It wouldn’t be a traditional charcuterie board without cheese and meat! We opted for rolled-up cuts of hot uncured capocollo, and several kinds of cheese: a tangy blue, cubes of Colby and a wedge of Merlot Bellavitano with a vibrant, edible rind. We also cut a maple leaf shape into a small wheel of buttery Brie and filled it with highbush cranberry jam—a simple yet creative way to incorporate fall shapes on your Thanksgiving charcuterie board.

mason jar of homemade jam with crackers and a spoon to the sideTMB studio

Fruits, vegetables and herbs: A wide selection of fall produce makes a Thanksgiving board feel especially seasonal.

A loose line of apples, pears and miniature pumpkins (both real and ceramic) draws your eye from one side of the spread to the other. Blanched green beans, as well as sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme, bring in a pop of green to break up the warm harvest hues, while tiny arils in pomegranate halves add a lot of visual textureeven in comparison to slightly bigger fruits like dried apricots and grapes.

bowl of nuts with a scoopTMB studio

Other items: Both pickles and homemade cinnamon praline nuts bring some necessary crunch, and would make a perfect pair with the blanched green beans. Maple leaf cookies from Trader Joe’s are a sweet treat that everyone will want to try, while mixed olives in a pumpkin-shaped bowl is a salty, savory finishing touch.

How to Build a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Step 1: Begin with the Brie

First, cut a maple leaf shape into the wheel of Brie using a cookie cutter. Then, place the Brie and the jar of highbush cranberry jam a little off center from the middle of the board.

While we went with a maple leaf shape to match the Trader Joe’s cookies, you can use whatever fall-shaped cookie cutout you like.

Step 2: Place the bowls

After the Brie and jam, place the next biggest items: the bowls. Put down the bowl of olives in the top right corner, and balance out the board by putting the other bowl of candied pecans further away, leaving some space in between to make room for produce.

If you have them, seasonal dishes like the pumpkin bowls we used are an added touch that makes your board feel more on theme for Thanksgiving.

Step 3: Make space for the apples, pears and pumpkins

The empty space between the jar of jam and the bowl of pecans is perfect for bigger items like apples and pears. After you place some there, disperse the rest throughout the board, feeling free to cut one (or a few) in half.

Step 4: Set down the other cheeses

Thanksgiving Charcuterie BoardTMB studio

We placed the Merlot Bellavitano next to the Brie, since the purple coloring on the rind matches the cranberry jam in the middle of the wheel of Brie. Cubes of Colby would pair nicely with the pecans, so we put them next to each other in the bottom left corner. We set the red pomegranate halves above the orange bowl of pecans.

Step 5: Fill with remaining fruits, veggies, pickles and meat

Since the remaining items are smaller, they’re perfect for filling in the gaps on the board. We put the pickles and dried apricots in the upper left-hand corner, next to the pomegranates. Because the blanched green beans and rolls of hot uncured capocollo are similarly shaped, they look nice near each other in the lower left-hand corner.

Create some visual contrast by putting the round grapes next to the Colby cubes.

Step 6: Arrange the finishing touches

Arrange the Trader Joe’s maple leaf cookies to the right of the wheel of Brie, and sprinkle in a few more cookies in other spots of the board as well. Tuck in aromatic green sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme sporadically.

Step 7: Serve!

Put out snack plates, napkins and toothpick skewers, so guests can prick their desired food items easily without using their fingers. If you have them, cheese markers will help you as a host by taking away the need to explain each kind of cheese to every guest. Place spoons in the pecans, olives and jam— and don’t forget to fill your wheel of Brie with the jam before you serve it!

Chardonnay is an ideal drink pairing, but there are plenty more perfect pairings for cheese boards.

Tips for Building a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Thanksgiving Charcuterie BoardTMB studio

What kind of charcuterie board should you use?

Since our Thanksgiving charcuterie board spread isn’t arranged to look like a particular shape, you can use whatever shape of board you like, whether it’s circular, rectangular or square, or even a personalized charcuterie board if that’s what you have on hand.

You can also go for a board that isn’t wooden, although we think that the wood gives the spread a rustic look, which fits in perfectly with many Thanksgiving table decor ideas. Other materials that would look lovely are marble, slate or another type of stone.

We rounded up the best charcuterie boards if you’re in the market for a new one!

What else can you put on a Thanksgiving charcuterie board?

Although we only included one kind of meat on our board, you could easily add more if your guests love the protein. Other options for charcuterie meats include prosciutto and salami.

Adding a few kinds of crackers to go along with the slew of cheeses makes perfect sense, too—whether you go with Wheat Thins, Triscuits or club crackers (or all of the above).

This pumpkin baked brie would be a super cute (and surprisingly easy) way to package up your cheese on the Thanksgiving board, if you have the time.

Otherwise, take the spread in a different direction by making it into a Thanksgiving treat board: Fill yours up with Thanksgiving cookies like fudge-striped turkey cookies and maple-glazed shortbread cookies, plus candy corn, salted caramels and more of your favorite fall desserts and mini Thanksgiving desserts.

Check out other charcuterie board ideas for more inspiration. No matter which direction you go, these are the stores open on Thanksgiving to visit if you forgot to grab some of the vital ingredients for your board.

How else can you arrange a Thanksgiving charcuterie board?

While we simply filled up a rectangular board, you could arrange your food in the shape of a turkey, leaf or pumpkin on a bigger surface. If you pick up slices of cheese, you could also cut out letters with cookie cutters to say “Give Thanks” or “Thankful.” While it’s easy to do, your guests will be impressed with the extra effort you put in to make your Thanksgiving charcuterie board on theme!

Lauren Pahmeier
Lauren is an associate editor at Taste of Home, focusing on search engine optimization. When she’s not making sure readers can find TOH’s recipes on Google, she’s practicing her food photography, consistently finding new recipes to try and hunting down the most indulgent treats in the Twin Cities.