There are few things on the planet I love more than a good charcuterie board. At least once a month, I make a big one for my family’s dinner, and I’m always looking for excuses to make fun and unique boards for parties or just because. They make a great appetizer or dish to bring to a party, and everyone always gasps when you pull out that gorgeous platter full of delighful treats!
I often get asked about my favorite ingredients and my best tips for putting them together. So today, I’m taking a minute to give you my (very professional) opinion on the best cheese for charcuterie boards.
Obviously, something like a charcuterie board really comes down to personal preference. Some people love stinky cheeses, some people hate ’em. You might be passionate about brie, but someone else prefers to stick to cheddar only. There’s no right or wrong answer here! Just know your guests and plan accordingly.
But, there are a few tips and formulas to keep in mind. And, of course, I have my own opinions on the best cheese for charcuterie boards, so you know I’ll be sharing that too.
How Do You Pick Cheese for a Board?
When choosing cheese for your charcuterie board, it’s a good idea to look for a variety of flavors and textures. I always try to mix some hard cheese and some softer cheeses, as well as salty options with options that might lean a little sweeter.
Generally speaking, I aim for 3-4 different kinds of cheese on my charcuterie boards. If I’m making a big one for a party, I might do more. But, on a regular family night, I’m shooting for three types of cheese!
If I had to land on a formula I use, it’s something along the lines of:
- 1 hard cheese
- 1 soft cheese
- 1-2 cheeses somewhere in the middle
But, again, there’s no right or wrong way to do it!
What Is the Best Cheese for Charcuterie Boards?
Let’s do a quick rundown of some of your options. I’m going to break it down by texture, and list some of the best types of cheese that work really well in a cheese board. If you want some specifics, don’t worry – keep reading and I’ll tell you exactly what I like to put on my boards!
- Aged Gouda
- Colby Jack
- Blue Cheese
- Goat Cheese
- You could even include a cream cheese with something on top for dipping!
I recommend steering clear of cheeses that don’t have a ton of flavor (like mozzarella) and sticking to things that will taste unique and layer in with the other accompaniments!
The Exact Cheeses I Love to Use
Now, let’s talk about exactly what I like to use on my boards. I almost always get my meats and cheese for charcuterie boards from Trader Joe’s – I find they have the best, most unique selection at the very best price. It’s impossible to beat!
Here’s a rundown of the ones I reach for most often.
This sharp, tangy, crumbly white cheddar cheese will be on every single charcuterie board I make until the end of time. Forever and ever amen. There’s nothing else like it, it pairs beautifully with just about everything, and it’s just the most delicious cheese around. It’s not a charcuterie board without Unexpected Cheddar.
Typically, this counts as my “hard cheese”. If I’m making a board for a dinner party or someone other than my family, I might also include another hard cheese, but this is the one my family loves most so it fits the bill great when it’s just us.
A Flavored Gouda or Sharp Cheddar
Next up, I usually mix in something unique, like bacon cheddar cheese from Trader Joe’s (they just brought it back after years of being off the shelf!). This changes every time I make a board, but I always look for something in the gouda, gruyere, or cheddar families, and something with a unique flavor. We’ve tried blends of the cheese (like this cheddar gruyere), spicy goudas, cheeses mixed with truffle – the sky’s the limit!
Basically, my goal with this second cheese is to have something fun and unique that maybe we haven’t tried before. Sometimes it’s a total hit and sometimes it’s a miss, but you never know until you try! And sometimes, I’ll grab two cheeses in this category if I find stuff I love!
I know it’s basic, but a good ol’ flavored Boursin cheese is impossible to resist! The Garlic and Fine Herbs is my favorite flavor. It’s creamy and delicious and always a crowd pleaser. It’s a Gournay cheese, and it’s a great alternative for goat cheese, as I find a lot of people don’t love it.
For the record, I’m not included in that group of people. I love it. But, I rarely put it on boards as it usually goes untouched in my groups!
Triple Cream Brie
I don’t always include this when it is just my family because the kids won’t eat it, but if anyone else is involved, you’ve gotta have the brie! It’s creamy and delicious and one of my go-to soft cheese for a good charcuterie board. This is the one I love from Trader Joe’s. Bonus points if you drizzle some honey on top – it’s incredible.
And, in my humble opinion, that list contains the best cheese for charcuterie boards. But, I love to play around and try new things, and the size of the board always dictates how many cheese I’m including!
What Are the Other Must Haves for a Charcuterie Board?
Of course, if you want a true charcuterie board and not just a cheese board, you’ll need a lot more than just a few types of cheese. Slices of cured meats are an obvious must, but here’s a quick list of some of the other staples I include in most of my boards:
- Crackers (Sometimes I’ll also include a sliced baguette)
- Nuts (I love trying some of the flavored ones at Trader Joe’s!)
- Fruit (My go-to’s are grapes, strawberries, blackberries, and sliced apples)
- A couple of jams or unique spreads (fig butter and pepper jelly are go-to’s for us!)
- Something sweet (Mini cakes, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered almonds, etc.)
- And, of course, the meats! I always include prosciutto, some sort of ham, salami, and a summer sausage)
If you want to learn more about how to make the perfect charcuterie board, click here for the full tutorial!
What Else Should You Have on Hand?
There’s a few things that are helpful to have in terms of gear when it comes to putting together the perfect cheese board. Here are my staples:
- A big wooden board
- Small bowls (for olives, pickles, etc.)
- A cheese knife or two
Other than that, just set out a few small plates for your guests to load up, and you’re good to go!
Is it Ok to Serve at Room Temperature?
YES! The beauty of a charcuterie board is it holds up great when it has sat out for a while, and cheese are often really at their peak when they’re at room temperature. When I’m assembling my board, I always start with the cheese to give them some time to warm up, and because they can handle sitting out for longer than the meats can.
Other Charcuterie Board Recipes and Tips
Here’s a rundown of all of my other charcuterie board related posts. You’ll find everything from how to arrange the board to ideas for really unique boards!