Appetizers | Entree

Thanksgiving | Fall Charcuterie

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As the leaves turn golden and the air grows crisp, Thanksgiving brings a delightful opportunity to reimagine traditional feasts. A Thanksgiving or Fall charcuterie board presents a creative and inviting way to celebrate the harvest, offering a perfect blend of seasonal flavors and visual appeal.

Colorful fall charcuterie board with smoked turkey.Pin
Thanksgiving Charcuterie

If you’d like to impress your guests with a different Thanksgiving dinner, this is how to do it.

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Why should you make one?

  1. Variety and Customization: Charcuterie boards allow for a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences. They can include an assortment of cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, and spreads, providing something for everyone. Both adults and kids will love picking their favorite things to try.
  2. Aesthetic Appeal: These boards are visually stunning. They are an artistic expression that enhances the festive atmosphere of any gathering. The colors and textures from fall produce and autumn-themed decorations create an inviting display.
  3. Ease of Preparation: Unlike traditional Thanksgiving dishes that require extensive cooking and preparation, charcuterie boards are relatively simple to assemble. They are a stress-free option for hosts, primarily when catering to a large group.
  4. Social Interaction: Charcuterie boards encourage guests to gather around, pick their favorites, and engage in conversation. It’s a communal and interactive dining experience that adds to the warmth and sociability of the occasion.
  5. Flexibility: They are perfect for any event size, from intimate family dinners to larger parties. You can scale the board size to match the number of guests. You can also serve a charcuterie as an appetizer or a full-blown meal.
  6. Seasonal Flair: Incorporating fall flavors with items like pumpkin-flavored spreads, cranberries, or roasted nuts adds a seasonal touch that celebrates the essence of Thanksgiving and autumn.
Assorted meats on a white board.Pin
Assorted meats

What you need

Charcuterie boards traditionally have a few key ingredients.

Main items

  • Meats: Meats are a must. For a Thanksgiving charcuterie, we always add sliced turkey breast. Smoked turkey goes perfectly with the array of foods on the board. Other great meats are salami, prosciutto, and spreadable meats like paté or liverwurst.
  • Cheese: Use spreadable cheeses like brie, port wine, Boursin, goat cheese, or gorgonzola. Use some hard cheeses, too. Choices include cheddar, gouda, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, Gruyere, Mimolette and more.
  • Bread: You will want some of your favorite bread and crackers. Breads that work well are baguette, French bread, Italian bread, and even specialty breads like this zucchini cheese bread, which are great to add. Since this is a Thanksgiving charcuterie board, try making some stuffing muffins.
  • Fruit: Get seasonal fruit for the fall charcuterie—apples, pears, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, green and red grapes, oranges. Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries add additional colors. Dried fruits are great, too. This board has candied pineapple, dried apricots, and dried apples.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes. Make carrot and celery sticks, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, and radish roses all look great on a board.

Accouterments

  • Pickles and olives: Unique pickles will add interest to your board. These pickled green tomatoes are seasonal and pretty.
  • Dips: Dips like hummus or artichoke dips are nice on some boards.
  • Condiments: Use interesting condiments, jams, or jellies. Cranberry pepper jam and cranberry butter are family favorites for a fall charcuterie board. Other choices include fancy mustard, honey, maple syrup, or chutney.
  • Snack items: Snack-type foods like pretzels or nuts are great. Nuts to use are pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pecans. If you would like, you can make spiced nuts or candied nuts.
  • Dessert items: If you would like, you can even incorporate dessert-type items such as cookies or chocolates. This maple leaves candy has a fun seasonal vibe.
  • Garnishes: Whole cranberries and fresh herbs like rosemary make great garnish items for a fall charcuterie board. They add interest and are effective at filling in holes in your presentation.
Assorted Cheeses on a white board.Pin
Assorted Cheeses

How to make it

Make ahead

Do anything that you can do ahead of time so that you don’t have to do it at the last minute.

Meats: Since this is fall charcuterie, we made a smoked turkey breast for the board, so we did that the day before. If you would like to make meat roses, they can be made the day before, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator until you assemble the board.

Decor: Use seasonal gourds like mini pumpkins for bowls or any small bowls you have on hand to serve the condiments and nuts. Hollow out the pumpkins ahead of time.

Cheeses: Cut the hard cheeses into different shapes to add interest to your board. Slices and cubes are nice.

Fruit: Fruit, such as the pomegranate seeds, can be removed the day before and stored in an airtight container overnight. Cut or break the oranges into sections and store them in storage bags. Don’t cut anything that tends to brown, like apples and pears. Cut them just before serving, or treat them with ascorbic acid right after slicing. They will last a couple of hours.

Vegetables: If you serve vegetables such as celery or carrot sticks, they can be cut the day before and stored in plastic bags.

Sliced smoked breast on a wooden slab.Pin

Setup

To set up your board, choose one item as your focal point. In this case, we chose the turkey breast.

Choose small bowls, plates, or containers to hold smaller items in. Fill them with condiments or nuts and place them around the board in no particular pattern. Add a small spoon to each condiment. Randomness works well with grazing boards and is easier to set up than trying to do a pattern.

For the large cheeses, like the brie, place it on the board whole, with a small cheese knife next to it.

Spreadable cheeses should be placed in small bowls. Again, supply each cheese with its own small knife for spreading.

After you place the meats and cheeses, scatter the sliced bread or crackers in groups. Try to group items in odd-numbered quantities, 3’s, 5’s and 7’s work well.

Scatter the fruits and veggies around the board in groups.

When everything else is on the board, fill any gaps with sprigs of fresh herbs or whole cranberries.

Arrange items on different levels. Footed bowls or platters add interest.

Single serving of charcuterie ingredients.Pin

What boards to use

Please don’t feel that everything needs one giant board. Smaller boards or platters work well, too. They are perfect for placing around the room for a cocktail party or large gathering.


You could lay butcher or parchment paper on your table if you have a large gathering. That way, there are no boards to wash.


Boards that will also work include different-sized cutting boards, various platters, or large plates. They don’t necessarily have to match. Even old baking sheets can be a fun addition to your board.

How much to plan per person

If you are serving the board as an appetizer, figure 2 ounces of meats and cheese per person. Then, about 5-6 servings of fruits. For the dips and condiments, just guesstimate the quantities, figuring each person will only have a spoonful of this and that.

For a full meal, you should figure about half a pound of meats and cheeses per person. 10-12 servings of fruit and vegetables. Again, for the remaining ingredients, just guesstimate.

Large Thanksgiving charcuterie board with smoked turkey.Pin

What utensils to use

Arm your board with many utensils: small tongs, knives for serving, and small spoons for the condiments. Use toothpicks or small forks for eating.

How to store leftovers

Separate the meats and cheeses. Hard cheeses can be packaged for storage together unless they are really pungent, like blue cheese.

Package meats separately. If you save the containers for the spreads and condiments, either put the leftovers in the original containers or toss them if they have sat out too long.

Fruits, except for a pomegranate, can generally be stored together in an airtight container. Throw out fruits that tend to brown.

The only things that could be frozen are the meat and some of the hard cheeses. Package them in appropriate, airtight packages. Freeze for up to two months.

More grazing platters

Helpful tools

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure here.

A single serving plate made from the Fall charcuterie.Pin
Fall Charcuterie

Making a Thanksgiving charcuterie board can be a fun experience. Get the whole family involved. The kids will even have fun making this.

Sliced turkey and colorful fruits on a fall charcuterie board.Pin

Fall Charcuterie | Thanksgiving Charcuterie

A Thanksgiving or Fall charcuterie board presents a creative way to celebrate the harvest, offering seasonal flavors and visual appeal.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, entree, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 652kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $50

Ingredients

  • pound mixed cheeses. Pick some of your favorite and try something new!
  • pounds mixed meats
  • mixed seasonal fruit or vegetables
  • bread or crackers
  • you can get creative, and add other items, to taste

Instructions

  • Slice cheeses into bite sized pieces and arrange on board. 
    2½ pound mixed cheeses. Pick some of your favorite and try something new!
  • Arrange meat in bite-sized pieces on board.
    2½ pounds mixed meats
  • Wash and slice fruit into bite sized pieces.
    you can get creative, and add other items, to taste, mixed seasonal fruit or vegetables
  • Add broken bite-sized pieces of fresh bread or cut baguette slices and toast to make crostini. You can also use your favorite crackers, pretzels and bagel chips.
    bread or crackers
  • Add sauces, dips, condiments, pickles, olives, or hummus in small bowls.
  • Arrange everything on your board and enjoy!
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

Nutrition facts are estimated. The actual calories can vary, depending on what quantities are consumed.
See the article above for addition suggestions and tips for building your charcuterie.
Meats suitable for charcuterie platter;
  • salami
  • ham
  • bacon
  • sausage
  • pork
  • turkey
  • pate
Cheeses to add to your charcuterie board;
Hard Cheeses;
  • cheddar
  • Swiss
  • muenster
  • Mimolette
  • gouda
  • provolone
Spreadable cheeses;
  • brie
  • Alouette type 
  • cream cheese blends
  • port wine cheese
  • chutter
  • Stilton cheeses
Fruits to add;
  • apple
  • pear
  • grape
  • orange
  • pineapple
  • cantaloupe
  • melons
  • apricot
  • peach
  • plum
  • dried cranberries
Add any other of your favorite fruits. I find bananas don’t work well because they brown so quickly. Apples, peaches, or anything that browns can be tossed into lemon juice before adding to the board.
Additional Condiments;
  • olives
  • capers
  • mayonnaise
  • mustards
  • dips
  • jams or jellies
  • pickles, vegetables, or peppers

Nutrition

Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 1108mg | Potassium: 387mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1175IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 841mg | Iron: 1mg
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Originally published December, 5, 2023.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure here.

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