How to Make a Cheese Board

Have you ever wondered how to make a cheese board that’s worthy of your guests? If you follow a few simple rules, it’s actually very easy. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to serve as a party appetizer since there’s little work involved except assembling the different elements on a beautiful plate.

How to Make a Cheese Board
As a rule, most cheese boards include fresh fruit, nuts, crackers and honey or jam.

Go to any fine restaurant (or even gastropubs these days) and you’ll likely be offered a cheese board.  After all, what tastes better with a crisp and smooth glass of wine or cold beer? 

Have some fun with your cheese boards!

History of the Cheese Board

Legend has it that cheese was invented around 7,000 B.C. by a wandering nomad who was carrying milk across the desert in a saddlebag made from an animal’s stomach. When the nomad reached his destination, the milk had separated into whey and curds, thus creating the first cheese. 

From then on, the cheesemaking process was perfected around the world, especially in abbeys, where monks created Muenster (derived from the word monasterium), a highly prized cheese with a red rind and smooth yellow interior. 

The French word for cheese, “fromage,” derives from the Latin term “Formaticus,” which means “made in a mold.” 

A simple cheese board with four cheese, fresh red grapes, honey and jam.

What Should You Put on a Cheese Board?

A traditional cheese board includes three or more types of cheese, a variety of good-quality crackers, crusty French bread, charcuterie (such as salami or prosciutto) and fresh seasonal fruit. Honeys and jams, which can be drizzled over the cheese and crackers, are also a must.

When creating your cheese boards, be sure to have a variety of mild, medium and strong (such as blue-veined) cheeses, as well as a variety of soft, semisoft and firm varieties. Generally, six ounces of cheese per person is a generous allotment, or for a party of four, 1/2 pound of four different cheeses ensures that there will likely be leftovers.

Some of my personal favorite cheeses are made by Cowgirl Creamery.

What Variety of Cheeses Are Best?

In general, mature cheeses tend to be the strongest. For example, Roquefort cheese is aged at least three months in a cave where the atmosphere assists the development of the characteristic blue veins. Blue-veined cheeses are also poked with holes and sprayed with spores of mold to create their characteristic look and taste. 

Storing Your Cheese

Firm, semifirm and semisoft cheese should be wrapped airtight in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator’s warmest location for up to several weeks. Such cheeses can be frozen, but the texture may be affected. If mold appears on these cheeses, it may be cut away and discarded. The remaining cheese is still suitable for eating. 

Fresh and soft-ripened cheeses should be tightly wrapped and stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If mold appears on any of these cheeses, it should be thrown out. 

I’ve had good luck finding unique cheese boards at stores including Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Pairing Wines with Your Cheese Board

About 70 percent of cheeses can be matched with a white wine. And often a dry white or sweet wine can be a better option. 

In general, go with the following wine pairing options: 

  • Goat’s Cheeses: Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, American pale ale
  • Mild Cheeses: Gamay, Chenin, pilsner or wheat beers 
  • Medium Cheeses: Pinot Noir, Merlot 
  • Strong Cheeses: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (Shiraz), Grenache, IPA beers 

Before serving any cheese, bring it to room temperature, as it will taste better. Supply a separate sharp knife for each wedge or block of cheese. Remember — let the guests cut their own cheese. Cubed cheese with toothpicks is tacky, tacky, tacky! 

Watch my cheese pairing video

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How to Make a Cheese Board

How to Make a Cheese Board

Recipe by Jason Hill –
A cheese board is a delightful way to entertain guests, offering a variety of flavors and textures that cater to different palates. But crafting the perfect cheese board can seem daunting, especially for beginners. Fear not, cheese lovers! This guide will equip you with the knowledge to create a show-stopping cheese board that will have your guests raving.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 12


  • Soft Cheeses Think creamy Brie, buttery Camembert, or tangy goat cheese.
  • Hard Cheeses Select a flavorful cheddar, a nutty Gruyère, or a complex Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Semi-Soft Cheeses Emmental with its distinctive holes, Gouda with its rich caramel notes, or Havarti with its mild flavor are all excellent choices.
  • Blue Cheeses Include Roquefort with its sharp bite or Gorgonzola with its creamy texture and bold veins.
  • Jams and Spreads Sweet accompaniments like fig jam, apricot jam, or honey mustard beautifully complement the richness of cheese. Opt for seasonal jams or explore gourmet options like truffle honey or lavender marmalade.
  • Fruits Fresh grapes, sliced apples, pears, or berries add a refreshing counterpoint to the savory cheeses. Dried fruits like cranberries, apricots, or figs offer a delightful textural contrast and bursts of concentrated sweetness.
  • Nuts Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios add a delightful crunch and richness to the board. Roasted nuts offer a deeper flavor profile, while raw nuts provide a milder taste.
  • Cured Meats Sliced prosciutto, salami, or chorizo can be added for those who enjoy a savory element alongside the cheese.


The Board

  • Choose a visually appealing board, whether it's a rustic wooden platter, a sleek slate slab, or a beautiful ceramic plate.

Cheese Placement

  • Arrange the cheeses spaced evenly, with soft cheeses at room temperature for easy spreading and harder cheeses cut into wedges or slices for easy serving.

Artistic Flair

  • Scatter the fruits, jams, nuts, and meats around the cheeses, creating a visually pleasing composition. Don't be afraid to get creative!


  • Include small cheese knives or toothpicks for guests to use and label the cheeses for added information.

Beyond the Basics: Personalize Your Board

  • The beauty of a cheese board lies in its versatility. Feel free to personalize it based on your preferences and the occasion. Here are some ideas:

Themed Boards

  • Create a cheese board around a specific theme, like a selection of French cheeses or cheeses from around the world.

Seasonal Twists

  • Embrace the seasons by incorporating seasonal fruits, jams, and even cheeses made with seasonal ingredients.

Dietary Considerations

  • Cater to your guests' dietary needs by offering vegan cheese alternatives, gluten-free crackers, and nut-free options.
  • With these tips and a little creativity, you can create a cheese board that is not only delicious but also visually stunning and a true conversation starter. So, gather your ingredients, unleash your inner cheese connoisseur, and embark on your cheese board crafting journey!
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Keyword appetizers, cheese
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.