Is there anything better than a Trader Joe’s charcuterie board? (Or is it a cheese board?) Either way, the answer is NO. I’m here to show you that making an awesome Trader Joe’s cheese platter doesn’t have to cost $100 and I’ll show you exactly what to buy, the best Trader Joe’s cheese for cheese boards, how to arrange the items, and the tools you’ll want to use to make the ultimate Trader Joe’s cheese board!
Charcuterie boards can get super expensive super quickly, but they also don’t have to be, so that’s what I’m here to show you! With these two perfect Trader Joe’s cheese board options, you can decide how much to spend.
This Trader Joe’s charcuterie board post was originally published in November 2018, and updated in 2020 to include better instructions, and include the cheese board shopping lists.
I also created a DIY Costco cheese platter with $50 and $100 options. (Because items at Costco are bigger, both of these make two cheese boards.)
All of the ingredients you’ll see below came from Trader Joe’s, so if you have one near you, you can get exactly the same components, but don’t worry if you don’t! While these are Trader Joe’s charcuterie boards, they are made out of everyday ingredients that can be found at most grocery stores.
And, I think that cheese boards are meant to be different each time, so make them your own. Use your favorite varieties of meats and cheese, seasonal fruits and veggies, and using stuff that you already have, and most importantly? Don’t stress, you can do this!
How To Make a $20 Trader Joe’s Cheese Board
I’m not going to lie. Spending just $20 to make a cheese platter – even one from Trader Joe’s – is not going to go too far. And to be exact, this one was $21.31. But, it is doable for a basic cheese platter for a small crowd. (I just prefer not to have a budget when it comes to cheese. HA!)
Typically, I like to include 3-5 different cheese is a cheese platter. But it really depends on how many people you’re serving. If it’s a small group (under 8-10), two varieties of cheese will work just fine.
No matter what price range you use, you want to include a variety of cheeses, soft vs hard, pungent vs mild, young vs aged.
$20 Trader Joe’s Cheese Board Shopping List:
- Two Cheeses: Aged Gouda and Brie
- One Meat: Spicy Salami
- Two Crackers: Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must) and Italian Breadsticks
- One Nut/Other: Candied Walnuts
How To Make a $45 Trader Joe’s Cheese Board:
Now we’re going to add some extras! This will take your Trader Joe’s charcuterie board from great to ULTIMATE!
It’s also helpful if you’ll be serving more people, it makes sense to add some different additions instead of just MORE of the same items.
$45 Trader Joe’s Cheese Board Shopping List:
- Three Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Brie, and Italian Truffle
- Two Meats: Spicy Salami and Proscuitto
- Three Crackers: Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must), Italian Breadsticks, and Fig and Olive Crisps
- Two Nuts: Candied Walnuts and Marcona Almonds
- One Fresh: Sliced Persian Cucumber
How to Arrange the Trader Joe’s Charcuterie Board So It Looks Awesome!
#1 TIP: CRAM THAT CHEESE PLATTER FULL!
- Cheese. Start with cheese and or any bowls of olives, etc. Space them throughout the cheese platter.
- Meats. Next add the meats. I like to keep them close to the cheeses. If you’re using a variety, be sure to put a little section of each meat by each cheese, so that you’ve got a few different meat sections throughout the board with a variety.
- Crackers. Fan out crackers like water crackers and place any oddly shaped crackers (like the breadsticks) in a small bowl or glass.
- Fresh components. Now we’re going to add the fruit and/or vegetable. You want people to be able to pick up one piece and eat it easily, so cut cucumbers into rounds on a bias; cut grapes into little clumps of 2-3; and slice any pears or apples.
- Take a look. Step back and look at your cheese platter. Does it feel and look balanced? With a good variety? GOOD! If not, add some extra crackers or meat to any areas that look open.
- Nuts. Finish with the nuts! This is the last step and you want to fill in any open spaces with nuts. Any place you see the board or platter? Add nuts. Marcona almonds are a high-end option, candied walnuts are a great sweet and crunchy component, but regular almonds or pistachios work great, too!
Use different colors, shapes, flavors, and textures for the best looking Trader Joe’s charcuterie board.
Extras for the Ultimate Trader Joe’s Cheese Board:
Because I was trying to make these cheese platters budget-friendly, I didn’t add everything that I might. If you want to add a few extra components, or swap out a cheese for some olives, here are my suggestions:
- Fruit. Fruit is a great addition to cheese platters, and Trader Joe’s has so many fresh – and dried – options for you to choose from.
- Honey or jam. If you don’t have any fruit, add a little bowl of honey or apricot jam. The sweet components pairs so well with cheese and meats.
- Olives. Olives are a great addition to cheese platters. Put them in a small bowl. Don’t forget to include an additional little dish if the olives contain pits. (They are a must in my greek mezze platter!)
Tips for the Best Trader Joe’s Charcuterie Board:
These tips will either help your guests enjoy the charcuterie, make you look like a total pro, or both! 🙂
- Cheese – Cut a little of the cheese so that it’s inviting for people to start eating! You can also cut firm cheeses like cheddar, gouda, etc. up completely so that people don’t have to mess with the knives.
- Meat – Fold salami in half, and rip up sheets of prosciutto so that they are small enough for one bite.
- Crackers – The breadsticks help add height to the board, which adds visual interest. Display them in a way that shows this off!
- Fresh Items – Use a variety of colors and textures here to add fresh flavor to your Trader Joe’s charcuterie board.
- Nuts – I like to use a variety, but check to see what you have and use that up first.
Helpful Tools to Make the Best Trader Joe’s Meat and Cheese Board:
- Cheese board – If you plan on making Trader Joe’s charcuterie boards often, which you’ll definitely want to (!!!), you’ll want a nice cheese platter board. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. I picked mine up at CB2, but here’s a nice bamboo option from amazon. Marble pastry boards also work well.
- Cheese knives – Mine are from Crate & Barrel, but here’s a nice set from amazon.
Follow these simple steps to make the BEST Trader Joe’s cheese board (charcuterie) that looks great! Both $20 and $45 dollar options.
- Aged Gouda
- Trader Joe’s Italian Truffle
- Spicy Salami
- Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must)
- Italian Breadsticks
- Fig and Olive Crisps
- Candied Walnuts
- Marcona Almonds
One Fresh (or more if your budget allows!):
- Sliced Persian Cucumber
- Place cheese (and anything in a bowl) onto your Trader Joe’s cheese board first.
- Add meats. Arrange them next to the cheese.
- Add crackers. Arrange the crackers next to the cheese and meat (because your guests will probably want to eat all three together!).
- Add fresh components. Think about how people will eat them, aka smaller bites, or little clumps of 2-3 grapes.
- Stop and look. Step back and assess your Trader Joe’s charcuterie board. Does it look like it has good variety? Do any sections need more or less? Now is the time to adjust! Squeeze items in close to each other so the board looks full and abundant.
- Add nuts. Finish with nuts. Add them any place that you see openings on the board.
- GENERAL TIP: The #1 tip for how to arrange a cheese platter is to CRAM THAT CHEESE PLATTER FULL! Different colors, shapes, flavors, and textures.
- MEAT TIP: Fold salami in half, and rip up sheets of prosciutto so that they are small enough for one bite
- CRACKER TIP: The Italian breadsticks help add height to the board, which adds visual interest. Display them in a way that shows this off!
Keywords: Trader Joe’s cheese board, Trader Joe’s charcuterie board, Trader Joe’s cheese platter
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