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How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter (VIDEO)

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It’s easier than it looks. Learn How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: how to choose your ingredients, how to arrange them, what kind of boards to use, and two different price options. 

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

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Most of my recipes are easy and healthy weeknight meals for the whole family. BUT, every once-in-a-while I get to step out of that easy dinner box and into something that’s a little bit more exciting and fun. AKA CHEESE PLATTERS!

I’ve been putting together cheese platters and boards for years. In fact, way back when I first started this site, I used to feature my weekly cheese purchases. I’m not even going to link to those posts because a) the pictures, writing, and just about everything about those early posts are terrible and b) when I went through my rebrand last spring, I got rid of some of those older, useless posts.

But all this is to say that I come from Wisconsin, from a family of cheese-obsessed humans, and I’ve learned a lot about cheese over the years. More recently, I’ve loved putting together gorgeous boards that look really impressive, but I’m here to tell you – they are way easier than they look to make. When I took an instagram poll (so fun!) about what type of cheese platter you’d like to see (Trader Joe’s vs Costco; Themed vs Not; $20 vs $50 you guys wanted: Trader Joe’s; Themed; and for $20. I’m here to deliver on the $20 (and $45!) Trader Joe’s cheese platter. 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! These are basic boards, made out of everyday ingredients that can be found at most grocery stores. And, I think that cheese platters are meant to be different each time, so make them your own. Use your favorite varieties, seasonal fruits and veggies, and using stuff that you already have! Keep your eye out for some themed cheese platters coming soon!

How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: Basic $20 Version

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.

No matter what price range you use, you want to include a variety of cheeses, soft vs hard, pungent vs mild, young vs aged.

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

In the $20 Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter (shown above), I used the following components:

  • Two Cheeses: Aged Gouda and Brie
  • One Meat: Spicy Salami
  • Two Crackers: Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must) and Breadsticks
  • One Nut/Other: Candied Walnuts

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: $45 version

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

In this $45 Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter, I used the following components:

  • Three Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Brie, and Italian Truffle
  • Two Meats: Spicy Salami and Proscuitto
  • Three Crackers: Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must), Breadsticks, and a Fruit and Nut Cracker
  • Two Nuts: Candied Walnuts and Marcona Almonds
  • One Fresh: Sliced Persian Cucumber

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: How to Arrange the Cheese Platter

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

The #1 tip for how to arrange a cheese platter is to CRAM THAT CHEESE PLATTER FULL! Different colors, shapes, flavors, and textures. Click here to watch a video on how to arrange a cheese platter. 

  1. Cheese. Start with cheese and or any bowls of olives, etc. Space them throughout the cheese platter. (PRO TIP: Cut a little of the cheese so that it’s inviting for people to start eating!)
  2. 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. (PRO TIP: Fold salami in half, and rip up sheets of prosciutto so that they are small enough for one bite.)
  3. Crackers. Fan out crackers like water crackers and place any oddly shaped crackers (like the breadsticks) in a small bowl or glass. (PRO TIP: The breadsticks help add height to the board, which adds visual interest. Display them in a way that shows this off!)How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. I like to use a variety, but check to see what you have in your pantry already! Marcona almonds are a high-end option, candied walnuts are a great sweet and crunchy component, but regular almonds or pistachios work great, too!

How To Make a Trader Joe's Cheese Platter

CLICK HERE to pin How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter for later.

How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: Other Additions

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!)

How To Make a Trader Joe’s Cheese Platter: The Tools

If you’re going to make these 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. Remember, the main tip is to cram it full, so choose a size cutting board that you can fill up entirely.

You’ll also need some cheese knives. Mine are from Crate & Barrel, but here’s a nice set from amazon.

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