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How to Make the BEST Trader Joe’s Cheese Board

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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! Let’s

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. And I’ll walk you through what makes a good cheese board with this step-by-step guide.

Serve these finger foods with a glass of wine for best results. 🙂

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.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Ultimate Trader Joes charcuterie board with meats, cheese, crackers, and more

Next time give my 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 (one of my favorite places for different types of cheese), 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 just about any grocery store.

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

Trader Joe's cheese board for $20 has meats, cheese, crackers, and nuts

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 an inexpensive charcuterie board 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 options in 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.

Ingredients for $20 Trader Joe's cheese platter

$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

Ultimate Trader Joe's cheese board with meat, cheese, nuts, crackers, and cucumbers

Now we’re going to add some extras! This will take your Trader Joe’s charcuterie board from great to ULTIMATE, but is still a reasonable price.

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.

Ingredients for $45 Trader Joe's cheese board

$45 Trader Joe’s Cheese Board Shopping List

  • Three Cheeses: Aged Gouda, Double Cream Brie, and Italian Truffle
  • Two Meats: Spicy Calabrese Salami and Proscuitto (I’m a huge prosciutto fan, so it’s a fave)
  • 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!

  1. Cheese. The first thing you need to start with is cheese and or any bowls of olives, etc. Space them throughout the cheese platter. Be sure to take them out of the refrigerator so they can be served at room temperature.
  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.
  3. Crackers. Fan out crackers like water crackers and place any oddly shaped crackers (like the breadsticks) in a small bowl or glass.
  4. Fresh components. Now we’re going to add the fresh fruits 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. 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.

Trader Joe's charcuterie board with cheese, meat, nuts, crackers, and cucumbers

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 for a beautiful board:

  • Cheese – Use a mix of soft cheeses, spreadable cheeses, and hard cheese. Aged cheeses, unexpected cheddar, blue cheese add stronger flavor. Honey or blueberry goat cheese will add a nice touch.
  • Meat options – There are lots of options here! Make up some salami roses using thinly sliced hard salami. Spanish chorizo is another good option, especially if you’ve got some Manchego cheese on your board.
  • 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. Go beyond grapes with pomegranate seeds, stone fruit, apple slices squeezed with lemon juice, or whatever seasonal fruit looks good.
  • Nuts/Crackers – You can go in so many options with this section. Try the truffle marcona almonds (SO good) and in addition to water crackers, put out baguette slices, brioche toasts, cheese sticks, or any other cracker that looks good.
  • Honey or jam – If you don’t have any fruit, add a little bowl of honey, fig butter, pumpkin butter, sweet pepper jelly, or apricot jam. The sweet components pair so well with cheese and meats. And slivers of dark chocolate always go over well.
  • Olives/Pickles– Pickles and 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 with a perfect board, 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, but I do love a wooden board. 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.
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Trader Joe's charcuterie board with cheese, meat, nuts, crackers, and cucumbers

How To Make the BEST Trader Joe’s Cheese Board (Ultimate Charcuterie)

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4-8 servings
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

Follow these simple steps to make the BEST Trader Joe’s cheese board (charcuterie) that looks great! Both $20 and $45 dollar options.


Ingredients

Three Cheeses:

  • Aged Gouda
  • Brie,
  • Trader Joe’s Italian Truffle

Two Meats:

  • Spicy Salami
  • Proscuitto

Three Crackers: 

  • Water Crackers (ALWAYS a must)
  • Italian Breadsticks
  • Fig and Olive Crisps

Two Nuts: 

  • Candied Walnuts
  • Marcona Almonds

One Fresh (or more if your budget allows!): 

  • Sliced Persian Cucumber

Instructions

  1. Place cheese (and anything in a bowl) onto your Trader Joe’s cheese board first. 
  2. Add meats. Arrange them next to the cheese. 
  3. Add crackers. Arrange the crackers next to the cheese and meat (because your guests will probably want to eat all three together!). 
  4. Add fresh components. Think about how people will eat them, aka smaller bites, or little clumps of 2-3 grapes. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Add nuts. Finish with nuts. Add them any place that you see openings on the board. 


Notes

  • 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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