Be prepared for guests with the pantry stocked for these quick snack and charcuterie board ideas. Pulling together an impromptu appetizer, meal, or dessert will be super simple and delicious.
Many of the ingredients can be bought at the grocery store, but if you want to put in the extra personal touch, be sure to make one of these Best Homemade Dips You Can Make from Scratch.
We like fun food around here. We like snacky food. We like to eat fun, snacky food with friends and neighbors.
And sometimes, especially around the holidays, friends and neighbors might drop by unexpectedly. That’s the best time to throw a spontaneous little party.
You want to prepared for spontaneous parties, am I right?
Consider this your official “hospitality reminder” to help you gear up for delicious little parties with the best snack and charcuterie board ideas!
Why Do This
It’s easy on the hostess. You already know that the snacky dinner is one of my favorites. I plan for it on a weekly basis, usually Sundays because I like to have one day to rest from kitchen labors. When you have charcuterie board ideas to draw on, it never gets boring or difficult.
These charcuterie board ideas can be prepped very last minute. The snacky dinner model, aka charcuterie or cheese platter, also works really well for an impromptu meal with guests. Lay out a bunch of different things and you’re set for all kinds of makeshift “entertaining”.
What to Keep on Hand
Consider adding the following items to your grocery list this week to stash into the pantry, fridge, or freezer for whenever a charcuterie board idea strikes.
crackers, rice cakes, plantain chips, pretzels – You can easily snatch these up on sale and store them in the cupboard. They’re shelf-stable, but be sure to check the best-by dates. They’re great for adding texture and a little bit of carbs to your charcuterie board.
olives, pickles, and roasted peppers – There are so many delicious and creative commercial pickles to keep on hand. Buy several different varieties: spicy, sweet, stuffed, etc. They make for a quick relish tray that looks like something fancy or additions to your charcuterie board.
tortilla, potato, or pita chips – You can’t really go wrong with chips, can you? Be sure to read ingredients labels and make sure you’ve got some gluten-free options on hand.
nuts and seeds – Depending on their dates, consider stocking up with several months’ worth when you see a sale. If you’ve got a little extra time, make these Maple Spiced Pepitas and Almonds for a fun addition to your snack tray or charcuterie boards.
hummus, salsa, guacamole or other spreads – I love buying a box of the mini pods of guacamole and hummus. These are great for longterm storage in the fridge so you don’t have to worry about using up a large container. Keep salsa fixings on hand. You can whip up a fresh batch in just minutes. These are great to add texture to your charcuterie board.
a variety of cheeses – Small packages of fancy cheeses will stay good for awhile in your fridge unopened. Load up on small wheels of Brie and chunks of other cheeses like Emmenthal, Gruyere, Havarti, or Cheddar. Small pods of soft spreadable herbed cheeses usually go on great sale this time of year. Look for snacking cheese as well.
small packages of different deli meats – I usually buy several different packages of cold cuts where they’re packaged in 6- or 8- ounce containers when they’re on sale. They’re affordable and easy to keep on hand for impromptu charcuterie boards or a Sandwich Bar.
vegetable dippers – I’m not sure you can ever have too many vegetables. Keep a variety of veggies on hand to add to your charcuterie boards. I find that baby carrots, English cucumbers, grape tomatoes, celery, and mini bell pepper seem to keep really well when refrigerated. I just refresh our supply as we eat them up. The grape tomatoes tend to have better flavor than other tomatoes in winter and go well in all kinds of bruschetta and tomato salads.
seasonal fruit – Apples, grapes, and clementines are great during fall and winter while berries, melon, and stone fruit may be more apt during the spring and summer. Consult what’s in season where you are.
sliced baguette – You may not want to head to the bakery every time a friend stops by, but if you keep a bag of sliced baguette in the freezer, you’ll be set for appetizer toasts at a moment’s notice.
What are your favorite charcuterie board ideas?
What do you keep on hand for easy snack trays? Leave us a comment and share what works for you!
This post was originally published December 8, 2011. It has been update for content and clarity.