Start holiday festivities with a colorful Thanksgiving Cheese Board. This seasonally-driven cheese board pairs cheese with seasonal fruits, nuts and a homemade Orange Cranberry Compote. Pair this seasonal cheese platter with wine and serve to guests for the ultimate holiday appetizer.
I have a confession for y’all: I never made a cheese board until a few months ago.
It’s not that I couldn’t do it — it was out of laziness and lack of inspiration.
Well, I finally made one and started off strong with this Thanksgiving cheese board, complete with Orange Cranberry Compote. It works nicely on the cheeses and crackers, as well as pairs superbly with wine, if that’s something you’re into.
Why I love this recipe:
I love a cheese board because they’re so versatile. You pair different types of cheeses (to get those different textures), along with fruits and nuts.
This is not a traditional charcuterie board because it does not involve cured meats, but you certainly could add those if that’s something that you’re into. (Please check out these
I love this board because it’s an easy Thanksgiving appetizer to serve before the big meal. It highlights different kinds of cheese, as well as various seasonal ingredients.
It’s the perfect way for everyone to get a few bites before the Thanksgiving feast is served. You could also serve it throughout the holiday season and for special occasions, so this beautiful board is not just for Thanksgiving.
This is also something that’s relatively easy to transport. All you do is wrap in plastic wrap, then cover tightly in foil. Place it on a flat surface in the car before heading off to your Thanksgiving dinner destination.
What you need to make this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need to grab at the grocery store:
- Soft cheeses — I use a combination of fresh brie and goat cheese for this board.
- Hard cheeses — gouda was my cheese of choice, but you could easily replace it with an aged cheddar cheese or another hard cheese of your choosing.
- Jam — I made an orange cranberry compote to pair with this board, but you can use whatever jam sounds good. Orange Fig Preserves would be excellent. Raspberry preserves are also wonderful. You could even use Cranberry Chutney.
- Crackers — a combination of crackers is always good, for both texture and visual appearance. I used water crackers and flatbread crackers.
- Baguette — toast this before you slice it thinly! It’s especially good with the brie cheese.
- Fresh fruit — grab whatever is in season that looks excellent! In this board, you’ll see we use apples (honeycrisp are my fave), pears and oranges.
- Dried fruit — dried cranberries are my go-to for holiday boards, but dried apricots are also excellent, as are dates.
- Nuts — use whatever sounds good to you. I love the color and crunch that pistachios give this board, as well as a fall nut mix, which added some different flavors and texture.
- Fresh rosemary — this adds brilliant green color to the board as a garnish. Friends and family members can sprinkle some on your cheese if they’re into it!
Thanksgiving charcuterie board
If you’re inclined to transform this Thanksgiving cheese plate into a charcuterie situation, here are a few ingredients to add:
- Classic charcuterie ingredients, like Italian dry salami, proscuitto, etc.
- Thanksgiving-y ingredients, like turkey jerky
- A classic bacon cheese ball
- Meaty bites, like bacon wrapped dates
How to customize a fall charcuterie board:
This is all about you, your tastebuds and what seasonal produce and specialty items you can find at your local grocery store.
Here are a few thoughts:
- Swap out the cheeses. For a board this size, I recommend using 3-4 cheeses. Have at least one soft cheese. Grab a variety so guests have a choice. I recommend using your favorite cheeses because if there are leftovers, you can enjoy them another time.
- Use different fruits. Pomegranate seeds would make a beautiful pop of color on a board. Fresh figs would be stunning.
- Try different crackers. If the crackers listed here aren’t your favorite, try something different. I always recommend having a gluten free option for guests who might not be able to eat gluten-filled ingredients. Keep those separate.
- Swap the compote with a storebought alternative. Fig spread, apple butter or another holiday jam would be excellent.
How to build a Thanksgiving Cheese Board:
Choose a platter or wooden board that everything can fit on. For this shoot, I borrowed a platter from a neighbor. You can also use a larger wooden cutting board, if you have that.
Set out the cheeses first. Space them out evenly throughout the board. I like to use these as my starting point.
Add the bowl of jam (or the Orange Cranberry Compote) next. Place it next to the brie because it’s exceptional when served with that!
Add the crackers and/or bread to the board, letting the placement of the cheese and compote guide you.
If you’re serving people who are gluten free, keep the crackers and bread separate so there will not be cross contamination.
Fill in the remaining spaces with sliced seasonal fruit, nuts and dried cranberries. You may also add small bowls of olives, honey and more.
Add sprigs of fresh rosemary for additional color, and serve!
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
I love a cheese platter or a beautiful charcuterie board for entertaining because it involves zero cooking! (Unless, of course, you’re making that compote. But… it’s pretty simple and can be done in advance!)
Here are some tips and tricks to making this minimal effort appetizer work for you:
- Make the compote early. It will keep in the fridge and add beautiful color and flavor to this plattter.
- Add slices of cheese. If you think your guests will struggle slicing the cheese themselves, do it early so they can simply lift the cheese off the board.
- Choose cheeses and ingredients that will pair with your Thanksgiving menu. This board is your introduction to the tastes, so let them sing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Think about the cheeses that you’re putting on the board, as well as the other elements and flavors. When you’re pairing wine and cheese, you want to achieve balance, and I recommend pairing a white wine with a board like this one. Lightly acidic, dry white wines compliment the fatty cheese and nuts perfectly. The sweet-tartness of the seasonal fruit adds a bit more sweetness to the board without overwhelming it, too.
Absolutely. Use whatever cheese makes you happy. However, I do recommend keeping the brie because it’s excellent at room temperature or warmed up.
Quick tips and tricks for the best serving board:
- Keep in mind who you’re serving. Since this is going to start off our Turkey Day feast, I wanted to keep it on the lighter end and not serve too much.
- Swap items to make it YOUR stunning board. Add different colors and textures with different ingredients, all listed above.
- Transport it. Wrap your board in plastic wrap, then tightly in foil, before placing on a flat surface and traveling to your destination.
More Thanksgiving charcuterie board ideas and appetizers:
Now who’s ready to put together a cheese board for their holiday guests?
Scroll on down to learn how easy it is to do this…
Thanksgiving Cheese Board
- 1 wheel brie
- 1 round goat cheese
- 1 wedge gouda
- ½ cup jam fig jam, orange cranberry compote, cranberry chutney, raspberry, apple butter all are delicious
- ½ package flatbread crackers
- ½ package water crackers
- 1 12 oz.-baguette toasted
- 1 apple cut into thin slices
- 1 pear cut into thin slices
- 2 oranges sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- ¼ cup roasted salted nut mix
- Fresh rosemary for garnish
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- First and foremost, choose a platter that everything can fit on. (I borrowed a platter from a neighbor, so you can do that if you don’t think you have anything that works!)
- Set out the cheeses on the board first, spacing out evenly across the board.
- Next, scoop the jam in a small glass bowl and place it onto the board. I highly suggest placing it next to the brie because it’s exceptional when served with that!
- After the cheese and jam are on the platter, add the crackers and/or bread.
- Fill in the empty spaces with sliced seasonal fruit, nuts and dried cranberries.
- Add sprigs of fresh rosemary for additional color, and serve!
Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her…