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Holiday Eats // How to Build a Cheese Board – Trader Joe’s Style

* Recipe by guest contributor Laney Schwartz, creator of Life is But a Dish

Ask and you shall receive. The time has finally come, and just in time for the Holidays!

I’m about to teach you how easy it is to build an epic holiday cheese board!

Every single ingredient used here is from Trader Joe’s, however, you can 100% use these same tips and buy ingredients from any store or farmer’s market.

Let’s get started. I’m going to walk you through each step, give you lots of options, and then at the bottom sum it all up for you.

Here we go!

how to make a cheese board - cheeses holiday cheese board - crackers

how to make a cheese board - meats how to make a cheese board - dried fruits

how to make a cheese board - nuts how to make a cheese board - fresh fruits

how to make a cheese board - honey and fig butter how to make a cheese board - sweets

Let’s begin with the cheese, shall we?

I like to go with odd numbers when I’m picking my cheeses.

Depending on how many people I’m serving, I choose 3 or 5 different types. I try to pick different shapes, colors, tastes and textures. Here I picked up two soft/spreadable cheeses, one hard/salty, one mild semisoft and one staple. Also, know your crowd. I’m not a blue cheese lover, but many people are! Just make sure you have at least one cheese that is considered a “safety” cheese – something that most everyone will eat.

Now you need a vehicle for the cheese.

Let’s move on to the crackers.

Trader Joe’s has so many awesome cracker choices. I usually end up using about 2-4 cracker/bread options. I absolutely love the multigrain pita bite crackers! They’re thick and crunchy and perfect for piling high! When choosing crackers, I like to pick a variety of textures and shapes as well. The Parmesan Crisps and Cheese Sticks are nice as fillers for the board and create some fun movement.

Let’s talk meat.

While adding meat to your board is totally optional, it’s a simple way to add some substance. Pick 2-3 meat options – whichever you like and call it a day. I love the peppered salami and prosciutto, but feel free to mix it up!

Dried fruit.

An essential part of a holiday cheese board. This adds some sweetness and great texture as well.

This time of year the dried fruit is fantastic and I love almost all of Trader Joe’s options! My favorites are the dried apples, pears and figs. The others are fun as well and are also great as fillers.

Get Nutty!

Trader Joe’s has the best nuts and for a great price! I’ll never put out a cheese board without Marcona Almonds. They’re a staple if you ask me. And for fall, these Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds are INSANE. Oh, and candied pecans? Yes please. I say yes to all three.

Next up, fresh fruit.

This is a necessity for any cheese board, especially in the fall when you need to brighten up the board a bit. Fresh apples, pears, persimmons and pomegranate seeds work great for this. Even if you simply slice a fruit in half (or leave it whole), it makes for great board decor.

Dips and spreads.

No need to go crazy here. I love a simple honey and one or two jams or fruit butter. This fig butter is out of this world delicious!

Treat YoSelf!

Totally optional here, but I love to throw on some little chocolate treats. It’s a fun surprise for people and I love going between the sweet and salty.

Ok, now how do we pull all of this together?

It’s easy! Just start layering.

Start with a blank board. You can use a wood cutting board, a marble slab, even a sheet pan or shallow dish! Anything can be a cheese board if you let it.

Lay out your cheeses. I like to keep some cheeses whole, then slice and dice the others for variety. Cut them into triangles or cubes for easy grabbing, then add some cheese knives to the others.

Next, add your crackers.

I like to add big groupings of crackers together, and I try to think about putting specific crackers near certain cheeses. For example, I wouldn’t put a flimsy cracker next to a cheese that needs to be spread.

Now let’s add the meat.

You can get all fancy and roll the meat if you want, or you can simply lay it out and/or pile it high for people to grab!

Let’s add the fruit. Fresh and dried!

Here’s where you can really start to get creative. Slice your fruit and drape it along the board wherever you feel it fits best. There’s no right or wrong here! Think about what might taste good together and put those things near each other.

Lastly, grab a couple small bowls and add your dips and spreads. Place them wherever there’s room!

How to make a cheese board for the holidays

Now comes the fun part. If there’s any room left, just start to fill in the empty spaces.

Add your nuts, chocolates and anything else to fill the space! More crackers, fruits or even more meat! Have fun with it and don’t overthink it. Everybody loves a cheese board!


Get the Recipe // How to Build a Cheese Board – Trader Joe’s Style


You can thank me later.

Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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