Learn how to make the Ultimate Grazing Platter for family gatherings and entertaining guests. I used to make a separate cheese platter, crudite platter and charcuterie platter for our holiday parties. But, I was often left with almost entire platters of untouched food at the end of the night. So, I now combine cheeses, crudite and charcuterie on a grazing platter.
Whether you’re hosting a small or large gathering, a grazing platter is a fun and beautiful way to present finger foods and snacks to guests.
What Is A Grazing Platter?
A grazing platter is a feast for the eyes. There are no hard and fast rules to creating a grazing platter. It’s really up to your creative imagination. The key is to include a variety of bite-size foods on the platter.
You might want to include some of these items:
- Charcuterie (e.g., prosciutto, salami, chorizo)
- Fruits (e.g., berries, oranges, grapes)
- Vegetables (e.g., carrots, celery, radishes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, endive leaves)
- Olives (e.g., Kalamata, green, or marinated mixed olives)
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Marinated roasted red peppers
- Pickles (e.g., cornichon)
- Dried fruit (e.g., apricots, cranberries, cherries)
- Nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts)
- Crackers (choose different shape crackers for more interest; include gluten-free crackers for guests on special diets)
- Crunchies (e.g., baked chickpeas, popcorn, pretzels, cheese sticks)
- Dips (e.g., hummus or creamy dip)
- Chocolate covered dried fruit or nuts
- Pretty garnishes (e.g., kiwis, pomegranate, fresh figs, passion fruit, dragon fruit, starfruit, fresh herbs, edible flowers)
- Condiments (e.g., specialty mustards, honey, honeycomb, jams/preserves)
Where To Find Grazing Platters
You have many options for grazing platters.
I usually buy platters or decorative cutting boards at discount stores, such as Home Goods or TJ Maxx. However, you can also buy sturdy plastic platters from party stores, supermarkets or discount stores like Walmart. If you don’t want to invest in a large board, set two or three smaller boards on your serving table and build your platter from there. Round, square or rectangular platters are all fine. It’s just a matter of preference.
If you don’t want to spend any money, no worries. Look in your cabinets – you probably have a large platter somewhere. Alternatively, line a baking sheet or tray with parchment paper and build your grazing platter on top.
Where To Buy Ingredients for Grazing Platter
You can find ingredients for your grazing platter in your pantry, at your grocery store, at the farmer’s market, and surprisingly, in the gourmet food section of Home Goods and TJ Maxx. There’s no need to go to a fancy gourmet grocery store. The deli section at many grocery stores carries a variety of antipasta items (e.g., marinated olives, roasted red peppers, pickles). If you’re making a large grazing platter, check out Costco for cheeses that are relatively inexpensive.
The key is to buy high quality ingredients, and make sure any fresh fruit and vegetables you buy are very fresh.
Prepping Ingredients for Grazing Platter
Choose in-season fruits and vegetables and seasonal favorites for your platter. Be sure to include lots of colorful fruits (e.g., strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, regular and blood oranges, green and purple grapes, kiwi, pomegranates), and vegetables (e.g., rainbow carrots, watermelon radishes, cherry tomatoes, red/orange/yellow bell peppers or assorted colored baby bell peppers, English or mini cucumbers).
Everything you serve on the grazing platter should be bite-size (one or two bites) – no big chunks of cheese with knives.
- Cut cheeses into cubes, slices or chunks.
- Slice or cut fruits and vegetables into strips. If you slice apples in advance, store in a mixture of water and lemon juice.
- Next, make a dip or hummus if you’re planning on serving a dip with the vegetables .
- Roll up charcuterie (e.g., prosciutto) or fold in quarters (e.g., salami).
- Put nuts in a small bowl (if you have guests who might be allergic to nuts).
- Put olives in a small bowl.
- Cut any garnishes (e.g., kiwi, pomegranates).
How to arrange Grazing Platter
First, choose the appropriate size platter based on the number of people you are serving. I have a long thin wooden board for 2-3 people. For 10 people, I have a large round platter. For 25 or more people, I have a large rectangular wooden tray.
Second, think ahead how you want to arrange your grazing platter. People eat with their eyes, so how you arrange your grazing platter is very important.
Visually, I love having pops of color all over the board. I also like the idea of spreading items around the board.
- Start by laying cheeses on the platter
- Next, place charcuterie on the platter
- Place dips on the platter
- Place some vegetables near dip
- Add fruits and vegetables to start filling in the empty spaces, making sure to split them up around the board for a prettier presentation
- Fill in the rest of the spaces with crackers, small bowls of olives, nuts, chocolate covered fruits
- Place pretty garnishes on the platter (e.g., kiwi, pomegranate halves)
Have you made grazing platters before? I’d love to hear your ideas!
For more grazing platter inspiration, check out my Grazing Platter Pinterest Board