Create A Holiday Grazing Board
Learn how to create an affordable holiday grazing board for all of your winter holiday gatherings: Christmas, New Year’s, etc.
Q: What’s the one way to please the palates of every holiday party guest?
A: Create a holiday grazing board!
The perfect holiday grazing board (snack board or charcuterie board) contains a variety of sweet and savory treats.
And it’s not difficult (or expensive) to assemble.
What Is A Grazing Board?
A grazing board is similar to an appetizer platter or charcuterie platter. The idea is to fill a tray or serving platter with a variety of snacks and treats for a party.
A grazing board can be set out in advance of a dinner party – or can be the main attraction. The key is to include a variety of foods to please a variety of palates.
What To Include On A Holiday Grazing Board
If you’re creating a Christmas-themed snack platter, it’s important to include both red and green foods. Separate the sweet and savory foods.
Start by finding an appropriated-sized tray. You want the tray to be filled with a variety of treats – avoid empty space. Line the board with parchment paper, if necessary. Add rosemary or pine sprigs as a garnish.
Don’t forget napkins, small plates, and toothpicks.
Consider your guest list, and include foods that appeal to a variety of palates:
Olives: Castelvetrano olives are beautifully green hued – the perfect color for a holiday grazing board.
Sweety drop peppers: These red, bite-sized sweet peppers (also called petits poivrons) add color and flavor to your board. You may be able to find these on the grocery store olive bar, or in the cheese section.
Crackers: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own artisan crackers. Otherwise, any snack crackers will do. Also consider including a sweet fruit-and-nut cracker, like Raincoast Crisps or Raisin Rosemary Crisps from Trader Joe’s.
Spanish chorizo: While virtually any cured meat will go well on this snack board, I think Spanish chorizo is a delicious, flavorful, and festive option – perfect for Christmas.
Cheese: Any snack board must include cheese. Include 2 or 3 varieties. I included Double Gloucester cheese with onion and chive from ALDI, some Roquefort from Trader Joe’s, and a homemade pecan-cranberry cheeseball.
Nuts: Pecans, cashews, almonds, and pistachios are all great choices. Consider adding some chocolate-covered nuts to your board.
Sugared cranberries: These beautiful bites are a little sweet/a lot of tart – and are a fun addition to the grazing board. To make, place ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, and cook until sugar dissolves. Place 12 ounces of cranberries in a large bowl. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the cranberries. Use a slotted spoon to remove cranberries from the liquid. Place on parchment paper to dry for one hour. Then, roll the cranberries in granulated sugar until evenly coated. Set aside to dry completely, then store in the refrigerator.
Sweet treats: Look for red and green, and other festive sweet treats like mint-flavored malted milk balls, star-shaped cookies, Christmas cookies, etc.
Fruit: A pomegranate is a beautiful addition to your grazing board, but pears and figs are other great options.
Nutella: Nutella makes everything better, including your holiday grazing board. Use it on sweet crackers or fruit slices.
How To Assemble A Holiday Grazing Board On A Budget
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a grazing board that your guests will love. Keep these tips in mind:
- Shop your fridge and pantry: Dig deep into your cupboards to find foods appropriate for a grazing board, like nuts, crackers, olives, pickles, cheese, Nutella, and chocolate.
- Shop at a discount grocery store: ALDI is my go-to for budget shopping – and party shopping. The Spanish chorizo, star-shaped cookies, chive cheese, and pecans all came from ALDI.
- Make it a potluck: If your guests offer to bring something to your party – take them up on it! Ask them to bring an item appropriate for a grazing board.
More Charcuterie/Grazing Board Ideas
Want to be a star party-thrower? Learn how to create awesome charcuterie or grazing boards like:
- Dessert charcuterie platter
- Harvest/fall appetizer platter
- Valentine’s Day snack board
- Christmas grazing board
- Scandinavian snack board
- How to assemble a veggie tray on a budget
- How to assemble an unforgettable charcuterie platter on a budget
- How to set up a hummus bar
- Budget-friendly mezze platter
- The $10 appetizer spread