How to make a festive, affordable 4th of July charcuterie board.
This patriotic Fourth of July charcuterie platter is filled with red, white, and blue foods, making it a perfect choice for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or a summer party!
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve watched, impressed, with the zeal with which Americans celebrate the fourth of July. As a Canadian, we just never get close to that much snazziness on our nation’s birthday.
But growing up with American cousins – who we would often spend summers with, throughout the US (they moved around a lot for my Uncle’s job), I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing plenty of fourth of July celebrations.
And since everyone loves a charcuterie board, I thought I’d put together a patriotic cheese board with fruit, cheese, and crackers, perfect for a party celebrating Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Summer!
Why I Love This Fourth of July Charcuterie and Cheese Board
If you love cheese, nibbles, and easy entertaining, it’s hard not to love a charcuterie board. They’re easy to put together with limited prep time, they look gorgeous, and they add a touch of class to any party (4th of July Charcuterie, Memorial Day Charcuterie, or all summer long!).
This one is easy to put together, and fairly affordable as far as cheese and charcuterie boards go, since it’s lighter on the cheese and meats than a more typical cheese board, relying on fruit to do some of the heavy lifting of filling the space, instead of tons of cheese and cured meats.
That said, you can always add more cheese and cured meats if you want, or to suit your guests’ tastes!
I’ve added some ideas to upgrade or add to this platter with additional red, white, and blue finger foods swaps towards the bottom of this post.
And there’s lots more cheese suggestions, of course!
How to Make a July 4th Charcuterie Board
The main steps in making this charcuterie board are planning your ingredients and knowing how you’ll color block the whole thing.
I’ve shared some tips around that below, but first, here’s what you’ll need.
- Charcuterie board
- Small bowls, ramekins, etc.
- Star shaped cookie cutters
- Small 4th of July decorations (optional) to zhuzh it up a bit
For the charcuterie board, you can use almost anything, so long as it’s food safe.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy slab of marble or oiled wood cheese board to make it work.
If you do, great, but if not you can get creative, using rectangle baking trays trays, a lazy Susan with or without the dishes, a plastic tray, or a large cutting board.
The most important thing is it fits the food you plan to lay on it, and it’s sturdy enough to handle the weight of all the ingredients.
I also think a “flat” board works best for this fourth of July charcuterie board, rather than a sloped or sectioned-off board.
I really like the long tray style boards with handles for something like this.
Ingredients for a Fourth of July Charcuterie Board
Here’s a list of what we used for this board. You can easily swap out some of the ingredients for other foods that fit the color scheme, and I’ve suggested some swaps and additions below.
But to get started, here’s what’s on this delicious party appetizer tray!
- Block of a white, hard cheese, such as Swiss or white cheddar. Don’t use a fancy fromage for this, as you’ll cut them into stars, which means some wastage (which you should eat!). Also, you’ll need a fairly large block, which gets cost prohibitive with fancier cheeses.
- Blue cheese (crumbled into a small dish or ramekin)
- 1 pack Mini Babybel Original (the classic ones with the red wax wrapper)
- Small watermelon
- 1 pint each of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
- Dried blueberries and/or cranberries
- Crackers: plain or seasoned oyster, soup crackers, club crackers, pita chips
- White chocolate or yoghurt covered pretzels (store bought or homemade)
Wash & Dry
Before beginning, wash and dry any fruits and veggies you plan to use.
This board has a lot of berries, which I like to wash and leave to dry in a colander for quite awhile before arranging them on the board / boards.
You want them to be almost totally dry before arranging, otherwise the excess water can run into the other ingredients, resulting in soggy, wet charcuterie.
Arranging Your July 4th Charcuterie Board
As the berries dry, place your empty charcuterie board on your workspace (kitchen counter, etc) and plan out the space.
I like to color block it out in my mind, and place the ramekins and star cookie cutters on the board as landmarks. Then I figure out which ingredients will go where, planning to put them in color blocks around the landmarks.
You’ll need to consider how much space you have to present all your different ingredients.
However, you’ll also need to build some “ingredient bridges” between wet ingredients (like fruit) and dry ingredients (like crackers).
If you place fruit next to crackers, the crackers will get soggy. Instead, plan to use some more moisture-resistant ingredients like the Babybel and the chocolate covered pretzels to separate wet and dry.
Get to Work and Make a Gorgeous July 4th Charcuterie Board
Once your berries are dry and your board is planned, it’s time to get to work!
I start with the watermelon, slicing it into wedges and arranging on the board.
Then build out your red block, arranging raspberries, strawberries (I prefer to use whole over sliced – less work!), and filling a ramekin with dried cranberries. The Babybels go down next, forming a clear line between red and white.
Next, arrange your white block. Crumble blue cheese into a ramekin, and lay down your crackers and pretzels.
At the bottom of the tray, arrange your blue colored food: in this case, blueberries and blackberries.
Finally, slice the white block cheese in half length-wise. Cut star shapes, and arrange them on top of the other food, across all color blocks to add an additional patriotic touch!
Alternative Ideas for a Fourth of July Charcuterie: Other Red, White and Blue Food to Try
Red Food Ideas
For this board, we used strawberries, raspberries, watermelon triangles, dried cranberries, and Baby Bell cheeses (with the red wax wrapper still on).
However, there are plenty of other red foods you could add to customize this patriotic red white and blue fourth of July platter.
- Cured meats (salami, prosciutto, etc)
- Red veggies, such as red pepper slices, or cherry tomatoes
- Fruits such as cherries, red grapes, pomegranate arils, red apple slices, currants, etc.
- Red fruit jellies or preserves, salsas
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Any “red wax” cheese including Edam, Gouda, and some cheddars
White Food Ideas
We used Swiss Cheese stars, crumbled blue cheese, white chocolate covered pretzels and crackers to create the white section on this July 4th charcuterie board.
If you need some ideas for other white foods, consider some of the following:
- Veggies, such as cauliflower florets, sliced cucumber with skin removed, roasted garlic, and caramelized onions served in a ramekin
- Fruits such as banana slices, coconut, and sliced pears.
- Ranch dip (or Bacon Ranch Crack Dip) or tzatziki
- Toasted pita wedges
- White chocolate or yogurt covered nuts
- Whipped feta dip, cream cheese spread, baked brie,
- Other “white” cheese like mini bocconcini balls, feta, manchego, etc.
- Plain or salted potato chips
Blue Food Ideas
And finally, some ideas to increase the blue on your July 4th charcuterie board:
- Blueberry preserves, dried blueberries, or sparkling (sugared) blueberries
- Babybel Light (blue wrapper)
- Blue corn chips
- Cheese with a blue or purple rind, such as Purple Moon wine soaked cheddar or Trader Joe’s Syrah soaked Toscano
What About Cheese?
With all of the color blocks, it’s fairly easy to add a few more cheeses to the platter. A few delicious ideas below:
- Whipped dips
- DIY goat’s cheese log rolled in a color matching coating are a really fun and delicious touch. Dried cranberries or blueberries are great for red or blue. Edible flowers such as borage, viola, or strawberry blossoms are a festive showstopper!
Final Thoughts About Putting Together a Patriotic 4th of July Charcuterie Platter
I hope this post inspired you to get colorful this Fourth of July or Memorial Day!
And if you know a cheese and charcuterie fan, please share this post!