How to Make a Charcuterie Board from the Dollar Store

You don't have to spend a lot to serve an impressive spread — here's how we did it.

December 15, 2022

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

When it comes to serving party food to a crowd, a charcuterie board with all the trimmings is the perfect way to do it. However, when you’re on a budget, all those trimmings can add up fast. Fancy cheeses, cured meats and specialty snacks are all board essentials, but they can be pricey. We did some smart shopping and explored our local dollar stores to see if we could cut the cost without cutting the quality.

Our ideal dollar store charcuterie board serves 6-8 people in appetizer portions. It has an assortment of three meats, three cheeses (two hard, one soft), tasty crackers, 2-3 condiments, nuts and fresh fruit. Were we able to tick all the boxes? (Spoiler: all but one!) There were also really great frugal options for serving boards and utensils at our stores. So if you’re in need of serveware, why not shop for them while you’re at it?

To our surprise and delight, dollar stores are a boon for hosts on a budget. Tallying all of the food that ended up on our board, the cost came to $23.87. Which is cheaper than expected, considering the quality and amount of servings. You would likely spend more money than that on just the cheese at a regular grocery store or cheese counter. Extra ingredients, serving pieces and accoutrement can be added as your budget allows.

Here's how we did it:

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

No board? No problem!

If you’re lacking this necessity, fret not and look no further than the kitchen aisle at your local dollar store. There were a surprising amount of options. A round wooden board with a rustic bark edge was a small but cost-effective choice for $7. Another was a heavy duty plastic platter (labeled "turkey tray") for $1.25. The latter ended up suiting our needs with its rim that could be filled to the brim with tasty nibbles.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Serveware and skewers

Little bowls and condiment cups anchor together loose snacks such as nuts and candies, and we needed a few. A package of plastic dip bowls and condiment cups, both in quantities of 12 for $1.25 were more than we needed, but still fit the budget. Little silver forks, spoons and bamboo skewers were fun finds and perfect for picking up cheeses and sticking into little pots of jam. Each package of a dozen rang up $1.25.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Meats

The small refrigerated section at nearby dollar stores held few options for deli-style charcuterie meats, but what we did find tasted fantastic. Name brand, pre-sliced thin salami rounds were high quality and a good buy at $3.25 for 7 oz. while turkey pepperoni added a spicy bite and was also a thrifty choice at $2.99 for 5 oz. A small, shelf-stable 5 oz. summer sausage was mildly spicy, tangy and better than expected for $1.25.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Cheeses

Cheeses were also in small supply, but the available assortment was of the same quality as their grocery store counterparts. Block cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses were each $1.25 for 4 oz. The one item on our list that was nowhere in sight — soft cheeses such as Brie and chevre. They were entirely absent. Consider hitting the grocery store for this potential splurge. Goat cheese perfectly rounded out our trio, and was on special at the grocery store (hooray!) at 2.99 for 4 oz.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Crackers

We hit the jackpot for savory crisps and crackers at the dollar store. There were so many good choices, such as garden vegetable crackers, bruschetta crisps, and a box of assorted entertainment crackers. Simple water crackers won a place on the board because their plainness makes a great vehicle for cheeses and cured meats. All of these were $1.25 for 6-8 oz. packages, which will fully supply the board with refills.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Something tangy

No charcuterie board is complete without a sharp mustard accompaniment. The condiments aisle held a row of spicy brown, honey mustard, and Dijon, $1.25 for each 12 oz. bottle. The spicy brown mustard in particular had a rich flavor and earned a place on the board beside the charcuterie meats. However, if your budget allows, you may consider purchasing all three for a mustard sampler.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Something crunchy

Crunchy foods for further grazing were plentiful in the snack aisle. Some of the most noteworthy were plantain chips and spiced mixed nuts. Cheese crisps are made simply of cheese fried to a crisp, and could be added as part of the cheese course. All of these are thrifty choices at $1.25 per package. A bag of party mix complete with spicy nuts and bolts made the cut for our board with the best flavor variety, also $1.25 for a 6 oz. package.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Something salty

Pimento-stuffed green olives add a welcome salty bite. They make for easy pick-up threaded on skewers with milder whole black olives. Both are extremely tasty and good accompaniments at $1.25 for each 14 oz. can.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Something fresh

Charcuterie board mainstays such as apples and grape clusters are wonderful foils for rich meats and cheeses. They were present in the refrigerated section, but not in as much variety as the grocery store’s produce section. The prices were in line with our local grocery store, so these may be items to consider picking up at a grocery store while you’re shopping for soft cheeses.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Something sweet

Fruity jam or preserves served alongside soft goat cheese is a crowd favorite. While you won’t find a great variety of flavors at your dollar store, you likely find 8 oz. jars of strawberry or raspberry jam for $1.25. One jar is enough to refill your board throughout a party.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Styling and serving tips

Now that you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to put it all together. Consider assembling your board at least 1 hour in advance, as the flavor of the cheeses are best at room temperature. Slice the block cheeses into 1/4 inch pieces. Tile the slices down the center of the board in a slight curve. This will be the anchor point for the rest of your ingredients.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Add dimension

Fold salami rounds into quarters and place them side-by-side next to the cheeses to create a ruffle down the center of the board. This touch gives your board a high end look, but it’s also a space-saver. You can fit more salami on your board while keeping plenty of room for other ingredients.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Corral loose ingredients

Use the dip bowls from the kitchen aisle to confine smaller ingredients and create some visual interest, too! This bowl of olives makes a nice focal point, and it keeps them from rolling around on the board.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Fill in the blanks

Begin arranging fresh ingredients such as grape clusters and apple slices around the meats and cheeses. Fill every blank space by spooning party nuts between ingredients, and tile crackers around the outside edge of the tray.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Condiment keepers

Small dollar store condiment dishes and little silver spoons go together to serve mustards and jams. They’re petite enough to be placed directly on the board, or if space is tight, arrange them on the table just outside the board.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Table decor

It’s worth taking a look at the kitchen linens and home décor while you’re shopping to fill your dollar store charcuterie board. These glass bubble votive candle holders add ambiance to the table. They are near dupes from a high end contemporary home decor shop — and a steal at $1.25 each. Graphic finger towels with mid-century modern appeal were also $1.25 each, and pretty enough to keep on the table to mop up accidental spills or drips.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Here's the result!

And it's pretty darn festive, if we do say so ourselves. For just $23.87, we put together a board that fits the bill (get it?) for any celebration.

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