How To: Holiday Appetizer Platter

I have to tell you a little story before I share how to easily make your own holiday appetizer platter. Last year we were planning to have several families over for a New Year’s Eve dinner. We were going to be out of town for the few days leading up to the dinner party so, when it came to the food, I decided to do something out of character for me—make things a little easier on myself (haha)!

Around that time I received an email from an “organic” meal delivery service (I am not going to name names here, you’ll see why if you keep reading!) offering a super pretty and tasty looking holiday appetizer platter as a New Year’s Eve special. I loved the idea and figured by the time I decided what to add to my grocery list (and paid for a few different gourmet cheeses) it might just be worth it to order their platter instead of making my own. I placed an order and even arranged for a neighbor to receive the delivery since we were still out of town!

Not So Fast

So, with little time to prepare, I was feeling good about having appetizers for 20 “checked off” my list. Now I only had to worry about the entree, desserts, champagne cocktails, setting the table, activities for the kids, etc. once we got home! That was until I got a lovely little email from the company that said they “overpromised” these wonderful platters so I actually would not be getting the one I already ordered and paid for after all. I called and basically said “Whaaat???” and they told me there was nothing that could be done. The platters were sold out and apparently they could not cobble together the ingredients from their nearest grocery store to make it happen anyway. Okay, that’s not nice of me to say, but still—if it were my company that is what I would’ve done! Ugh, not a good first impression of this (new to me) delivery service.

I had been so excited about this pretty holiday spread (with something for everyone!) and didn’t want to come up with a different concept at this point so I just decided to print out their list of what I would have been getting and make my own. And you know what, with a little guidance it wasn’t so hard after all, and it was a lot more rewarding to do it myself. Everyone gobbled up these goodies (both the kids and the adults) so today I’m going to share exactly how you can make your very own holiday appetizer platter for your dinner guests (or to bring as a potluck dish) this holiday season! You’ll be the star of the party with this spread. :)

A holiday appetizer platter filled with an assortment of cheeses, crackers, fruits, veggies, and dips.

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How To: Holiday Appetizer Platter

The base of a beautiful holiday platter is of course … the platter! I got the white 20-inch platter pictured above from Crate & Barrel a few years ago and use it all the time, but you can buy large serving dishes in most any kitchen or home decor store. They even have some nice ones on Amazon if you’re really in a pinch.

Then the next step is to pick a few items from each category: cheeses, meats, spreads, fruits/olives/pickles, and crackers. Then top it all off with some fresh herbs for a pretty garnish.



  • Cheddar
  • Manchego (our favorite!)
  • Goat cheese (for one soft “spreadable” option)


Whole-Grain Crackers


  • Salami (prosciutto is another good choice)
  • Pepperoni

Fruits, Olives, etc.

  • Sliced pear (apple would be great, too!)
  • Olives (any variety will work, but I chose Castelvetrano)
  • Cornichons (aka baby pickles)


  • Fresh rosemary sprigs

You can download a copy of the tips here on this page for free by joining the Free Membership Area. Once in, you’ll have access to my Holiday Platter How-To plus tons of other free downloads.

A holiday appetizer platter filled with an assortment of cheeses, crackers, fruits, veggies, and dips.

Simply arrange by alternating items from each category and serve! What would you add to this holiday platter? Please share your ideas with us in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “How To: Holiday Appetizer Platter”

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  1. I completely relate to the feeling of accomplishment when you do it yourself vs. buying it ready from the store. I love arranging platters with all sorts of different goodies. I do make it easier on myself by buying pre-cut veggies and placing whole blocks of cheese with pretty knives, instead of sliced cheese. The fun part is also finding different jams, mustards, honey, and sauces to dip or spread on cheese, fruit and veggies to dress up the platter. Thank you for a great post.

  2. Sure, the Triscuits you use have only a few pronounceable ingredients, but read up on B.H.T, which is added to the packaging material “to help maintain freshness”. I certainly don’t want this served to my family.

  3. My daughter (15 yrs old) volunteered to make all of the appetizers for the huge family Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow at her auntie’s house — and she’s very excited about this platter! Thank you for the lovely idea and showing how elegant the arrangement of the items on the platter can look!

  4. The holidays would not be complete without a charcuterie /cheese board. Yours looks perfect. (I need to try that manchego cheese!) Have you been to The Loyalist Market in Matthews yet? They have some delicious looking meats and cheeses perfect for your holiday platters. :)

  5. It really is easy. I’ve only made one that large (20+ folks) once and it was a fruit platter. We cut up fruit for about 30 minutes and done. Waaaaaay cheaper that way.

    Love the look of the cheese plate in this article. We do our own (also way less people) so we can get only the things we want and like. You know where all the ingredients come from, ours supports local farms (they have the best cheeses!) and no olives, lol!

  6. Normally, I leave these all separate. How lovely and appetising this is the way it is arranged! I can just do 2 and have one platter on either end. Thank you for sharing.