Can You Make A Cheese Board Ahead Of Time?

Cheese boards have become one of the best serving options for entertaining guests. Not only is a cheese board a tasty treat but it's also an artful expression. If you're considering adding cheese boards to your hosting repertoire, you might be wondering whether or not you can prepare one ahead of time. For your convenience, we brought you the answer.

The main attraction of a cheese board—the meat and the cheese—can be prepared and placed on the board ahead of time as long as it's adequately wrapped and refrigerated. However, it's best to wait to place elements like nuts, fruit, vegetables, and garnishes on the cheese board until it's time to serve it to your guests. 

If you still have some lingering questions about making a cheese board ahead of time, don't worry. In this guide, we'll explore the topic at length. We'll also talk about how to make a cheese board look more attractive, whether or not cheese should be served at room temperature, and how long cheese can sit out. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Different types of cheese placed on a cheese board, Can You Make A Cheese Board Ahead Of Time?

Preparing a cheese board ahead of time

As mentioned, with the right preparation, most of the elements of a cheese board can certainly be prepared in advance to save you some time on the day you're hosting. Here we'll talk more about the things to consider when preparing a cheese board ahead of time.

A round cheese board mixed with cheese, fruits, and other beverages on a black countertop


The first step to a successful cheese board is planning. It's important to thoroughly plan which elements will make up your delectable cheese board. When planning the board, here are some things to consider:

  • Number of people the cheese board will serve
  • Desired variety of meats and cheeses
  • Desired supplementary elements like nuts, fruit, vegetables, and jam

Once you have mapped out exactly what your cheese board will consist of, it's time to prepare it.


A small wooden chopping board with different kinds of cheese

When it comes to preparing a cheese board ahead of time, the primary difference is that some elements shouldn't actually be placed on the board until it's time to serve it.

Food items like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and jams should be placed on the board last, right when it's ready to serve. These items can lose their crunch and other key qualities if placed on the board too far in advance. In addition, garnishes shouldn't be placed until it's time to serve to prevent them from wilting and getting smashed.

But with that said, it's important to note that the supplementary elements of a cheese board can still be sliced up or portioned out in advance; just be sure to wrap and store them separately to keep them nice and fresh.

Cheeses and meats do just fine when cut and placed on the board ahead of time. When placing these elements on the board, be sure to leave room for the elements that will be added later. Once the cheeses and meats are placed on the board where you want them, tightly wrap the ensemble with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.


Once it gets closer to serving time, you're ready to add the other elements to your cheese board. Since you left room for these elements earlier, all you have to do is place them, and you're done! You can rest assured that partitioning the elements like this will yield a much more aesthetic and tasty product.


A cheeseboard with a French toast and grapes on the side

And last but certainly not least, it's time to serve. Your guests are sure to appreciate your yummy cheese board as well as the time you spent making it just right! And don't forget to include the appropriate cheese knives with your board. Using the right knife with your cheese can make the experience better.

Do you want to know more about cheese knives? Check out this post: What Kind Of Knife Is Best For Cutting Cheese? [6 Options]

How do you make a cheese board look more attractive?

A cheese board is a tasteful treat that any guest is sure to appreciate, but there are some ways you can really take your board to the next level and make it look truly amazing. Below are some things to consider to make your cheese board more attractive.

Have a theme

Themes go a long way in sprucing up your cheese board. You can carefully select your meats, cheese, and other board accompaniments according to a theme. For example, you could have a Mediterranean cheese board that includes things like feta, fresh mozzarella, salami, prosciutto, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, apricots, pita bread, hummus, almonds, and a garnish of basil.

Another way to make your board more attractive is to design it according to a holiday theme. Is Thanksgiving coming up? Deck out your board with fall flavors or colors. Is Valentine's Day around the corner? Surprise your valentine with a love-inspired board full of red and pink foods, chocolates, and a garnish of roses. The sky is the limit with holiday themes you can go after.

Or, if you're not feeling a specific regional or holiday theme, you could opt for a color theme instead. Crafting a plate with colors can help you guide your creativity and design, too. Want something cheerful and bright for the summer? Then utilize orange, yellow, and red foods. Feeling blue? Pull together your favorite blue foods to lift your mood!

Don’t be shy with garnishes

Herbs and edible flowers are a wonderful way to top your cheese board. Garnishes are what take your board to a whole new fanciful level. You may think your board looks wonderful as is, but those garnishes are what will really take its look above and beyond.

Be creative with the design

Another great way to make your cheese board more attractive is to incorporate a creative design. If you simply toss everything onto the board, you'll be missing out on a key cheese board experience.

Take careful consideration as to where and how you place the various elements. You can make your meats flow across the board like a path or shape them like flowers, group together certain flavors, and use small ramekins or other serving bowls.

Be thoughtful with the board itself

The board itself plays an integral role in the presentation of a cheese board. The best meats, cheeses, and other treats can be arranged flawlessly, but if they’re presented on a plain plastic cutting board, well…you get the idea. Invest in a quality board, as it’s the physical and figurative foundation of your cheese board.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of gorgeous boards on the market. You can find a board as plain or as fancy as you can imagine.

An elegant yet modest board like this one is sure to take your cheese board presentation to the next level.

Click here to see this cheese board on Amazon.

Should cheese be served at room temperature?

It is perfectly acceptable to serve cheese at room temperature. In fact, this is the ideal temperature at which you should serve it! At this temperature, your cheese will exhibit its finest tastes and qualities. Of course, every cheese is different, but overall, it's best served when at room temperature. 

If your cheese is served immediately after pulling it from the refrigerator, you'll be missing out on all the best textures and tastes your cheese has to offer.

How long can cheese sit out?

If you’re going to be serving a cheese board, it’s important to understand how long cheese can sit out and still be considered safe to eat.

As a general rule, soft cheeses shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for longer than two hours. After two hours, bacteria can start to grow on these kinds of cheese, and nobody wants that. Harder cheeses, on the other hand, can be left out for as long as eight hours.

In Closing

We hope this guide has helped you better understand how to go about preparing a cheese board ahead of time. Before you go, be sure to check out these other guides that might be of interest:

What Kind of Wood is Used for Cheese and Charcuterie Board?

Can You Microwave Brie Cheese?

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