We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Food Boards And Grazing Tables To Inspire Your Next Party

If you weren't aware of the increasingly popular butter board, get ready. This innocuous little food trend was highlighted (and rose to stardom) on TikTok. But according to USA Today, you can actually thank chef and author Joshua McFadden for bringing to light this rather questionable foodie fad. (McFadden pretty much opened up the Pandora's box of charcuterie.) Now, thanks to Rachel Ray, the butter board trend isn't going away anytime soon, via She Knows. When the queen of 30-minute meals posts her own take on this viral charcuterie-ish sensation, you can expect the gastronomic and social media world to light up like a Christmas tree. And so it has. Butter was the beginning, but it's nowhere near the end.

In cahoots with the butter board is the grazing table, which is essentially a charcuterie board of epic proportions, according to Chef's Market. If you're wondering what a grazing table really looks like, think of the food-laden tables at a lavish ancient Roman bacchanalia. Grazing tables are kind of like that but more organized.

Both of these strangely satisfying edible trends can be seen as controversial, per Forbes, but also admirable. There's a craft and finesse to creating edible art. Since the holiday season is just around the corner, we thought we'd offer up some unique, inspirational twists that were birthed from the OG butter board movement. So please enjoy the following mixture of decadent charcuterie and even more grandiose grazing tables.

Breakfast board

You've undoubtedly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Cleveland Clinic says that's because it is. It's important to note that pretty much everyone loves breakfast in some form or another, and that's why this type of charcuterie board works so well. When constructing a breakfast board of champions, make sure to find a nice assortment of healthy, nutritious foods like eggs, fruits, and veggies. But don't forget to incorporate some not-so-healthy items, like, you know, bacon, sausage, sugar-laden cereal ... the only stuff we really want to eat for breakfast. Health Family Project has a nice balanced brekkie board that is heavy on the good stuff but also has some of the salty, tasty foods, too.

Perhaps you really want to kick it up to another level. That's why you should create a board based on the breakfast sandwich, like this one by the Reluctant Entertainer. If you don't like biscuits, or aren't into carbs, you still have the rest of the protein-packed items to fuel you until your next meal, which will probably be more of this breakfast board because it's huge. Want to engage in a waffle-tastic morning? Fantabulosity has a blueberry waffle-centric board that harnesses the power of fruit, yogurt, Nutella, and whipped cream. It's the perfect way to start your day, and then go into a food coma.

Dessert board

If you're going to have a charcuterie board dedicated to breakfast as a whole, then it's only natural to have one that's all things dessert. Don't limit yourself, either. This can be an expansive board full of every candy known to man, or it can focus just on a single baked good, like this cookie-centric grazing board by The Kitchen Whisperer. Cookie boards in general are also a great way to display your baking (or cookie shopping) prowess just in time for the holidays. You can even make a gingerbread man board, complete with gumdrop buttons, icing for outlining, and whatever else you want to decorate with.

S'mores boards, like the one from Maple and Thyme, are better for seasons that are super cold (like winter) or when gathering around a campfire (like summer ... obviously). But in all honesty, is there ever a wrong time to enjoy a s'more? We didn't think so, either. You can even try out a donut board, which straddles the line between breakfast and dessert because, you know, donuts are just breakfast cake.

Frosting board

What spreads like butter, looks like butter, but definitely isn't butter? That's right. Frosting. It's only natural that a cake topper would branch off from the butter board fad because, you know, buttercream is a thing. It makes total sense, though. Think of how you used to eat cupcakes as a kid: frosting first. The rest goes in the trash.

You can stick with one straight flavor (come one, don't be vanilla!) or mix it up like this four-flavored buttercream board on TikTok. In place of bread or crackers, sub in two or three different styles of cookies. Make sure that they're not too soft, or else you'll end up with a crumbly mess. You can also add in cake cubes, chocolate bar pieces, and other fun little decorations like rainbow sprinkles or edible pearls. You can even throw some strawberries on there to add a pop of natural color (and to cut the processed sugar taste just a bit). If you want to get festive for the holidays, layer your frosting down like a festive Christmas tree, per Merry About Town.

Beverage-themed board

A beverage board? How preposterous does this sound? Actually, it's not that outlandish. When you think of all the different bevvies around the world, specifically drinks that have toppings, the sky's the limit. For example, a milk tea board would have two or three different liquid bases to choose from along with your boba toppings (the boba blog Honest Food Talks claims there are almost 20).

A more popular and easily modifiable drink board (that's also perfect for this time of the year), is the hot chocolate board. This hug-in-a-mug beverage is enjoyed by all ages, so that means you can have a build-your-own hot chocolate station, complete with mini merengues, peppermint bark, cookies, caramels, and an assortment of marshmallows, via Ain't Too Proud To Meg, or this one via Waffleshot. For the morning after a hard night, you can offer up a Bloody Mary board (perfect for New Year's Day). Bloody Marys can get pretty outlandish when it comes to toppings and can sort of end up resembling a meal in a glass (literally). That just makes it the perfect candidate for turning into a charcuterie-esque board, like the one by Amanda's Cookin'. You can drink and eat your breakfast all in one sitting.

Cream cheese board

A cream cheese board is probably the easiest food board to pull together on this list. That's because you can't mess it up. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami ... every flavor pairs well with cream cheese. You only need two base ingredients: bread and cream cheese. All the other additions are entirely of your choosing. So, if you want to make a cream cheese board that's almost like a riff on a baked potato, per Weekend Craft, then you'd prepare your board by spreading a thick layer of softened cream cheese, top it with sea salt, crispy bacon, roasted garlic, shredded cheddar, and chives. Give it more of a snack or lunchtime vibe by treating your bagel like a loaf of bread and transforming it into crostini, via Appetizer Addiction. For easy spreading (without having to leave it out to soften), try Neufchâtel. It's similar to cream cheese but much easier to work with, notes MasterClass

If you're making breakfast for your beau on a Sunday morning (or whenever), they'd be impressed if you brought out a brunch board, like this cream cheese, lox, caper, and dill board on TikTok. Spoon the cream cheese onto the plate, top it with some lemon zest, layer on a few thin slices of smoked salmon or lox, sprinkle on some dill and capers, and feel free to add a dash of everything seasoning. Because you can't go wrong with everything seasoning.

Pickle board

While some people might turn up their nose at the thought of a charcuterie board dedicated solely to pickled foods, just know that this board is a pretty big dill. According to Wild Brine, humans have been engaging in some form of food pickling and fermenting for over 6,000 years, so this is definitely an edible item that needs to be celebrated. Keep in mind that when it comes to pickling, you don't just have to focus on the everyday transformed cucumber. If you can think of a food, whether it be plant or protein, there's probably a fermented or pickled version of it somewhere out there in the world. 

The fun part is figuring out what will be featured on your brine-focused board. While homemade is best, it's also totally fine to get your fermented foods from your local grocery store. Because humans are creatures of comfort, you might find yourself gravitating toward the same old popular or generic store brands, which isn't a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with a nice kosher dill. Variety is the spice of life, though, and smaller brands and local companies will probably have some of the more unique pickled options, like green beans, okra, mushrooms, beets, baby corn, and asparagus. Don't forget to check out the ethnic food sections because you're bound to find some pickled foods that you've never even heard of before. 

Hummus board

Hummus is one of the standard dips that you'll find at many social gatherings. So it's only natural that it should be part of a Middle Eastern-inspired board. There are a few ways you can construct this particular charcuterie. The simple option would be to just beautifully spoon two or three (or more) different flavors of hummus on your board of choice and use pita chips for scooping. But hopefully you've already caught on that these food boards aren't just about using a solo ingredient. These are platters o' plenty.

Taking it up one or two notches is this kebab-inspired board on TikTok that serves as more of a meal for two instead of an appetizer board. It uses a lemony hummus base and is then loaded up with sumac-rubbed onions, fresh tomatoes, homemade chicken shawarma, chili sauce, garlic sauce, chili flakes, spicy peppers, and a few other goodies. Instead of crispy pita, you use warmed pita bread to scoop up tasty mouthfuls of in-your-face flavor. This Healthy Table offers up a Mediterranean-inspired hummus board that uses lots of bright, crispy veggies, pita chips, and Veggie Straws and finishes it up with traditional Greek stuffed grape leaves. You just cannot go wrong with hummus.

Butter board

This list wouldn't be complete without the OG butter board making its well-deserved appearance. Those who are new to this trend might be wondering what's so great about room-temperature butter getting spread on a wooden paddle. Well, what really makes this such an amazing foodie find is that you tailor it to your own cravings.

Food blogger Justine Doiron (the one responsible for bringing the butter board to TikTok), notes that there are a few unofficial guidelines to making a successful butter board. First, use good quality butter that's at room temperature, so it's easy to spread. Next, sprinkle a gratuitous layer of flaky salt and citrus zest. After that is the fun part where you can add herbs, edible flowers, or, you know, candied bacon. Finish it off with something sweet like honey or preserves. Serve it with some nice, artisanal bread.

The whole point is to have fun with it. Just make sure to not go overboard with the toppings. Because the last thing you want is for your guests to think that your butter board is actually a pizza with all the extras.

Avocado-based board

Avocados are a miraculous fruit that benefits your heart, eyes, digestion, brain, and joints, writes Medical News Today. Plus, they just taste good. You're probably familiar with avocado in a couple ways: mashed up and turned into guacamole or served on toast. That's why serving up an avocado toast board is the call for lazy mornings where you just need to feed people but don't want to do too much work. In its most simple form, all you need to provide for a proper board is the avocado in some form or another, perfectly toasted bread, and maybe some everything seasoning. That being said, we prefer the more decadent approach, like this particularly spectacular brunch board, courtesy of Yoga Of Cooking. This avo-centered charcuterie brings in fresh fruit and vegetables, but it also has crispy bacon, hard-boiled eggs, lox, and crumbly cheese.

If you're just looking for a quick, easy, and healthy snack, the guacamole board is your answer. Just mush up that avocado and spread it on your board of choice, sprinkle it with tomatoes, chopped onions, salt, and pepper, and maybe squeeze a bit of lemon juice on there and go to town.

Meat-centric board

For you protein lovers out there, don't worry. We have the meats! The great thing about making an animal-based protein board is that there's a lot to choose from. Whether it be hoofed, feathered, scaled, or shelled, you're not going to run out of options. That's why bacon is a clear winner to start with because let's face it: Everyone loves bacon, right? To give its board a little bit of depth (and to cut the saltiness), Schneider's smartly incorporates other elements to create bacon-wrapped figs, candied bacon and ricotta crostini, and bacon and brie puff pastries — because you can't just put a heaping mound of meat on a cutting board and call it a bacon board.

If you're always looking for an excuse to grill, then opting for a party-centric barbecue meat board is the perfect way to go, per Entertaining With Beth. If you're worried about it being too salty or overwhelmingly meaty, you can always add some grilled vegetables for a bit of color and some much-needed roughage. To prevent the monotonous meat taste from taking over, cook up different types of protein, or stay with similar meats but use different preparation methods. (Think of kabobs, bone-in lamb, or sausages as a few good options.) On top of that, offer a good four to six different dipping sauces, so everyone can enjoy their own designer meal o' meat.

Potato board

This humble vegetable deserves to be honored on a food board because it's not just versatile, but per UC Davis Health it's also packed with potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. You're not going to have to worry about sticking to the same russet or Yukon Gold either because there are over 200 varieties currently grown in the United States, via Potato Goodness. Just like Bubba Gump and his shrimp, you can prepare potatoes in a multitude of ways, and they can appear in pretty much any dish.

While you can always make a mashed potato board, take a presentation note from Adventures of Mel and serve your spud mash in little vessels. This is a much less messy option than spreading it out on a cutting board. French fries are a universally loved food, and they also come in different shapes and have a multitude of different seasonings, via A Worthy Read. Feeling gutsy? Then take some inspiration from 4 The Love Of Food and make a big baked potato board. Don't skimp on the toppings.

Sweet and salty board

This particular section could also be called a snack board, but po-TAY-to/po-TAH-to. One of the butter board's first offspring was the peanut butter board, with lots of variations like this one featured on Food Faith Fitness. It's not just peanut butter because that would be boring. Remember that you have to get creative with these bases. That's why it's completely suitable to add pieces of chocolate, salted caramel, peanuts, toffee, preserves, or even just flaky sea salt (for the purists out there). You could even offer a nut or seed butter board to showcase all the different types of spreads currently available. (MasterClass explains that there are at least 12 different nut butters, like soy, almond, macadamia, sunflower, and walnut.) Don't forget that Nutella also counts as a spread and also can be used as part of a dessert board, too.

For those of you looking for a more sophisticated charcuterie snack board, event planner Amanda Wilens has a more party-friendly version that incorporates crackers, cheese, figs, fruit (fresh and dried), olives, and local honey.

Taco board

Everyone loves tacos, and that's why Tuesdays are dedicated to them. In a survey done by marketing agency TOPS, data revealed that 41% of participants noshed down on between four and 12 tacos each month. On top of that, 5% of individuals routinely enjoyed 64 or more handheld delights monthly. Then there's that odd 23% who don't eat tacos at all ... which is an anomaly. But don't worry, they'll get on the taco truck and become believers soon.

Tacos aren't just delicious. They're like a one-stop, handheld improvement on the boring bread sandwich. What's even better is that there's no wrong way to make them. This is a food that can break up a fight in an instant, which is why they're the quintessential party food. Because nothing emanates love and comradery like building a taco with friends and family. You can even add taquitos if you end up feeding someone who is part of that strange anti-taco 23%. Having a taco board, like the one seen on Healthy Family Project, is also a great way to keep kids from nitpicking at dinner because they'll be the ones in charge of constructing their food. Another never-a-bad-idea taco charcuterie idea is serving up a breakfast taco board, per The BakerMama. Instead of using crunchy shells, use soft street taco tortillas and add breakfasty nom-nom fillings like scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, potatoes, and beans.

Christmas board

Food, friends, family, fun, and figgy pudding. That's what the holidays are all about. Christmas is the perfect time of year to show off your festive side by displaying your holiday foodie prowess by way of a grazing table. When it comes to this holiday charcuterie board, the only limit is your imagination (and maybe your bank account, but that's besides the point). A good start is to use foods that give off that holiday vibe (think reds, whites, and greens). Use cookie cutters to make cheese slices look like snowflakes or snowmen. Finger foods are the lay of the land, so make sure that your items max out at two bites. You'll also want to use seasonal fare, like cranberries, lingonberries, apples, and winter squash.

These cranberry brie bites basically look like tiny festive Christmas ornaments, and if you really want to show off your love of wine and cheese, take a hint from Jasmine Vineyards with its charcuterie that's shaped like an edible Christmas tree. Don't forget to also incorporate Santa's favorite snack into the works. Making a dessert board filled with all sorts of cookies, chocolates, and other treats will always be warmly received. 

New Year's board

No New Year's Eve (or New Year's Day) would be complete without a seriously amped-up buffet featuring everything under the sun. Whether you're ringing in the new year with a whole house full of friends or just celebrating with a few good sleepover buddies, good food (and lots of is) is always a welcome sight.

Making (and keeping) resolutions is part of the New Year's tradition, with adopting an overall healthier lifestyle ringing in as the most popular, per Discover Happy Habits. (Saving money is the second most popular, in case you were wondering.) To get a jump start on the healthy bandwagon, it would be a kind gesture to create a grazing table with primarily health-conscious food options. We're not talking about only crudités and a salad bar, but instead serving foods that aren't as rich and calorie-laden. A Fork's Tale has a beautiful antipasto spread, which features all the flavorful finger foods you can imagine. You can also try healthier riffs on foods that are normally not that great for you, like buffalo cauliflower bites or lentil meatballs instead of chicken wings. And if you still can't figure out what to add to your table, it's never a bad thing to get inspiration from Martha Stewart.

Game-day board

It's game day! Big parties mean big appetites, and when it's a sporting event, you know there's going to be a lot of noise, excitement, cheering, and eating. That's why a grazing table, instead of a larger charcuterie board, is the best option for this high-energy function. You definitely want to steer clear of anything that's smeared on a surface, like this tasty-looking potato skin board by USA Today because the reality is that drinks will spill, food will drop in there, and you know, double dippers. According to Homebody Eats, grazing tables are basically just charcuterie boards on steroids, and they can span the length of five feet or more, depending on the size of the gathering.

When you're setting up your game-day spread, you'll also want to have some sort of layout consistency, so following a charcuterie template, like this one from Aldi, is recommended for grazing-table newbies. The fun part is picking your tasty game-day foods — chicken wings, potato skins, and jalapeño poppers are a good place to start. It's also important to add some healthier food fare, like fruits, veggies and hummus, guacamole, or grilled chicken and veggie skewers for those more health-conscious party goers. Your game-day grazing table will be a touchdown.