How to Create the Perfect Cheese and Holiday Appetizer Trays

Snacks and Appetizers TrayThe holidays are just around the corner, so I thought I would share some of my personal tips with all of you on How to Create the Perfect Cheese and Appetizer Holiday Tray. While I’m no expert, I do like to entertain (a lot) during the holiday season and here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

Cheese Tray Tips

Plan to serve five to six cheeses, selecting distinctly different styles, flavors and textures.

With an abundance of artisan crafted cheeses produced worldwide, you can focus on cheeses from a single country or region; select by mild, medium or strong flavors; or you can select from categories such as soft, firm, hard and blue.

Soft Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Feta, Colby

Semi-Soft Cheeses: Mozzarella, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Brick, Muenster

Medium Cheeses: American

Semi-Hard Cheeses: Cheddar (mild, medium and sharp), Provolone, Gouda, Jarlsberg, Colby Jack

Hard Cheeses: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, Gruyere

Blue Cheeses: Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Maytag

Cheese is best served at room temperature, which means it’s a good idea to remove it from the refrigerator one hour before serving. Be sure to keep it covered to prevent it from drying out. Serve your cheese tray with tasty sides.

How to Create the Perfect Cheese and Appetizer Holiday Trays

Fresh Vegetable Tray Tips

When it comes to vegetable trays, you want to utilize the freshest vegetables as possible. Wash them up 1 day ahead of time. You’ll want to air dry them or pat them down with clean paper towels to remove moisture.

Slice and dice all veggies and place in individual containers with lids. Refrigerate them until you’re ready to use them. Remove from the refrigerator and arrange on the vegetable tray no earlier than 2 hours ahead of time.

If you’re serving veggie dip, keep it refrigerated until serving time. It’s best to serve 2 different dips and go with the more popular flavor varieties.

You should serve a minimum of 4 different vegetables on your tray. Make sure you think about color arrangement. Don’t serve all green veggies!

Meat Tray Tips

I always recommend that you serve at least 4 different meats if you’re putting together a meat tray. All meats should be kept refrigerated in separate packages until just before serving time.

To go along with the meat…offer a variety of cheese and crackers too!

Cracker Tray Tips

When putting together your cracker tray, you’ll want to offer a minimum of 4 different varieties. Just like veggie trays, you want to make your tray colorful, so offer up white, yellow, orange, etc. colored crackers.

Personally, I like to offer up both Artisan and traditional cracker varieties when I’m putting together a tray.

Keep your spreads and dips refrigerated until right before serving time.

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  1. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    These are all good tips.I did not know that one could wash fresh vegetables almost a day ahead of using them. I like to have different colored vegetables in my veggie tray.

  2. These all look so pretty and I like the variety of cheeses and meats. I always have a vegie tray for family gatherings with plenty of fresh cut vegetables and dips. I need to keep the meat separate because we have some folks who are vegetarian.

  3. My family loves cheese, meat and cracker trays! I have never thought of adding a brie or feta on there before. I may have to try that! Great tips!

  4. Anything with cheese has my vote. I love a good cheese and meat try. While I do enjoy raw vegetables, people making these if they are having someone who has been ill (think cancer) or someone who has dentures, keep softer foods available too so they can enjoyit.I serve pita bread and some softer cheeses. I also ove a good cheese ball.

  5. Cathy Jarolin says:

    I like to put color in any tray I serve. it makes a pretty display. I usually make a couple of different cheese ball to put in the middle of 2 different trays and have different crackers and Small shaped Breads all around it. Then I put out a Veggie tray with Black and green oives , sausages ,Carrots & small red tomatoes . In the middle I put my dips.. Thank You for sharing these tips with us. They definitley will be helpful..

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