Everything You Need to Build a Beautiful Cheese Board

All the supplies you need, from boards and spreaders to knives and ramekins, to make this dinner party essential come to life.

Whether you've got family visiting from out of town, an annual party that it's finally your turn to host, or a calendar filled with dinner and cocktail parties, a great cheese board is a classic crowd-pleaser. It greets visitors when they enter your home, laid out invitingly on the dinner table alongside a bottle of wine, and is the first sign that your party is going to be a success. If the cheese board is a hit, your status as a certified host or hostess will be solidified in the party pantheon, alongside Jackie Onassis and Perle Mesta. No pressure, right?

The Perfect Cheese Board
Abby Hocking

To help you navigate the innumerable cheeseboards, knives, and other accessories out there that compliment a cheese plate, we've gathered our picks (some of which we use in our test kitchen) for the supplies you need make this must-have dinner party appetizer a smash hit.


"We usually use wood or slate boards," Kesley Youngman, our Associate Food Editor explains. "Marble looks great and keeps a nice cool temperature, but is sensitive to acid (which will etch the marble) and can more easily stain. Wood is porous, too, but well-cleaned and oiled boards will work great."

acacia cheese board
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

End-Grain Cutting Board, Acacia, $100, williams-sonoma.com

This is the dark acacia cheese board our team uses in the test kitchen.

transforming bamboo cheeseboard
Courtesy of Amazon

Picnic at Ascot Vienna Transforming Bamboo Cheese Board, $63, amazon.com

This round version features sections for the different items on your cheese board, from the cheeses themselves to meats, nuts, and jams, and a pull out drawer for your knives.

slate cheese board
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Slate Cheese Serving Board, $45, williams-sonoma.com

If you like the look of slate better, this is Youngman's pick. You can also write the evening's cheese selection directly on the board.

oil to clean cheeseboards
Courtesy of Amazon

John Boos MYSB Mystery Butcher Block Oil, $16, amazon.com

Youngman says that in the test kitchen, they use this wood oil to polish the cheese boards. As for what type of cheese you should decorate your board with: "We like to balance a board with no more than four cheeses: one aged, one soft rind, and a bleu or chèvre at least," says Youngman, "We try to use a mix of sheep, goat, and cow's milk, too."


Here's a pro-tip about how to arrange your cheeseboard before you set it out for guests: "Never cut cheese on your presentation cheese board. Prepare your cheese then place it on your board to prevent scratching and staining it. For hard cheeses, we like to cut into slices on a cutting board, and then arrange the slices with a smaller wedge of the cheese, making it easier for folks to eat. For soft cheese (bleu, chèvre, brie, for instance), you can cut a wedge or two out for the board, or crumble a small amount [onto the board]."

Youngman says that if you have it, a dependable chef's knife and paring knife is the perfect companion for your cheese plate. However, if you prefer to use specialty knives that work for different types of cheese, here are the best options.

For semi-soft cheese:

cheese knife pointy
Courtesy of Amazon

Swissmar Lux Micarta Soft Cheese Knife, 9.5", Stainless Steel, $20, amazon.com

For hard cheese:

amazon cheese plane
Courtesy of Amazon

Swissmar Lux Micarta Cheese Plane, 8.9", Stainless Steel, $20, amazon.com

classic cheese knife williams sonoma
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Wüsthof Classic 4 3/4" Hard Cheese Knife, $95, williams-sonoma.com or amazon.com


spreaders for cheese
Courtesy of Amazon

BlizeTec Multipurpose Cheese and Butter Spreader Knife, $19, amazon.com

cheese spreader black handle
Courtesy of Amazon

Wüsthof Gourmet Spreader, $16, williams-sonoma.com or amazon.com

abc carpet and home sea shells spreaderrs
Courtesy of ABC Carpet & Home

This elegant version from ABC Carpet and Home would be an eye-catching addition to your presentation.

Set of four sea shell spreaders, $45, abchome.com


Use these simple containers to hold the cheese plates companion snacks: "These are great for jams, chutneys, quince paste, raw honey, olives, pickles, nuts, dried fruit," Youngman says. "They can also be scattered over a board for a more free-form look. Don't go overboard with cheeses or accompaniments. One great jam is excellent, no need for four."

mini bowls for cheeseboards
Courtesy of Amazon

Fine White Porcelain Souffle Ramekins, $16, amazon.com

crate and barrel double mini ramekin
Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Mini ramekins, $7 at amazon.com


These extras aren't totally necessary to your cheese board presentation, but they add extra flair to your party. Your own personal stamp on the set up that could start a conversation or make the perfect photo that makes the party legendary.

cheese markers chalkboard style
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Chalkboard Cheese Markers, $13 at crateandbarrel.com

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