How to build a cheese board, according to an expert

Warning: You may find yourself looking at appetizers and snacks a little differently after reading

By Rebecca Firkser

Published March 6, 2022 4:31PM (EST)

 (Ty Mecham / Food52)
(Ty Mecham / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

Our Resident Cheese Plater Marissa Mullen knows that once you learn how to build a cheese board, you may find yourself looking at appetizers and snacks a little differently. From how to pair cheeses with potato chips to a deep dive on what Brie is exactly, Marissa is our one-stop shop for all things cheesy. Here's what she's been up to lately.

Whip, whip, hooray!

Do you love whipped cheese? We do! (It's perfect for dipping.) Have you tried these lighter-than-air options yet?

  • Inspired by the Greek dish htipiti, Marissa's whipped feta with red peppers begs to be slathered on toasted pita.
  • Would you, could you, whip cream cheese? We'd serve it sweet (whipped with confectioners' sugar and a touch of heavy cream) with sliced fruit or savory (whipped with chopped scallions, grated garlic, salt, and pepper) with bagel chips and vegetables.
  • Bake prosciutto until it's just crispy, then crumble it over lemony whipped goat cheese.
  • Whipped mascarpone with honey and black pepper feels like a dreamy after-dinner treat to dollop over a bowl of berries or onto a slice of pound cake.
  • Paired with tangy Greek yogurt, Marissa's whipped ricotta is waiting to be topped with a springy walnut-pea pesto.

Marination station

If you're not already marinating your own cheese board elements, now is a great time to start.

  • Garlicky marinated olives are available at plenty of grocery stores — check the cheese section!
  • Marissa's Marinated mushrooms, tangy and packed with flavor thanks to vinegar and fresh herbs, are a snap to prepare.
  • Don't forget the cheese! Start with Marissa's marinated feta recipe, but try marinating mozzarella or goat cheese in oil with fresh or dry herbs and spices too.

When in doubt, fry

Because sometimes, the only thing better than cheese is fried cheese.

  • Every salad could use globs of crispy fried goat cheese crusted in panko.
  • "Grilling cheeses" like Halloumi, paneer, and bread cheese don't even need a batter or coating — just plop pieces in a hot skillet and fry until golden and slightly melty.
  • With a coating of nutty pistachios, Marissa's fried feta is perhaps the most luxe addition to a cheese board.

Dip it real good

For those who prefer their cheese ooey-gooey, skip the board and bake your cheese.

  • Marissa's baked Gruyère has rosemary, thyme, and fresh chopped garlic; her baked Camembert is topped with balsamic-roasted grapes and walnuts; and her baked fontina is topped with a jammy onion and fig situation.
  • Use a fresh wedge of French blue cheese (as opposed to the pre-crumbled stuff) in this smoky, tangy warm blue cheese dip.
  • To make cheese the main event, try baked goat cheese with chickpeas and broccoli, served with bread (or tossed with pasta).

Party time? Here's what Marissa's making

Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Crispy Prosciutto

Bloody Mary Cheese Plate

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread with Mustard and Chives

Cheese Board with Smoked Trout, Potatoes, and Eggs

More cheesy tips from Marissa

How to shop for cheese, according to an expert

The best cheese for cheeseburgers, period

How to make charcuterie actually look cute on a cheese board


Rebecca Firkser

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Cheese Food Food52 How-to