It is incredibly easy to make this beautiful Christmas dessert charcuterie board, but no one will know it! We share all our favorite tips for creating a show-stopping dessert board that will impress your guests.
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Charcuterie boards have become staples at holiday celebrations and family get-togethers, for good reason. But how about giving charcuterie a sweet makeover?
You definitely need to try your hand at making a Christmas dessert charcuterie board this season and see what all the rage is about. Everyone is making these boards and it is easy to see why—they are just so good! They also look amazing and only take a few minutes to put together. This may be the easiest thing you make all Christmas season!
My Christmas dessert board is full of sweet treats in an array of colors, textures, and tastes. There are crunchy chocolate covered pretzels, chewy caramels, and everyone’s holiday favorite, Andes mints! I also add my homemade cheesecake dip, which goes great with the homemade biscotti and fresh strawberries. Are you getting excited about putting this dessert board together yet? I already have plans to make at least three!
Easy Christmas Dessert Charcuterie Board Tutorial
One of the best things about making a dessert board is the flexibility. I chose the ingredients listed here to get a good range of flavors and colors on the board. You want it to be eye-catching as well as tasty. However, if you can’t find a certain ingredient or just don’t like one thing I use, you can easily replace it with another.
Not a fan of gingerbread men? No problem! Use chocolate chip cookies instead. Can’t find candied pecans? Don’t worry, just use some roasted almonds in their place. You can even skip the whole pomegranate and just add a small bowl of pomegranate seeds or raspberries. It’s also a great way to present your holiday baking—swap the store-bought cookies with homemade sugar cookies, spritz cookies, and Christmas pinwheel cookies.
When making dessert board substitutions, try to replace one ingredient with another one that is similar in both color and taste. This keeps the balance of the board and will ensure that it retains its gorgeous look.
But enough talking about Christmas dessert boards, it’s time to make one yourself! Here are all the details about how to make a dessert board that is perfect for this holiday season.
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- White chocolate covered pretzel twists – Chocolate dipped pretzel rods are also a fantastic choice. The sweet and salty combo is what you are looking for with this ingredient.
- Small gingerbread men – Homemade gingerbread men or store-bought will work!
- Biscotti Cookies – Cranberry or cinnamon biscotti are my favorites.
- Mini candy canes
- Wrapped caramels – I like chewy caramels, not hard candies which take a little too long to eat. You can leave the caramels wrapped or unwrap them to make the dessert board easier to eat.
- Candy cane Hershey kisses – I also like to use striped Hershey’s Hugs or really any of the holiday Hershey Kisses. There are a lot to choose from!
- Chocolate covered cherries
- Fresh pomegranate – Fresh pomegranate is a true Christmas symbol. If you want to make the pomegranate on the dessert board a little easier to eat, peel it and pop all the seeds into a small bowl. Add a little spoon and position it in the corner of your board.
- Candied pecans – My local grocery store always has candied pecans around Christmastime, but if you can’t find them, try making this Crock Pot candy instead.
- Andes mints – Leave the Andes mints wrapped for a pop of green color on the dessert board or unwrap them to show off the pretty two-layer chocolates.
- Fresh strawberries
- Meringue cookies – Look for bite-sized meringue cookies that are easy to pop in your mouth.
- Red and green M&M’s
Substitutions and Variations
You probably already understand how flexible this Christmas dessert board recipe is. You can really get creative, add your favorite Christmas treats, and use what you can find in your local grocery store. As I mentioned before, when using a substitute, try to stick to the original ingredient as much as possible to keep your dessert board well-balanced.
Here are a few more ideas for substitutions that I have tried which received rave reviews:
- Replace chocolate covered pretzels with my homemade smoky bourbon pretzels.
- Use M&M cookies instead of gingerbread men.
- Skip the biscotti and make a brownie or bar instead. Cut them into small, two bite squares for easy eating.
- Any kind of Hershey kisses will work, either wrapped or unwrapped. I like to unwrap the smaller candies just so there are no little wrappers littering the tray as people start to eat.
- Sweet or salty nuts will work in place of candied pecans. You can even use a homemade nut mix!
- Any kind of fresh fruit will complement this dessert board. Try to pick red fruits that add that Christmas appeal.
- Swap the cheesecake dip for Funfetti Dip, but make it with holiday sprinkles!
How to Make a Christmas Dessert Charcuterie Board
- Pick Your board: You can use any kind of board or tray. Boards with sides are always nice as they help contain the ingredients. But if you can find a perfect, Christmas tree shaped wooden board, definitely use it!
- Add the bowls: Anything that goes in a bowl should go on the tray first. These taller items will add height to the dessert board, so be sure to space them out. I like to put the bowl of cheesecake dip at one side of the dessert board and the small bowl of M&M’s on the other side. The bowls do not need to match! In fact, it is more interesting if they don’t.
- Add the big items: Place the larger ingredients on the board first. Biscotti, gingerbread men, meringue cookies, and fresh pomegranate can go on first. Again, be sure to space them out so there are not too many big treats in one spot.
- Fill In the holes: Add the rest of the ingredients to the board. Make piles of the ingredients and also sprinkle them around to fill in any holes. You want to really try to cover up the board as much as possible. I like to use the M&M’s to fill in the gaps since they are so festive and colorful—they add a nice sprinkle of color everywhere!
Try not to put two items of the same color or size next to each other. Small things should go near big items. Red candies can go by green, browns, or whites. This simple rule will really help your board look perfect.
How to Store a Christmas Dessert Board
Dessert boards are definitely best when assembled and served fresh. However, you can make a lot of the ingredients ahead of time. If you are making your own biscotti, gingerbread men, or cookies, you can make them a few days in advance. Store the homemade items in airtight containers until you are ready to put the tray together.
You can also start assembling your Christmas dessert the morning you’d like to serve it. Get everything nicely organized and then loosely wrap the tray with plastic wrap. You can keep it at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours. If you want to make the dessert board at the beginning of the day and serve it in the afternoon or after dinner, be sure to put the cheesecake dip, if using, in the fridge. You can always add it right to the tray before serving.
A dessert charcuterie board is a sweet version of the classic appetizer-stuffed charcuterie boards. Instead of cheeses, meats, and crackers, the dessert board has candies cookies and sweet dips. It is a fun and delicious way to serve a variety of desserts all on one beautiful tray.
The best way to prep a charcuterie board is to just get all of the ingredients ready to add to the tray. Unwrap any candies that need to be unwrapped, bake any cookies that you need to bake, and prep any dips you will be using. Then, when the time comes to put everything together, it will be super easy!
My dessert charcuterie board is full of sweet treats, so you are definitely going to want some water! Other than that, try pairing the board with a sweet dessert wine like a riesling. A fun, festive cocktail would also be great.
Christmas Dessert Charcuterie Board
- White chocolate covered pretzel twists
- Small gingerbread men
- Biscotti cookies
- Mini candy canes
- Wrapped caramels
- Candy cane Hershey kisses
- Chocolate covered cherries
- Fresh pomegranate, cut into quarters
- Candied pecans
- Andes Mints, unwrapped
- Fresh strawberries, with stems
- Meringue cookies
- Red and green M&M's
- Cheesecake dip
- Choose a large cutting board or tray.
- Place a small bowl on the board near the center. I like to put it a little off to the side. Fill the bowl with the M&M’s.
- Place another small bowl near one corner of the board for the cheesecake dip. Add the cheesecake dip to this bowl right before you are ready to serve the dessert charcuterie board but put the bowl on the board now so you can arrange everything else around it.
- Add the larger items to the board, spacing them out around the bowl of M&M’s. You do not want to have too many large items next to each other so leave a space between each one. I like to add the gingerbread men, fresh pomegranate quarters, biscotti and meringue cookies first.
- Add the remaining items to the board. Try to put different color items next to each other and avoid two of the same color in one spot. For example, put the white chocolate covered pretzel twists away from the white meringue cookies. Mix the colors!
- Be sure to fill in all the spaces on the board with smaller items. I save the fresh strawberries for last and add them anywhere there is a gap on the board. This adds a pop of red color all around the Christmas dessert board and makes it look nice and full.
- Serve the dessert charcuterie board right away or cover it loosely in plastic wrap and serve it within 2-3 hours. It will look and taste best when fresh!
- This Christmas dessert charcuterie board recipe is very flexible. I use items that are a good mix of colors, tastes and sizes to make the prettiest and tastiest board possible. However, feel free to get creative and swap out certain ingredients and make it your own. For example, if you can’t find red and green M&M’s, fill the small bowl with chocolate sauce for dipping strawberries instead!
- Gingerbread men cookies can be replaced with any of your favorite Christmas cookies. Gingersnaps, molasses cookies and peanut butter kiss cookies are all delicious on the board.
- Use chocolate dipped pretzel rods in place of pretzel twists to add another long item to the board.
- You can make this board as big or small as you’d like. Just get a bigger tray and add more items if you need it larger or use less for a smaller board. When making the board smaller, be sure to still pack everything in tightly. It looks best when the treats are piled high.