Whether we’re eating cheese as a snack or as part of a meal, cheese boards are well-loved additions to every table. These boards usually consist of a variety of cheeses that are sliced, cubed, or set upon the board in whole wheels. On the sides are crackers, sliced fruit, and several other items that go with the different kinds of cheese. There are also some dips and sauces to enhance the whole experience.
The universal favorite pairing with cheese is crackers, whether they’re on a formal platter or part of a midnight snack. There are actually several kinds of crackers that go best with various types of cheese. Before we move on to any other sides, let’s see how we can choose the best crackers for our cheese platters or boards:
Choosing the Best Crackers for Our Cheese
Where to Buy
The best kind of crackers that you want to serve with cheese are those that won’t completely crumble when you bite into them. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of crackers that meet this basic requirement. We’ll discuss some of the best ones below:
Club crackers are a delicious combination of butter and salt, but this also means that they might overpower certain cheeses. This is why you want to pair them with a cheese that has quite a strong flavor of its own. Extra-sharp, farmhouse cheddar is usually a winner here. If you have a variety of cheddar cheese on our board or platter, club crackers is the way to go.
Keebler Club Crackers are low in saturated fat and have a flaky texture that goes perfectly with hard cheese. You might want to order some before your next major gathering:
Creamy cheeses can be a bit tricky to pair with crackers due to their varying tastes. Brie that comes from France has a vegetable flavor, while the American kind is almost buttery. If you’re offering a variety of creamy cheeses, you might want to go with Crostini crackers that won’t clash with any flavor.
Castellana Crostini Italian Crackers are among your best options here. These have no sugar in the ingredients, only Italian bread flour, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. The result is a crunchy, clean flavor that won’t interfere with your cheese experience.
Certain cheeses have a naturally sweet flavor, especially gouda with its butterscotch and caramel-like notes. This means that you need to balance out the taste with a sturdy, flavorful cracker. Multigrain crackers are usually less yeasty than other options, with the crunch factor to enhance the flavor.
Multigrain crackers are also best for serving blue cheeses. If you get some that are infused with berries, you can make a lovely combination. However, if your multigrain crackers are also o the fragile side, make sure your blue cheese is the creamy kind, not crumbly. Dare Breton multigrain crackers might be sturdier than most:
If you’re serving triple cream cheese, you might want to consider water crackers before anything else. Such cheeses are made with mostly butterfat, so you want a light, thin base to get the full experience. Water Wheels might be the best option here, as they’re airy and super-thin, allowing the cheese to release its full flavor.
You can also pair goat cheese or any kind of Brie with Water Wheels, though make sure to use a cheese knife to avoid cracking. If you’d like to have a more varied experience, a little jam might be very welcome.
These are a particular brand of crackers, known formerly as Starr Ridge. They’re thick and taste of olive oil. These might not be for light cheeses but will go well with aged ones like gouda, cheddar, and comte. For a more varied experience, you can also get them in flavors such as this Rosemary Parmesan option:
Pairing Cheese With Crackers
Before arranging the crackers on a board and serving to your guests, you might want to experiment a bit with different flavors, shapes, textures, and even colors. Below, we’ll consider several types of cheese and discuss which kind of crackers usually go best with them:
Cheese Spreads or Soft Cheese
If you’re going to serve spreadable cheese or cheese blends, avoid the brittle and thin options. White soda crackers are a no-no, as are your thin saltines.
In this case, you want to go with sturdy crackers, especially those with nuts, dates, or fennel seeds inside. These will go great with something like Brie. For goat cheese, pepper crackers might be best.
More classic options here include thick wheat or oat crackers that will provide a proper base for any cheese spread. We recommend going with the unsweetened versions, though most crackers available online will have some kind of sugar. Fortunately, there are vegetarian options like these Nairns Biscuits with Mixed Berries:
Semi-soft cheeses include Havarti, fontina, and Monterey Jack. These have a proper shape even after cutting, so you can pair them with large or small crackers. You might also want to try out unique shapes of crackers for these versatile cheese choices.
Fontina cheese goes well with crackers that have walnuts in them, while Havarti and Muenster pair well with caraway and fennel seed flavors. For mildly processed American cheese, choose crackers with a blend of flavors. If you want something that will go with any kind of semi-soft cheese, rice, and butter-flavored crackers are your best bet.
Blue cheese has a unique tangy flavor, so you may want some slightly sweet cracker options here. Since blue cheese is usually also spreadable, the crackers accompanying it should be sturdy.
When serving blue cheese, have your options include crackers with died fogs, walnuts, or even honey. Some oatcake crackers would also provide a fairly sturdy base.
A thin, crunchy option like La Panzanella Croccantini is also a lovely pairing with a blue cheese such as Stilton. In fact, you can pair them up with all kinds of cheese for a versatile cheese plate. Check out the various options online:
Hard or semi-hard cheese might tend to crumble when sliced, especially if they’re a bit aged. Factor this in by having large crackers with such cheeses; these will easily hold all the crumbles. If you only have small crackers, cut up your hard cheese into small chunks for one-bite servings.
If you are cutting your cheese into chunks, butter crackers will be a good pairing. For any type of Swiss cheese, you may want to consider crackers with dried fruit embedded inside. The same goes for cheddar and Manchego cheese.
Cheddar cheese might require a spicier flavor, so see if there are any paprika or black pepper options at the specialty store. Olive oil crackers will probably pair best with Parmesan.
Finally, you can also try your hand at making your own crackers to suit any kind of cheese. The basic ingredients are flour, oil, water, sugar or a sugar substitute, and some herbs. This way, you can add your favorite spices, dried fruits, nuts, and several other flavorful mix-ins.
Other Sides For a Cheese Platter
However, some people might have gotten tired of the same old crackers and fruit offerings. Cheese goes well with a variety of foods, so it’s not that hard to switch up the tradition. When we’re entertaining guests, we want to stand out from other hosts, and varying up your cheese board is one easy plus delicious way of going about it. Creating the perfect cheese platter might even be essential to hosting a successful gathering.
If you’re ready to serve up something other than the conventional offerings with your cheese board, the ideas below might be of help:
Serving up slices of a crunchy baguette could be a filling option for your cheese board or platter. This will still be a classic choice, but provide a more robust experience than those thin crackers. We also like the fact that these slices can go well with both hard cheddar cheese as well as creamy, spreadable brie.
It’s best if you bake the baguette right at home or get it fresh from a nearby bakery that knows their work. This might not always be available, so getting a baguette from an online platform might also be an option. Check out this bread for a start:
The Pagnifique Grand Baguette is traditional French bread and comes fresh enough to eat within five days of shipping. If you want to make it fresh and crispy just before serving with cheese, put the slices in the oven for a few minutes. What’s even better is that you can store this bread inside the freezer and toast it up when needed.
Pita bread consists of small, flattish rounds that are usually connected with hummus and other Middle Eastern dishes. However, pita bread also provides a lovely soft choice for serving with cheese. The experience is enhanced when you warm up or toast the pita bread beforehand, and then cut the rounds into triangles. This will make the dipping easier and also provide a nice look for your cheese board.
There’s no need to master the art of pita bread making. It’s easily available online, with little change in taste:
Naan is another kind of flatbread that might not seem very different from pita bread at first sight. However, this is a crunchier, more rustic offering. While usually paired with Indian cuisine, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use this staple as part of your cheese platter.
You do have the option of getting the regular-sized naans and tearing them into pieces for serving with cheese. However, we’ll recommend these mini naans for a unique and charming effect:
If someone wants a little change in the taste of cheese, pairing it up with some nuts might be the answer. This would provide an interesting texture and also provide a low-carb, gluten-free option for those who don’t want to eat crackers or any form of bread.
Many cheese enthusiasts swear by Marcona almonds in a cheese platter, especially if they’re warmed up beforehand. You get some online quite easily, but they might need a little more effort. Top them with some salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and then pop them in the toaster oven for some minutes. Alternatively, you can get some Marcona almonds that are already salted and fried, such as these:
If you want to add a variety of nuts with your cheese, you might want to go for some spicy choices as well. Spiciness creates a whole new level to the cheese experience. You can make your own spiced nuts by tossing some regular versions in some oil and spices. Heat them up, and you have a crunchy, delightful addition to your cheese board.
If you want to make things easy and instant for yourself, consider getting a spicy roasted mix from the market. This option might be a good place to start:
For some crunch without the nuts, you can also go for some crispy breadsticks. These are inexpensive, delicious even on their own, and will also look very attractive with any kind of cheese setting. Place them in a simple mason jar, and they’ll be impressive, accessible, along with saving you space as well.
Breadsticks are also a versatile option, so they an actual complement both your cheese platter and the various dips or sauces on the table. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you might want to get some gluten-free breadsticks like these:
Serving up slice apples, grapes, and other kinds of fruits might be the traditional way to go for cheese boards. These could get boring after a while, so why not add in some sweet dates for a rich and delicious experience? These go best with mild-flavored options, such as cream cheese or even cottage cheese.
Dates also provide a lot of energy in every bite, so they’ll fill everyone up quite easily. You might be able to save yourself some time by getting some pitted dates for the cheese board. Check out these offerings to start off a unique platter:
Another great desert fruit option is figs, which you can get fresh, dried, or preserved. You can pace a slice of hard cheese over a dried fig, or top up a cream cheese combination with some fresh chunks. If you can’t find either of these, fig preserves will taste great with brie.
You can also do the same with apricots—dried apricots are a particular favorite for many folks. There are some mini-packs of such dried fruit available online that you might want to check out for your next party:
Granted, olives are quite a traditional pairing with cheese, but you can always change the way you serve them. You can get several varieties in one bowl for a pleasing and tempting appearance, for one. Alternatively, get a jar of pickled olives, marinated olive, or some other concoction. There are also some recipes that consist of warming up the olives with a touch of oil and rosemary. The result will be divine when combined with any kind of cheese.
You might want to start with simple stuffed olives. These are easily available in any market, but you might want to check out some quality options like this one:
Organic honey drizzled over an assortment of quality cheeses could be a dream come true. You get that lovely pairing of sweet and savory, with each taste bring out the complexities of the other item. Any kind of honey or any kind of cheese will do, though you might want to go with an aged, nutty kind of cheese to get the best taste.
Some might prefer to drizzle honey over the cheese before serving, while others may let their guests do the honors according to their preference. In either case, having an attractive honey jar with a drizzler would come in handy. Check out this one below as an accompaniment to your cheese platter, tray, or boards:
You might need a cheese board for a small gathering, a large holiday party, an intimate dinner, or even as part of the game day feasting. Whichever the case, having a few unique changes could make this simple offering a meal to remember.
Cheese boards are versatile, easy to put together, and not too time-consuming if you have everything on hand. They can also be scaled up or down according to the number of people at the gathering. Have a cheese board with a twist the next time you host any occasion, and see how popular it is. If you’re also serving crackers, buy a few packs before the event and try them out with various cheeses in order to get the perfect combination.