The Ultimate Aldi Charcuterie Board Starts at Just $5 per Person

updated May 11, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

A meat and cheese platter is the no-cook way to start any festive occasion and can even be a conversation starter. New friends and old make connections over unfamiliar cheeses and compare notes on how they build their own boards. That’s why the deli section is where I always start my party planning.

And because I’ve added Aldi to my shopping rotation this year, I challenged myself to build a holiday-worthy charcuterie board using only ingredients I find at my new favorite retailer. It was shockingly easy. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, though, because while Aldi is known for its budget buys, it also stocks high-quality meats and cheeses. I scoured the aisles, made notes, and compared prices to build the ultimate Aldi appetizer board. Here’s how I did it.

Essential Elements of a Holiday Charcuterie Board

  • Cured meats: Serve a variety of thinly sliced salami, speck, and prosciutto. Plan on about 1 1/2 ounces per person.
  • Cheeses: Offer at least three kinds of cheeses that pair well with the other elements of the board. In lieu of a dip and to take the place of a soft cheese, serve a garlicky spreadable cheese like Boursin. Include a sharp sliceable cheese, like cheddar, and finish with a house favorite (a blue cheese or herb-flecked havarti).
  • Pickley things: Arrange dishes of brine-soaked pickles or olives around the board to balance the rich cheeses and salty meats.
  • Nuts and dried fruit: Tidy piles of nuts and dried fruit invite guests to interact with the board. Choose whole nuts (rather than pieces) and make sure they are shelled (or make sure to provide a bowl for discarded shells and a nutcracker, if needed). Dried fruit should complement the board in color and texture.
  • Crackers and breads: A variety of crackers for serving with the cheeses.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Make the Ultimate Charcuterie Board with Items from Aldi

It’s easy to find interesting charcuterie items in every Aldi aisle, but you can streamline your shopping if you stick to the perimeter for most of what you need. Aldi excels in offering high-quality — yet inexpensive! — party meats and cheeses. I like to mix and match meats myself, but you may also find selections of sliced meats packaged together. For a party of six to eight, where other appetizers will be served, estimate 1 to 1 1/2 ounces meat per person. The hardest choice is what trio of cheeses to select, especially now that Aldi’s Seasonal Favorites are in stock. I chose a variety that complements the other foods on the board and avoided some more polarizingly pungent cheeses. I budgeted 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of cheese per person. Venture toward the center of the store for nuts, dried fruit, crackers, and a jar of olives for a grand total of just over $45.

Here’s what I picked and why.

  • Priano Salame Italiano, $3.99 for 3 ounces: A familiar and mild meat that satisfies any guests (or children) that are new to the joy that is a charcuterie plate.
  • Priano Speck Italiano, $3.99 for 3 ounces: Speck is a cured ham akin to prosciutto but with bolder flavor, thanks to a spice rub and smoke.
  • Priano Prosciutto Italiano, $3.99 for 3 ounces: Classic, salty, and rich — no charcuterie plate should be without a pile of shaved prosciutto.
  • Happy Farms Havarti Cheese, $2.99 for 8 ounces: Havarti cheese is a creamy, yet sliceable cheese that pairs well with all of the meats and crackers on the board. Aldi sells a jalapeño-spiced havarti, but I prefer the dill version for this board.
  • Emporium Selection English Cheddar, $4.29 for 7 ounces: Imported from England and aged, this cheddar has a sharp, robust flavor. This cheese is available in three varieties (truffle, champagne, and vintage), with champagne being most festive for the occasion.
  • Boursin Garlic & Herb Cheese Spread, $3.69 for 5.2 ounces: While Aldi excels with its private-label brands, it also stocks nationally known cheeses, too. Boursin is a spreadable cheese that is packed with flavor from garlic and herbs.
  • Clancy’s Pretzel Rods or Honey Wheat Pretzels, $3.99: I love how the elongated shape of pretzels look on a serving board. The classic pretzel rods are longer and savory, while the honey wheat variety are short, twisty, and slightly sweet. You’ll certainly have leftovers of these, so choose the variety you won’t mind snacking on later in the week.
  • Savoritz 6 Cracker Assortment, $2.95 for 13.1 ounces: There’s nothing better than a variety pack of crackers to provide variety in shape and shades on a charcuterie board. From delicate water crackers to poppy- and pepper-flecked rounds, these crackers are the perfect cheese delivery vehicle.
  • LiveGfree Multi Seed Crackers, $1.99 for 4.25 ounces: Whether you’re serving a guest who eats a gluten-free diet or are simply looking for a cracker that offers a little something different, these multi-seed crackers are a must. Choose between the sea salt or rosemary and olive oil varieties.
  • Specially Selected Stuffed Olives, $2.89 for 7 ounces: Big briny olives fit the bill for a pickle on this plate. These olives are stuffed with either garlic, blue cheese, or jalapeño and jack cheese.
  • Southern Grove Whole Cashews with Sea Salt, $5.19 for 10 ounces: Buttery, salted cashews are more elegant than almonds and less messy than pistachios.
  • Southern Grove Dried Mediterranean Apricots, $2.79 for 6 ounces: Chubby orange apricot rounds are sweet and chewy, pairing nicely with either a slice of cheese or folded-up cured meat.
  • Simply Nature Garlic Hummus, $1.95 for 8 ounces: Hummus adds a nice texture and a fun dipping opportunity.
  • Clancy’s Apple Chips, $1.69 for 2.5 ounces: Crunchy dried apple chips are an unexpected addition. Available in original or cinnamon, I often choose the original to let the fruit flavor shine.

Total: $46.38

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Building an Even Less Expensive Charcuterie Board at Aldi

Costs can quickly climb when hosting during the holidays, even at Aldi, so there’s no shame in finding savings where you can. If you want to cut some of the items on this suggested list, we have some ideas. Swap the three packs of meats for one pack of Appleton Farms Gourmet Deli Selection (it includes Pepper Salami, Hot Capocollo, and Hot Calabrese and costs $4.49 for 6 ounces) and a pack of Appleton Farms Prosciutto ($2.75 for 4 ounces) to save $4.73. Serve a package of Savoritz Parmesan Crisps ($2.89 for 2.11 ounces) instead of the gluten-free crackers and the cheddar (saves you $6.28). Serve garlic and herb goat cheese ($1.99) instead of name-brand Boursin cheese to save $1.70. And skip the hummus and apple chips to save $3.64. Make these swaps and you’ll save $16.35. That gets your total down to $30.03 — which works out to just $5 per person.

What are your go-tos for a charcuterie board when you’re shopping at Aldi?

Credit: Kitchn