How to Build the Ultimate Antipasti Platter

published Nov 4, 2022
Antipasto Platter Recipe

This abundant Italian spread of cured meat, cheese, marinated vegetables, and more is the ultimate way to kick of a meal.

Serves8 as an appetizer

Prep15 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
antipasto part scene with hands taking them eating some of the antipasto
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Antipasti are the Italian equivalent to French hors d’oeuvres. They kick off the meal and can be cold, hot, raw, cooked, or a combination. In Italy, an antipasto can be as simple as a bowl of olives or a plate of prosciutto, but it’s often a more elaborate affair in Italian American restaurants and homes. Multiple antipasti are brought together to create an abundant platter for nibbling among family and friends before a meal.

Like building a charcuterie board, pulling together a platter of antipasti is a creative endeavor. There isn’t one specific recipe. Instead, it’s all about taking a trip to your neighborhood Italian market or usual grocery store to pick and choose a handful of tasty cheeses, salumi, and more. Think of the guide below as a template and, most importantly, have fun with it.

What Is a Traditional Antipasto?

The word antipasto (the singular form of the term) translates to “before the meal” (from the Latin “anti,” or “before,” and “pastus,” or “meal”). Antipasto varies widely depending on the region of Italy. In the central region of Tuscany, crostini are common, while in the southern region of Calabria, you’re sure to find fresh mozzarella or ‘nduja.

In general, traditional antipasti include cheese, cured meats, olives, marinated or pickled vegetables, and bread or crackers. Anchovies and other types of seafood are also common, particularly if you’re by the coast. Fresh vegetables and fruit are often featured too, but they are very much dictated by the seasons, such as fresh figs and cantaloupe with prosciutto in the summer and fava beans with Pecorino Toscano in the spring.

Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

What Is the Difference Between Antipasti and Antipasto?

Antipasto is the singular form of the word, while antipasti is the plural form. So, for example, if you set out just a small plate of cheese, it’s an antipasto, but if you also include a bowl of olives, a selection of cured meats, and breadsticks, they are collectively antipasti.

Antipasto vs. Charcuterie

Charcuterie is the French word for cured meats. However, nowadays charcuterie boards feature not just charcuterie, but cheese, spreads like jams and mustard, pâté, crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and more. That means a charcuterie board and platter of antipasti are closely aligned, although the latter leans Italian in ingredients.

Antipasto Platter Recipe

This abundant Italian spread of cured meat, cheese, marinated vegetables, and more is the ultimate way to kick of a meal.

Prep time 15 minutes

Serves 8 as an appetizer


2 to 3 items from each of the following categories:

  • Cheeses: fresh (bite-sized mozzarella balls [bocconcini], burrata, whole-milk ricotta cheese), soft (gorgonzola, taleggio), semi-soft (provolone, fontina), hard (Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Toscano)

  • Meats: cured and sliced (salami, prosciutto, speck)

  • Fresh Veggies and Fruit: cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, radicchio leaves, figs, small grape clusters, sliced pear or apple

  • Bread and Crackers: crostini, crackers, grissini breadsticks, crusty bread, focaccia

1 to 2 items from each of the following categories:

  • Briny: olives, pepperoncini, cherry peppers, pickled vegetables, oil-packed anchovies

  • Marinated: artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted red peppers

(Optional) 1 item from each of the following categories:

  • Spreads: bruschetta topping, tapenade

  • Sweets: honey, fig jam


  1. Place a rimmed baking sheet, large platter, or serving board near your work surface. Gather all your ingredients, then start arranging them on the board in the below order.

  2. Place olives and spreads, honey, and jam, if using, in very small bowls. If using oil-packed anchovies, leave them in their tin, or transfer to a small, shallow bowl. Unless very well-drained, place other briny and marinated items in small bowls, too. Add small spoons, knives, forks, and toothpicks to the bowls if needed. Place them on the board, spacing them out.

  3. Place fresh cheeses in small bowls. Leave soft cheeses whole. Cut semi-soft cheeses into cubes or slices. For hard cheeses, use a fork to crumble some of each piece and leave the rest whole. Place on the board, again spacing them out. Add cheese knives if needed.

  4. Fill in some of the gaps with fresh veggies and fruit, along with any briny or marinated ingredients you didn’t put in bowls. For figs, cut them in half lengthwise, if large. For grapes, cut them into smaller individual clusters for easier serving.

  5. Fold or shingle and tuck the cured meats in clusters on the board between the other ingredients.

  6. Fill in the remaining spaces with bread items and put any extra in a separate bowl next to the board.