In partnership withHidden Valley® Ranch

How to Build an Easy (But Still Impressive!) Snack Board

published Jan 16, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Christopher Simpson; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

The holiday season is behind us, but the gatherings and get-togethers are just getting started. With things like awards show season and the big game coming up, there are plenty of winter entertaining moments ahead. What’s the ultimate entertaining move? A snack board! Part cheese plate, part hors d’oeuvre, a snack board is an easy crowd-pleaser no matter the occasion. It also happens to be pretty darn Instagramable, which never hurts.

While the concept is simple, assembling a snack board can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Classic bites like cheeses, meats, and crackers are a great place to start, but the real fun is in the additions; things like baked hors d’oeuvres and a couple of Hidden Valley® Ranch dips really tie the whole thing together. Here’s everything you need to know to build the ultimate snack board.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Simpson; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

Where to Begin

First, you’ll need a board to pile all your snacks on. If you have a fancy cheese board, that’s perfect. But if you don’t, there’s no need to run out and buy one. A large cutting board works perfectly, as does a large platter.

What Snacks to Buy

The secret to a snack board that’s sure to get your guests excited? Variety. For every 10 guests, pick at least two or three items from each category below. You’ll find everything you need at your local grocery store:

  • Cheese: Try a sliced block of cheddar, a wedge of Manchego, a wheel of soft goat cheese or brie, or bite-sized crumbles of Parmesan.
  • Bread and crackers: Grab some toasted baguette slices, sea salt crackers, rye crisps, or your favorite pita chips.
  • Fruits and veggies: Opt for a mix of both dried and fresh like dried apricots, dried figs, celery sticks, carrot sticks, endive, grapes, and fresh figs.
  • Charcuterie: Any kind of thinly sliced salami is perfect, as is prosciutto.
  • Salty or pickled bites: Place small bowls of olives, sweety drop peppers, or cornichons on your board — and don’t forget an empty small bowl for the olive pits!
  • Prepared frozen hors d’oeuvres: Warm up a couple of your favorite frozen appetizers like pigs in a blanket and mini mushroom tarts.
  • The perfect dips: Finally, for your centerpieces, prepare at least two dips. We made Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Spinach Dip and Buffalo Chicken Dip — two surefire crowdpleasers every time. They’re fun, flavorful, and taste great with everything listed above.
Credit: Photo: Christopher Simpson; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

How to Tie It All Together With Dips

Your guests will have trouble straying from your snack board if you place a couple of dips in the center. With Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dips Mix as their base, these dips are packed with zesty flavor and only need a couple of minutes to come together.

While creamy and classic Original Ranch® Spinach Dip is served cold, the cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip is baked before serving, resulting in a snack that’s warm and extra gooey. The contrasting flavors and temperatures are sure to make it even more fun for your guests to graze and dig in.