These Car-Cuterie Boards Are the Most Brilliant Upgrades for Gas-Station Snacks

published Jun 1, 2023
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Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or taking to the skies, we have ideas for making your vacation as stress-free as possible. This content is presented in partnership with Hampton by Hilton; it was created independently by our editorial team.

Loading up on snacks when you stop for gas is arguably one of the best parts of a road trip. You get a chance to stretch your legs and peruse everything the convenience store has to offer. But after some time on the road, you may find your Cheez-Its and Gatorade combo uninspiring. That’s when it’s time to get creative (and, okay, a little out there) with “car-cuterie,” by which we mean gas-station charcuterie you can eat on the road.

Yes, you read that right — gas-station charcuterie. At first glance, it’s a seriously weird mash-up of terms: When you think of a gas station, you’re more likely to picture Slim Jims than aged Brie. However, there’s more common ground than you’d expect! A classic charcuterie spread includes meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, and crackers. So if you really think about it, gas-station convenience stores are filled with (a version of) everything you need to curate a charcuterie plate you can on the go.

Still with us? Good! Now buckle up, because whether you’re loyal to the classic meat and cheese iterations or want a breakfast spread with road trip favorites like mini doughnuts, these board ideas will make your next road trip a foodie’s dream — or at least broaden your definition of charcuterie. 

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaffer; Food Styling: Brett Regot


You won’t be slathering fine French cheeses on a baguette, but you can still craft a real-deal food board. Pair gas station classics like beef jerky, flavored nuts, and crackers with whatever fresh groceries are on hand in the convenience store, from sliced fruit to cubed cheese. Put it all together, and you’ve got a spread fit for a backseat picnic.

  • Cubed cheese
  • Apple slices
  • Ritz crackers
  • Chocolate-dipped pretzels
  • Jerky 
  • Chili roasted pistachios or nuts
  • Chocolate-covered raisins or blueberries
  • Honey roasted peanuts

To keep it simple, skip the cheese cubes and jerky and eat the original gas station charcuterie: Lunchables!

The Preschool Special

For the car-seat crowd — and the young at heart, too — nostalgic snacks plucked from daycare days make for excellent road trip provisions. These treats became preschool classics because they walk the line between healthy and delicious while not being too messy, and they fit into most of the charcuterie “categories.” Plus, you know you’ve been craving a cheese stick and a Little Debbie treat since you were in elementary school. It’s time to fulfill that childhood dream of the perfect lunch box, even if only for an afternoon on the road. 

  • Goldfish 
  • Sliced banana
  • Fig Newtons
  • String cheese
  • Cosmic Brownies 

Don’t sleep on the Fig Newtons and string cheese combo — mozzarella and fig jam are a match made in heaven. 

Road Trip Double Feature

If your backseat gets transformed into a private movie screening on your drive, lean into the experience by loading up on theater food. Bagged popcorn is an obvious essential, along with a variety of candy to suit everyone’s tastes. When the sugar high settles, and you need some actual sustenance, reach for the peanut butter-filled pretzels. 

  • Smart Pop White Cheddar Popcorn or Kettle Corn
  • Twizzlers Bites
  • Buncha Crunch or M&Ms
  • Peanut butter-filled pretzels
  • Sour Patch Kids Watermelons

Pro tip: Mix your chocolate with the popcorn for a sweet-and-salty pairing as classic as Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

Early Risers

Hitting the road before sunrise? The grocery section has plenty of breakfast options to fuel your morning drive. Check the fridge for individually packaged hard-boiled eggs and Go-Gurts, and stop by the snack aisle for peanut butter packets to go with your apple slices. 

  • Mini doughnuts
  • Go-Gurt or portable yogurt packet
  • Apple slices
  • Peanut butter packet
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Trail mix

When your morning coffee isn’t enough of a pick-me-up, lean on the sugar in the doughnuts to keep you going.