Jarcuterie are individual charcuterie boards in adorable jars or cups. Everybody gets to take their meat and cheese appetizer with them as they mingle (the concept is pure genius!)
jarcuterie is an appetizer that makes people smile
I’m not sure I’ve had this much fun with a recipe in a while…this one is right up my alley, with lots of color, flavor, and that all important fun factor!
Plus, I know I’ve said it before, but appetizers are my favorite part of any meal. It makes sense, right? They arrive when we’re hungriest, when we appreciate what we’re eating the most. Nothing gets me more excited than a great charcuterie platter, and this has got to be one of the most innovative ways to do it. Customize the jars to special diets, too!
what’s a jarcuterie?
It’s simple ~ it’s a miniaturized charcuterie board, in a jar or a glass. Each person gets a little bit of everything layered into the jar and threaded on toothpicks. It’s a fabulous idea that took hold during the pandemic, and stuck around because it’s so darned smart. The trend in single serve grazing is still hot and not going anywhere, why not try it for your next get together?
the elements of a great jarcuterie
This is definitely a themed recipe and when you’re putting together your components it helps to think back to your favorite charcuterie board. Use foods that belong, and skip the ones that don’t ~ for instance you’d want gherkins not dill pickles, and salami not turkey.
- Nuts and dried fruit make up the base of the jars and help stabilize your picks. Use things you’d find on a charcuterie board like almonds, macadamias, spiced pecans, etc. I like to use dried dates, apricots, cherries, etc. Sometimes I’ll use fresh grapes as well.
- Cheese ~ I like to use several different kinds of cheese in different shapes and colors.
- First I’ll cube hard cheese like cheddar, etc. They’ll get threaded on toothpicks.
- Marinated mozzarella balls are perfect for threading onto toothpicks as well.
- I like to slice thin triangles of cheese from wedges. They can be tucked into the jars where space allows.
- If I can find them, mini Brie bites are great to add, just pop it on the end of a toothpick of tiny plastic cocktail fork. If you can’t find them, consider Babybels.
- Meats ~ this is where it gets fun! I like to buy charcuterie meat assortments, it’s the easiest way to get several different kinds of meat.
- salami, prosciutto, coppa, calabrese, peperoni, sopressata, etc. Look for a variety of shapes and textures.
- Small hard salamis can be cut in nuggets, while silky prosciutto can be rolled or folded into ruffles.
- Slim meat sticks can stand on their own.
- Olives and pickles ~ these are not only pretty and piquant, but an essential part of any charcuterie; the acidity helps balance out the richness of the meats. The olive bar is your best bet here, grab a little bit of everything! Pickled carrots, onion, and asparagus are great too.
- Fresh fruit ~ again, fresh fruit helps lighten up the selection. Berries like blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are easy to thread on toothpicks. Thin slices of apple are also nice.
- Fresh veggies ~ I use these sparingly because they really aren’t super common on a charcuterie board, but a crunchy cucumber spear or a juicy cherry tomato adds a nice touch.
- Crackers, breadsticks and cheese straws ~ these provide height for your jars, and a welcome little bit of carbs. Tuck them in at the end, filling in any empty spaces.
- Fresh herb sprigs ~ these are purely decorative, but nice to have.
the how to
- Start off your jars with a base of nuts and dried fruit.
- Skewers can be threaded in lots of different ways. you can do all meat, all cheese, all pickles and olives, or mix and match. (I keep fresh berries to one skewer and don’t mix them with other ingredients.) Plan on 2-4 skewers per jar, depending on the size of your jars. I like to top the skewers with a small gherkin, pickled pepper, or olive.
- Mini Brie bites or Babeybels can be stuck onto the prongs of a tiny cocktail fork.
- Meat sticks, meat wrapped mozzarella sticks can stand on their own.
- Fill in gaps with mini crackers, bread sticks, cheese straws, etc.
- Finish with a fresh herb sprig like rosemary, thyme, or marjoram.
jarcuterie tips and faqs
Yes, but not too much ahead. They can hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours, no problem. I’d make sure to cover them well with plastic to keep them moist. Do not add any of the crackers or cheese straws, etc., until ready to serve so they don’t get soft. Leave your jars on the counter for 30 minutes prior to serving just to take the chill off.
If you want to make them even further ahead, I recommend assembling the picks ahead and then assembling the jars shortly before serving.
Of course, just leave out the meats and go heavy on the cheeses, pickles, fruits and nuts.
I used simple drinking glasses for mine, which hold almost 12 ounces. You can use plastic or glass, mason jars, even recycled jam jars (we love Bon Maman.) If you plan to serve your jars outdoors, be sure to use plastic.
You can make these low carb or keto friendly by omitting the fruit and crackers.
Charcuterie is a French term for many different types of preserved meats like salami and prosciutto, while the equivalent Italian term is salumi or antipasto. American charcuterie boards are more eclectic in nature and include pickles, preserved veggies, fruit and nuts as well as the meats and cheese.
more creative appetizers
- Whipped Basil Ricotta with Spring Crudité
- Copycat Raincoast Crisps® Crackers
- Crispy Crab Balls
- Mini Cheese Ball Holiday Platter
- Rosé Wine Hot Pepper Jelly
- Pan Con Tomate (Spanish tomato bread)
- 8 wide mouthed jars or glasses
- 5 inch toothpicks
- small cocktail forks, optional
- 2 cups nuts: Marcona almonds, spiced pecans, macadamias, cashews, or mixed nuts are all good choices.
- 2 cups dried fruit such as figs, dates, or apricots.
- sliced Italian cold cuts like salami, prosciutto, coppa, calabrese, peperoni, sopressata, etc. Plan for at least 3-4 slices per jar.
- cubed hard cheese like cheddar, Jarlsberg, Manchego, whatever you love. Plan on 2-3 cubes per jar.
- softer cheese like mozzarella balls and mini Brie bites, plan on one of each per jar.
- meat sticks or meat wrapped mozzarella sticks, one per jar.
- assorted olives, pitted. Use these to top skewers.
- assorted pickles like gherkins, cocktail onions, marinated peppers (from the olive bar) These are good for topping the skewers, too.
- fresh berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Plan on one skewer per jar.
- bread sticks, cheese straws, and crackers. Add the tall sticks for height and wedge small crackers into available spaces. Use one or two sticks and several crackers per jar.
- 8 fresh herb sprigs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram for garnish.
- Start with a layer of nuts and dried fruits at the bottom of each of your jars or glasses.
- Construct your skewers. You can do this in lots of different variations ~ refer to the photos for inspiration. Fold sliced meats in quarters or roll them before threading. You can mix meat and cheese, or do them separately. Top each skewer with a pickle or other small item. Thread berries onto their own skewers.
- Begin by adding your skewers to your jars. Use about 3 per jar.
- Add any stand alone items like meat or cheese sticks next. If you have space you can add sliced apple, grapes, or baby cucumber spears.
- Add bread sticks and crackers. Then insert the herb sprig. You're ready to serve!