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How Long Can A Charcuterie Board Sit Out

Charcuterie boards are the perfect party food. Plenty of cuts of cold meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, and fruit that are sized perfectly to be grabbed by the handful and eaten then and there.

And not only are charcuterie boards nice and simple, but they also have a certain sense of decadence to them. If you bring out one of these colorful platters to your party, you’ll quickly feel like a true socialite! 

You can pack a charcuterie board with whatever foods you want, provided they fit the general fresh theme. The only problem with serving a platter of different foods is that certain foods last better in certain conditions than others.

Some foods on your charcuterie board might need to be refrigerated for long periods, whereas others might thrive perfectly at room temperature!

So just how long can a charcuterie board sit out before any of the foods start to spoil, or lose their splendor? This answer can shift slightly depending on what is on your board, but there are certain lengths of time your charcuterie board should be out for.

So let’s take a look at what those times are, shall we?

How Long Can A Charcuterie Board Sit Out?

Generally, you should aim for your charcuterie board to not sit out for anything longer than 2 hours. Part of the great pleasure of a charcuterie board is the fresh taste of everything on it.

Cheeses on the board taste best when pulled straight out from the fridge, while certain fruits, such as grapes, taste best when just picked from the vine. 

Most food on the charcuterie board contains some amount of moisture, especially cheeses, fruit slices, and cold meats. This means that such foods can quickly spoil when left out in the open air.

Within two hours, guests might notice that the taste of cold meats has spoiled, or the texture of the cheeses has shifted for the worst. And even sliced fruit might have dried up and lost their juiciness. 

Even some of the dry foods on a charcuterie board might eventually begin to spoil past the two-hour mark. Foods such as crackers or bread might begin to change for the worse.

Crackers might lose their fresh crispiness, and take on a slightly chewy texture, while bread might dry up and lose some of its softness. Both of these results are disastrous for a good charcuterie board. 

It is worth mentioning that the amount of time a charcuterie board can be out can vary slightly, depending on what ingredients you are serving, and the temperature of the room that you are serving them in. 

Should You Place An Entire Charcuterie Board Into A Refrigerator? 

No. Though many ingredients on a charcuterie board will take well to being placed into the refrigerator, not all of them will, and thus placing the entire board in would prove worthless, and even wasteful.

If you are planning ahead of time for a charcuterie board, make a good note of all of the ingredients you want to serve up, and then decide how you will store them ahead of time.

Got lots of cold meats and cheeses? Place them in the refrigerator ahead of time. Lots of crackers, or fresh bread? Place these in the pantry within their original packaging, and make sure to use them before their ‘sell by’ date. 

If you want to place a leftover charcuterie board into the refrigerator, you should make sure to separate the ingredients from the board and place them in the refrigerator.

Any dry foods, such as crackers, should be placed into sealed containers, which helps to prevent them from softening. 

When planning to serve a charcuterie board, make sure to take note of how many people you will be serving, so that you can lay out an appropriate amount of food, so that none of it goes to waste, and so you have less to place back into the refrigerator.

How Long Can A Charcuterie Board Sit Out On A Warm Day?

If it is a particularly warm day when you serve your charcuterie board, you should aim for it to be sitting out for no longer than 90 minutes.

The increased temperature can cause certain foods, such as cheeses to melt slightly, which spoils their intended texture, and makes them less appetizing. 

Bacteria also thrive in warm environments, and thus many of your foods, including those that are slightly drier, can spoil far quicker in the open air.

If you are planning a long event, and you want your charcuterie board out longer during warmer temperatures, you should allow the board time inside of the home to cool down, in between serving times.

You might even want to place cheeses and meats into the refrigerator for a few minutes.

You can also protect your charcuterie board from the warm spring or summer air by covering it with a thin layer of clear plastic wrap, which helps to insulate it from the outside air, and also keeps any pesky insects from landing on it. 

Let’s Finish Up

Want to wow your next set of party guests with a succulent and bountiful charcuterie board? Make sure it’s at its absolute best, by only allowing it to sit out for two hours at most.

It is perfectly safe to consume foods that have been on a charcuterie board for more than two hours but they may not taste quite as good. 

Make sure to give your ingredients plenty of time in the refrigerator before serving if needed, and only bring them out once you are ready to serve them. They’ll taste so good that you probably won’t ever have to worry about any leftovers!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Far Ahead Can I Make A Charcuterie Board?

You could very safely make your charcuterie board up to 24 hours before your planned event. Just make sure that it is wrapped up safely, and placed into the refrigerator.

You might also want to keep elements such as crackers off of the board until you serve it, as they don’t need to be refrigerated.

Can I Serve A Charcuterie Board Straight Out Of Fridge?

Yes, you can definitely serve a charcuterie board straight out of the fridge.

However, you might find that the board benefits from about 20 minutes resting outside of the refrigerator, to reach room temperature, before serving. This allows the cheese and meats to soften up slightly, to make them taste better.

What Wood Do You Use For A Charcuterie Board?

You will want a type of wood that isn’t porous. Porous woods will absorb the juices and flavors from your food, and this can be incredibly difficult to clean out. Maple and teak work very well for this exact reason.

Jess Smith


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