How To Make Delicious, Easy Individual Charcuterie Cups

Want to take your charcuterie game to the next level?

Then it’s time to switch things up with a new trend: charcuterie cups. These adorable, customizable cups are like mini personal charcuterie boards. They are perfect for any occasion and will elevate your snacking game like never before.

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Origin of the Charcuterie Cup

While charcuterie (prepared meats such as bacon, ham and sausages) has a long history that can be traced back to ancient times, charcuterie cups seem to be a modern invention that reflects the evolving trends in food presentation and consumption. Today, charcuterie cups are becoming a popular choice for the entertaining crowd.

Why a Charcuterie Cup?

If this idea is new to you, then you might be wondering what a charcuterie cup is.

Charcuterie cups feature all of your favorite elements of a charcuterie board…in a cup. They typically contain things like cured meats, cheeses, olives, fruits, berries, nuts, and crackers arranged in a pleasing way. The beauty of these cups is that they can be customized to suit any taste and occasion.

Charcuterie cups provide an elegant and sophisticated touch to any event, making them the perfect choice for everything from a formal dinner party to a casual get together with friends.

With their compact size and creative presentation, these cups are also a great option for outdoor gatherings like picnics and barbecues. They are easy to transport and can be served without the need for plates or utensils.

Additionally, charcuterie cups are easy to prepare in advance. Simply make the cups a few hours before your event and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

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Why You Will Love This Recipe for the Perfect Appetizer

  • Customizable: Whether you’re hosting a holiday party, a book club, or just a few friends for game night, these individual cups are completely customizable for any of your special occasions. Think date night, picnic, potluck, office party…a simple charcuterie board to go!
  • Portable: Want to get your guests to mingle? Place trays of individual cups at different spots around the party and watch the magic begin. No more crowded kitchen around a singular charcuterie board!
  • Easy: No cooking required, just simple assembly with fabulous results.
  • Scalable: Depending on the number of guests, plan on one cup per person with a few extras for those who might want more.

Different Textures to Fill Charcuterie Cups

You might be wondering what the different ingredients are that should go into each of the charcuterie cups. Essentially, you will want to fill each party appetizer with a variety of food sizes and textures to create the ultimate charcuterie cups.

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Think crunchy items, like crackers, pretzels, or crusty breads. Then think of soft items like cheeses. You can then add a variety of sweet and savory flavors by adding different types of meats and fruits.

Below, I have outlined some of the main food categories you may want to consider, as well as different ways you can prepare the cups. Keep in mind that these ideas are simply a guide to help get your creative thoughts flowing so that you can create your charcuterie cups to fit your personal preferences.

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Start With the Cups

Use coffee mugs, cocktail glasses, short drink cups, takeout style containers or even Bento boxes. I like to use crystal party cups because they have a nice presentation.

If you are making a large number of charcuterie cups, I recommend purchasing clear, plastic, disposable cups. Clear sides make it easy for guests to see what’s inside and the size is perfect for individual portions.

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Skewers or Toothpicks

Additionally, you’ll need toothpicks or wooden skewers to put your charcuterie cups together. Find picks at least four inches long. Short toothpicks are sharp at both ends and won’t hold food above the rim of your glass. Four to six inches is ideal depending on what you will place on them.

Ingredients Ideas

You’ll likely want to stick to things you find on a charcuterie or grazing board, but in the end, you can do what you’d like. Consider your guests’ dietary restrictions and preferences when selecting ingredients. Get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to make your charcuterie cups unique and memorable.

If you are looking for a little more guidance, here are some things I like to include so as to have a good mix of sweet, salty, savory, crunchy, and soft in my charcuterie cups.

  • Nuts: I put these in the bottom of my charcuterie cups. They have the best crunch. I use regular salted pistachios and almonds, but  you can try out different flavors if you’d like. In addition to pistachios and almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and cashews are all great things to try.
  • Bread: No charcuterie is complete without some tasty crackers. For these charcuterie cups I usually go for long, narrow crackers as they poke out of the top of the cup. Sesame breadsticks and tall baked crackers work well.
  • Olives: Skewer some olives onto a serving stick with some meat and cheese for a little extra flair. I use both black and green olives for some variety.
  • Meats: Sliced meats are the best way to pack flavor into your charcuterie cups. I add salami, prosciutto di parma, and peppery red wine salami to my skewer for the best mix of salty, sweet, and peppery flavor. Pepperoni also works as an inexpensive option.
  • Cheese: You could use a variety of hard and semi-soft cheeses in your charcuterie cups, but I do not recommend using a very soft cheese like goat cheese or blue cheese. These will get all over your other elements and leave a mess. Some good options include any type of cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, chunks of asiago, gruyere, or Havarti to name a few.
  • Fresh Fruit: Adding fresh fruit to your Charcuterie is a great option to add an element of sweetness to your cups. There are many different types of fruit you can choose from to add to your cups. Some great options include green grapes, red grapes, purple grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries. You could also slice a peach, apple, or even an orange if desired.
  • Fresh Herbs: Adding a spring of fresh herbs to your charcuterie cup helps to liven the look. This is completely optional, but consider adding fresh rosemary sprigs, basil, or parsley sprigs to your charcuterie cups.

Extra Add-Ins

Here are a few extra things you can add to your charcuterie cups. Feel free to mix and match.

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This may not be for everyone, but I love adding mini pickles to my skewers.

Cherry or grape tomatoes are more great things to add to your skewers, adding both a punch of color and a contrast to the salty meats and cheeses.

I also love mixing salty and sweet, so occasionally I add a simple chocolate-covered pretzel as a “dessert” to finish off my cups.

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How to Make Charcuterie Cups

It’s SO easy. They only take a few minutes to whip up! The cups will impress your guests with minimal effort.

  1. Add Pistachios and Almonds: To start, add the nuts to the bottom of your cup. 
  2. Add olives.
  3. Prepare Meat Skewers: On a toothpick thread 3-4 pieces of meat and top with cheese cubes. Add to the cup.
  4. Prepare Fruit Skewer: On another toothpick thread the fruit.
  5. Add Remaining Toppings: Alternate on remaining toothpicks cherry tomatoes and pickles
  6. Add the Crackers: Add the crackers to fill the cups after the skewers are placed.
  7. Top with Fresh Herbs (Optional)

Possible Variations

  • Dips and Spreads: I didn’t use any dips or spreads this time, but they can work fabulously in charcuterie cups. Use something like hummus or ranch dressing dip in the bottom of the cup and then fill it with the appropriate dippers, like carrot and celery sticks, strips of bell pepper or skewered chucks of radish and cucumber, crisp breadsticks, chips, etc.
  • Dessert Charcuterie Cups: Skewer chunks of pound cake or angel food cake with strawberries (or another fruit or berry) and mint leaves. Add whipped cream to the bottom of the charcuterie cup and swirl in a drizzle of strawberry glaze or jam, then add your skewers.
  • Breakfast Charcuterie Cups: Try maple syrup for dipping and use skewers with mini pancakes or chunks of waffle, fresh berries, and chunks of breakfast sausage links.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should I prepare my charcuterie cups?

When hosting, I like to prep things as far in advance as possible. It helps relieve stress and just makes things easier. When it comes to prepping your charcuterie cups, though, you don’t want to prep too far in advance. If you do, you risk your meat and cheese drying out. As a rule of thumb, try not to prep your cups more than two hours in advance so they stay fresh.

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What’s the best way to store charcuterie cups?

Once you’ve prepared your charcuterie cups simply store them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. Leave out any items that might get soggy (crackers, pretzels, etc) and add them as the last step right before serving.

How long can charcuterie stay out?

To avoid your meats and cheeses drying out (along with potential bacterial growth) your charcuterie cups shouldn’t sit out longer than four hours. But who are we kidding? These beauties will be gone well before that.

How much food will I need for the charcuterie cups?

The amount of food needed will vary depending on how many people you are serving. A good rule of thumb is 2 ounces of meat, 1-2 ounces of cheese and ½-1 ounce of nuts per person. Additionally, you will want ingredients like fruit, crackers, olives, and/or chocolate to fill the cups.

What size of cups should I use?

Consider whether you are serving these as a pre-dinner appetizer, or alongside other appetizers as the main course. For a pre-dinner appetizer, I suggest 4 oz cups. 8-9 oz cups will hold more food and work well as part of an appetizer-only spread for a dinner party.

What type of skewers should I use?

A variety of skewers or long toothpicks will work for these charcuterie cups. Avoid overly long skewers like the type used for shish kabobs or grilling. I like to use 6 inch bamboo skewers.

Blair Witkowski
Author: Blair Witkowski

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