How to make a lactose free charcuterie board?

What is a charcuterie board?

A charcuterie board is a platter of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, jams, pickles, and other savory snacks. It’s an appetizing way to present a variety of flavors and textures. The arrangements are visually appealing, making charcuterie boards ideal for entertaining and special occasions.

Traditional charcuterie boards contain dairy-based cheeses. But for those avoiding lactose, creating a dairy-free charcuterie board is simple. With lactose-free cheese options and other creative substitutions, you can make a show-stopping platter anyone can enjoy.

Why make a lactose free charcuterie board?

There are several reasons to consider a lactose free charcuterie board:

Accommodating lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are common. In lactose intolerance, the body lacks enough lactase enzymes to properly digest lactose, the natural sugar in dairy products. This leads to gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea after consuming dairy foods.

A lactose free charcuterie board allows guests with lactose intolerance to enjoy the platter. It’s an inclusive option when entertaining.

Controlling dairy and saturated fat intake

Regular cheese can be high in saturated fat and calories. By using lactose free cheese options, you can cut back on saturated fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. This makes the charcuterie board a lighter, healthier choice.

Adding variety

Exploring dairy-free cheeses and alternatives adds more variety and novelty to the charcuterie spread. It allows you to discover new flavors beyond traditional dairy-based cheeses.

Dietary preferences

In addition to accommodating lactose intolerance, a dairy-free charcuterie board works for vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or other dietary needs. It helps you better cater to guests’ preferences.

How to build a lactose free charcuterie board

Crafting a lactose free charcuterie platter takes a bit of planning but is easy to accomplish. Follow these steps:

Pick the cheese alternatives

Cheese is the star of any charcuterie board. There are several lactose free options to substitute traditional dairy cheese:

  • Aged hard cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, asiago, etc. The aging process reduces the lactose content.
  • Plant-based cheeses made from nuts like cashews or almonds. Look for varieties like aged vegan cheese, smoked vegan cheese, soft vegan cheese spreads.
  • Cheeses made from alternate dairy like sheep or goat milk have lower lactose levels than cow milk cheeses.
  • Lactose free cow milk cheeses are available from some brands.

Aim for 3-5 cheese substitutes to add depth and contrast to your board.

Select the cured and cooked meats

Salami, prosciutto, ham, and related cured and cooked meats are naturally lactose free. Slice an assortment of your favorites to complement the cheese. Salami or ham pairs well with aged cheddar, for example.

Include fresh and dried fruits

Fruits add natural sweetness, vitamin C, antioxidants, and texture variety. Popular choices are grapes, berries, apricots, figs, apples, pears, dates, etc. Slice larger fruits and include a mix of both fresh and dried options.

Don’t forget the nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds provide protein, healthy fats, and crunch:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Walnut pieces
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Pick crunchy crackers or crispbreads

Sturdy gluten-free crackers or crispbreads hold up well when paired with cheese and meat. Look for lactose free varieties made with alternate flours like almond flour, coconut flour, or seed flours. Rice crackers also work well.

Include lactose free dips and spreads

Hummus, olive tapenade, mustard, and nut butters make great dairy-free dips for the meats and crackers. You can also include lactose free jam, jelly, marmalade, or fruit preserves.

Don’t forget pickles and olives

Brined pickles and olives add tang and contrast. Opt for olives stuffed with dairy-free ingredients like almonds or sun-dried tomatoes. Pickled vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, onions, jalapenos, or green beans also work.

Include sweet touches

For something sweet, add dried fruits, fruit jam/preserves, dark chocolate pieces, or plant-based chocolate.

Arrange artfully

Arrange all the components artfully on a serving platter or individual charcuterie boards. Place lighter items like nuts and fruits on top. Use contrasting colors and textures for visual appeal.

Serve with lactose free accompaniments

On the side, serve gluten-free bread or crackers, lactose free flatbreads, sliced vegetables, or even potato chips. Iced tea, sparkling water, or fruit-infused water make tasty lactose free beverages.

Lactose free charcuterie board ideas

To inspire your own creation, here are some delightful lactose free charcuterie board ideas:

Mediterranean board

  • Prosciutto
  • Salami
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Kalamata olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cashew cheese
  • Goat milk feta
  • Hummus
  • Pita chips
  • Grapes
  • Figs

Antipasto board

  • Genoa salami
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Provolone cheese
  • Oil-cured olives
  • Roasted peppers
  • Marinated mushrooms
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Italian parsley
  • Crispbreads
  • Grapes

Southwestern board

  • Chorizo sausage
  • Manchego cheese
  • Queso fresco
  • Roasted poblano peppers
  • Tomato salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Tortilla chips
  • Jalapenos
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Plant-based board

  • Walnut loaf slices
  • Cashew cheese
  • Smoked tempeh
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Castelvetrano olives
  • Crackers
  • Apples
  • Dried apricots
  • Pistachios

Nut lover’s board

  • Prosciutto
  • Cashew cheese
  • Rosemary almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dried figs
  • Dried cranberries
  • Apricot jam
  • Grain crackers

Helpful tips for lactose free charcuterie boards

Keep these tips in mind for the best results:

  • Read labels carefully to verify cheeses, meats, spreads, etc. are lactose free.
  • Include cheese options with varying textures – soft, semi-soft, firm, hard.
  • Let soft cheeses and dairy-free spreads come to room temperature before serving for ideal spreading.
  • Slice firmer cheeses very thin so they are easy to eat.
  • Offer a cheese knife and slicer for guests to slice to their desired thickness.
  • Arrange components in groups for a cleaner look.
  • Keep fresh fruits like berries refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Skewer fruits like grapes or melon balls for easier picking.
  • Swap out components depending on guests’ dietary needs and preferences.
  • Layer items on tiered platters or boards for a dramatic display.

Shopping list for lactose free charcuterie board ingredients

Use this shopping list to stock up on components for assembling lactose free charcuterie boards:


  • Aged cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Goat cheese
  • Sheep milk cheese
  • Cashew cheese
  • Almond cheese
  • Vegan cheese


  • Prosciutto
  • Salami
  • Soppressata
  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Turkey


  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Figs
  • Apricots
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Dried fruits


  • Roasted red peppers
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Pickled vegetables

Plant-based options

  • Nut cheeses
  • Tempeh
  • Hummus
  • Tofu
  • Edamame
  • Lentils

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Crunchy breads and crackers

  • Crispbreads
  • Rice crackers
  • Seed crackers
  • Gluten-free crackers
  • Pita chips
  • Breadsticks

Spreads and condiments

  • Olive tapenade
  • Roasted red pepper spread
  • Hummus
  • Mustard
  • Nut butters
  • Fruit jam/preserves

Sweet touches

  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit jam/preserves
  • Dark chocolate
  • Plant-based chocolate

Get creative with lactose free substitutions

Part of the fun of charcuterie boards is getting creative with components. Don’t limit yourself to the “standard” ingredients. Try these lactose free substitutions for something new:

  • Coconut yogurt or plant-based yogurt dips
  • Guacamole
  • Mango or peach salsa
  • Lactose free pistachio pesto
  • Tapenades made with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers
  • Curried chickpeas or lentils
  • Roasted vegetables like eggplant, peppers, zucchini
  • Marinated okra or green beans
  • Cornichons
  • Wasabi peas or edamame
  • Dukkah spice blend

Don’t limit yourself to savory flavors either. Sweet options like jam, marmalade, pistachio butter, chocolate, or coconut flakes make tasty additions.

Sample lactose free charcuterie board menu

Use this sample charcuterie board menu as a guide:


Aged cheddar, goat cheese, cashew cheese spread, smoked vegan cheese


Prosciutto, salami, ham

Fruits and vegetables

Grapes, dried apricots, fig jam, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, Castelvetrano olives, cornichons


Edamame hummus, marinated lentil salad

Nuts and seeds

Marcona almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds

Crunchy breads

Seed crackers, gluten-free breadsticks

Spreads and condiments

Olive tapenade, whole grain mustard

Sweet touch

Dark chocolate pieces


With the right substitutions and components, creating lactose free charcuterie boards is easy and delicious. Aged hard cheeses, plant-based cheese alternatives, cured meats, fresh produce, nuts and seeds make it possible to cater to dairy-free guests. Offering a variety of flavors, textures, and colors result in an appetizing platter for all to enjoy. Get creative with additional lactose free condiments, spreads, and snacks to make your board truly unique. With a dairy-free charcuterie board, no one has to miss out on this tasty entertaining trend.

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