Discover the Magic of Charcuterie Board Pickles

Discover the Magic of Charcuterie Board Pickles

13 minute read

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Alex Roig is the owner of Ask Alex Wood Worx, a high-end woodworking site that sells personalized charcuterie boards and other wood products. With 15 years of woodworking experience, Alex is a master of his craft. His attention to detail and passion for his work sets him apart from the competition.

About Me

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Charcuterie boards have been a staple in many culinary traditions, offering a delightful array of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments. 

One such accompaniment that has recently gained popularity is pickles. These tangy, crunchy delights can elevate your charcuterie experience to new heights.

I don't know about you, but I love pickles. I put them on every charcuterie board and sandwich I make.

Article Overview:

  1. Charcuterie boards are enhanced with pickles.

  2. Pickles are cucumbers soaked in a vinegar brine.

  3. There's a wide variety of pickle types.

  4. Pickles add flavor and visual appeal to any charcuterie board.

  5. Pickles pair well with drinks like beer and vodka.

  6. Creative pickle presentation can be a standout feature.

how pickles are made

How Are Pickles Made

Pickles start their journey as fresh cucumbers. When they're ripe and ready, farmers harvest them from the fields.

After a good wash, these cucumbers are soaked in a brine made of water, vinegar, and various spices. This brining process gives them their tangy flavor.

Once they've soaked up all that goodness, they're packed into jars with some of that flavorful brine. The jars are then sealed and heated to preserve the pickles and ensure they're safe to eat.

And voilà! That's how those crunchy, tangy pickles make their way from the farm to your pantry. 

Different Types Of Pickles

  1. Dill Pickles: Known for their tangy flavor, they're made using dill weed and dill seed.

  2. Bread and Butter Pickles: Sweet and tangy, bread and butter pickles are made with sugar, vinegar, and spices.

  3. Gherkins: Tiny, crunchy pickles often used for garnishes or in relishes.

  4. Kosher Dill Pickles: Similar to dill pickles but with garlic added to the brine.

  5. Polish Pickles: These have a spicier kick, often made with peppercorns and garlic.

  6. Sweet Pickles: Made with a sweet brine, sweet pickles often including sugar or corn syrup.

  7. Lime Pickles: Not made from fresh fruits, but rather pickled using calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) for crispness.

  8. Half-sour Pickles: Fermented for a shorter time, retaining a fresh cucumber flavor.

  9. Full-sour Pickles: Fully fermented, offering a robust sour taste.

pickle tips and tricks

Incorporating Pickles

Incorporating pickles into a pickle charcuterie board can elevate the entire experience, offering a tangy counterpoint to the rich flavors of meats and cheeses.

Here's how to do it with flair:

Best Way to Incorporate Pickles into Your Charcuterie Board

Start by selecting a variety of pickles and pickled veggies – think beyond just cucumber pickles. Consider pickled onions, pickled garlic, or even pickled fruits like cherries or peaches.

The idea is to offer a range of flavors and textures. Place them in small bowls or directly on the charcuterie board, ensuring they're easily accessible.

Their vibrant colors can also act as visual highlights, breaking up the monotony of meats and cheeses. Remember, the tanginess of pickles can cleanse the palate, making each bite of cheese or meat taste as delightful as the first.

Tips and Tricks for Incorporating Pickles

  • Variety is Key: Offer different types of pickles – dill, sweet, bread and butter, and more. This caters to different tastes and adds visual appeal.

  • Size Matters: If you're using larger pickles, consider slicing them into bite-sized pieces for easy snacking on your fun pickle board. Pickled gherkins can be left whole due to their small size.

  • Use Pickled Vegetables: Branch out with pickled mushrooms, pickled beets, or bell peppers. Pickled vegetables add a unique twist and can be conversation starters.

  • Presentation: Consider using small glass jars or bowls to hold liquid-heavy pickles. This prevents the brine from running all over the pickle charcuterie board.

  • Pairing: Pair pickles with milder cheeses or meats. The tanginess can complement and elevate the flavors of brie, camembert, or turkey slices.

  • Add Some Heat: If you enjoy a kick, spicy pickled peppers or jalapeños can be a great addition.

  • Don't Forget the Brine: A little dish of pickle brine can be a unique addition for the adventurous. It pairs surprisingly well with some cheeses and can be used as a palate cleanser.

  • Balance with Sweet: If you have particularly tangy pickles, balance them out with some sweet elements on your pickle charcuterie board, like honey or fruit preserves.

  • Fresh Garnish: Sprinkle some fresh dill or herbs over your pickles for an added touch of elegance and flavor.

Balancing Flavors with Tanginess

The zesty punch of pickles acts like a reset button for our taste buds. As we indulge in the creamy textures and deep flavors of cheeses or the rich and savory meats, the tanginess of pickles cuts through, refreshing our palate.

This mix of flavors creates a harmonious dance in our mouths, where each bite feels as exciting and nuanced as the first. It's this delightful contrast that makes us crave another bite, and another, as the flavors playfully challenge and complement each other.

Are Pickles Healthy

Pickles can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. They are low in calories and often packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Their high sodium content can be a concern for some individuals. The fermentation process used in making certain pickles can introduce beneficial probiotics to the digestive system.

Health Benefits of Pickles:

  • Low in calories
  • Source of antioxidants
  • Contains essential vitamins
  • Provides minerals
  • Introduces probiotics
  • Supports digestive health
  • Boosts the immune system

cured meat and cheese

Pairing with Cured Meats and Cheeses

It's essential to pair your pickles with the right cured meats and cheeses. For instance, a spicy pickle might go well with a milder cheese, while a sweeter pickle variant might complement a stronger cheese.

Cheese Pairings

The tangy and crisp nature of pickles can elevate the flavors of various cheeses. When pairing pickles with cheese, it's all about balancing the flavors and textures to create a harmonious bite.

  • Brie: The creamy texture of Brie contrasts beautifully with the crunch of a dill pickle.

  • Creamy Goat Cheese: Tangy goat cheese contrasts with the crunch of pickles for a balanced bite.

  • Blue Cheese: The strong, pungent flavor of blue cheese pairs well with a sweeter bread and butter pickle.

  • Gouda: The smoky notes of an aged Gouda can be complemented by a tangy garlic pickle.

  • Feta: The salty crumbles of feta cheese find a refreshing counterpart in classic dill pickles.

  • Parmesan: The hard, nutty profile of Parmesan can be balanced with a mildly sweet pickle.

Related Article: The best cheese for your charcuterie board.

Cured Meats Pairings

Pickles, with their acidic and zesty flavors, can cut through the richness of cured meats, offering a refreshing contrast that enhances the overall dining experience.

  • Salami: A flavorful cured meat that's balanced by the tangy bite of pickles.

  • Prosciutto: Thin, salty ham that contrasts nicely with pickle crunch.

  • Chorizo: Spicy sausage cooled by the refreshing zest of pickles.

  • Soppressata: Bold Italian salami mellowed by pickle acidity.

  • Capicola (or Coppa): Salty pork meat that's complemented by tangy pickles.

  • Bresaola: Lean, mild beef enhanced by juicy and zesty pickles.

Cured meats pair uniquely with pickles, making for a tasty combo on any charcuterie board.

Related Article: Everything you need to know about cured meat.

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homemade pickles

How To Make Homemade Pickles

Pickling is an age-old tradition that not only preserves foods but also enhances their flavor, making them a delightful addition to any charcuterie board.

Homemade pickles, with their tangy and refreshing taste, can elevate the overall experience of a charcuterie spread.

Whether you're a novice or an expert in the kitchen, making pickles at home is a simple and rewarding process.


  • Fresh cucumbers (small to medium-sized work best)

  • 2 cups of distilled white vinegar

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)

  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 2 teaspoons of dill seeds or fresh dill sprigs

  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns

  • Optional: red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, or coriander seeds for added flavor

Take a Food Journey Around the World!


  1. Preparation: Wash the cucumbers thoroughly and trim the ends. You can slice them into rounds, spears, or leave them whole, depending on your preference.

  2. Brine Preparation: In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and let it cool.

  3. Jar Preparation: Sterilize your jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes or washing them in a dishwasher. Place the garlic, dill, peppercorns, and any other spices you're using at the bottom of each jar.

  4. Packing: Pack the cucumbers tightly into the jars, ensuring there's about a half-inch of space at the top.

  5. Pouring the Brine: Once the brine has cooled, pour it over the cucumbers, ensuring they are fully submerged.

  6. Sealing and Storing: Seal the jars tightly and refrigerate. For the best flavor, let the pickles sit for at least 48 hours before consuming.

If you have never tried making your own pickles give it a shot. It is really easy and when your friends ask you, "where did you buy these amazing pickles?" You can say I made them myself.

charcuterie board accompaniments

Enhancing the Charcuterie Board with Additional Treats

Putting together a good charcuterie board is all about mixing and matching flavors. Pickles are zesty and crunchy, and they help balance out the richer tastes on the pickle board.

When you pair pickles with the right snacks, everything tastes even better. It's like when you find the perfect song to fit your mood.

So, adding the right buddies for pickles on the charcuterie board makes every bite just right and the whole spread looks and tastes awesome.

Here are 7 accompaniments that complement pickles perfectly:

  1. Grainy mustard

  2. Green olives

  3. Almonds

  4. Apple slices

  5. Hummus

  6. Roasted Nuts

  7. Crusty Bread

Of course, there are many more foods that go with pickles. This is a short list to get you started.

Related Article: The best condiments to have on your charcuterie board.

Tips for a Memorable Experience

When setting up a pickle charcuterie board, a few simple tricks can make a big difference. First, put some paper towels under the pickles.

This keeps everything from getting too wet and soggy. And speaking of wet pickles, keep some small napkins close by so your friends can grab them without making a mess.

It's also cool to mix things up a bit with pickled veggies. Instead of just cucumbers, why not add pickled red onions or green beans? They add fun colors and tastes to the mix.

Before you let everyone dive in, give everything a quick taste to ensure it's all good. Use small bowls or dishes for the pickles, it's just easier to grab.

And remember, cold pickles taste the best, so keep them in the fridge until you're ready. Have a mix of different pickle flavors. Some can be a bit spicy, some sweet, and others just right in the middle.

pickles and alcohol

Pairing Drinks With Pickles

Believe it or not, pickles and alcoholic drinks can be best buddies! The zesty kick from pickles can really complement the flavors in certain drinks.

Think about it: when you have something tangy like a pickle, it can make a drink taste even smoother and more refreshing. Plus, if you've ever had a pickle after a shot, you know it can be a game-changer.

So, if you're looking to make your snack time or party even more fun, try matching your pickles with the right drink.

It's a cool way to surprise your taste buds and impress your friends!

Drinks that Pair Well with Pickles:

  1. Beer (especially light lagers or pilsners)

  2. Vodka (pickle shots, anyone?)

  3. Whiskey (especially with spicy pickles)

  4. Bloody Mary (with a pickle garnish, of course)

  5. Gin and tonic (the botanicals in gin love a good pickle)

  6. Tequila (especially with pickled jalapeños on the side)

  7. Dry white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc)

pickle presentation

Presentation Matters

How you show off your pickles and pickled veggies can make a big difference. When people see something fun and different, they're more likely to try it.

So, let's get creative with those pickles!

Best Ways to Present Pickles:

  • Instead of just regular slices, how about using cookie cutters to make fun shapes like stars, hearts, or even little animals? It's a fun surprise!

  • Put pickle spears on little skewers or sticks. It's like a pickle popsicle!

  • Make a pickle sandwich! Put a slice of cheese or meat between two thin pickle slices. Yum!

  • Scoop out the middle of a whole pickle and stuff it with something tasty, like cream cheese or hummus.

  • Lay a pickle slice flat, spread a little cream cheese on it, and roll it up with a slice of ham or turkey.

  • Cut a pickle in half lengthwise and scoop out a bit from the middle. Now you've got a little boat you can fill with dips or other goodies.

  • Slice the pickles into rings and stack them up. It's like a mini pickle tower!

It's all about having fun and being a bit playful with your food. When your pickles look good, they taste even better! So, get creative and let your imagination run wild. Your friends will love it! 🥒🎉

To learn more on how to present your charcuterie board, read this article.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Charcuterie Board

  1. Wooden Charcuterie Board

  2. Cheese Knives Set

  3. Wine Glass Set

  4. Set of Ceramic Dipping Bowls

  5. Reusable Beeswax Wraps

  6. Chalkboard Labels & Chalk Pen

  7. Cornichons

  8. Serving Plates

  9. Pickle Forks

  10. Airtight Glass Food Storage Containers

Related Articles: 11 charcuterie board tools everyone should own.

key takeaways

Key Takeaways:

  1. Elevating Charcuterie: Pickles provide a tangy contrast on any charcuterie board.

  2. Pickling Process: Fresh cucumbers are transformed with a vinegar brine.

  3. Diverse Flavors: There's a wide range of pickle types to explore.

  4. Thoughtful Placement: Pickles enhance both aesthetics and taste on a charcuterie board.

  5. Drink Pairings: Alcoholic beverages can complement pickles' zesty flavor.

  6. Unique Presentations: Creative pickle arrangements can spark conversations.

the end


So there you have it! Pickles aren't just a side snack; they're the secret star of any charcuterie board.

From the way they're made to the many types you can try, these tangy treats can really make your food spread pop. And who knew they could be buddies with drinks too?

Whether you're jazzing up your pickles with fun shapes or pairing them with a cold beer, there's no denying they add a special touch. Next time you're setting up a charcuterie board or making a sandwich, don't forget the pickles.

Trust me, your taste buds will thank you! 🥒🎉

Engage With Us

What's your favorite way to enjoy pickles on a charcuterie board or in any dish?

Share your creative ideas and recipes in the comments below – I'd love to hear from you and try out some new pickle pairings! 🥒🍽️

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