How to Make the BEST Snack Board


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(Note: this post was originally published on February 11, 2021. It is continually updated with new examples.)

What is a Snack Board?

Welcome to the ultimate snack board guide! A snack board (a.k.a. grazing board) is a large board or platter heaped with whatever finger foods you love best. A snack board can include a vast array of items including dips, crackers, veggies, fruits, cheeses, dried fruits, pickles, nuts, and so much more.

Snack boards are blank canvases for your creativity. Because they're unrestricted with regards to size, complexity, and ingredients, you can easily build a snack board recipe for virtually any occasion and to fit any diet. They're such a fun way to celebrate seasonal ingredients, focus on a certain theme, or evoke a specific place, culture, or memory.

A big grazing board is my favorite way to entertain friends and to do a romantic date night. I like that everyone can choose whatever they like best and that the processes of interacting with the board is entertaining and engaging. A couple cocktails and a big board is intimate and casual; it creates an atmosphere that is approachable rather than formal.

Snack boards are one of my favorite things to make and I can't wait to share all these ideas, tips, tricks, and examples with you!

Snack board with colorful fruits and veggies
Example #1: Eat the rainbow. This bright, fresh snack board focuses on fruits and veggies and is themed around a rainbow. From top right, it includes pomegranate, strawberries, baby red bell pepper rings, persimmon slices, whole baby orange bell peppers, orange slices, baby yellow bell pepper rings, roasted delicata squash rounds, cucumber slices, blueberries, radicchio wedges, and grapes. A (mostly) raw board like this is so easy to put together since it's just assembly. This one is a great example of cutting ingredients differently to create an interesting array of shapes and textures. (For full details, see my Instagram post from January 13, 2021.)

How to Make a Snack Board

In this post, I'll discuss some possible themes and inspirations for creating your own grazing board recipe, the components I like to put on a board, how to organize a board, and some tips for making it super-satisfying (and also easy!).

But my biggest take-home message? Have fun with it! A snacking dinner is by definition casual, so there's no need to worry about if you're doing the "right" thing. The grazing board ideas in this post are meant to serve only as a starting point.

You'll see that there are a lot of examples sprinkled throughout this post to get you started. Make sure to check out the captions below each photo for details on the specific snack board "recipe". I'll keep adding to this post as I create more boards, so don't forget to check out the newer examples at the bottom too.

Three small snack boards and a cocktail
Example #2: More boards equals more fun. These made for the perfect date night (alongside some Negronis, of course). My inspiration for these boards was (loosely) how I think about the "food pyramid". I used the biggest platter for veggies, the medium platter for fruits, and the smallest platter for fats and carbs. Large platter: an assortment of raw veggies, fresh basil, and a homemade mustard balsamic dipping sauce. Medium platter: an assortment of fresh fruits, dried dates, and a maple-yogurt dipping sauce. Small platter: roasted pecans, seedy bread, wild rice sticks, roasted almonds, and a bourbon-cherry compote. (For full details, check out my Instagram post from October 29, 2020).

Is a Snack Board Hard to Make?

I've had so many people say to me "Oh gosh I could never create a snack board like that, I wouldn't know where to start". Can you cut up veggies? Can you open a box of crackers? If so, you can make a snack board. There is absolutely nothing difficult about this, and in many ways making a big board is actually far easier than cooking a meal. And unlike cooking, there's not much that can go wrong (which can be a big relief if you're entertaining).

My biggest suggestion for creating your own personalized grazing board recipe is to start with a theme and then go from there. Having a theme (see below) narrows down the essentially infinite assortment of ingredients you could add. I always start with a theme, then pick a few centerpiece items (like a dip or two), then fill in with additional elements.

Let's get going! Keep scrolling down for specific snack board ideas, steps, and tips.

Snack board with a creamy hummus dip, crackers, and veggies
Example #3: Diversity is the key to success. This board is a great example of using diverse colors, textures, shapes, and flavors. It includes a bunch of raw produce (baby peppers, grapes) and prepared produce (olives, artichoke hearts, figs, apricots). The veggies and fruit are complemented by seedy bread, hearty marcona almonds, and my go-to lemon hummus. (For full details, see my Instagram post from May 6, 2022).

Choosing a Snack Board Theme

Although it's not necessary, I find that my snack boards are much more successful if I have a theme. Having a theme helps you decide what to include and provides some structure in the otherwise enormous world of possibilities. Plus it's just fun and is a great way to share a memory with people who are special to you. Some ideas for themes that can serve as the center of your snack board recipe:

  • A place. It could be a place you want to go, a place you've been, or a place you're planning to go. This is my favorite way to do date night; I'll make a snack board in honor of a fun place we've spent time together (see example #3, an homage to our travels in Italy and Spain).
  • A season. This is a great way to use local, seasonal ingredients and flavors (see example #15, which is all about fall).
  • A color, or set of colors. Choose a few specific colors to work with (see example #s 7 and 14, which both have a yellow and purple color palette) or go rainbow-style and try to include all the colors (see example #s 1, 6, and 10 for snack board rainbows).
  • A certain ingredient. Have a special ingredient you want to celebrate? Build the whole board around it! See example #4 for a board that celebrates bourbon and example #5 for a board that celebrates locally-made pickles.
  • A flavor. What about a spicy board? Or a sweet/salty combo board (see example #10)? Or a sweet board for brunch or dessert (example #s 12 and 16)? There are so many options here.

Snack board with three dips, cheese, bread, fruits, and veggies
Example #4: A bourbon-themed birthday board. I made this for Dave's birthday one year because he's a big bourbon fan. I tried to incorporate bourbon in every way I could and also tried to choose other ingredients that would complement it. There's a trio of dips: bourbon-cherry compote, bourbon caramelized onion hummus, and bourbon maple mustard. There's also a bunch of goodies for dipping including various fresh veggies and fruits, some dried fruit for additional texture, two local cheeses, and seedy crackers, plus peaches and pecans to enhance the southern vibe. (For full details, see my Instagram post from June 13, 2020).

Snack Board Components

What should go on your snack board? Here's what I generally like to include, although this will depend heavily on whether you're using this board as a meal and what sort of vibe you're going for. Remember that these grazing board ideas are just a starting point though, and that there's no right or wrong answer.

  • Raw veggies and fruit. Loading a board up with veggies and fruit gives people healthy options and creates great freshness. Choose produce that will complement your theme and add different colors and textures.
  • Cooked veggies. Including something cooked or otherwise prepared (see the briny olives and artichoke hearts in example #3 or the pickled red onions in example #9) adds depth of flavor and different texture, plus it can make a board feel hearty and meal-like. Choose things that are bite-sized and don't require a fork.
  • Dried fruit. Including some dried fruit adds a delightfully chewy texture and is so easy.
  • Carbs. Adding a few heartier elements makes a board feel more satisfying and dinner-appropriate. This could be anything from crackers to small slices of bread to chips. Opt for whole-grain options if you want to keep your board on the healthier side.
  • Spreads/dips. Depending on the board, these can really be the focal point (see the trio of bourbon dips in example #4 or the four different hummus variations in example #10). This can be anything from hummus to guacamole (check out the guac party in example #8!) to various dipping sauces or jams. To avoid getting overwhelmed at the possibilities, try to pick a few that complement your theme.
  • Cheese. Feel free to add one or several of your favorite cheeses, either traditional or vegan.
  • Nuts. They really help to make a board more satisfying, especially if it's going to be a meal, and they're so easy.
  • Garnishes. This could include things like fresh herb leaves, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, a couple edible flowers, etc. A few small garnishes can really make your board feel special and they add visual appeal.

Snack board with hummus, pickles, and pretzels
Example #5: Pickle party. This board was the result of a partnership with The Tipsy Pickle and features not only those gorgeous artisan pickles but also two different recipes that I developed to use the pickle brine: pickle brine hummus and quick-pickled red onions. The other components are a mixture of simple sweet and salty snacks to echo the flavors of the pickles. You can find the full recipe on the City Market website. (For full details, see my Instagram post from May 24, 2021).

Tips for Efficiency

Okay, so you want an epic snack board but don't want to spend all evening on it. I get it! Here are a few creative grazing board ideas to help you streamline:

  • Pick your spots. Not everything on the board has to be a homemade masterpiece. I generally like to have a few special centerpiece items that I've made, then I look to the grocery store for help with the others. Things like bread, crackers, dried fruit, and nuts are easy to pick up at the store and require no prep.
  • Raid the pantry. As I assemble my board and see how it's coming together, I always seem to have holes to fill. This is when I raid the pantry for additional items like a few leftover dates from a baking project or the bottom of a box of crackers.
  • Raid the fridge. This is the time for little bits of random mustard, jam, a few leftover pickles, etc., to shine.
  • Delegate. Having friends over? We've had a few really fun cheeseboard parties when I've asked everyone to bring their favorite local cheese. I assemble everything else ahead of time, leaving spaces for everyone's cheese to get added at the last minute. This is a fun way to turn a snack board recipe into a group project rather than just something the host creates alone.
  • Be sneaky. You can take a single item and prepare or garnish it in different ways to make your board feel more diverse. See example #10, in which I took plain homemade hummus but garnished it four ways to give the appearance of four different dips. Similarly, the four guacamole variations in example #8 are actually the same base guac but with different flavorings stirred in.

Snack board with plantain chips and colorful tropical fruits and veggies
Example #6: Another rainbow board. This one was from Kaua'i and makes use of local, tropical fruit. From upper left, there's rambutan, almonds, red bell pepper sticks, carrots slices, kumquat slices, orange bell pepper sticks, mango, starfruit slices, macadamia nuts, plantain chips, pineapple wedges, cucumber slices, and lightly-pickled purple cabbage leaves. (For full details, see my Instagram post from June 17, 2021).

Tips For Making the BEST Snack Board

How do you make your board feel really special and unique and satisfying? These are a few of my favorite charismatic snack board ideas and strategies:

  • Think about textures. Your board will be more interesting if you include elements that are juicy, soft, crunchy, chewy, and crisp.
  • Think about color. Likewise, unless you're working within a specific color theme, diversity is always good. Your board will have more visual appeal if you include a lot of different colors.
  • Think about shape. I like to cut my ingredients to have different shapes to create a more interesting board. You can even cut any single ingredient into multiple shapes (see example #s 1, 9, and 12 for inspiration).
  • Make it interactive. This is especially great for a board with bread or crackers, from which people can assemble their own bites. For example, if you set up the board so that each time you pick a cracker you also pick a spread, a piece of cheese, and a piece of fruit, the process of enjoying the board is so engaging. The bourbon board, example #4, was perfect for this.
  • Think about your layout. I like to put my biggest items down first (e.g. a big block of cheese or a bowl of hummus). Then fill in with medium-sized things like crackers and veggies. Save the little things for last, like nuts and dried fruit, since you can pile them into whatever holes are left. This strategy allows you to use up all of the available space, making your board feel bountiful and over-flowing.
  • Use repetition. Example #s 3, 7, and 13 show this really well. The board will feel more exciting if the ingredients are scattered about rather than all clumped together. So put crackers in a few different places, cucumber slices in a few different places, etc. This strategy can make people feel like there are more components in your grazing board recipe than there actually are.
  • Evoke movement. I like to lay out slices of veggies or bread in arc-shaped patterns to convey a sense of movement throughout the board. It's so much more interesting than putting things in static piles. Example #s 3, 5, and 10 show this particularly well.

Snack board with hummus, bread, fruit, and nuts
Example #7: This easy board is all about texture. There's creamy lemon hummus, chewy seedy bread, crunchy corn nuts, sticky dried dates and figs, and juicy fresh fruit. This board is a breeze to create, since there's almost no preparation involved other than making the hummus. (For full details, see my Instagram post from September 13, 2022).

Even More Examples

Because snack boards are such a go-to for us, I'm always making and sharing them. I'll keep adding to this section moving forward, so remember to bookmark this page and check back. I hope all these grazing board ideas can provide some concepts to get you started.

Snack board with tortilla chips and four types of guacamole
Example #8: Guacamole party. This epic avocado love fest featured FOUR different types of guac. Because there was so much going on with the guac, I kept everything else simple with just blue tortilla chips, cucumber slices, and some fresh garnishes. From top to bottom, the guac variations are (1) kumquat and sesame seeds, (2) corn and pepitas, (3) papaya and macadamias, and (4) black bean and cabbage.

Snack board with hummus, colorful veggies, and pita chips
Example #9: This "Babagahummus" is the best possible marriage between hummus and baba ganoush and you can get the recipe here. I designed the whole board around the dip in order to really play up the Middle Eastern vibe. There are a load of colorful, fresh veggies as well as pickled red onions, pita chips, almonds, and raisins. (For full details, see my Instagram post from September 27, 2020).

Snack board with colorful vegetables and four different dips
Example 10: A sweet and salty rainbow. There are two themes here: a color and a flavor. This over-the-top board progresses through a rainbow of colors, but also mixes sweet and salty flavors. The stars of the show are four different dishes of hummus that are each garnished in different ways. The red hummus is garnished with almonds, sumac, and a drizzle of hot sauce; the yellow with mustard and pine nuts; the green with hot sauce and pepitas; and the blue with homemade blueberry jam. There are chocolate-colored sunflower seeds sprinkled throughout to highlight the different colors and add pops of sweetness. This board was actually really easy to prepare because I sneakily used the same hummus four times! (For full details, see my Instagram post from March 12, 2021).

Snack board with bean dip and guacamole
Example #11: Eat the rainbow, Mexican style. The platter arose one evening when we couldn't decide bean dip and guac; the obvious solution was to make both! This colorful, Mexican-inspired board features a smashed black bean dip AND my Grilled Corn Guacamole, with a whole array of sweet and salty items for dipping. There are cucumber slices, rainbow baby peppers, plantain chips, macadamia nuts, sesame sticks, red kiwi halves, kumquat halves, and mandarinquot halves. (For full details, see my Instagram post from May 14, 2021).

Brunch snack board with beautiful fruit and chocolate
Example #12: Fruit and chocolate. This decadent sweet board includes an assortment of tropical fruits and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. It would work great either as a casual brunch dish or a light dessert. Note how the fruit is cut in a variety of different ways to add more texture and visual intrigue to the board. (For full details, see my Instagram post from April 1, 2021).

Snack board with crackers, veggies, and hummus
Example #13: An unlikely but magical combination, this citrusy macadamia board is loaded with great ingredients. Crunchy seeded crackers, fresh veggies, and a whole host of citrus provide such a great diversity of textures. The star of the show is a Triple Onion Macadamia Dip which I designed for Mauna Loa; you can find it on their website here. (For full details, see my Instagram post from August 12, 2021).

Snack board with fruit, nuts, and pickles
Example #14: Sweet versus salty, crunchy versus juicy... this board is all about contrasts. It's bursting with crunchy corn nuts, salty pickles, and sweet, juicy fruit. Fresh thyme and basil, plus a sprinkling of everything bagel seasoning, make for an unexpected finish. (For full details, see my Instagram post from January 10, 2022).

Fall snack board with three dips and seasonal produce
Example #15: This board is a seasonal snacking dream. It has a trio of dips, making it super interactive; there's my Savory Pumpkin Hummus, my very easy homemade fig jam, and a maple-mustard dip made from my homemade coarse-grained mustard. I also used a whole bunch of seasonal veggies, fruits, and nuts to emphasize the harvest feel. (For full details, see my Instagram post from January 21, 2022).

Dessert snack board with fruit and chocolate
Example #16: Another sweet board for dessert. This one features chocolate-covered macadamias as well as an assortment of holiday-appropriate fruit: orange, red pear, persimmon, pomegranate, grapes, and cranberries. A board like this would work great for a holiday gathering.

Closing Thoughts

And there you have it! All my tips, tricks, and examples to help you construct your own wonderfully unique snack board recipe. Whether you make one for date night, as an appetizer for a crowd, or for a special event, this is a good way to appease everyone's tastes, make the food feel approachable, and stimulate conversation.

Which of these grazing board ideas is your favorite? Is there a specific grazing board recipe here you want to try, or will you create your own from some of the concepts I've shared? I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

How to Make the BEST Snack Board

Whether you're hosting a crowd or doing a romantic date night, a snack board is always a great option. Boards are a casual, fun, and infinitely customizable way of approaching food. This guide walks you through everything you need to know.



  • One or several dips of choice
  • Additional condiments of choice
  • Small bread slices, crackers, and/or chips
  • Fresh veggies and fruits
  • One or several types of cheese
  • Pickled veggies or dried fruits
  • Nuts


  1. Lay down the largest items first, such as bowls of dip.
  2. Add the heartiest dipping items next, such as bread slices or crackers.
  3. Fill in additional space with the fresh veggies and other medium-sized elements.
  4. Fill in any last space with the smallest, richest items such as dried fruit and nuts.

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April 24, 2022
A board for dinner was a huge diversion from our usual traditional meal- but it was light, tasty and easy to prep ahead. I did a hybrid of 3 boards and even tossed in Loaded Lemon Hummus. I will be doing more “nibble” dinners especially on warm summer evenings!
Mary M.
October 20, 2021
Wow, these are all so colorful and fun! Can't wait to try some of these tips.
January 20, 2022
Made a (simpler!) version of your sweet/salty board for date night last weekend. So fun!
August 15, 2021
Love love love all these great ideas, thx for sharing!