The Best Jams and Spreads For Your Charcuterie Board

Are you ready to give your charcuterie board a serious glow-up? Then let’s talk about the jams and spreads! Forget the days of predictable jam pairings – we’re about to jazz things up. From tangy, unexpected spreads to delectable, sweet jams, we’ve scoured for the best to grace your cheese board.

Jars of jams, preserves, and spreads on a red background.

Charcuterie Board Essentials

Charcuterie boards are the ultimate crowd-pleasers, offering a little something for everyone. Whether you’re all about that meaty goodness, a cheese lover, or into all the yummy accompaniments, a well-rounded charcuterie board is like a treasure trove of flavors.

Featuring an array of rich cured meats, a parade of fine artisan cheeses, tangy pickles, and fresh fruits. It’s a canvas of taste, waiting for you to explore.

But let’s talk about jams and spreads – they’re like the secret sauce of charcuterie boards. From the sweet and savory to the tangy and spicy, the right jam or spread can enhance the natural flavors of your charcuterie meats and cheeses, adding depth and complexity to each bite.

A dollop of fig jam or a swipe of spicy mustard can take a simple cheese or meat slice from great to mind-blowing. These little jars of joy are where the real flavor party starts on your path to creating the ultimate charcuterie board!

For more helpful tips on how to build your best board – check out our guides for choosing the best meats for charcuterie boards, best charcuterie crackers, best charcuterie pickles, and our step-by-step guide on how to make a beautiful simple charcuterie board.

Two charcuterie boards with meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, flowers and whipped ricotta dip.
Summer charcuterie board with honey, sour cherry preserves, and whipped ricotta cheese spread

Choosing the Perfect Jams

Whether you’re looking for enduring classics that bring a traditional flair or aiming to surprise your guests with unique, adventurous flavors, we’ve got you covered.

Classic Jams for Charcuterie

Sticking to classic jams is a great choice for your perfect charcuterie board, as they offer familiar flavors that pair well with a variety of cheeses and meats. Here are some timeless jam selections:

Fig Jam

A true classic, fig jam is sweet with a subtle hint of earthiness, making it a perfect pairing for the bold, tangy flavor of blue cheeses like Gorgonzola, Stilton, or Point Reyes. It’s a classic combo that never fails to impress. Fresh soft goat cheese, Fontina, Cheddar, and triple-cream cheeses like Brillat-Savarin and Pierre Robert are other great options, as the creamy textures blend well with the richness of the fig spread.

Apricot Preserves

The natural acidity of apricot preserves is excellent for balancing the lush, creamy texture of Brie and Camembert or similar rich, soft cheeses. It’s also a great choice for pairing with aged cheeses like Gouda and Parmigiano Reggiano and for complementing pungent washed rind cheeses like Taleggio and Epoisse de Bourgogne, adding a nice contrast in flavors.

Strawberry Jam

A favorite for many, its sweet and slightly acidic profile makes it a versatile pairing option, especially good with triple-cream cheeses like Explorateur, Saint André, and Delice de Bourgogne. Try it with sliced Brie and Prosciutto for a winning flavor combo.

Raspberry Jam

The bright tartness of raspberry jam pairs beautifully with creamy, rich cheeses and can cut through the fat of cured meats. It’s especially delightful with double cream Fromage D’Affinois and Camembert, where the jam’s acidity cuts through the buttery texture of the cheese. Fresh and soft cheeses, such as Mozzarella, Ricotta, Feta can also be a great match, providing a smooth backdrop for the jam’s bold flavor.

Jars of strawberry jam and apricot and raspberry preserves on a red background.

Blueberry Jam

Sweet and slightly tangy, blueberry jam works well with a creamy cheese like Brie or goat cheese and provides a nice contrast to salty meats. Harder cheeses like Cheddar, Manchego, and Parmesan also complement nicely.

Blackberry Jam

Its sweet and tart balance is a delightful complement to both soft cheeses like Brie cheese and Chèvre and also elevates your favorite blue cheese, 

Cherry Jam

Its vibrant tartness is a great way to balance the richness of fatty meats and strong cheeses. A rich and creamy goat cheese, Brie or Camembert can beautifully balance the sharpness of the cherry. Fresh Burrata and goat cheese are also great choices while aged Gouda, with its caramel notes, also makes a delightful match.

Plum Jam

This velvety spread of concentrated plums is perfect paired with Delice de Bourgogne or any triple-cream. It is also lovely paired with Emmenthal, Fontina or Gouda.

Orange Marmalade

The slight bitterness and bright citrus flavor of orange marmalade can bring an interesting contrast to both creamy and sharp cheeses. Try it with a sharp, aged cheddar or creamy, rich cheeses like Brie or Camembert.

Apple Butter

Not exactly a jam, but its smooth texture and spiced, sweet flavor profile pairs wonderfully with all types of hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Gran Padano, Gruyère, Manchego, Gouda, Idiazabal, and Pecorino Romano.

Quince Jam

Pair with Manchego or Idiazabal for a classic Spanish combination; the sweet-tartness of the quince cuts through the nutty smokiness of the cheeses beautifully. It also pairs divinely with blue cheeses like Stilton, cheddars like Kerrygold and Beecher’s and triple-cream cheeses like Brillat-Savarin.

Jars of various jams and spreads on a red background.

Unique Jam Selections

It’s always fun to mix things up so always keep your eye out for more unusual jam flavor varieties to try. Below is a sampling of some of our favorite unique and savory jams that can really spice up a charcuterie board.

Hot Pepper Jelly

If you’re up for a bit of heat, a spicy pepper jelly paired with a sharp cheese like aged cheddar is a match made in heaven. It can also be enjoyed with soft-ripened cheeses such as Humboldt Fog, Camembert, and Brie and washed rind cheeses such as Pont l’Eveque. And for a super simple pairing, spoon some of it over plain cream cheese for an quick and easy appetizer.

Morello Cherry Jam

Also known as sour cherry jam, its sweet-tartness pairs brilliantly with aged cheeses like Gouda, Cheddar, P’tit Basque, Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, and Asiago.

Mango Chutney

For a tropical flair, a mango chutney brings a sweet and tangy taste that complements both cheeses and cured meats beautifully. Mango chutney pairs especially well with aged cheddars, Gouda, blue cheeses and goat cheese.

Jars of caramelized onion jam, Maille old style mustard, and red pepper jelly on a red background.

Caramelized Onion Jam

Perfect with aged cheddar, blue cheese, or a robust Gruyère; the sweetness of the jam complements the sharpness and depth of these mature cheeses. It also pairs well with creamy cheeses like goat cheese and Brie and cured meats like Salami and Soppressata.

Bacon Jam

Yes, bacon jam! Its smoky, salty, and slightly sweet profile pairs amazingly with the nutty, buttery taste of Gouda cheese. It also goes great with soft creamy cheeses like Brie and goat cheese and local favorite Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar.

Rose Petal Jam

This delicate and floral jam is not only unique in flavor but also visually stunning. It pairs wonderfully with many different types of cheeses, such as creamy Brie, tangy Chèvre, or Feta.

Lavender Jam

Infused with the subtle, aromatic flavor of lavender, this jam is a delightful pairing with fresh cheeses like Mozzarella and Burrata or with any other soft cheese such as Ricotta, Brie, or Chèvre.

Pumpkin Spice Jam

Ideal for autumn-themed boards, this jam pairs wonderfully with cheeses that have a creamy texture and robust flavor. Aged cheddar, with its sharpness, or a luscious Brie, can beautifully complement the jam’s sweet and warm spices.

Ginger Peach Jam

A blend of sweet peaches and zesty ginger creates a lively flavor profile that can brighten up your charcuterie selections. Try pairing with Feta, Brie, or fresh goat cheese.

The fully assembled and finished charcuterie bouquet.
Charcuterie bouquet with cranberry mustard.

Selecting the Finest Spreads

From classic choices to adventurous, unique options, we’ve got the lowdown on the best spreads for cheese boards and charcuterie boards that will complement your meats and cheeses perfectly.

Classic Spreads for Charcuterie

Spreads and dips are not just accompaniments but integral components that enhance the overall diversity and taste of the board. Here are some classic options:

Whole Grain Mustard

A staple for any charcuterie board, its tangy and slightly spicy flavor pairs wonderfully with a variety of meats and cheeses. Or try a flavored version like honey mustard or cranberry mustard. Smoked turkey or ham with some Beecher’s Flagship and cranberry mustard make a tasty match.

Honey

Pure honey, or even better, honeycomb, pairs with most varieties of cheese. It adds a touch of natural sweetness that nicely complements popular cheeses like cheddar, blue cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Gruyère.

A honey jar and bottles of hot honey and truffle oil on a red background.

Olive Tapenade

Made from chopped olives, capers, and olive oil, this spread adds a briny depth to the board, pairing especially well with hard cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano and crusty bread.

Boursin or Herb Cream Cheese

These soft, spreadable cheeses infused with garlic and herbs are a hit for their creamy texture and flavorful punch.

Pesto

Whether traditional basil or a variation like sun-dried tomato, pesto adds a fresh, herby element to the board. It pairs particularly well with Italian cheeses like Burrata, Mozzarella, and Provolone.

Artichoke Dip

Creamy and savory, an artichoke dip can be a delightful pairing with both bread and vegetables.

Hummus

A smooth and creamy choice, hummus works well with both the meats and the veggie accompaniments on the board.

Pâté or Liver Mousse

For a more traditional and luxurious element, a smooth pâté or liver mousse can be a rich and flavorful addition to the board.

Landscape side view of the charcuterie board with cheeses, meat, a mini pumpkin, crackers, and fruit.
Cozy Fall Themed Charcuterie Board with Cranberry Mustard

Unique Spreads For Your Spread

Adding unique spreads to your charcuterie board can really elevate the experience. Here are some fun and distinctive options:

Flavored Honey

Flavored honeys are a great addition to charcuterie boards as their sweetness balances the saltiness of meats and the richness of cheeses. Subtle flavor notes in honey, like lavender, truffle, or even chilies, enhance the overall tasting experience, adding a gourmet touch.

Whipped Ricotta or Feta with Herbs

Light, creamy, and packed with flavor, whipped ricotta dip mixed with fresh herbs like mint or basil can be a delightful spread that complements both crackers and stronger-flavored meats.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

A blend of roasted red peppers, garlic, and olive oil creates a sweet, smoky spread that’s fantastic with both bread and a variety of cheeses.

Roasted Garlic Spread

A savory and rich option, perfect for garlic lovers. Try it with soft creamy cheeses like Brie or Cambozola or an aged cheese like cheddar or a smoky Gouda.

Pesto Cream Cheese

Blend traditional pesto with cream cheese for a creamy, herby spread that’s fantastic on crackers or with vegetable sticks.

Cranberry Relish

A tart and sweet spread, ideal for holiday season boards. Try pairing it with aged cheddar or a nutty Gouda.

For some classic and creative charcuterie board ideas – check out our recipes for how to make a cozy fall charcuterie board, an easy breezy summer charcuterie board, and a DIY charcuterie bouquet.

Summer charcuterie board spread with whipped ricotta dip, cherry preserves, and honey

Presentation and Serving Tips

Here are some presentation and serving tips for showcasing your perfectly chosen jams and spreads!

How many jams and spreads for a charcuterie board?

The number of jams and spreads for a charcuterie board can vary based on the size of the board and the number of guests. For a smaller gathering, two to three different options can provide a good range of flavors. For larger groups or more expansive boards, you might consider four to six varieties to cater to different tastes.

Creative ways to display jams and spreads on the board

  • Small Bowls and Jars: Use an assortment of miniature bowls, ramekins, or mason jars to hold different spreads. This adds height and variety to the layout.
  • Artistic Dollops: Spoon jams and spreads directly onto the board in artistic dollops. Use a knife or the back of the spoon to swirl and spread them slightly.
  • Decorative Containers: Choose containers with interesting designs or colors that complement the theme of your board.
  • Herb and Floral Garnishes: Garnish the spreads with small herbs or edible flowers for an added touch of elegance.

Recommended serving utensils and containers

For serving jams and spreads on a charcuterie board, consider these utensils and containers:

  • Small Spoons or Spreaders: Ideal for guests to easily scoop or spread the jam.
  • Miniature Bowls or Ramekins: Perfect for holding the jams and spreads, making them accessible and neat.
  • Glass Jars: Small glass jars can add a rustic or elegant touch, depending on the style.
  • Slate Labels or Markers: To label the different jams and spreads, especially if you have unique or unusual flavors.

These utensils and containers not only enhance the presentation but also make it more convenient for guests to enjoy the variety of flavors on your charcuterie board.

Summer charcuterie boards with a basket of bread.

Where to Buy the Best Jams and Spreads

You can find the best jams and spreads for charcuterie boards at a variety of places. Specialty food stores often have a wide selection of artisanal and gourmet options.

Farmers’ markets are another great source, offering locally-made, unique flavors. Online gourmet food retailers also provide a broad range of choices, including international and rare varieties.

Additionally, many supermarkets now carry a selection of higher-end jams and spreads suitable for charcuterie boards. Look for brands and products that focus on quality ingredients and craftsmanship for the best taste experience.

Some widely available and popular brands are Bonne Maman, Stonewall Kitchen, Divina, Harry & David, and Dalmatia.

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