How to Make a Grazing Table

A grazing table is a lavish buffet spread of tasty snacks and treats for a party or event. The keys to a successful grazing table are having lots of tasty snacks and treats arranged in a visually striking way, with no empty space on the table. Choose foods with a variety of textures to give your guests different things to try and have fun with your arrangement! Your guests will love seeing, and eating from the bountiful spread on your grazing table.


[Edit]Choosing the Food

  1. Keep your food bite-sized. A grazing table gives people tons of options to choose from, so keep the portion sizes small enough to be eaten in 1 or 2 bites. That way, people can fit more of the tasty treats and snacks onto their plates and they can try a little bit of everything![1]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 1.jpg
    • You can always cut bigger foods, such as large cuts of meat, wheels of cheese, and loaves of bread into smaller, bite-sized portions!
  2. Pick cheeses with different textures to give people options. Select creamy, hard, crumbly, and aged cheeses to give your guests different textures and options to choose from. Different cheeses also pair well with different breads, fruits, cured meats, and wine, so having multiple option allows people to mix and match however they like![2]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 2.jpg
    • Examples of cheeses to add to your grazing table include: gouda, cheddar, brie, goat cheese, and gruyere.
  3. Select a variety of cured meats for your charcuterie. Charcuterie refers to preparing and assembling cured meats that people can use to pair with the other items on your grazing table. Give your guests options by having a variety of meats for them to choose from such as salami, prosciutto, ham, and bacon.[3]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 3.jpg
    • Other cured meat options include: capicola, soppressata, and pepperoni.
    • You can include freshly cooked meat as well, such as roast beef or grilled chicken, but make the portions bite-sized so people can taste them without filling themselves up.
  4. Use several different breads and crackers. Freshly baked bread and tasty, crunchy crackers are a must have for any grazing table. Give people a selection of both so they can choose the ones they like and use them to mix and match with the various cheeses, meats, and spreads.[4]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 4.jpg
    • Some breads you can include on your grazing table are: fresh baguettes, sourdough, and pumpernickel.
    • Tasty cracker flavors include rosemary, thyme, and black pepper.
  5. Add some fresh vegetables to your table. Pick out some small fresh vegetables such as baby carrots and cherry tomatoes that are easy for people to grab. Cut up larger vegetables like bell peppers and cucumbers into slices and bite-sized pieces so your guests can add them to their plates.[5]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 5.jpg
    • Slice up some tomatoes for your fresh breads!
    • Fresh broccoli and cauliflower are great dipping items and give people a healthier food option.
  6. Have both fresh and dried fruits. When your choosing your fruit, keep variety in mind, since people have different preferences. Fresh fruit such as pineapple, strawberries, and cantaloupe add delicious sweetness and texture to the food options on your grazing table. Be sure to include softer fruits as well, such as dried apricots and figs.[6]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 6.jpg
    • Fresh pears and apples adds crisp, crunchy flavor to your table while plums and raspberries add a soft and sweet texture.
    • Having compote or fruit spreads are also great additions to a grazing table. Kick it up a notch by adding a pepper jelly for some heat!
  7. Choose dips, condiments, and accompaniments to add flavor. Use small, items such as olives, fresh basil, or pickled peppers to accompany the other food items on your grazing table so people can decide if they want to add them or not. Select spreads and dips that people can use to put on their bread, crackers, cheese, vegetables, and any other items on your table. Be sure to have some condiments so your guests can fix their servings just the way they like it.[7]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 7.jpg
    • Popular dips you can put out include hummus, ranch, and spinach and artichoke dip.
    • Melted cheese dips are always a hit as well!
    • Pick out some mustard, honey, and a spicy hot sauce for your guests to use.
  8. Sweeten your table with some small dessert items. Choose bite-sized portions of dessert items that people can add to their plates as a sweet treat. Cookies, brownies, or cupcakes are sure to be a hit and won’t overwhelm your guests’ plates, or their stomachs![8]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 8.jpg
    • Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are simple and easy to make and will wow your guests!
    • You can cut a larger cake into small, bite-sized portions and stick a toothpick in them to allow your guests to get a small taste.

[Edit]Arranging the Grazing Table

  1. Choose a table or piece of furniture that fits the decor of the event. Opt for a flat, sturdy table that can support the weight of all the yummy treats you plan to arrange in your spread. Choose an attractive table with a smooth surface so you can arrange your spread.[9]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 9.jpg
    • A solid wooden table is always a safe bet to use for a grazing table.
    • Make sure the table is at a level where people can easily access the items. Don’t use a coffee table or a tall work station table.
  2. Select an accessible location to place your grazing table. Choose a place that allows your guests to move about all sides of the grazing table so more people can access it at the same time. Make sure the table isn’t blocking a walkway or isn’t in the flow of foot traffic.[10]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 10.jpg
    • Avoid putting the grazing table against a wall or in a corner or you’ll limit how many people can access it at one time.
    • An open kitchen area or a dining room in a home is great for a grazing table.
  3. Cover the table with butcher or brown paper to protect it. Use butcher paper or brown paper to protect the surface of the table and make clean-up a breeze. Using brown or butcher paper also adds a rustic flair to your grazing table, making your spread feel more like a bountiful harvest.[11]
    • If you don’t want to use butcher or brown paper, choose a table cloth that fits the theme or decor of your event so the grazing table doesn’t clash with it.
  4. Use different serving dishes to add visual elements to the table. Fancy wooden cheese boards, silver platters, and porcelain dishes will add striking visual effects and make your grazing table really pop. Choose dishes that also add to the decor of your table.[12]
    • Have a variety of different serving dishes and items to add to the visual effect of your grazing table.
  5. Place the cheese on wooden stands or cheese boards. Add layers to the grazing table by placing large hunks of cheese onto footed stands or thick cheese boards. Arrange the stands and cheese boards around the table to add some dimension to the table.[13]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 13.jpg
    • Elevating the cheeses makes them stand out, adds depth to your spread, and will make it easier to access the cheese.
  6. Surround the cheeses with crackers, bread, and fruit spreads. People often like to pair cheeses with crackers and preservatives or fruits spreads. Place them near the cheeses for people to add to their plates.[14]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 14.jpg
    • Crackers and bread also take up space and can be used to fill in gaps around the cheese stands and boards.
  7. Make piles of charcuterie and keep them together. Stack the ham, prosciutto, salami, and any other meats you’re arranging on the grazing table so your guests remove the topmost piece and add them to their plate. Keep the meats together so people can pick and choose them from 1 location, rather than having to move about the table to select their meats.[15]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 15.jpg
    • Wrap some of the salamis around cheeses for a delicious combination!
  8. Add bowls of dip surrounded by dipping items. Place bowls of any dips or sauces you plan to serve your guest around the table. Arrange dipping items such as carrots, chips, celery sticks, and grape tomatoes around the bowls of dip so people can use them with the dip.[16]
    • Don’t overfill the bowls with dip or condiments, you can always add more later if you need it!
  9. Put out attractive utensils for people to use. Place cheese knives, forks, spoons, skewers, and anything else people will need on the table. Keep the utensils near the items people will likely use them for. For example, keep the cheese knives near the cheeses and the spoons near any soups or dips.[17]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 17.jpg
    • Use ornate serving spoons, skewers, and other serving items to add a decorative flair to the table.
  10. Keep the plates, napkins, and utensils together near the food. Choose a section of the table or use a table or countertop nearby to stack your plates and napkins so people can easily grab them. Keep the utensils organized near the plates so your guests can select what they’ll need.[18]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 18.jpg
    • Keep the forks with forks, spoons with spoons, and knives with knives so your guests can easily take them.
  11. Use decor to add color and to fill in any gaps on the table. Don’t leave any empty space or it will take away from the visual effect of a bountiful grazing table. Use vases with flowers, greenery such as trimmings of shrubs, and any other items that can add a pop of color to the table while also filling in gaps between the items.[19]
    Make a Grazing Table Step 19.jpg
    • Be creative with your decor! For example, you could tuck springs of green plants under paper along the sides of the table to cover the edges.


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