Take your meat and cheese to go with these quick and easy Charcuterie Skewers. Perfect for beach trips, cookouts, or anytime you need a protein-packed snack that’s easy to toss in your cooler, these deliciously customizable charcuterie kabobs are the meat appetizer you’ve been missing!
When it comes to summer, it seems we’re always on the go. Whether we’re visiting family on road trips, taking our toddler to the pool, or attending (or hosting!) the next backyard BBQ bash, there’s always some kind of excitement on the calendar.
But, unlike the chillier months when everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen, summer is the time to be outside. Without the added storage space of kitchen islands and countertops, or having the fridge within reach, appetizers become a bit more tricky.
As such, I’ve learned a few summer entertaining tricks. Get nesting bowls for putting your creations on ice; opt for dips that are creamy because of pulses instead of dairy; use melamine servewear so nothing breaks; and PUT EVERYTHING ON A STICK. Well, not the dips. But pretty much everything else!
Investing in a bag of wooden or bamboo skewers will change your life, friends. Thread fruit onto them, use them to help you make s’mores, cut them smaller to make cake pops, or make these adorable meat and cheese skewers. They’re easy to toss in a gallon zip-top bag and lay flat in your cooler, plus they’re perfectly portioned so you can grab one and get back to the fun.
What is charcuterie?
Imagine a delicious spread of salty cured meats, creamy cheeses, juicy fruits, and various other tasty goodies artfully arranged on a platter or board (or, in this case, on a stick). That, my friends, is charcuterie!
Charcuterie is a fancy French way of saying “we like to play with our food.” It’s all about bringing together a bunch of yumminess on one plate to create a snack extravaganza that’s fit for a king.
The best part about charcuterie is that you can easily customize it to fit your cravings and dietary needs. Don’t eat meat? Focus on the cheese and produce. Have a sweet tooth? Take things in a different direction by using cheese, fruit, and maybe even some marshmallows. These charcuterie sticks are little grab-and-go flavor parties waiting to happen wherever the action is.
Feel free to load up all the meats like salami, prosciutto, chorizo, and pepperoni, but don’t stop there. Make sure you throw in an awesome assortment of cheeses to bump up the flavor and protein, along with some briny olives, tangy pickles, or even some sweet fruity goodness to make things even more exciting.
What does it taste like?
First, you’ve got those cured meats strutting their stuff—salami, prosciutto, and all their meaty friends. They bring savory, salty goodness that’s like a meaty high-five to your tastebuds.
Next up, say hello to the cheeses that come waltzing in. We’re talking creamy, tangy, and oh-so-delicious. They add a delightful richness that complements the meats perfectly, plus they pack a protein boost to keep you fueled up for more fun in the sun.
And guess what? There’s more to this flavor fiesta! You’ve got zesty olives, tangy pickles, herbaceous basil leaves, and maybe even a touch of sweet fruit. They all join in on the fun, bringing their own unique personalities to the party.
So, when you take that epic bite, you get a whirlwind of flavors hitting your palate. It’s a symphony of savory, tangy, salty yumminess, like a food fireworks show happening right inside your mouth. Go on and give these meat and cheese sticks a try at your next party — they’ll be gone before you can say “they put the ‘cute’ in charcuterie!”
Why You’ll Love This Charcuterie Skewers Recipe
In short, if you love whipping up an epic cheese board for the holidays, you’re going to love making charcuterie on a stick. It’s got all the flavors you love, but in a perfectly portable, deliciously portioned package!
Aside from being a fun new way to snack on meat and cheese, these party skewers are also:
- Quick & Simple – If your cheese is cubed and your meat is sliced, all you have to do is thread them onto sticks in an alternating pattern.
- Make Ahead-Friendly – For all my Type A buddies out there, this might be one of the best selling points. You can easily prep them several days ahead of time — just wait to add the fresh basil, since it doesn’t like to be refrigerated.
- Versatile – Who says these salami skewers are just for parties? I like to keep a bag of these bad boys in the fridge just so I have something easy to nibble on throughout the week.
- Totally Customizable – Hate olives? Leave ‘em off! Vegetarian? I’ve got cheese skewer ideas for days. Read on below for tons of yummy ideas!
- Easy To Serve ANYWHERE! All my fellow mamas out there know that when you have little ones, you often only have one hand available. By serving these appetizers on skewers, all the goodness is already portioned out and you only need one hand to grab them!
All of the ingredients below are intended as a basic template. Feel free to get creative with your own party kabobs!
- Mozzarella Balls – Feel free to get plain cilligiene (which are just small balls of fresh mozzarella), or opt for the kind that are marinated in olive oil and herbs.
- White Cheddar Cheese – Since we already have a softer, milder cheese in the mix, I like to use a firmer, sharper cheese like cheddar as my second option.
- Dry Salami – For salty, meaty goodness.
- Pepperoni – For more color and a touch of heat.
- Dill Cocktail Pickles – Also sold as “cornichons,” these tiny little pickles are packed with just as much crunchy, tangy goodness as the big guys.
- Cherry Tomatoes – For a bit of juicy sweetness. Grape tomatoes also work beautifully!
- Olives – I love olives! Feel free to use black or green, so long as they’re pitted.
- Basil Leaves – I love adding extra color plus a burst of fresh flavor.
The brilliant thing about these easy skewer appetizers is you can customize them to your exact preferences. Here are just a few easy swaps you can try:
- Mozzarella Balls – If you can’t find the tiny balls of mozz, use a larger ball of fresh mozzarella and cut it into smaller pieces. You’re also welcome to swap in the mild, semi-soft cheese of your choice like havarti or muenster.
- White Cheddar Cheese – I suggest using a firmer, more flavorful option for your second cheese for a bit of variety on these charcuterie bites. I like using white cheddar for a more streamlined color palate, but orange cheddar works too. You can also use other varieties of cheese like spicy pepper jack, two-toned colby jack, or smoked gouda.
- Dry Salami & Pepperoni – Feel free to have a field day in Trader Joe’s and use any of the cured meats that speak to you. You’re also welcome to omit the meat in favor of more cheese if you prefer.
- Dill Cocktail Pickles & Olives – Dill pickle slices are equally tasty if you can’t find cornichons. You’re also welcome to use any variety of pickled veggies you like — pickled okra, pickled green beans, pickled beets…they’re all delightful!
- Cherry Tomatoes – Not a fan of tomatoes? Try swapping in mini sweet peppers instead. You’re also welcome to lean more toward the fruit side of things and use grapes, melon balls, berries, or pineapple chunks instead.
- Basil Leaves – Feel free to omit these, especially if you’re opting for a sweeter flavor profile.
How To Make Charcuterie Skewers
Making skewers for appetizers is kind of a zen experience. Here’s how they’re made:
Step 1: Skewer 1 cherry tomato onto each skewer.
Step 2: Add 1-2 slices of folded salami to the skewer.
Step 3: Add a mozzarella ball, followed by 2 slices of folded pepperoni.
Step 4: Add 1-2 olives, a basil leaf, more salami, and then a chunk of white cheddar cheese.
Step 5: Continue alternating between meat, cheese, and vegetables until you reach the very top of the skewer. Add a pickle at the top of each skewer and serve!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
While the recipe above is a surefire winner in our house, there are TONS of charcuterie skewer ideas you can play around with. Like I said earlier, just put everything on a stick!! Here are a few to get you started:
- Caprese Skewers with Salami – Alternate cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella balls, fresh basil leaves, and folded meat for an Italian-inspired treat!
- Tortellini Skewers with Balsamic Glaze – Thread cooked cheese tortellini onto kabobs, alternating with basil, tomatoes, cheese, and the meat of your choice. Put out a squirt bottle of reduced balsamic vinegar for your guests to add a bit of puckery sweetness right before serving.
- Red, White, & Blue Fruit & Cheese Skewers – Alternate white cheddar and mozzarella with blueberries and strawberries for a patriotic treat. Bonus points if you use a mini star-shaped cookie cutter to cut your cheddar!
- Dairy-Free Charcuterie Sticks – Skip the cheese (or swap in a vegan alternative), layering meats and veggies to your heart’s content.
- Bite-Sized Antipasto Skewers: Create mini antipasto skewers by threading marinated artichoke hearts, cocktail-sized mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and tangy Kalamata olives onto the skewers. Drizzle with a zesty vinaigrette for a burst of flavor in every bite.
- Sweet Treat Skewers: For a dessert twist, create sweet charcuterie skewers using chunks of chocolate, marshmallows, and fresh fruit like strawberries, grapes, or pineapple. The contrast of creamy, gooey, and fruity goodness will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Here are some fun serving suggestions to take your charcuterie skewers to the next level of deliciousness and excitement:
- Set up a DIY charcuterie skewer bar where guests can create their own culinary masterpieces. Provide a variety of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and condiments. Let their creativity run wild as they assemble their personalized skewers. It’s like edible arts and crafts!
- Arrange your skewers on a beautiful platter, like a canvas for your culinary art. Place them in neat rows or create a stunning geometric pattern.
- Get whimsical by sticking the skewers in a tall vase filled with colorful edible decorations. Imagine a bouquet of charcuterie goodness! You can use cherry tomatoes, grapes, herbs, or even edible flowers as the base. This creative display would be a delightful addition to a garden party, bridal shower, or any event where you want to add a touch of whimsy.
- Take your presentation to gravity-defying new heights by creating a skewer chandelier. Hang your skewers from an overhead frame or chandelier-like structure, allowing your guests to pluck their favorites as they mingle. This unique display will be a showstopper at a cocktail party, art gallery opening, or any trendy social gathering.
- Transform a large wooden board or table into a grazing wonderland. Arrange your skewers alongside other charcuterie delights like crackers, fruit, dips, and spreads for extra fun.
- For a rustic and charming look, place your skewers vertically in a mason jar filled with colorful shredded lettuce or fresh herbs. It’s a simple yet eye-catching display that works wonders at a backyard barbecue, rustic wedding reception, or a summer garden brunch.
- Get a trendy and modern vibe by arranging your skewers on a sleek slate board. Use chalk to label the different ingredients, adding a touch of sophistication to your spread. This contemporary display is a hit at wine tastings, cocktail parties, or any event where style is a priority.
Recipe Success Tips
The great thing about this “recipe” for charcuterie skewers is that you can really just take the idea and run with it! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you play:
- Mix and Match Flavors: Experiment with different combinations of cured meats, cheeses, and accompaniments to create a harmonious blend of flavors. Try pairing salty meats like prosciutto with creamy cheeses like brie or adding a pop of sweetness with dried fruits like apricots or figs.
- Consider Texture: Vary the textures on your kabobs to add an interesting mouthfeel. Alternate between softer and firmer cheeses, crispy crackers or breadsticks, and tender cured meats.
- Size Matters: Cut your ingredients into bite-sized pieces that are easy to handle and enjoy. Keep in mind that kabobs should be convenient to eat, so make sure the pieces are not too large or cumbersome.
- Repeating Patterns: Start by threading a tomato onto the skewers, followed by a cheese or accompaniment item, and repeat until the skewer is filled. This way, each bite will have a balanced mix of flavors. Feel free to get creative with the order and arrangement to make your kabobs visually appealing.
- Add Color and Freshness: Include vibrant and fresh elements to brighten up your kabobs. Use cherry tomatoes, colorful bell peppers, cucumber slices, or fresh herbs like basil or mint. Not only will they enhance the visual appeal, but they will also provide a refreshing and crisp element to the kabobs.
- Dressing or Dipping Sauces: Consider serving your charcuterie kabobs with a complementary sauce or dip on the side. Mustards, honey, balsamic glaze, or herb-infused oils can add an extra layer of flavor and make your kabobs even more enticing.
- Temperature Awareness: Be mindful of temperature control. Keep your ingredients refrigerated until just before assembling the kabobs to maintain their freshness. If serving outdoors, use ice or keep the platter chilled to prevent any ingredients from spoiling.
Grab a slice of your favorite charcuterie meat, like salami or prosciutto. Lay it flat on a clean surface or cutting board.
If the slice is too big, you can trim it down to a more manageable size. No need to stress over precise measurements here, just eyeball it and go with what feels right.
Take one edge of the meat slice and fold it about a third of the way toward the center. Now, fold the opposite edge in the same way, overlapping it a bit with the first fold. Think of it like folding a business letter to fit into an envelope.
If the slice is still too wide, you can fold it one more time in the same direction to make a smaller, bite-sized package. Give your folds a gentle press to make sure they hold together nicely. And if you notice any loose edges, just tuck ’em in for a clean finish.
Repeat these folding steps for the rest of your charcuterie slices. The goal is to make them all look nice and tidy, like little meat origami masterpieces.
Remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t worry if your first few folds aren’t perfect. I promise, even if you squish them into balls, they’ll still taste delightful. And feel free to get creative with your folds! Try different techniques like accordion-style folds or rolling the meat into cute little cylinders.
It sure can! In fact, you can make as many or as few of these meat and cheese kabob appetizers as you like.
That all depends on what else you’re serving them with and whether or not you want them to be just an appetizer, or the main event. For an appetizer that will be served alongside other snacks, 1-2 per person should be fine. If it’s the only appetizer available, up that to 2-3 per person.
If the charcuterie is meant to act as a full meal (or if you’re going to be grazing for longer than a few hours), you’ll want closer to 4-6 skewers per person.
Charcuterie Kabobs Nutrition
Charcuterie skewers can provide a range of nutrients depending on the ingredients you choose. The kabobs below include a combination of cured meats, cheeses, pickles, tomatoes, olives, and basil leaves, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.
I love that these charcuterie kabobs are such a good source of protein, thanks to the cured meats and cheeses included. One skewer offers about 16 grams of protein, meaning it’ll help you keep full and powered up for your day of fun.
Since charcuterie often includes cured meats and cheeses, it can contain varying amounts of fat. Some cured meats may have higher fat content, while cheeses can also contribute to fat intake. If you make the skewers as directed in the recipe, you’re looking at approximately 24 grams of fat per skewer.
Cheeses like mozzarella and white cheddar are excellent sources of calcium, which is crucial for healthy bones and teeth. Charcuterie kabobs can also provide a range of vitamins and minerals, depending on the ingredients used. For example, cherry tomatoes offer vitamin C and antioxidants.
It’s worth noting that charcuterie is typically higher in sodium due to cured meats and pickles. For the recipe below, one stick will set you back about 1035 mg. If you’re watching your sodium intake, it’s good to be mindful of portion sizes and balance your snacking sticks with other lower-sodium food choices.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 291 calories
- Total Fat: 24 grams
- Protein: 16 grams
- Sodium: 1035 mg
- Carbohydrates: 3 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This is what I personally paid to make this recipe:
- 8 oz mozzarella balls: $5.49
- 1 lb white cheddar cheese: $4.99
- 8 oz dry salami: $6.36
- 6 oz pepperoni: $6.56
- 15 dill cocktail pickles: $3.29
- 30 cherry tomatoes: $2.49
- 30 green olives: $1.92
- 15 medium basil leaves: $1.99
The total comes out to be around $33.09 or roughly $2.21 per skewer!
Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the comments below! I would really appreciate your feedback!
- 8 oz mozzarella balls
- 2 lbs white cheddar cheese cut in large chunks
- 8 oz dry salami sliced thin
- 6 oz pepperoni sliced thin
- 15 dill cocktail pickles
- 30 cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- 30 olives green or black
- 15 medium basil leaves
- Skewer 1 cherry tomato onto each skewer.
- Next, add 1-2 slices of folded salami to the skewer.
- Add a mozzarella ball, followed by 2 slices of folded pepperoni.
- Add 1-2 olives, a basil leaf, more salami, and then a chunk of white cheddar cheese.
- Continue alternating between meat, cheese, and vegetables until you reach the very top of the skewer. Add a pickle at the top of each skewer and serve!
If you end up making this and loving it, take a photo and tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your versions of my recipes! And feel free to rate it down below in the comment section. I would really appreciate it!