This Antipasto Platter is one of my favorite arrangements to prepare for parties, holidays, and gatherings. It’s traditionally the first course as an appetizer for a formal Italian meal, and it’s easy to put together.
Cheese boards get the most attention when it comes to appetizers, but I honestly like an antipasto platter even more.
You may be wondering, what’s the difference between a cheese board or charcuterie board, and antipasti? There are many similarities, of course.
This large platter has cheese too, and I do serve crackers on the side. But to me, an antipasto platter has more charcuterie and Mediterranean items like Marinated Olives or Tapenade, pepperoncini, peppers, and artichoke hearts.
Like a good cheese board, much of the work is buying and arranging the goodies you find at the store, rather than actual cooking. This is always appreciated when you need to focus your attention on mains like Prime Rib, Lasagna, or Braised Lamb Shanks.
How to Make and Assemble:
This is mostly about arranging a selection of Italian cured meats, cheeses, and vegetables on a dish, and as you can imagine, this selection varies from place to place and person to person.
Most of the items will likely be pre-purchased from a quality grocery store. However, I do like to flavor my own fresh mozzarella.
Marinate Your Own Ciliegine Mozzarella Balls
Place a drained container of fresh ciliegine mozzarella in a bowl, and add flaky salt like Maldon, freshly ground black pepper, fresh thyme leaves, freshly chopped rosemary, and a really good extra virgin olive oil:
Other fresh herbs like oregano or fresh basil also go beautifully with mozzarella.
Toss this all to coat using a spoon:
Very easy, and barely counts as cooking. You can also add a touch of red pepper flakes if you want to make it spicy.
Now here’s what else you’ll want to add.
Ideas for What to Include on the Board
The perfect antipasto platter is really just the one that has all your favorite ingredients on it, and the best part is customizing your choices. Here are some of my favorite options.
- Genoa salami
- Chub salamis
- Marinated fresh mozzarella
- Panino (mozzarella sticks wrapped in prosciutto)
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Provolone cheese
- Marinated artichokes
- Store-bought olives (I love lecino) or Marinated Olives
- Cheese stuffed red peppers
- Marinated asparagus
- Marinated Gigande beans
- Marinated mushrooms
- Roasted red bell peppers
- Sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- Caponata or Ratatouille
- Pickled hot cherry peppers, sweet cherry peppers, or peppadew peppers
- Fresh cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- Mini bread sticks
- Flatbread crackers
- Round crisps
- A variety of breads, like ciabatta or focaccia
I like to make sure the cheeses are at room temperature, for the optimal eating experience. I also have some hard cheeses and some soft cheeses, for variety. Consider selecting Italian cheeses made from different types of milk.
You may also consider adding fresh fruits to your platter, as this is something that is sometimes done for traditional antipasti. Good choices are cantaloupe, which pairs beautifully with prosciutto, and fresh figs.
My Formula for a Great Tray:
I recommend 2-3 meats, 2-3 different kinds of cheeses, some type of olive, definitely artichokes, and definitely peppers, as the minimum for any arrangement or large plate.
In today’s antipasto platter, my variety of meats includes prosciutto, genoa salami, soppressata, and panino (mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto).
I also added marinated mozzarella, gouda, marinated artichokes, marinated asparagus, cheese stuffed cherry peppers, pepperoncini, and lecino olives.
A good antipasto platter is the perfect appetizer to make in advance and hold people over for the main course to come. Make it for a dinner party, cocktail party, or even for the holiday season.
Board Tips and FAQ
I prefer to set the tray on a board and arrange the crackers and breadsticks on the board around it. Because there are a lot of marinated ingredients on the plate, the crackers are prone to getting soggy if they touch those items. Crackers also take up a lot of room and I like to serve an ample amount, so I leave the pricy items to the actual platter.
Because the crackers aren’t stored on the platter, the whole plate can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for 2 days.
Aim for an even balance of meats, cheeses, and veggies. I like to do 3 types of meat, 3 cheeses, at least one olive, always artichokes (because I love them!) and peppers for a bright color.
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For the Platter:
- genoa salami
- panino (mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto)
- marinated mozzarella recipe below, or use store-bought
- cheese stuffed cherry peppers
- marinated artichokes
- marinated asparagus
For the Marinated Mozzarella:
- 8 ounces ciligiene
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Board:
- mini breadsticks
- flatbread crackers
- round crisps
- Select a large platter and a large wooden board for it to rest on. The platter will have the meats, cheeses, and vegetables, and the board will hold the crackers around the platter.
- Prepare the marinated mozzarella by tossing all the ingredients in a bowl, and let it sit while you begin arranging the other ingredients.
- Place 3 meats on different sections of the platter, making sure to fan out the slices of salami or prosciutto.
- Begin filling in with groups of vegetables. Since the olives are so small, I like to put those in a bowl, but otherwise I place groups of items like artichokes or cherry peppers in heaps on the platter.
- Cut the cheeses into bite-sized wedges or cubes, if necessary. Place on the platter in groups, along with the marinated mozzarella.
- Once the platter is filled, place it on the wooden board, then arrange the breadsticks and crackers all around it. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.