Antipasto vs Charcuterie: Similarities and Differences


There are many similarities and differences between antipasto vs charcuterie. And these appetizer dishes have become increasing popular in recent years. They’re great for dinner parties, entertaining, or even a quiet night at home.

Summer picnic with cheese board
Summer picnic with cheese board and sandwiches

What is Antipasto?

Antipasto is an appetizer that is full of delicious foods such as meats, cheeses, olives, and anchovies. It can also be referred to as an antipasto board or an antipasto platter.

Antipasto is well known and originated in Italian cooking such as what you might find in an Italian restaurant in any region of Italy.

It’s an Italian tradition as a first course of an Italian meal. It’s served before the main course of a formal Italian meal, made of bite-sized portions served on a platter or antipasto charcuterie board.

Antipasto Food Items

We’ve created a list of foods that you might like to consider using for your next Italian antipasto platter.

Cured meats.  A cured meat is made by way of a process that removes moisture from the meat that draws out potentially harmful bacteria.

Salami, pepperoni, summer sausage, parma ham, prosciutto crudo di parma and some kinds of bacon and bologna are cured meats for any perfect antipasto platter.

Antipasto catering platter with bacon, jerky, salami, cheese and grapes on a wooden background

Cheeses. Consider using a variety of cheese flavors and shapes. Cheese cubes, slices, and rounds, blue cheese all work well and can be created in bite sized pieces. As an example, you might choose to include Italian cheeses like parmigiano reggiano.

Preserved vegetables. Beyond pickled cucumbers, you might choose to include other pickled vegetables such as cherry peppers, red bell peppers, alfa sprouts, mushrooms, radishes, sun-dried tomatoes from cherry tomatoes, or any other favorite vegetable that’s been preserved.

Artichoke hearts. Artichoke hearts are a favorite for antipasto boards and platters. They can be purchased already prepared in the preserved food section of most grocery stores.

Olives. Consider adding green or black Italian olives to your platter. They add a nice touch of color and variety of flavor.

Capers. Capers can be a nice addition to any antipasti. Their flavor is somewhat similar to the lemony tang of olives, but it’s also unique.

Charcuterie board
Charcuterie board

Mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms and preserved mushrooms are a popular food item to include. Just make sure that they’re prepared as such so they can sit out at room temperature.

Bruschetta. The addition of a small amount of a crusty bread like bruschetta can add some nice texture to the platter. It’s a welcome variety of crispness and crunch.

Is it Antipasto or Antipasti?

Perhaps you’ve seen both words used, but which one is proper? Should you use the word antipasto or antipasti?

Antipasto refers to a singular appetizer, while antipasti is the plural form of the word. For example, if you’re talking about a singular item such as a cracker the perfect way to use the word is antipasto. 

Antipasto vs Charcuterie

Though there are similarities between antipasto and charcuterie, there are also differences that should be pointed out.


Charcuterie is a French word of French origin, and antipasto is of Italian origination, specifically northern Italy. Both have become popular appetizers in the United States in recent years.

Charcuterie focuses on most on the presentation and inclusion of meats. On the other hand, an antipasti plate includes meats, but also features cheese, vegetables, crackers, and anything else that is a bite sized food that you’d like to include.

Charcuterie can be served hot or cold, but antipasto is served at room temperature.

What is Charcuterie?

A charcuterie platter is a French appetizer that focuses mainly on the presentation of cooked meats on a board or platter, specifically pork meats are most often used.

The modern charcuterie board has adapted to many cultures and throughout the United States and has expanded to more than just meats.

The term charcuterie comes from two French words: “chair” which means “flesh” and “cuit” which means “cooked”. Though charcuterie has been popular in Europe for some time, it has only become popular in the United States in recent years.

Charcuterie board with cold cuts
Charcuterie board with cold cuts

Charcuterie Food Items

Following are the recommended items to include on a charcuterie board. Keep in mind that this board focuses most on meats but these days people add a variety of other foods too.

Meats. Prosciutto, bacon, genoa salami, and other cured meats are ideal for a delicious charcuterie board.

Cheese. An assortment of cheeses that are generally on the pricier side are often used. But any cubed cheese, soft cheeses, rounds, fresh mozzarella balls, or small slices are possibilities to include in the different types of cheese.

Crackers. Wheat crackers, round crackers, square crackers, or other favorite flavors of crackers that are small in size work well.

Bread. Use small pieces of a variety of breads such as bruschetta, French breads, rye breads, pumpernickel, or other desirable flavors.  

meat and cheese board
meat and cheese board

Fruit. Dried fruit like blueberries, raisins, mangoes, pineapple, bananas, and others are all fair game. Fresh fruits, especially berries, work well too.

Nuts. Include some favorite nuts with or without shells. Consider almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, or others. The best part is these all provide protein too.

Olives. Olives are a fine choice for a charcuterie board. If you have olives with pit, you’ll want to include a place for pits to be discarded.

How Do You Arrange a Charcuterie Platter?

Now that we have an idea of all the ingredients you’ll want to include in your charcuterie platter, you can begin to decide how to arrange it and lay it all out.

Start with bowls or jars that include any dips or other ingredients you’ll want to serve in these spaces. You might consider using a small bowl for olive oil for dipping breads for example.

Charcuterie board with cold cuts
Charcuterie board with cold cuts

Next, space out the meats and cheeses around the bowls and in various locations on the platter.

Include pops of color with fruits and nuts if desired. Then garnish with herbs and use small pieces of food to fill in any gaps.

Charcuterie vs Cheese Platter

What is the difference between a charcuterie board and a cheese platter? The main difference is charcuterie is traditionally mostly meats, and cheese platter focuses mainly on different kinds of cheese.

They are similar in that they are both appetizer boards served with bite-sized foods.

Difference Between Charcuterie and Crudite

The main difference between charcuterie and crudites are the main ingredients that are featured.

A charcuterie board refers to meat as the focal point. Whereas crudites refers to chopped fresh vegetables as the main focal point of the platter.

What is a Grazing Board?

A grazing board is a lot like a cheese board or a charcuterie board.

However, the difference between the charcuterie board and a grazing board is that charcuterie focuses on prepared meats with a few other foods, while a grazing board can include meats as well as any other desired foods that can be prepared as little bites.

Cheese and fruit board
Cheese and fruit board

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to antipasto vs charcuterie. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to respond.

What came first charcuterie or antipasto?

First, it was referred to as the meat and cheese platter. Then it became known as the antipasti platter. In more recent years, the charcuterie platter has become popular.

Summer picnic with cheese board
Summer picnic with cheese board and sandwiches

What is the difference between antipasto and antipasti?

Both antipasto and antipasti refer to the same thing. It’s just that antipasto is the singular term and refers to just one, and antipasti refers to the plural and is more than one item.

For example, if you’re referring to a single appetizer like a piece of cheese, you’ll want to call it antipasto.

What are the 3 kinds of charcuterie?

Charcuterie is divided into 3 categories. They are, sausages, salumi, and forcemeats. Forcemeats refers to spreadable mixtures of meats.

What is the Italian version of charcuterie?

The Italian version of charcuterie is known as affetti.

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Ultimate Grinder Salad
Delicious Grinder Sandwich
Easy Peasant Salad

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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