The cheese platter is a go-to crowd-pleaser for any occasion. Whether hosting an event, put in charge of bringing the appetizer, or looking for a fancier night in than Chinese take-out, you can never go wrong with a platter of cheese. Adorned with toasted breads and crackers, a selection of various cheeses, and a mixture of jams, nuts or fruits, there is something for everyone on the platter. But putting together the right assortment can be difficult with so many possibilities. Thankfully, with just one stop at everyone’s favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's, you can ace an epic cheese platter for under $30 (actually, $26.93 to be exact). 

The Essential: Cheese

Lauren Mammini

Triple Creme Brie Cheese ($7.50/lb)

I'm a strong believer in brie, and this cheese does not disappoint. In the grand scheme of your platter, brie will serve as your mildest cheese. It is super soft and creamy with a nice, buttery flavor that melts in your mouth. 

Gruyère Cheese Aged 6 Months ($10/lb)

The gruyère will be your medium cheese with a firmer texture. It has a sweet but slightly salty and nutty flavor that is not too overpowering. It pairs well with the pecans and dried cranberries sprinkled throughout your platter. 

Cave Aged Blue Cheese ($7/lb)

It's always fun to spice up a cheese platter with a funky cheese. This blue cheese adds more flavor and differentiates itself from the milder cheeses on the platter. It has a sharp, strong flavor, as it is a stinky cheese. It crumbles nicely, making it easy to sprinkle on top of a cracker or an apple. 

The Base: Crackers

Anna Weeks

Brioche Toasts ($1.99)

These brioche toasts are the perfect substitute for a toasted baguette. With 18 medium-sized, toasted crisps in the box, you'll be able to fill most of your platter with these. And that's a good thing, because they're the perfect complement for any cheese. Additionally, if you're unsure of your platter's party date, these are a good option because they won’t go stale like a typical baguette.

Multigrain & Flaxseed Water Crackers ($1.39)

These crackers are essential for your cheese board. They are thin, but large—perfect for loading up your cheese and additional toppings without the thickness of a toast. This makes it easier to really taste the toppings, and the multigrain texture adds a graininess to every bite, which pairs nicely with the smoother cheeses.   

The Additions: Jam, Fruit and Nuts

Anna Weeks

Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly ($2.49)

This jelly is different from a traditional berry jam, but it is the perfect spread for your cheese platter. It adds sweetness to the more mild cheeses, like brie, and packs a kick of spice from the peppers, which is great for the plainer crackers. This tangy, Thai-inspired jelly adds a strong flavor to the platter, and its something your guests will be raving about long after the part is over. 

Organic Gala Apples ($2.99)

I personally love apples with cheese, so I had to include these in my cheese board. This bag provides multiple mini, juicy red gala apples that are easy to cut into small slices to spread around your board. They also contribute to the aesthetic of the platter by adding some color, and you can even place an uncut apple on the corner for decoration, since they are smaller in size.

#SpoonTip: By buying them whole, you'll get more slices for a cheaper price than buying them pre-sliced. 

Dried Cranberries ($2.49)

Every cheese board needs some sort of dried fruit. These dried cranberries not only look good on the platter, but they taste great with each cheese. They add sweetness to the cracker-cheese combo and provide a new texture to each bite.

Raw Pecan Halves ($4.99)

Nuts are another staple of a cheese platter, and pecans complement these cheeses best. These pecans are raw, which means that they maintain their traditional flavor and texture. They can be sprinkled around the platter to add decoration, and for those guests that opt out of eating crackers, these nuts provide an additional crunchy element to the creamy cheeses or chewy dried fruit.

Anna Weeks

No matter the occasion, this cheese platter is sure to be a crowd pleaser. With everything you need at a low price, Trader Joe's makes putting together the perfect platter a breeze. With the holiday season coming up, head to Trader Joes for some cheese, fruit and nuts to impress all your friends.