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Food & Recipes

How to Make Antipasti — The Toss-Together Starter That Wows Guests Without Stress

It's a platter full of delicious ingredients and preps in 20 minutes!


For a no-cook appetizer that never fails to impress, try making an antipasti platter. It’s essentially all-in-one spread with meats, cheeses, vegetables and other light bites for guests to nosh on. There’s no concrete rules to making antipasti, so you can mix-and-match the ingredients to your liking. Even better, this starter comes in together in 20 minutes and can be made in advance for stress-free serving. We tapped a chef for her best advice on how to make a delicious antipasti platter that friends and family will devour. Keep reading to learn more about antipasti and ideas for building your ultimate platter!

What is antipasti?

Antipasti is an Italian appetizer spread consisting of cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables and condiments. What makes it from a charcuterie board is that it features a variety of ingredients, while a charcuterie board largely showcases a selection of cured meats. Plus, antipasti is full of savory and sweet flavors — which are sure to start your meal on a tasty note!

Antipasti vs. antipasto

It’s worth noting that antipasti is plural for antipasto, a Latin-derived word meaning “before the meal.” Despite the difference in spelling, both terms are commonly used interchangeably in recipes and cooking videos referencing this starter.

The ingredients that go into an antipasti spread

The old saying “you eat with your eyes first” applies to antipasti as the combination of ingredients makes it taste and look delicious. Below, Alisa Barry, founder of Bella Cucina at Buckhead Village in Atlanta, shares six types of ingredients you should aim to include in your platter.

1. Cheese

A variety of cheeses like fresh mozzarella, cheddar, blue cheese and Parmesan provide a mix of hard and soft textures and salty, earthy flavors.

2. Meat

Add a salty touch to your spread with sliced cured meats such as prosciutto, sopressata, speck and pepperoni.

3. Fruit 

Fresh or dried fruits like quartered figs, apricots, grapes and pitted dates add a sweet touch that complements the salty ingredients.

4. Condiments 

Placing condiments like tomato jam, olives, honey or vinaigrette in small bowls allows guests to infuse their serving of antipasti with a sweet or savory kick.

5. Vegetables 

Vegetables such as roasted red peppers from a jar, cocktail onions and chopped cucumbers make an antipasti platter extra filling.

6. Bread

Finish with crackers, breadsticks and/or small slices of toasted bread placed next to the other ingredients or in separate bowls.

See how these kinds of ingredients work to make an antipasti board in this video from the Sobeys YouTube channel.

The best platters to serve antipasti on

Having a platter that fits all of the ingredients, whether you’re making antipasti for a few or a crowd, is key. But Barry suggests taking the extra step of serving the ingredients on a nice platter or board to make them more appetizing. “We love an olive wood board or platter for the unique coloring and texture, a marble or slate slab or a white ceramic platter,” she says. “Vintage cutting boards are a great way to add interest and charm.” Ultimately, your guests will be blown away by your DIY antipasti platter that came together in just 20 minutes!

How to make antipasti

Making and enjoying antipasti right away allows you to savor the fresh flavors. However, you can make it the night before. Just be sure to wrap the assembled platter tightly in plastic before storing it in the fridge. Then, carefully remove the plastic and serve cold. For inspiration to make your own antipasti platter, start with these quick and yummy ideas!

Basic Antipasto Platter

An antipasti platter served as a starter

Our test kitchen’s recipe uses a homemade vinaigrette, which adds zing to this colorful toss. For a heartier starter, add thin slices of prosciutto and your favorite cheeses to this spread.


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder 
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • 3 mini cucumbers 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup drained caper berries, from 8.25-oz. jar
  • 1 (12 oz.) loaf crusty Italian bread, torn into pieces
  • Parsley sprigs


  • Active: 20 mins
  • Total time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper; reserve.
  2. Using vegetable peeler, shave cucumbers lengthwise into thin strips. Halve tomatoes; thinly slice red onion. Transfer tomatoes, onion, cucumbers and caper berries to serving plate. 
  3. Serve with bread. Drizzle vegetables with some of dressing. Garnish with parsley sprigs; serve with remaining dressing.

Antipasti Platter With Decorative Touches

Getting creative with the platter’s presentation doesn’t have to be time-consuming. This video below from the Great Chow Cooking Channel showcases their way of making an antipasti platter, which includes simple touches like wrapping the breadsticks in prosciutto and garnishing the starter with fresh basil sprigs. Buon appetito!

For more delicious appetizers, check out the recipes below:

Baked Brie Is a 4-Ingredient Appetizer Full of Gooey, Cheesy Goodness — So Easy to Make!

Egg Roll Wrappers Are Your $3 Secret to Deliciously Easy Homemade Snacks

This Easy Air-Fryer Bloomin’ Onion Is Crunchy, Delicious — And Has 66 Grams Less Fat Than the Original

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