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I made grazing boxes for the first time for my daughters’ Sweet 16. It was easy and fun, if you’ve never tried it. We served an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, fruits, and veggies, plus water and bottled rose lemonade. Grazing boxes are a great choice if you want to prep your party meal early and want to avoid a buffet.

You can hire grazing boxes to be made and delivered to your party. Expect to pay $25 per box or more plus a delivery fee. But that cost adds up quickly, so here’s how to make grazing boxes yourself.

grazing box menu

Pull your menu from the food groups, so include some meats, hard and soft cheese, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and sliced breads or crackers. Add spreads for variety and flavor.

Our grazing box menu included:

  • Italian dry salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Brie cheese
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Coconut almond mix
  • Assorted crackers
  • Cheese straws
  • Grapes
  • Assorted berries
  • Dried apricots
  • Caprese salad
  • Black fig spread
  • Hot honey
  • Mixed nuts
  • Yogurt covered pretzels

Since we had a separate dessert table, we did not add any sweets to our baskets.

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where to shop for your grazing boxes

We started by cruising World Market – a great source for tiny and cute food items. Any time you can find a food item that is pre-packed, you make assembling your grazing box easier. Our cheese triangles, coconut almond mix, black fig spread and hot honey all came pre-packaged from World Market.

Next, check out the party/appetizer section of your grocery store. Look for sliced meats, sliced hard cheeses, crackers and spreads.

Decide what you may want to make. For us, that included individual caprese salads and mixed berries. Wash and thoroughly dry any fruits and veggies the day before your party. Minimizing our DIY kept our party prep even easier.

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how to pack your grazing boxes

If you have anything in your grazing box that needs to stay cool, add slim freezer packs to your boxes. I placed mine under the fabric napkins. If you are using a cardboard box, line the bottom with wax paper or deli paper to keep any condensation from the freezer packs from weakening the boxes.

For anything that might leak, choose 5-ounce plastic snack cups with lids. We used these for the mixed berries and caprese salad. You also can use these without the lids for loose items that need to be contained, like dried apricots.

I also used 2″ x 3″ baking cups. These are great for organizing items like crackers, sliced cheese or sliced meats. Just roll or ribbon-fold your sliced meats, and pop them in the baking cups.

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what to use for a grazing box

I used picnic baskets instead of baker’s boxes for our grazing boxes. My baskets were roughly 8-inches square and 4-inches high. I lined the baskets with 20-inch napkins. (Sources are at the end of this post.)

The only problem with my picnic baskets is that they are harder to stack in a fridge than an actual box would be. If you’d rather use a box, try these options:

If you use a box, tie the finished box with ribbon, raffia or twine. Add a tag or sprig of rosemary or a flower to finish the look. We added dried orange slices to top off our baskets. We also had utensils at our place settings, but you could add disposable wood utensils in your box, along with a napkin.

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how to assemble your boxes

When you are ready to load in your food, start with bigger items (like our coconut almond mix) then add the snack cups or other containers. Work in stand-alone items like grapes and tall cheese straws. You may want to create one box in advance to test your arrangement. Remember that the plastic cups with lids let you stack items.

If you are making your boxes the day before and storing in the fridge:

  • Make room in your fridge in advance or ask to borrow space from a neighbor.
  • Cover cheese and meat with saran-type wrap to keep them from getting hard.
  • Don’t add crackers or bread til you’re ready to serve so they don’t get mushy in the fridge. You can package crackers in little cello bags to keep them fresh and then close the bags with a sticker.

If you are making your boxes on site the day of your event:

  • Add items one at a time, assembly line style. So, add all the grapes, then all the crackers, etc.
  • Transport cheese, meat, etc. in a cooler and add them to the baskets last.

Want to know more? This is a great post from Dimples On My What with more information about making a large quantity of grazing boxes.

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