Kitchen Tips

5 creative types of platter that will make entertaining easy

If you love creating a beautiful grazing platter to feed your guests, your world is about to open up! From breakfast boards to dessert delights, here are all our favourite ways to interpret a platter – and they all make entertaining a breeze.

By Harriet Keown

1. Breakfast platter

Breakfast gatherings can be tricky to master – it's hard to walk the line between preparing a meal that's simple to pull together whilst also making sure it's sophisticated enough to be worth your guests' time. That's where the magic of a breakfast platter comes in, as you can spruce up classic breakfast dishes to beauty-queen standards whilst still keeping preparation to a minimum.
Homemade pancakes, pikelets or waffles can be arranged around your board (or table, if you are expecting a full house) with all sorts of toppings – think fresh fruit, maple syrup, yoghurt, nut butters, and even a few slices of crispy bacon. This can all be prepared ahead of time – anything that needs to stay warm can be kept in the oven on a low heat until you are ready to serve.
Another great idea for a breakfast platter is to arrange all sorts of fresh seasonal fruit amongst bowls of yoghurt and homemade granola, as well as a few jugs of milk, so your guests can serve their own cereal. Jazz it up with scatterings of honeycomb, nuts, coconut shavings and edible flowers so it will look good enough for the 'gram!
Finally, if you want to create the illusion that you are having breakfast out on a Parisian balcony (don't we all?), make sure to stock your platter board up with all the freshest French pastries you can find (or bake!). Croissants, pains au chocolat and brioche should be arranged amid ramekins filled with jams and other sweet condiments, as well as some artfully placed pieces of fruit. Make sure to serve with a jug of fresh orange juice and a plunger full of hot, strong coffee to really embrace the Parisian lifestyle.

2. Sandwich platter

If you're hosting people over lunch, keep things fun and relaxed by serving up a sandwich board, which your guests can then put together themselves with exactly the fillings they want. Whether you prefer bagels, burgers or even kebabs, a sandwich-style platter makes lunch prep a breeze.
For a beautiful bagel board, assembly couldn't be easier. Most fillings only require slicing and arranging, including fresh goodies such as cucumber, avocado and lettuce – and using pre-cooked meats such as smoked salmon or shredded chicken makes preparation pain free. If you want to add a homemade touch, try making your own sauces, pickling onions or even baking fresh bagels for your board.
Similarly, a burger platter also keeps lunch prep' low-key, apart from a few extra steps. Pick your favourite burger patties – it's up to you whether you go beef, vege or anything in between – and keep them in a warm oven while you get all the other fillings ready. A nice touch would also be to toast the burger buns – make this the last step before you serve!
For a lunch platter with a Middle Eastern spin, a lamb kofta board is a delicious idea. Make your own koftas and serve on a board arranged with fresh vegetables, pitas and homemade tzatziki. A bowl of homemade hummus would go down a treat too!

3. Mexican platter

Tacos are always a scrumptious idea for dinner, but bringing it together it can become quite the chore when there are lots of people dining. To avoid the stress of constructing tacos upon tacos, get your guests in on the fun by giving them everything they need to build their own! All you have to do is arrange all the fillings on your board – we're talking chilli beans, guacamole, salsa and fresh veggies – then let everyone else do the work.
The same goes for nachos, which can be turned into fun and interactive dinner by arranging all the components on a platter board rather than in individual bowls. Make a big bowl of chilli (we love using either a beef, chicken or bean base), and serve it hot surrounded by corn chips, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. All the good stuff, really.

4. Jacket potato platter

Another deliciously creative platter idea went viral in early 2020 – a jacket potato board, which was put out in the world by the queen of the 'Big Board', Sandy Coughlin of the Reluctant Entertainer. It's an ingenious idea, as your party-goers will get a delicious, filling meal that only a few easy steps on your part!
First and foremost, get the potatoes in the oven so they will be ready on time for dinner, then get chopping. On her board, Sandy includes bowls filled with chilli beans, chopped bacon, sour cream, guacamole and grated cheese, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Then, simply stand back and watch while your guests load up their potatoes with all the goodies they want.

5. Dessert platter

If you're ever in charge of dessert, forget the stress of finding and executing a hugely lavish recipe and get plattering instead – any occasion from dinner parties and potlucks to kids' birthdays and even Christmas would be a wonderful time to bring out a board! A dessert platter can be made as simple or extravagant as you want – just dress it up or down to suit your occasion.
If you want to keep things simple, you can't go wrong with a fruit platter. Adorn your board with all the fresh fruit you can find – bonus points if it's curated to fit the season. In summer, we love to see lots of berries, stone fruit and tropical goodies, whereas a winter board would be delicious with kiwifruit, citrus, passion fruit and persimmon. At any time of the year, give your platter an extra dose of fancy by cutting your fruit in creative ways, playing with colour patterns and adding bowls of yoghurt or chocolate for dipping.
One of our favourite dessert platter ideas is the fondue board – where you surround pots of silky-smooth melted chocolate with all sorts of sweet goodies. Our go-tos for dipping include fresh fruit like strawberries and banana, marshmallows and pretzels. If you want to go all out, you could even scatter your board with homemade cookies, brownie or biscotti – we're already drooling.
If it's Christmas that you're catering for, or an equally special summer gathering, the pavlova board is here to change your life. Instead of one large pavlova, this board is dotted with mini pavlovas or meringues (they can be homemade or store bought) and arranged with any combination of toppings you want. Fresh fruit, passion fruit pulp, marshmallows, berry compote, chocolate shavings – the world is your oyster! Your guests will be able to create the pavlova desserts of their dreams, meaning it's a win-win for everyone.