Vaccination with peptides that induce a specific immune response is a potential prophylactic or therapeutic strategy against viral infections and tumors. Because of the extensive polymorphism of the HLA loci, synthetic peptide vaccines must consist of a cocktail of peptides that bind specifically to different HLA molecules. Such cocktails should be optimized for the target population as each population has its specific HLA gene frequencies. To achieve maximum population coverage with a minimum number of peptides, information is needed on the ranking of the most frequent HLA phenotypes. We introduce the minimal phenotype panel, which is the smallest combination of HLA antigens selected so that the proportion of individuals in a population that express at least one of the antigens in the panel exceeds a desired minimum value. We developed a method for assembling minimal phenotype panels based on known HLA class I gene frequencies. We give an example based on a set of 2446 well-defined HLA-typed, random, healthy, unrelated, Dutch Caucasoid individuals. In addition, we discuss the possibility of assembling minimal phenotype panels based on two-locus haplotypes, which enables the assembly of phenotype panels from the antigens of both loci.