Which cutting board is best?

Whether you’re a professional chef in a busy commercial kitchen or someone who’s just learning how to cook, cutting boards are a critical piece of equipment. Made for everything from rolling out pasta to mincing garlic, the right cutting board allows you to safely prepare every ingredient you need to create your next culinary masterpiece. 

For a cutting board that’s easy on knives and durable no matter what you throw at it, John Boos Block Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board is a superb choice.

What to know before you buy a cutting board

Materials

Cutting boards come in a wide variety of materials, each with pros and cons.

  • Wood: Wooden cutting boards are a classic choice found in nearly every kitchen across the globe. They’re made in a variety of woods, including maple, teak and bamboo. They’re also available with single-slab construction or in a butcher block style, with strips of wood pressed together to form a whole piece.  While wood is generally the safest option to keep knives sharp and free from nicks, it requires some special care to prevent cracking or splitting. 
  • Plastic: Food-grade high-density polypropylene plastic boards are utilitarian and not particularly stylish. They’re an inexpensive option that’s a good choice to prevent cross-contamination between fresh foods and raw meat. Most plastic cutting boards can be washed in the dishwasher, too. However, plastic boards are rough on knives, and scratches in the surface can harbor bacteria when not properly washed. It’s best to replace plastic cutting boards when they scratch. 
  • Glass: This material is not common or preferred among professional chefs. The utility of a glass cutting board lies largely in displaying already prepared foods. They aren’t good for knives, and they’re prone to breaking.
  • Slate or stone: As with glass boards, slate is generally only used for serving or display. 

Size

You want a cutting board that can accommodate what you cook — you wouldn’t want to chop a mess of greens on a pint-sized board. 

Look for larger boards when you need space to spread out — to slice the rind off melons, chiffonade kale and peel and chopping squash.

Smaller boards can handle mincing small quantities of herbs, chopping garlic and slicing small fruit or berries.

What to look for in a quality cutting board

Reversible

Reversible cutting boards are great when storage space is low. This allows you to designate one side of the board for fresh food and the other for raw meat. 

Drip guard

Cutting boards are used for messy tasks, and a drip guard can keep everything contained on the board. Some feature a deep groove on one end of the board, while others have a drip guard all the way around. 

Handles

Handles that extend past the ends of the board are easiest, but some cutting boards have grooves at the end to get a grip. If you prefer more stability, look for handles that are separate from the board itself. 

Ease of care

It doesn’t get much easier than washing your cutting board in the dishwasher, but some types of boards are easier to care for than others. If you don’t want a lot of fussy maintenance, check with the manufacturer to see which board requires the least work to keep it in top shape. 

Durability

With extended use, all cutting boards will eventually need to be replaced. Try and find the most durable one for the money — look for cutting boards that are well-crafted and built to last. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cutting board

When you’re investing in cutting boards, a piece of kitchen equipment that you’ll use every time you cook, expect to spend $5-$175. 

Cutting board FAQ

Do you need separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables?

A. Yes. Raw meat contains bacteria that can lodge in the cutting board and transfer to fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables. Using separate boards for raw meat and vegetables prevents cross-contamination that can lead to foodborne illness.

You may also want to reserve a separate, smaller board for fresh herbs, garlic and onions. These strong flavors can linger in your cutting board and transfer to other foods. 

How do you care for a cutting board?

A. Care for a cutting board depends on the material. 

Wooden cutting boards can’t go in the dishwasher but should be routinely hand-washed and sanitized. To sanitize the board, wipe it down with white vinegar after each use. If you notice lingering odors, sprinkle baking soda onto the wooden board after washing and spray again with white vinegar. Allow it to foam for 10 minutes, then rinse the mixture off with cold water before drying.

Keep your wooden cutting board hydrated with a regular coating of food- grade mineral oil. Some manufacturers suggest specific waxes and oils for their products, so check with your board to see what’s recommended.

Plastic cutting boards can often be popped in the dishwasher, but this can cause them to warp over time. Hand-washing in hot soapy, water is your best bet. You can also sanitize with white vinegar to prevent bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus from forming.

What’s the best cutting board to buy?

Top cutting board

John Boos Block Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board

John Boos Block Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board

What you need to know: This wooden cutting board is substantial and built to last.

What you’ll love: It’s made from solid maple that won’t nick or dull knives. The board is reversible and 2 1/4 inches thick so it won’t move while you work. It’s good for chopping vegetables and working with pastry.

What you should consider: It’s expensive, and it requires care to keep it from cracking over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Wayfair

Top cutting board for the money

Farberware Plastic Cutting Board

Farberware Plastic Cutting Board

What you need to know: This Farberware cutting board is a lightweight option for kitchens with little space.

What you’ll love: This BPA-free board is reversible and food-safe. It can be cleaned in the dishwasher and is an inexpensive choice for people just setting up a kitchen.

What you should consider: It’s flimsy and won’t last long. Plastic also quickly dulls knives.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Greener Chef Wood Bamboo Cutting Board

Greener Chef Wood Bamboo Cutting Board

What you need to know: This set of three cutting boards has all your kitchen cutting tasks covered.

What you’ll love: These bamboo boards are environmentally friendly, antimicrobial and attractive. A drip groove catches liquids. The boards are reversible, too.

What you should consider: Some users report cracks and splinters over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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