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Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best cutting boards

Whether you learn to cook at the Culinary Institute of America or through a series of YouTube videos, one of the first takeaways from such schooling is that you need a good cutting board.

For slicing, chopping, mincing, dicing, and so much more, a cutting board is an essential and versatile kitchen tool.

From afar, it would appear that all cutting boards are created equal. After all, they are but slabs of wood, plastic, and glass that sit on a countertop.

However, when selecting a cutting board, quality is key for several reasons:

  • A bad board will not allow a cook to perform his or her knife tasks properly.

  • A board with an uneven surface or splinters could ruin your meal prep or even send you to the ER for stitches.

We spent hours researching the cutting board space, learning all we could about cutting board materials, care, and tips.

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Cutting boards can range in size, height, material and use. Consider your cooking habits before purchasing.
EXPERT Tip
Store your most beautiful wood boards right on your countertop, standing on end. I lean mine in a thin stack against my backsplash, and look great as well as being super convenient to grab and start chopping
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Cutting board materials

Cutting boards are made of wood, plastic resins, and tempered glass. Simple? Not quite. There are pros and cons for each material, and much depends on whether you are using the cutting board for home or commercial purposes.

Wood

A wood cutting board could be made of a number of natural materials, including maple, walnut, cherry, and teak wood. Bamboo and composite materials fall under the wood umbrella, too.

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Expert Tip
Sometimes a brand new wood board can leach color. Wash it gently with soap and water when you first get it, then wipe it down with a paper towel to test for any dye transfer.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert
  • Hardwood boards made of maple, walnut, or cherry are heavy and expensive. These fine wood boards are super durable; restaurateurs value them for their dependability. Hardwood boards require continuous upkeep (like oiling between uses) and cannot be placed in a dishwasher.

  • Bamboo is lightweight and especially good for home use. However, Steve warns us that the end grain of a bamboo board is softer and more likely to split or crack.

  • Teak is an ideal cutting board material because it’s an extremely durable wood, even used for shipbuilding and furniture making. While it requires occasional oiling between uses to keep fresh, it tends to retain the oil well, says Steve.

  • Wood Fiber: Cutting boards from the Epicurean line are in their own material category, as they are made of Richlite, a durable wood-fiber composite that includes recycled paper. These boards are dishwasher safe, durable, and relatively inexpensive.
The thinner the cutting board, the more likely it is to warp.

Plastic resins

If you want a board that’s high on utility and you don’t really care about its aesthetics, consider a high-density polypropylene model. Plastic boards are tough and durable, and some chefs believe they’re just as good as their wood counterparts.

However, after a lot of usage, plastic boards will look beaten up with scores of knife cuts. Similar usage on a wooden board lends the material “character” — but on a plastic board, it looks ugly.

On the plus side, plastic boards are dishwasher safe and relatively inexpensive compared to wood. Many chefs discard their plastic boards (please recycle) when they outlive their usefulness and buy new ones. The trick is to buy one that’s soft enough to not damage your knife but hard enough to withstand wear and tear.

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Expert Tip
Plastic cutting boards are great for heavy knife cuts, like when I have to press my Chef’s knife down really hard to cut hard caramel. The plastic takes a beating, but it saves my countertop.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Tempered glass

And then there’s glass. Some home cooks are attracted to glass cutting boards because they look fantastic on the kitchen counter. Many feature pastel hues that exude a sense of elegance, but after a lot of usage, that elegance could turn into trouble.

“Glass may look cool, but it breaks,” Steve reminds us. “If it shatters or chips, it could get into your food, and then you have to throw it all out. Hence, the reason the health department will not allow glass on cooking lines in commercial kitchens.”

If you tend to use a cutting board more for show — that is, as a serving tray — a glass model might be okay. But if you’re heavy into chopping, slicing, and dicing, we recommend that you consider your alternatives.

"You may wish to consider a cutting board with “juice channels” (troughs) if you cut a lot of meat and prefer not to deal with runny juices."
STAFF
BestReviews

Caring for cutting boards

Sanitization

To sanitize and disinfect a wood or wood resin cutting board, don’t put it in the dishwasher; this erodes the quality of the wood. Instead, wipe it with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The vinegar’s acetic acid tackles E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.

To deodorize and disinfect your wooden cutting board, sprinkle on some baking soda and follow it up with a spritz of undiluted white vinegar. After it foams for 5 to 10 minutes, proceed to rinse with a cloth and cold water.

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Did you know?
You can keep your wood cutting board clean and sanitized with two inexpensive kitchen ingredients: vinegar and baking soda.
STAFF
BestReviews

Food safety

University of California researchers looked at the merits of various types of cutting boards as a way to avoid cross-contamination issues.

Cross-contamination occurs when meat or veggies are cut on a board and the board is not cleaned properly afterward.

The researchers at UC found that plastic may be easier to sanitize, but after a lot of usage, grooves form in the material where bacteria can hide. Wood may be more difficult to sanitize, but it will not sustain cuts and grooves in which dangerous bacteria nestle down.

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Rather than buy a mat to keep your cutting board in place, try placing a damp towel beneath it. The towel should prevent sliding.
STAFF
BestReviews

Size

A larger, 11” x 14” cutting board is ideal for when you want to prep multiple items at once. The generous size allows you to keep the ingredients on the board until your chopping is complete.

Some smaller cutting boards have the tendency to move around on the countertop while you’re chopping. To keep a smaller board in place, you could purchase a rubber mat designed to keep the board stationary. Or, you could buy a board with feet or rubber corners.

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A smaller cutting board can also be used as a handy serving plate.

Price

Under $100

Cutting boards that meet BestReviews’ durability and ease-of-use standards tend to cost $30 and up. You’ll find some excellent composite wood and tempered glass choices in this price range.

And yes, you could certainly find something for less than $30 that fits the bill. It all depends on what you value in a cutting board.

"Some people, including Steve and other professional chefs, don’t like tempered glass cutting boards because they may crack and chip. We recommend only using a glass cutting board as a serving tray."
STAFF
BestReviews

Under $200

In this higher price range, you’ll find some state-of-the-art boards made of walnut, maple, bamboo, and other fine materials.

These boards are revered for their strength, durability, and beauty. They may have built-in handles for added convenience.

If you’ve decided to spend this larger amount, and you seek the ultimate in luxury and quality, consider a thicker board —  perhaps even one in the style of a butcher block.

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Some cutting boards are framed by a trough that holds the juices that result from cutting meat or poultry. Users tend to either love or hate this feature.

FAQ

Q. What mistakes do newcomers to this product category make?

A. A common mistake owners make is placing their wooden cutting board in the dishwasher. The board may appear unharmed at the end of a wash cycle, but over time, the frequent water/detergent/heat exposure will degrade the board. It may crack or even split.

Steve warns that buying a pricey board that doesn’t really fit your needs is another common mistake. For example, a vegetarian who lives and eats alone has different needs than the head chef of a carnivorous, six-person household.

Q. What should a cook do when he or she first gets a wooden cutting board?

A. Your first step with a wooden board is to oil it. Steve points out that you needn’t buy the oil sold by your board’s manufacturer. Any food-safe mineral oil should do, as would a refractionated coconut oil. (This type of coconut oil has been refined so it will not go rancid.)

Some chefs have also found success oiling their boards with beeswax, tung oil, or linseed oil.

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