When it comes to essential kitchen tools for preparing a home-cooked meal, a good cutting board is right up there with a sharp set of knives and evenly-heating cookware. These durable instruments not only save your countertop from scratches, they keep your chopped foods in one place, help reduce the spread of germs, and, depending on the type, can even make for nice décor. But making a final selection is tougher than you might think. We dove deep into the complex world of cutting boards to help you find the best one for your kitchen.
What is the best material for cutting boards?
Material will play the biggest role in determining which cutting board is right for you. From wood and bamboo to plastic and silicone, there’s a whole world of cutting board substances to explore, each with its own unique benefits — and a few drawbacks. Below, find a brief explanation of a few of the most common types and where they win big or fall short.
Wood: Wood is considered the gold standard as far as cutting boards go, and for good reason: It’s durable, eye-catching, and, depending on the type, softer than hard cutting board materials, such as plastic or glass, which can be tough on knives. A few things to consider when shopping for wood cutting boards are the type of wood (soft woods, like walnut, acacia, and teak wood will be gentler on knives, while hard woods, such as maple or cherry, will be more durable and long-lasting), the thickness, which can determine how quickly your cutting board will warp (standard thickness ranges from 1.25-inches to 2.25-inches), and the style: lighter woods, like maple, will fit brighter décors, while darker woods may suit more modern tastes.
Plastic: According to experts, plastic may be a better choice than wood when it comes to cutting things such as raw meats, since porous woods can attract bacteria. “Hardwoods, like maple, are fine-grained, and the capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping the bacteria — which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning,” Ben Chapman a food safety researcher at NC State, told NC State University News in 2014. “Soft woods, like cypress, are less likely to dull the edge of your knife, but also pose a greater food safety risk. That’s because they have larger grains, which allows the wood to split apart more easily, forming grooves where bacteria can thrive.”
Silicone: Silicone is another popular option that is beloved by users for its flexibility (many of these boards can be folded up to carry chopped goods from counter to pan), softness, which make them an ideal pick for protecting nice knives, and washability.
A few other options include wood composite fiber, glass, and recycled cutting boards.
The Best Cutting Boards
Ready to find your perfect cutting board? Right this way! We’ve rounded up 10 of the best models on the market, no matter your material or usage preferences, from beautiful maple versions that will make guests ooh and aah ($136.99, Amazon) to handy silicone models that will fold up with ease ($24.99, Amazon). Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best cutting boards of 2019!
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Catskills Cutting Board
Best Wood Cutting Board — Catskill Craftsmen, Inc. Super Slab Chopping Block
Where to buy: $113.99 (Originally $178.05), Wayfair
When it comes to wood, Catskill Craftsmen knows its stuff. The company's gorgeous reversible board will not only make for a pretty sight in your kitchen, it’s made from super thick 3-inch end grain North American wood that’s designed to keep your knives in tip-top shape. It’s also got side handles for easy transportation.
Dexas Cutting Board
Best Cutting Boards for Raw Meat — Dexas
Where to buy: $19.95, Sur La Table
When it comes to cutting raw meat, your number one concern should be sanitation. There are a whole host of germs (more than 250!) that can be found on poultry and other meats, all of which can make you seriously ill. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick each year from food-borne illnesses in the US alone. That means it extremely important to sanitize any cooking utensils your meat touches — including your cutting board. Plastic is preferred to wood for this purpose, since it’s non-porous, while wood can absorb meat’s germ-filled juices. This one from Dexas is equipped with a special “juice groove” to make sure any runoff liquid stays contained. It’s also super easy to wash with hot water.
John Boos Cutting Board
Best Cutting Board for Knives – John Boos Reversible Walnut Cutting Board
Where to buy: $136.99 (Originally $228), Macy’s
Your cutting board isn’t the only tool you want to last when it comes to cutting. Those in possession of a nice knife set will want to keep it sharp, and a hard cutting board is one of the fastest ways to dull them. Make sure yours stay in primo condition by choosing a soft cutting board, like a black walnut or a teak wood, which will minimize bending or “rolling” your knife’s edge. This walnut John Boos find makes for a good pick that’s also easy on the eyes. It’s reversible to help you avoid cross-contamination and features built-in hand grips, too.
Lifticon Cutting Board
Best Silicone Cutting Board — Lifticon Extra-Large Cutting Board
Where to buy: $24.99, Amazon
While choosing a thick cutting board is your best bet as far as durability is concerned, since thin wood will warp faster, there are some advantages to thinner materials, such as silicone. Not only is silicone flexible, enabling you to fold your board in half to hold and transfer chopped material, it's soft on knives, and more durable than its plastic counterpart. Lifticon’s extra-large version, which has earned Amazon’s top choice mark for its category, comes in four fun colors and varying sizes to suit your needs.
Totally Bamboo Cutting Board
Best Bamboo Cutting Board — Totally Bamboo Hana Board
Where to buy: From $12.68, Amazon
Bamboo is similar in nature to wood, being somewhat porous, but is slightly harder. While it may not be ideal for knives for this reason, it’s grown by leaps and bounds in popularity due to the fact that it’s renewable, making it a great choice for the environmentally-conscious. Totally Bamboo is a brand that’s trusted by professional chefs and comes in a range of sizes and shapes, from small square models, like this one, to long rectangular wooden slats.
Joseph Joseph Cutting Board
Best Cutting Board Set — Joseph Joseph
Where to buy: $71.99, Target
This nine-piece stainless steel and polypropylene cutting board set from Joseph Joseph has everything you’ll need to up your dicing game. In addition to the four color-coded, special-purpose boards (red is for meat, blue for fish, green for veggies, and white for cooked food), which help decrease the chances of cross-contamination, you’ll also receive a holder and a four-piece knife set with a 7-inch cook’s knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, a 6.5-inch all-purpose knife, and a 5-inch fish knife.
Oxo Good Grips
Best Plastic Cutting Board — OXO Good Grips Ultility Cutting Board
Where to buy: $14.99, Amazon
When scouring the internet for a plastic cutting board, there’s one that came up time and time again — OXO’s Good Grips board. This affordable piece has more than 2,300 reviews on Amazon, making it the company’s No. 3 best-selling cutting board overall (this extra-large Gorilla Grip number, $13.99, is No. 1). It features tapered handles for easily transferring your chopped foods to the pan, non-slip edges to keep it secure, and a large surface (10.5 x 14.5) for cutting up veggies and the like.
Wrote one happy buyer, “It's an excellent size and thickness. The non-skid sides grip the counter enough so that the board does not slide while cutting, but not so much that it's difficult to move around the counter. It's also properly firm —soft enough to keep from dulling a blade but firm enough for easy, clean cuts.”
Architec Cuttitng Board
Safest Cutting Board — Architec Gripper Translucent Cutting Board
Where to buy: $20, Bloomingdale’s
If you’re on the clumsy side and safety while cutting is a top priority, you can’t do much better than this Architec award-winning gripper design. It features more than 300 soft rubber gripping feat to ensure this board won’t budge an inch as you slice and dice. It also comes in two uniquely bold colors that will brighten up your kitchen.
Sur La Table Cutting Board
Best Reversible Cutting Board – Sur La Table
Where to buy: $40, Sur La Table
Talk about multi-purpose! Sur La Table’s reversible cutting board is like having two boards in one, with one flat side for everyday usage and a juice-draining feature on the other that makes it useful for carving. It’s made from eco-friendly bamboo, which has water and bacteria-resistant properties, and is hand wash only.
Wusthof Cutting Board
Best Cutting Board for Mincing — Wüsthof Mincing Cutting Board Set
Where to buy: $33.99 (Originally $55), Macy’s
If you’ve ever cut your onion or garlic into super fine pieces, only to find it sliding off your cutting board and all over the counter, you’ll know exactly why we chose this miniature board for mincing. It’s unique U-shape will keep your minced herbs right where you want them in the center of the board. Plus, you’ll get a high-carbon steel mezzaluna, or curved knife, that will help get the job done quick. This set is hand wash only.
Thirteen Chefs Oil
Best Oil for Cutting Boards — Thirteen Chefs Food Grade Mineral Oil
Where to buy: $10.95, Amazon
Now that you’ve got a nice, new cutting board, you’ll want to make sure it endures with proper maintenance. A little mineral oil, like this wood and bamboo-safe one from Thirteen Chefs, will go a long way toward making your purchase last, as it adds moisture to wood and protectively seals it against the elements.