The Best Cutting Boards, According to Our Test Kitchen
A good cutting board is essential to any kitchen. Whether you're carving a roast chicken or chopping produce for a salad, a cutting board is necessary for any knife work you plan on doing while cooking. Although choosing a cutting board may seem deceptively easy, there are a number of factors to consider when buying a board: factors that can impact food safety as well as usage. To help you find the perfect cutting board to fit your needs, we've pulled together a list of the best cutting boards.
Types of Cutting Boards
Although there are many types of material that can be used to make cutting boards, including glass, marble and stainless steel, this guide focuses on the three most common, and best, cutting board materials: wood, plastic and bamboo. (Glass, marble and stainless-steel cutting boards can dull knives, and a dull knife is not safe.) While all types of cutting boards serve the same purpose, there is one key distinction among the three: porousness.
A wood cutting board is considered porous, meaning its surface is susceptible to absorbing liquid, while a plastic cutting board is considered nonporous as its surface won't soak up any liquid. Meanwhile, a bamboo cutting board is considered less porous than wood, but still liable to absorb liquid. A cutting board's porousness is important when it comes to food safety because food, especially raw meats, can leave behind liquid that spurs the growth of harmful bacteria.
If a cutting board isn't cleaned properly, it can lead to cross contamination, which is why the USDA recommends "using one cutting board for fresh produce and bread and a separate one for raw meat, poultry or seafood." With this recommendation, you could opt for a wood or bamboo cutting board for produce and a plastic cutting board for meats and seafood, as a nonporous surface is easier to clean. Whichever material you select, just be sure you're cleaning your cutting board properly to avoid risking illness. Learn how to clean your cutting board.
Features of a Cutting Board
Regardless of the cutting board material, there are a few features to consider when selecting a model. First, does the cutting board have a well? A well is a groove that runs along the perimeter of the board to collect juices from whatever ingredient you're cutting. The well ensures that you won't lose any precious liquid—which could make a mess of whatever surface your cutting board is sitting on—and makes it easy to pour the liquid directly into a pan for a sauce or in a glass to drink.
Second, does the cutting board have a grip? A grip stabilizes the cutting board so there is no movement when you are chopping or dicing. Whether it's a stone countertop or a wood island, a cutting board with a grip is a safe choice. Grips can either appear as a border along the cutting board's edges or as feet in the corners of the board. (No grip? Placing a damp paper towel under the board can help stabilize it.)
Finally, is the cutting board reversible? If a cutting board is reversible, you essentially have two cutting boards in one. The dual surfaces are perfect for keeping ingredients separate while minimizing the space taken up in your kitchen cabinets. Just be sure there's an easy way to distinguish between the two sides so there's no accidental cross contamination.
Best Cutting Boards
This is our list of the best cutting boards to make it easier for you to pick one.
Read on for details on what makes these cutting boards the best, as well as the boards that deserve an honorable mention.
Best Overall Cutting Board
Epicurean Cutting Board with Well, Natural
If you’re having a hard time deciding between a wood or plastic cutting board, get the best of both worlds with Epicurean’s board, which is made from Richlite, an eco-friendly wood fiber and recycled-paper composite. Not only is the material environmentally friendly, but it combines the sleek look of a wood cutting board with the nonporous surface of a plastic cutting board. It’s also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Although this board doesn’t have a grip, it is reversible and has a wide well that easily collected the juice during our tests. While all the cutting boards we tested had nicks on them after chopping, the Epicurean had the least visible marks (it’s natural for a cutting board to take on marks, but once a board has deep, hard-to-clean grooves, it should be thrown out). Plus, the Epicurean comes in a range of sizes, so you’ll always be able to find the perfect fit for your countertop.
Best Plastic Cutting Board
While Dexas makes cutting boards in a variety of materials, their plastic version was the clear favorite during the tests. Thanks to the grip on the perimeter of the board, the Dexas didn’t move a single inch during the test. With that kind of stability, you can have peace of mind knowing your board won’t budge when cutting produce. In addition to the useful grip, the cutting board checks the other two features boxes with a well and a double-sided design that makes it easy to distinguish between the two. Aside from the handy features, the affordability of the board along with its dishwasher-safe status makes the Dexas a great purchase.
Buy it: Bed Bath & Beyond, $16 for a 14½-by-11-inch board
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Williams Sonoma Synthetic Prep Cutting Board with Well
While Williams Sonoma takes the top spot for our favorite wood cutting board (see below), their plastic version is just as great. This 12-by-16-inch board is perfect for carving larger pieces of meat, as there is plenty of space. Plus, there’s a deep well for juice collection and it’s easy to funnel the liquid into another container or pan. And when you’re not carving meat, you can flip the board for cutting vegetables or fruit. And if you’re looking for even more space, the board also comes in a larger size, 15-by-20. This board is also dishwasher-safe, which means an easy cleanup.
Best Wood Cutting Board
Williams Sonoma Cutting & Carving Board
What’s better than one cutting board? Two cutting boards. This gorgeous set from Williams Sonoma is made from acacia wood and comes with two different-size boards: an 8-by-11-inch board and an 11-by-14-inch board. The larger board is designed for carving, as it features a perimeter well, while the smaller board would be perfect for serving charcuterie or any other snack spread. Before using, Williams Sonoma recommends applying a food-grade mineral oil (Williams Sonoma, $9) to preserve the quality of the wood. While this board needs to be hand-washed, its stunning appearance and handy features make it well worth the extra effort.
Best Cutting Board with a Well
Food52 Five Two Bamboo Cutting Board
Made from bamboo, the Food52 cutting board has the features you want (and the features you didn’t even know you needed). While the board includes a handy slot that can hold your phone, which makes following a recipe a breeze, the feature that stands out is the juice well. The groove on the Food52 cutting board was not only the deepest, but also the easiest to use of the boards tested. Distinct from other models, this board features a pour spout in the corner, which makes funneling the liquid into a glass or pan a spill-free exchange (because who likes cleaning up messes?). In addition to these useful features, the board is also reversible and, at 18-by-13, large enough to handle any chopping job. And when you’re done cooking, give the board a quick wash by hand (read more about why we love this cutting board).
Buy it: Food52, $59 for an 18-by-13-inch board
Best Cutting Board for Meal Prep
Cup Board Pro
If this cutting board looks familiar, it may be because of its feature on the show Shark Tank. Made from Richlite (the same combination of wood fiber and recycled-paper composite mentioned above), this board was designed by NYC firefighter Keith Young and brought to stores by his kids, who wanted to honor their dad’s legacy (the firefighter emblem in the corner of the board is a nod to Young, who passed away from cancer). Aside from the touching tribute, the board has several features that make it perfect for meal prep. First, the board includes a removable and collapsible tray that holds scraps, which is great if you’re prepping a lot of produce and don’t want to constantly walk back and forth to the compost bin. In addition to that handy addition, the board also includes feet to grip the counter, is reversible, has a groove for collecting juices and comes in three color options. And to top it off, a portion of the proceeds benefits the FDNY Foundation’s Fired Up for a Cure.
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Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot
This BPA-free plastic cutting board is designed to make transferring food from the board into the pan hassle-free. When you squeeze the handle, the sides of the board fold up, creating a funnel that makes dumping ingredients a breeze (so you won’t lose pieces of food to the floor if they accidentally fall off while moving the board). This unique board comes in three sizes and an array of colors, so there’s a board for any kitchen. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe for an easy cleanup.
Buy it: Amazon, $13 for a 15-by-8¼-inch board
Best Cutting Board for Small Kitchens
OXO Good Grips Everyday Cutting Board
If you’re short on counter space, the OXO Good Grips board is a great choice. At just 12 inches by 8 inches, this budget-friendly cutting board has just enough room for your chopping needs without taking up precious storage space. The nonslip grip on the board ensures a steady cutting surface while the double-sided board makes it easy to chop meat on one side and produce on the other. When you’re cutting meat, the well is there to catch any runoff juices. And when you’re done cooking, the plastic, lightweight board is dishwasher-safe.
Buy it: OXO, $15 for a 12-by-8-inch board
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J.K. Adams Maple Wood Pro-Classic Cutting Board
Made in Vermont, this hand-crafted piece uses maple wood to create a gorgeous and functional board. At just 12 inches by 8 inches, this cutting board is small, yet mighty. Not only is the board perfect for cutting and slicing, but the handsome finish allows the board to double as a serving vessel. And any kitchen item that serves a dual purpose is well worth the purchase to us.
Buy it: Amazon, $30 for a 12-by-8-inch board
Best Cutting Board for Food Safety
Seville Classics Cutting Board with Mats
The Seville Classics cutting board is perfect for keeping ingredients separate and avoiding cross-contamination, thanks to the cutting mats. The board comes with seven mats, each of which has a designated food group etched into it, so you can easily keep track of which mat to use with whatever ingredient. The mats sit atop a bamboo cutting board and are dishwasher-safe for a quick cleanup. And when they’re not in use, there’s a handy storage compartment for the mats so you won’t lose a single one (read more about why we love this board).