The Best Cutting Boards of 2021

The best cutting boards are easy on knife blades and make meal prep a breeze.

By Amy Lynch and Savannah Sher | Updated Nov 8, 2020 9:50 AM

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The Complete Buyer's Guide for the Best Cutting Boards

Photo: istockphoto.com

Do you want to keep your countertops in good shape? Cutting boards are key accessories for any kitchen, providing a durable, hygienic place to slice and dice ingredients without marring the surface beneath.

Available in a range of types, shapes, and sizes, cutting boards might seem like a dime a dozen when it comes to their suitability for different types of food. If you’re on the lookout for a new cutting board, read on. We’ve outlined the key considerations to keep in mind and gathered details on our top picks among the best cutting boards available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Gorilla Grip Reversible Oversized Cutting Board Set
  3. BEST FOR SERVING: BILL.F Acacia 12” Cutting Board, Cheese Paddle Board
  4. BEST FOR CARVING MEAT: Thirteen Chefs Commercial Plastic Cutting Board
  5. DESIGN PICK: eleonorasartworld Ocean art Custom Chopping board
  6. ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting
  7. BEST PASTRY/CUTTING BOARD: Williams Sonoma Marble Pastry Board
  8. BEST CHEF-APPROVED: John Boos Block Maple Wood Edge Grain Cutting Board
The Best Cutting Boards Option

Photo: amazon.com

Common Types of Cutting Boards

The first thing to think about when you’re in the market for a cutting board is construction material. Get to know the differences between the most used types to weigh the pros and cons.

Plastic

Plastic cutting boards might seem like the most health-conscious option since they’re dishwasher safe, but studies show that they might not be as germ-free as we assume. While a brand-new one can be completely rid of bacteria with a run through the dishwasher, even a lightly used plastic cutting board can never be truly cleaned once knives have compromised the surface.

The benefits of plastic cutting boards are that they’re slim and easy to store, gentle on knives, and not particularly expensive. Plastic options may be the best cutting boards for bread and vegetables if you avoid cutting meat on them and wash all other foods vigorously before cutting them. There are also ultrathin, flexible cutting board options on the market that are lightweight and easy to clean.

Bamboo

Bamboo cutting boards are generally considered to be an eco-friendly choice because it’s possible to manage the growth and harvesting of bamboo sustainably. An additional perk: cutting boards of this material offer sanitary properties similar to traditional wood boards.

Bamboo could potentially be even more sanitary than hardwood due to bamboo being less soft and absorbent.

Wood

Wood is considered by many to be the best cutting board material since woods are handsomely textured and the least likely to wear down your knife blades.

Whether you prefer a traditional butcher block made of several types of wood or a sleek, heavy slab of maple, know that most wood cutting boards are two to three times as expensive as a bamboo alternative. However, with the right maintenance, your wooden cutting board can serve double duty as both work surface and serving platter for generations to come.

Marble and Granite

Marble or granite cutting boards appeal to home cooks with a penchant for luxury culinary products. These slabs cost three to four times as much as any other material and are more visually appealing than long-lasting.

Granite is too porous to resist absorption of the foods you place and chop on it; therefore, it may allow for cross-contamination even after a thorough cleaning. Marble and granite slabs are perfectly safe and strikingly beautiful to use when slicing fruits, cheese, and crudités but not necessarily practical for day-to-day meal prep.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cutting Board

While it’s easy to assume that all cutting boards offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best cutting boards for your kitchen.

Size 

Cutting boards come in a wide range of sizes, each of which has its own applications.

  • Small cutting boards typically have dimensions of approximately 8 by 10 inches. They’re useful for minor food preparation tasks and make great serving platters for cheese, vegetables, or charcuterie.
  • Medium cutting boards measure approximately 10 by 14 inches. They’re the most common size on the market since they don’t take up much storage space yet are versatile for many kitchen tasks.
  • Large cutting boards usually measure between 12 by 18 inches and 15 by 20 inches. This size is preferred by avid home chefs who regularly chop large quantities of food.
  • Extra-large cutting boards measure 20 by 30 inches or more. They’re a great choice for boards that are left on the countertop, though they can be somewhat difficult to clean for those without large sinks.

Shape and Thickness

While most cutting boards on the market are rectangular, a variety of other shapes are also available. Rectangular cutting boards are the most popular for most applications because they suit a natural chopping workflow. Square and circular boards are more well suited to serving purposes, and novelty shapes can make a fun gift.

The thickness of a cutting board is also a key consideration. Thicker wood cutting boards are less likely to warp over time. Also, because they’re inherently heavier, they will stay in place while you work. Look for a model that’s between 1.25 and 2 inches thick.

Stability

Rubber feet on the corners of a board afford extra control while cutting. Feet designate one side of the board as the top and the other as the bottom, meaning that you cannot make use of both sides for cutting—when the one side gets all carved up, you won’t be able to simply flip the board over to work on the other side.

Additionally, board edges wrapped in rubber create a similar grippy effect without eating up any space on the face of your board. If you decide to go ahead and skip feet altogether, you can still steady the board easily by placing a wet paper towel or a clean rag underneath the board.

Drip Trench/Juice Groove

Having a clean surface on which to work will make your meal tasks much easier and faster, both during preparation and afterward. Chopping and dicing meat and poultry, as well as fruits and vegetables, will inevitably produce a fair amount of juice and debris.

Handling meat juices, especially those that might contain salmonella or other harmful bacteria, requires more vigilance against contamination and a bigger cleanup job. The juice groove on a cutting board is one of the easiest ways to contain those juices and keep your preparation space safe and clean.

Care and Maintenance

The care and maintenance of a cutting board depend largely on the material from which it’s made.

  • Plastic cutting boards are the easiest to clean because they’re dishwasher-friendly.
  • Bamboo cutting boards should be washed by hand, lest your dishwasher warp the material. They can be particularly hard on knife blades, requiring you to sharpen your blades more often.
  • While wood cutting boards are easy on knife blades, they have high care and maintenance needs: they must be washed by hand to prevent warping and require occasional conditioning with food-grade mineral oil to keep in great shape.

Our Top Picks

Now that you’ve learned more about cutting boards, it’s time to start shopping. The following are our top picks for cutting boards for your kitchen.

Best Overall

The Best Cutting Board Option: OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set
Photo: amazon.com

This OXO cutting board set features a straightforward pair of high-grade plastic prepping surfaces for all your culinary needs. These double-sided cutting boards give you twice the cutting surface and help prevent cross-contamination, making them a great option for people looking for a cutting board for meat.

Each cutting board is composed of nonporous, odor-resistant polypropylene—a durable material that resists deep scratches yet won’t dull your best kitchen knives. Both boards measure 10¾ inches by 7¼ inches. The surrounding drip-catcher groove keeps even the juiciest foods off your counters and is beveled at the corner for easy disposal and cleaning.

Both boards feature tapered, soft-grip handles for easy lifting that also serve as nonslip supports for added stability while you cut. Both boards are dishwasher safe, allowing for added cleaning convenience without sacrificing health and safety.

Product Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Set of: 2
  • Dimensions: 10¾ by 7¼ inches

Pros

  • Double-sided design
  • Won’t dull kitchen knives
  • Soft-grip handles
  • Dishwasher-friendly

Cons

  • Small size

Best Bang for the Buck

Gorilla Grip Reversible Oversized Cutting Board Set
Photo: amazon.com

Those stocking a kitchen for the first time will appreciate this affordable three-pack of cutting boards from Gorilla Grip. Each board features a slip-resistant rubber border to ensure it stays in place while you work and deep juice grooves to prevent spills and messes. While the boards are reversible, only one side includes the grooves.

Each set comes with three board sizes: 16 by 11.2 inches, 13.8 by 9.6 inches, and 11.8 by 8 inches. Shoppers can choose from a wide variety of color combinations based on their kitchen’s design style.

Product Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Set of: 3
  • Dimensions: 16 by 11.2; 13.8 by 9.6; 11.8 by 8 inches

Pros

  • Slip-resistant border
  • Many color options available
  • Soft-grip handles
  • Dishwasher-friendly

Cons

  • Juice grooves on one side only

Best for Serving

The Best Cutting Board Option: BILL.F Acacia 12” Cutting Board, Cheese Paddle Board
Photo: amazon.com

This round cutting board from BILL.F functions as both a pizza peel and a serving platter due to its large surface area and smooth edges. It features a contrasting wood tone pattern, which makes for a stylish addition when serving cheese, vegetables, or charcuterie meat.

The handle features a hole, allowing this board to hang easily for convenient storage when it’s not in use. Because it’s made from acacia wood, this board is not oven safe and should only be used for removing pizza from the oven to prevent the board from cracking and warping.

Product Specs

  • Material: Acacia wood
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 16 by 12 inches

Pros

  • Attractive contrasting wood pattern
  • Useful as pizza peel, cutting board, or serving vessel
  • Hole in the handle to hang board

Cons

  • Not oven-friendly

Best for Carving Meat

The Best Cutting Board Option: Thirteen Chefs Commercial Plastic Cutting Board
Photo: amazon.com

This professional-grade cutting board from Thirteen Chefs is large enough to carve roasts, steaks, and even a holiday turkey. It’s made from high-density polypropylene (HDPP), a superior plastic that resists stains and odors as well as cuts, a bonus for prepping and carving meat. For best results, avoid using serrated knives on this board.

There are no feet or handles, making the design reversible. While the board is dishwasher safe, its large surface area of 30 by 18 inches keeps it from fitting in most residential dishwashers, and it will therefore need to be washed and sanitized by hand. On the plus side, its heft keeps the board securely in place on your counter as you carve and cut.

Product Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 30 by 18 inches

Pros

  • Extra-large size
  • Cut and stain resistant
  • Made from commercial-grade plastic

Cons

  • May not fit in residential dishwashers
  • No grooves to catch juices

Design Pick

The Best Cutting Board Option: eleonorasartworld Ocean art Custom Chopping board
Photo: etsy.com

Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one? These cutting boards from Etsy feature a gorgeous resin coating with calming ocean waves as well as engraving to personalize the board for the recipient.

Shoppers can choose from 12 engraving styles, with picks reflecting a number of aesthetic styles and two sizes: 18 by 12 inches and 14 by 10 inches. The double-sided design is functional for both cutting and serving, with one side featuring the decorative resin finish and the other featuring a standard wood finish. Users must hand-wash the board and avoid totally submerging it in water to preserve its decorative design.

Product Specs

  • Material: Oak and ash wood
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 18 by 12 inches or 14 by 10 inches

Pros

  • Unique personalized design
  • Multiple engraving options
  • Double-sided design
  • Two sizes available

Cons

  • Not dishwasher-friendly

Eco-Friendly Pick

The Best Cutting Board Option: ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting
Photo: amazon.com

This 18-by-12-inch, nonabsorbent, antimicrobial bamboo board helps keep cross-contamination to a minimum. Crafted with thick, heavy-duty bamboo, the BPA-free cutting board provides a clean food-prep surface for every meal.

Tough enough to withstand heavy chopping, slicing, dicing, and sharp knives, the ROYAL CRAFT WOOD bamboo cutting board’s surface won’t retain stains or odors, adding to long-term usefulness. With a reversible design, both sides can be used for prep work or one side can be reserved for serving. The built-in drip groove holds juice from meat, fruit, or vegetables.

Product Specs

  • Material: Bamboo
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 18 by 12 inches

Pros

  • Large size
  • Antimicrobial bamboo construction
  • Built-in drip groove prevents messes

Cons

  • May dull knives over time

Best Pastry/Cutting Board

The Best Cutting Board Option: Williams Sonoma Marble Pastry Board
Photo: williams-sonoma.com

While marble may not be ideal for day-to-day food prep, it’s the perfect material for rolling out pastry dough because it consistently maintains a temperature that’s slightly lower than the temperature in the room. This chic marble cutting board from Williams Sonoma is hand-finished to provide an ultrasmooth surface that works well for preparing pizza dough, pie and pastry crust, and more.

The white Macael marble is found in southern Spain’s Andalucía region and has a pristine appearance with subtle veining. Because of its stylish look, this board works just as well for serving baked goods as it does for preparing them.

Product Specs

  • Material: Marble
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 24 by 16 inches

Pros

  • The cool marble surface is ideal for rolling out dough
  • Large surface area
  • Stylish enough to use as a serving tray

Cons

  • Not practical for day-to-day use

Best Chef-Approved

The Best Cutting Board Option: John Boos Block Maple Wood Edge Grain Cutting Board
Photo: amazon.com

Compared to end-grain cutting boards, edge-grain models are considered to be the gold standard, and this board from John Boos is an established favorite among chefs. It’s made from sustainably sourced, hand-selected northern hard rock maple and is fully reversible. Due to edge-grain construction, it’s incredibly durable, too.

This board measures 20 inches by 15 inches and is 1.5 inches thick. Other sizes are available, some of which have grooves for catching juices and other liquids. Like all wood cutting boards, it should be hand-washed and is not dishwasher safe. John Boos recommends oiling the board regularly, especially for users who live in dry climates.

Product Specs

  • Material: Maple wood
  • Set of: 1
  • Dimensions: 20 by 15 inches (1.25 inches thick)

Pros

  • Durable edge-grain construction
  • Made from sustainably sourced maple
  • Large surface area

Cons

  • Requires regular oiling
  • Must be hand-washed

Our Verdict

After reviewing our guide, you’ll now know more about shopping for cutting boards for your kitchen. We recommend the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set for its reversible design, affordable price, and ease of cleaning. Those on a budget will appreciate the Gorilla Grip Reversible Oversized Cutting Board Set, which comes in a pack of three and is made from dishwasher-friendly plastic.

How We Chose the Best Cutting Boards

Years of experience covering home and kitchen products as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 40 cutting board options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

  • Material: We included various types of cutting boards in the guide because plastic, bamboo, marble, and wood boards all have advantages, and many cooks keep a board of each type on hand.
  • Versatility: For those with limited kitchen space, having a versatile cutting board is essential. Because of that, we largely recommended plastic, wood, and bamboo cutting boards, which work well for most kitchen tasks.
  • Value: Cutting boards vary widely in price, so we aimed to feature products that offered excellent value regardless of their material and price point.

FAQs

While you now know about choosing the best cutting boards, you might still want more information about how to use and maintain them. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about cutting boards.

Q. What is the most sanitary type of cutting board?

Both wood and nonporous surfaces like plastic are sanitary for cutting raw meat and poultry. However, it is recommended that home cooks use one cutting board for fresh produce and bread and a different board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Q. What should you do to prevent cross-contamination when using cutting boards?

According to the USDA, it’s essential to always use a clean cutting board in order to prevent cross-contamination. Ideally, every kitchen should have a board that’s used for meat and fish and another that’s used for fresh produce. Be sure to clean and sanitize each board thoroughly after every use.

Q. What woods are not good for cutting boards?

Avoid cutting boards made from softwoods, like pine, and open-pored woods, like ash and red oak.

Q. How do you clean wooden cutting boards?

Always wash wooden cutting boards by hand rather than in the dishwasher. While warm, soapy water is sufficient for cleaning a cutting board used for preparing fruit, vegetables, or bread, apply a sanitizer if the board has processed raw meat.

Q. What do you oil a wood cutting board with?

Oil a wood cutting board with either a specially formulated cutting board oil or simple food-grade mineral oil every 6 months.

Q. How can you tell if your board is properly seasoned?

The best way to test whether a cutting board has been properly seasoned is to sprinkle some water on its surface. If the water beads up, you’ll know it is sufficiently seasoned.

Q. How should you store a cutting board?

Cutting boards can be stored either vertically or horizontally, but if stored flat, they should be dried thoroughly before they’re put away.