The Best Cutting Boards for Meal Prep

The best cutting boards are easy on knife blades and make meal prep a breeze. Learn the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best cutting board

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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 may 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-favorite picks among the best cutting boards available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: ROYAL CRAFT EXTRA LARGE Organic Bamboo Cutting Board
  2. RUNNER-UP: OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
  3. ALSO CONSIDER: Totally Bamboo 3-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set
The Best Cutting Boards Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cutting Board

Material

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 common types to weigh the pros and cons.

Plastic: Plastic cutting boards may seem like the most health-conscious option since they’re dishwasher-safe, but studies show that they may 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 boards are that they’re slim and easy to store, gentle on knives, and not particularly expensive.

Advice: Plastic options may be the best cutting boards for bread and vegetables if you avoid cutting meat on it and wash all other foods vigorously before cutting them.

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 similar sanitary properties to traditional wood cutting boards. Bamboo could potentially be even more sanitary than hardwood due to bamboo being less soft and absorbent. Just know that you should wash bamboo cutting boards by hand, lest your dishwasher warp the material.

Advice: While overall cleanliness and environmental consciousness work in its favor, bamboo can be particularly hard on knife blades, requiring you to sharpen your blades more often.

Wood: Wood cutting boards are quite popular since they are handsomely textured and the least likely to wear down your knife blades. They aren’t always a clear winner because they tend to be both the priciest and the most high maintenance of the bunch: These boards must be washed by hand to prevent warping and require occasional conditioning with food-grade mineral oil to keep in great shape.

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

Marble or 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 set and chop on it; therefore, it may allow for cross-contamination even after a thorough cleaning.

Advice: 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.

Size and Shape

A cutting board won’t do you much good if it’s too small for the task at hand or too large to fit onto your countertop. Most cutting board dimensions range from around 8 by 10 inches to 20 by 30 inches, or larger.

Key Features

Many cutting boards are simple rectangular slabs but a few subtle details can work in your favor to make chopping ingredients less of a mess.

  • If you’re on a mission for a bamboo or wood cutting board to use specifically for meat preparation, a trench that runs a half-inch in from the edge all the way around the board can help collect excess juice from running off the board and onto countertops.
  • Rubber feet in 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 gets all carved up, you won’t be able to simply flip the board over to work on the other side.
  • 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 your board.

Our Top Picks

We picked the best cutting boards based on durability, materials used, size, and more.

Best Overall

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

This 18-inch by 12-inch, non-absorbent, 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 bamboo cutting board’s surface won’t retain stains or odors for long-term use. With a reversible design, both sides can be used for prep work or one side can be used for serving. The built-in drip groove holds juice from meat, fruit, or vegetables.

Runner-Up

The Best Cutting Board Option: OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
Photo: amazon.com

The 14.5-inch by 10.5-inch OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board provides plenty of room for chopping, slicing, and dicing for your next meal. Non-porous construction locks out water and odors for a fresh cutting surface, while a double-sided design helps avoid cross-contamination. Soft, tapered edges double as handles for comfortable lifting and carrying and the cutting surface is easy on knife blades. Non-slip feet keep the cutting board in place for safety and an integrated drip-catcher to keep even the juiciest foods from making a mess on your counter.

Also Consider

The Best Cutting Board Option: Totally Bamboo 3-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set
Photo: amazon.com

Made from organically grown Moso bamboo, this 3-piece cutting board set comes with three different boards, each with different dimensions: 9-½ by 13 inches, 9-½ by 11 inches, and 6 by 8 inches. With them, you can separate sliced meat from chopped produce from finely diced herbs, or you can tile the boards together to create an extra-large work surface. Bamboo is gentle on knives and is easy to clean: simply hand wash with warm water and soap. It’s also a renewable resource that grows back quickly— preserving hardwood forests while providing a strong, dense cutting surface.