Wood cutting boards have long been popular for their durability and aesthetic, but there has been some debate about how sanitary they are. While it was believed for a time that plastic cutting boards were the safer option, many experts now argue that wood cutting boards are actually superior when it comes to avoiding cross-contamination.
When using a plastic cutting board, grooves form that quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. Because plastic cutting boards can be quickly sanitized by washing them at high temperatures using a dishwasher, however, they’re still the superior choice for processing raw meat, unless you plan to sanitize your wood cutting board after every use.
Wood cutting boards, on the other hand, are a great choice for bread, vegetables, fruit, and cheese. They also double as attractive tableware when it comes to putting out a charcuterie board or cheese spread when entertaining.
Read on for some top picks for the best wood cutting boards for your kitchen.
Our Top Picks
The following recommendations take into account features to look for in wood cutting boards, including material, size, price, and design.
High-end wood cutting boards are separated into two categories: edge grain and end grain. When being processed, a tree is typically cut into planks; edge-grain cutting boards are constructed using the long edges of those planks. Because the edges are facing upward, they have a tougher surface that may be slightly harder on knives but is more durable in the long run. Edge-grain models are considered to be the gold standard, and this model from John Boos is an excellent pick. It’s made from sustainably sourced, hand-selected northern hard rock maple and is fully reversible.
It measures 20 inches by 15 inches and is 1.5 inches thick, though other sizes are available. Like all wood cutting boards, it should be hand-washed and is not dishwasher safe.
Cutting boards made from acacia tend to be affordable while maintaining a high standard of performance. This model by Caperci is large, measuring 12 inches by 18 inches, and has a groove around the edge to catch juices, making for tidier food preparation. One of the corners has a finger grip hole, allowing you to easily hold the cutting board in place. The hole also makes it possible to hang the board for storage.
The wood is not dyed or stained and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, ensuring that sustainable practices were used in production. Before using this board for the first time, make sure to rub down the surface with food-grade mineral oil. This board should be hand-washed and should not be submerged in water.
Edge-grain cutting boards are preferred by many because of their durability, and this model by TeakHaus is a great example. It’s made from teak wood, which has long been favored for its ability to resist moisture damage. It’s also resistant to shrinking, meaning that the wood is less likely to warp over time. The wood was sourced responsibly and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
This board is large, measuring 15 inches by 20 inches with a thickness of 1.5 inches. It’s also heavy, at 12 pounds, meaning it will stay in place while you’re chopping but may be difficult to maneuver for cleaning. It does, however, have slots on either end which make it easier to lift. The board should be hand-washed and oiled occasionally for optimal longevity.
End-grain cutting boards are made by gluing a number of board ends together. Because the vertical wood fibers are more forgiving, they are preferred by chefs who want to maintain the sharpness of their knives. However, as they do have exposed ends, they tend to dry out and crack if not properly oiled and maintained. This model from Ironwood Gourmet is made from acacia and measures 14 inches by 20 inches by 1.25 inches. It’s specifically designed to lessen the wear and tear on knives and other utensils.
The end grains of the acacia wood are highly contrasting and provide a unique aesthetic that makes this board a great choice for using as tableware. This board cannot go in the dishwasher. It should be washed by hand, air-dried, and oiled regularly.
For carving a Thanksgiving turkey or other substantial roast, an extra-large cutting board is a useful addition to your kitchen. It’s just as handy for prepping a high volume of vegetables. Measuring 18 inches by 24 inches, this model from Virginia Boys Kitchens is up to the task. Because of its 8.8 pound size, it’s also heavy.
This board is made from sustainably sourced American black walnut and is pre-seasoned for added convenience, allowing you to use it right away. The seasoning is done with pure fractionated coconut oil, so there are no harmful chemicals used in the process. It’s designed with a juice groove around the edge that is useful for protecting your countertops. The dark hue of the walnut makes for a striking presentation when used as a serving tray.
While large cutting boards are essential for many kitchen tasks, you don’t always want to go through the effort of cleaning one when you just need to cut up an apple or slice a lemon in half. This small board measures 9 inches by 12 inches, which is large enough to be useful but not so big that it’s a hassle to clean. At 2 pounds, it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver around the kitchen. This board has a groove around the edge, but a grooveless version is also available.
It’s made from acacia and must be hand-washed and oiled regularly. The brand production is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.
While cutting boards are constructed from a wide variety of different types of wood, teak is preferred by many experts because it’s easy to maintain and fares well when exposed to moisture. This model by Sonder Los Angeles measures 14 inches by 18 inches and is 1.25 inches thick, making it a good size for most kitchen tasks. It weighs 9 pounds, so it will stay in place while you use it but may be too heavy for some users to wash easily.
While one side is flat, the other has a deep juice groove, allowing it to hold up to 3.5 ounces of liquid. Each end features a handle, making the board easier to maneuver. It’s made with edge-grain teak wood and is pre-seasoned with mineral oil for added convenience.