How to Find the Best Cutting Board

Latest posts by Kristen Swain (see all)

Cutting boards are essential to a home cook’s kitchen needs but aren’t always an exciting purchase. We can change that and show you how to find the best cutting board for your kitchen and get you excited to try out new cutting boards.

History of Cutting Boards

Cutting surfaces have been around as long as mankind has been cooking meals. Often flat stones or leaves were used to keep food out of the dirt as it was cleaned and prepared for cooking. When food needed to be cut, many civilizations used flat pieces of wood and stone. The Butcher’s block was born out of this need.  

With industrialization, the invention of the saw, and newly cut flat wooden boards, wooden surfaces became the most widely used surface to prepare food on. Blacksmiths, Masons, and Butcher’s were the first tradesmen that needed and utilized wooden blocks. 

Butcher’s blocks were created from the hardest wood available in the region and were made with extremely thick pieces of wood, eventually having four legs added to create a table.

Often, a butcher would keep a cutting block for their entire career. There are historical cutting boards with surfaces worn down into a bowl shape where the surface was well worn down over time. Another famous block was the Executioner’s block, a fairly macabre utilization of a cutting surface. 

Early on, most cutting boards were made from good-quality hardwoods such as maple, birch, cherry, and walnut trees. These cutting surfaces were often sawed by early settlers in the new world of America, then seasoned and oiled for use.

These tree rounds would be prone to cracking along the grain from drying out around the piece with a leather strap or metal band. These styles of cutting boards are still available in antique shops. 

With modern times came the idea of sanitization. In the past, kitchen surfaces were there to prepare food; any open surface was utilized.

With meal prep being modernized, the idea of a surface that would be moved around picked up and easily cleaned became popular. Cutting boards replaced the thick, solid, built-in butcher block and were made to be moveable. 

What is a Cutting Board Used For?

Cutting boards serve as a multi-use surface in the kitchen. Generally, a cutting board is a surface used to cut food, sometimes meat and sometimes vegetables.

But did you know that there are other uses for cutting boards, including some specific uses and styles that you may want to consider when deciding on your purchase? 

Meat cutting boards also have a close cousin, a carving board. Carving boards have long channels along the board to catch the juice and drippings from a piece of meat. These channels funnel the juices down so that they don’t run off the edges of the cutting board onto your surface.

Carving boards are great to cut watermelons and large juicy melons on because the channels will catch the excess liquids that run out when cutting the melon.  

 Another type of cutting board is a pastry board. A wooden or marble board that makes dough rolling and cutting easier. Marble boards are naturally cool and great to work chocolate and sugar decorations on.

Cutting boards are great for rolling out pie dough or cookies because the surface is smoother than countertops and allows for even coverage of flour to keep the dough from sticking.

You will have no worries about your antique cookie cutters damaging your countertops when you are using a pastry cutting board. 

Breadboards are specifically designed to knead the dough and slice your bread. Some breadboards have slots in them to help you evenly space your cuts to make sandwich slices out of freshly made bread. These cutting boards are smaller in size as they are meant to be brought to the table to slice and serve your bread on. 

Charcuterie, cheese boards, and dessert boards are some more modern uses for cutting boards. Really they aren’t exactly used for slicing and dicing, but more as a serving tray that is large enough to hold and display a selection of foods.

Hosts used these boards to spread out cheese, crackers, sausages, deli meats, spreads, nuts, olives, and more to have a selection of snacks to choose from. The same may go for desserts, adding in cheeses, cookies, crackers, chocolates, and spreads to have a selection of multiple items to pick from.

These are usually elaborate displays and are quite pretty, even though they tend to be more used as a tray than a cutting board. 

The Available Choices of Cutting Boards

Wood

There are two types of grain on a wooden cutting board. Edge grain means that the wood is cut along its length then laminated with other pieces of wood for a smooth cutting surface.

Edge grain is the toughest wooden surface for a cutting board. End grain is the other style of wooden cutting boards; this style means that the ends of the board are cut and faced up, then laminated together to create a checkerboard style surface.

This surface is best for keeping your knife edge sharp but requires more oil when being maintained. Many wood species have antimicrobial properties that help kill off bacteria without the use of added chemicals. Both styles of wooden cutting boards are good for keeping your knives sharp and for sanitization. 

Rubber or Silicone Mats

These mats aren’t hard enough to really be called a board. Typically these mats are flexible and make it easy to pick up your cutting board and slide your chopped food into your pan. 

Made to be non-slip, they stay in place on the counter, can sometimes be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher, and are easy on the knife blade. They are sometimes antibacterial as well.

Rubber and Silicone mats are good for cutting and chopping but are not attractive looking and do not double as a decor piece to be left out on your counter. 

Plastic

Plastic is the most common type of cutting board currently. It is also the cheapest and the worst for dulling your knife blade. Keeping a sharp knife blade is one of the most important reasons for choosing your cutting surface. Plastic boards are available as a board as well as cutting mats.

Plastic scores easily and is not self-healing, and does not have antibacterial properties. Plastic cutting boards are touted as the safest board for cutting meats; however, because of the ease in scoring the board, the scored areas in the plastic can easily harbor germs and bacteria, which cannot be easily cleaned.

Plastic boards and mats can sometimes be placed in the dishwasher on the top rack for the safest cleaning of them. 

Bamboo

Bamboo has become a cheap alternative to plastic cutting boards. Bamboo is a plant material that grows quickly and is a good alternative to hardwood. Bamboo is water-resistant and does not score easily. Bamboo can vary in quality so be sure to carefully select your cutting boards.

Glass

Glass is the least recommended cutting board to have. These boards have almost no positive reasons to use them. Cutting on a glass board is loud; it dulls the knife edge down quickly, and the board is usually delicate and can chip easily. These boards are really more for decor use than actual cutting board use. 

Where to Find Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are available online, and in many stores, from home stores to home improvement stores, you can even DIY your own cutting surfaces. 

I am basing my choices on price, beauty, longevity, ease in shopping, and quality.

The Best Cutting Boards for Carving Meat

Villa Acacia Wood Carving Board for Meat, Extra Large 24 x 18 Inch Cutting Board

This extra-large board is reversible. It is flat on one side and has channels through the middle and around the outside edge of the board. The extra-large size ensures that this board will work on even a large turkey around the holidays.

The channels angle along the middle part of the board, funneling any drippings or juices along the middle out towards the edges of the board, making sure that the meat won’t be sitting in all the juices as well as ensuring that every bit stays on the cutting board and not leaking out onto your countertop or table.

The Acacia wood is sustainable, beautiful, and has antimicrobial properties that help battle bacteria from meat. This thick one and a quarter-inch board are good to hold a heavy weight roast or rack. Flip the board over to use for cutting meat on the flat side of the board. 

Boos Grooved Carving Board with Hand Grips – 20″ x 15″, 2-1/4″ Thick

Boos Grooved Carving Board with Hand Grips - 20" x 15", 2-1/4" Thick

This medium-large-sized carving board has two indentation handles that help you lift and pick up the cutting board. This John Boos premium cutting board is made with hardwood maple and is edge-grain finished, the best wood style to prevent liquid absorption.

Maple is a hardwood and will score and scratch less than other woods, and this cutting board is finished with a mixture of beeswax and food-grade mineral oil. The groove well is nicely deep and will hold a good amount of liquids while enabling you to drain them and create your own sauce or gravy from your drippings.

The solid wood of this cutting board is going to last a lifetime, and its thick two-and-a-quarter-inch thickness allows for multiple resurfacings throughout its lifetime. 

The Best Cutting Boards for Chopping Veggies

Villa Acacia Large Wood Cutting Board, 17×12 Inch Premium Grade Reversible Hardwood for Kitchens

This is a large cutting board made with Acacia wood, a hardwood that resists scarring under the knife edge. The cost of this beautiful cutting board is just right; the board is large enough to cut long pieces of celery, large onions, and even chop a cabbage.

The coloration of the Acacia makes this a pretty board, and its one-inch thickness keeps it from being too heavy to lift. The seventeen by twelve-inch sizing would fit into most kitchen sinks for easy cleaning. And since this board is reversible, you can find multiple uses for it.

The size of the board would still fit on the countertop in front of the backsplash under the top cabinets if you were to choose to leave it out for quick grabbing as a decor item that is a useful tool in the kitchen. 

Aidea Wood Cutting Board, Cutting Boards for Kitchen Wood with Handle Large 16x12x0.75Inch

Aidea Wood Cutting Board, Cutting Boards for Kitchen Wood with Handle Large 16x12x0.75Inch

This was one of the least expensive wood cutting boards I found. The size being sixteen by twelve inches is a good-sized medium to a large cutting board.

The board comes with a cutout handle to grab or to hang if desired. I loved the fifteen-dollar price on an Acacia wood cutting board, usually finding real hardwoods at this price point leads you to a super small cutting board, but this one is nice sized.

The coloration is quite pretty as well, being made of the heartwood Acacia so that it is more of one color. The three-quarter-inch thickness makes the board on the lighter side, and the handle makes the board easy to move around in the sink while cleaning the board. This is a great all-around cutting board. 

The Best Cutting Boards for Displaying Charcuterie

Brazos Home Organic Wood Cutting Board for Kitchen, Butcher Block, Chopping Board, Charcuterie Platter made of Seasoned Dark Walnut for Serving or Chopping Fruit, Vegetables or Meat, 11×6, Small

Brazos Home Organic Wood Cutting Board for Kitchen, Butcher Block, Chopping Board

On the smaller size, just being eleven by six inches, this little cutting board is a beautiful and elegant-looking dark walnut hardwood. Perfectly sized for a small charcuterie board or cheese board for just a few people, the handle helps to grab and balance this board.

The handle itself has a jaunty little angle to it to make it more uniquely styled. Perfectly pre-treated with oil, it is ready to use when it is received. The price is a little on the high side for the size, but because it is walnut, you should expect to pay a little more for the top-quality wood than you might for a cheap bamboo board. 

Sonder Los Angeles, Large Walnut/Cherry/Maple Wood Cutting Board, Sorting Compartment, Reversible 17x13x1.1 in (Gift Box Included)

Sonder Los Angeles, Large Walnut/Cherry/Maple Wood Cutting Board (Gift Box Included)

This cutting board is a lovely mix of hardwoods. It is a deep brown walnut with cherry and maple hardwood striping that stands out as beauty and functionality. Perfect for multi-use, it features a well on one side that would hold crackers, nuts, olives, and more on your charcuterie board.

Reversible, this well is only available on one side so that you can use the well or flip the board over to have a completely flat surface for your snack board.

The seventeen by thirteen sizing gives you plenty of space to make your tray for even the biggest party. Built-in handles allow you to carry the tray with ease as the board is only a five-pound weight. 

The Best Cutting Boards for Cheese Trays

Villa Acacia Large Wooden Cheese Board and Charcuterie Board – 22 Inch Long with Handle

This handled board is beautiful and functional. The long twenty-two-inch by ten-inch length allows for you to cut cheese or to use the board as a cheeseboard. Displaying various cheeses, this board is decorative enough that your guests won’t think you chopped up today’s lunch on it as well.

The uses of this vary; you can use it for other food serving and displays such as appetizers, flatbreads, and beer flights. The pretty Acacia wood is variegated in shades of deep red, brown and blonde coloration.

The handle includes a center hole that allows you to hang and display the board when not in use in the kitchen. Lastly, the under thirty dollar price is great for a functional display piece. 

BILL.F Acacia Wood Pizza Peel,12″ Cutting Board, Cheese Paddle Board, Bread and Crackers Platter for Serving and Minor Food Prepare with Handle – 16 x 12 x 0.5 Inch

BILL.F Acacia Wood Pizza Peel,12" Cutting Board, Cheese Paddle Board

Shaped cutting boards aren’t exactly the most popular, but having a round board can be useful in many ways. Surfaces and countertops that don’t have much room are made easier to use with a cutting board that may not fit as a typical rectangular board.

This pizza peel style with a handle will hold a delightful amount of cheese. Feel free to use your cheese knives on this board, as the hardwood Acacia won’t score easily.

Cutting boards with handles are always a great carrying help, and this handle features a metal eyelet that rests into the center point hole. Inside the hole is a leather strap that is useful for hanging the cutting board from a hook or display in your kitchen.

The twenty-two-dollar price is a great price, especially if you decide to use this for multi-purposes around the kitchen. 

The Best Bread Boards

Villa Acacia Wood Bread Board – 12 x 7 in Handcrafted Wooden Cutting Board Slicer Tray with Handle

A long twelve by seven inches, this breadboard with removable crumb tray is sturdy and long enough to use for cutting long loaves like Italian bread and french baguettes. Perfectly pretty, this cutting board can be brought to the table to cut and serve your bread on top of.

The hardwood Acacia makes the top tray sturdy and knife-edge friendly, and the edge grain surface ensures that you are getting the toughest wood surface cutting board. Although this top breadboard is not thin slatted to help you space your knife cuts into bread slices, you can use the openings as guides to cut wider bread slices.

The openings in the top could also give you the right amount of air space so that you can cool your bread loaf on this cutting board right out of the oven. 

Royal House Large Bamboo Bread Cutting Board with Crumb Tray

Royal House Large Bamboo Bread Cutting Board with Crumb Tray

A true breadboard will be a little harder to find as it is a specialty item. This breadboard is made from high-quality bamboo and comes with a removable crumb catcher. The evenly spaced crumb catcher rests within a groove and open space in the center of the board.

This allows crumbs to go between the open grooves to the bottom of the tray. The even spaces can also be a cutting guide to help you slice even slices of bread.

Whether serving bread at the table and slicing or slicing for a sandwich or toast, even and consistent slices are important to getting the most out of your homemade bread.

There is a small half circle cut out to allow your finger to grip onto the insert and remove it without flipping the whole cutting board on its side. This is a great cutting board if you regularly bake your own bread. 

The Best Over the Edge Cutting Boards

Zelancio Reversible Wooden Pastry Board – 24″ x 20″ Pastry Board with Engraved Ruler and Pie Board Template, Features Front and Back Counter Lip

Zelancio Reversible Wooden Pastry Board - 24" x 20"

This extraordinary cutting board has an engraved surface to help you roll out the perfect circular pie crust, as well as a measurement etching to help you make the perfect squares.

With a huge twenty-four by twenty-inch work surface, this board will allow you to roll out a huge cutout cookie dough or to make super long breadsticks.

The lip edges on the cutting board act as stoppers, holding the cutting board over the edge of the countertop to stay in place as you push and pull with your rolling pin. Only one side of the board is etched, so if you need a smooth surface, simply flip to the reverse side.

Using a cutting board allows home cooks to use less flour to keep the dough from sticking; the smoothness of the wooden board gives less grip to a sticky dough and helps to smooth out without adding extra flour to your pastry. 

Thirteen Chefs Charcuterie Boards – 24-inch Large Wood Cutting Board for Cheese, Meat & Appetizers

Thirteen Chefs Charcuterie Boards - 24-inch Large Wood Cutting Board for Cheese, Meat & Appetizers

This is a really large perfect work surface for dough making; the twenty-four by seventeen-inch surface allows you to make long rolls or dough without overlapping onto your counter. Smoothly finished, this pastry board has a top and bottom edge to keep over your countertop edge.

This lip provides stability and keeps the cutting board from moving around, a need when you are rolling out and kneading dough.

The surface is ultra-smooth Acacia hardwood that allows you to use less flour to keep your dough from sticking to the surface. Slice through cinnamon rolls and cut out cookies without the fear of damaging your countertop surface. 

FAQs

Question: Is a Breadboard the Same as a Cutting Board?

Answer: Yes and no. Bread can be cut on a regular cutting board. But a breadboard is a unique-looking cutting board. Breadboards have small grooves in them to help you slice the bread evenly.
You may have a breadboard if you have a pull-out cutting board in your kitchen. This board was added to be an additional space to knead and work bread dough and then to slice the dough when the bread was baked. 

Question: What Kind of Cutting Board do Chefs Use?

Answer: Gordon Ramsey and many other professional chefs prefer John Boos butcher block cutting boards. Most chefs would tell you to purchase a board that is at least twenty-four inches by eighteen inches in size.
Place a slightly damp towel under your cutting board if you feel it slipping around on your countertop. Many chefs keep separate cutting boards for cutting meats and seafood and vegetables.

Question: Should You Use Different Cutting Boards?

Answer: When using cutting boards to cut raw meats and chopping vegetables at the same time, it is best to have two cutting boards, one to cut the meat on and one to cut the veggies on.
This keeps any potential bacteria from the meat from contaminating your veggies. It is also a good idea to have a separate cutting board for highly aromatic herbs like onions and garlic, as these can potentially alter the flavor of your chopped items by seeping into the pores of the wood.
Always choose a fresh and clean cutting board for cutting any cooked items after your food prep, such as a meat carving board. 

Question: Do Cutting Boards go Bad?

Answer: With the exception of wooden cutting boards, all other cutting boards accumulate scores and scratches from use and eventually will have to be replaced.
Wooden cutting boards have the ability to be resanded and refreshed from most surface wear and can then continue to be used, potentially for a lifetime. Just sand with several grits of sandpaper, seal and treat with cutting board mineral oil and continue to use. 

Question: What is a Good Size Cutting Board?

Answer: Depending on your need, anything for a small cutting board- a five by seven cutting board, would be a good size if you often need a board to cut a sandwich or a tomato. A medium-sized board – eleven by fourteen is good for cutting small meats or smaller batches of vegetables.
A large cutting board- something that is eighteen by fourteen is good for multiple chicken breasts and cutting up several cups of veggies. An extra-large cutting board – twenty-four by eighteen is good for cutting up large batches of veggies and preparing large items like ribs and pork shoulder.

Conclusion: How to Find the Best Cutting Board for Your Needs

You will have to define your most basic needs in the kitchen to determine the cutting boards that you want to have in your own kitchen.

Answer these questions – What is the heaviest a board can weigh for you to lift? What are the largest dimensions that a cutting board can be to fit into your sink? How much can you afford to spend on a cutting board? Will this cutting board be a purchase that you will make once, or do you think that you will be replacing the board over time?

Consider your food prep needs. Having several cutting boards is optimal as you may need a few when prepping for a party or holiday. Do you want plastic for meats and seafood, or is your preference to go wood? Is sanitization more important, or is keeping your knife edge sharp the bigger worry for you?

Cheap boards can function temporarily but make sure to replace them when they become worn. You will have to prioritize your needs and make decisions based upon these needs. My preference has always been and will always be wooden boards.

One or two high-quality cutting boards, one I keep on my countertop at all times to avoid wear, tear, and staining on my counters. I like to have a few beautiful cutting boards to use as serving trays, charcuterie boards, or dessert boards.

And I like to have a couple of smaller cutting boards for those single tasks, cutting up a tomato or some chives to top my meal. We each have our individual needs in the kitchen and have to make decisions upon that priority. 

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