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If you ever took a knife skills class, you know that your cutting board matters. A flimsy cutting board or one that is too small can make prep work a tough job, but our list goes beyond functional. We know what to look for in a cutting board.
But do our picks stand up to those criteria? We sent our top picks to writer and product tester Prerna Singh to put them to the test in her home kitchen. She used each board to prep various kinds of vegetables and raw meat in her day to day cooking. We had Prerna look at whether the boards were spacious enough for convenient food prep, the stability of the board and its ability to stand up to regular knife use, whether it was also suited to cutting raw meat and catching juices, ease of cleaning, and more.
After testing, we found that OXO's Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board is best for all of your slicing and dicing needs.
We do suggest that, whichever board you decide to go for, to make sure to get a great non-slip mat to put underneath it, like this San Jamar Board Mate Cutting Board Mat, for safety in the kitchen. At the very least, a flat kitchen towel or a damp paper towel underneath can function as a cutting board mat to prevent slippage.
Here are the best cutting boards that not only do the job but also make it enjoyable.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board
What We Love: BPA-free, nonporous construction, nonskid pad keeps the board in place, convenient size and thickness, sleek design
What We Don't Love: Composite plastic burns if placed on hot surface, easily gets nicks and gashes from sharp knives
This cutting board is the definition of a workhorse, but it’s also a well-designed item to treasure. OXO designed this board with polypropylene, a food-grade hard plastic composite. This means that it can withstand heat, so you can carve cooked meat, right off the pan, on this chopping board. But be sure not to place a hot skillet or pan over it, as it might leave a mark or burn the board.
The size of this OXO cutting board is perfect for both major projects like carving a chicken and smaller ones like a quick dice. Doing multiple projects in a row? Just flip the board over, since both sides are usable. One side of the board is smoother than the other, which helps with a smooth slide of the knife while chopping different food items. But at the same time, Prerna found that one side was easier to get nicks and scratches from use than the other. Serrated knives do not go too well with this board.
The board has tapered soft edges for carrying the board from counter to stove, with a drip-catcher and easy-pour corners for keeping your work area neat. Its nonporous construction makes it odor-resistant and prevents bacterial growth, and its dishwasher-friendly quality made it a breeze to clean and disinfect.
If you can only buy one and you don’t have time to use cutting board oil, this is the board for you.
"The chopping board is large enough to keep the fruits, vegetables, and other contents from spilling off the board while chopping, and yet it is very lightweight, which makes it easy to move around." — Prerna Singh, Writer and Product Tester
Material: Polypropylene (hard plastic composite) | Dimensions: 21 x 14.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 3.4 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Budget: Williams Sonoma Antibacterial Synthetic Cutting and Carving Board
What We Love: Made with high-quality, NSF-certified material, durable, doesn’t nick easily
What We Don't Love: Does not have a non-skid surface so can slip or move while chopping, heavier than usual plastic boards.
Williams Sonoma's Synthetic Cutting Board is the perfect in-between size at a great price.
A heavy-duty option, this board is made of BPA-free polypropylene. It’s also NSF-certified, which means it meets strict standards and procedures, including extensive product testing and unannounced plant inspections. If the cleanliness of a plastic board concerns you, this one inhibits bacterial growth and can be run through the dishwasher or washed by hand.
This could feel heavier than your usual plastic chopping boards, and it is, but the quality of the material will just make up for it. Indented handles made lifting easy during her tests Prerna adds.
If you’ve ever been annoyed that your cutting board has a drip catcher when you could have more surface space to chop—or conversely, that your board doesn’t have a drip catcher to prevent juices from running onto the floor, this board solves that for you. One side is flat for chopping, and the other side is a carving surface with a drip catcher.
Prerna found the size of the board to be just right for prep work. "I tried to prep for big meals and also salad, most of the veggies stayed on the board and did not spill on the counter," she says. Plus, the board is durable, made with high-quality material, and gives you great value for the money.
"I'd pick it for cutting meat and fish over other chopping boards because it seemed to not absorb much liquid and seemed easy to sanitize." — Prerna Singh, Writer and Product Tester
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.8 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Lightweight: Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board
What We Love: Lightweight, easier to handle than others on this list, heat-resistant, nonporous, knife-friendly
What We Don't Love: No nonskid pads, warps if left in water for too long, got nicks after extensive use
We’ve written about our love for the Epicurean cutting board before. Our former senior editor, Cambria Bold, was such a fan that she's gifted them to every member of her family. This board doesn’t have that familiar chopping block feeling, but instead has a harder, more surprisingly clacking feel. But once you get used to this board, available in slate, nutmeg, and natural, it's a hard worker.
Epicurean’s lightweight board is made of Richlite paper composite, which is heat-resistant, nonporous (goodbye potential bacteria and odors!), and is easy to clean in the dishwasher or the sink. Better yet, it weighs less than 2 pounds and is made from 50 percent recycled cardboard.
Our tester eventually found herself—and even her children—turning to the Epicurean for their everyday cutting board. "My kids, 7 and 12, who are comfortable working in the kitchen sometimes on their own, prefer this board over the heavier ones," she says.
While Prerna found this material easier on her knives compared with a traditional chopping board, she also discovered that it tends to get nicks and scratches with greater use. You might also find that, if you're used to wooden chopping boards, you'll need to get used to a gentle clacking sound the knife makes every time you run it on the board.
The use of nonporous materials also makes this board great for cutting raw meat and fish, and built-in thumb holes make it easier to hang or store the board. Prerna did find herself wishing, however, that the board included nonskid pads and a drip catcher.
Still, she says it's easy enough to clean—just take care not to leave the chopping board soaked in water for too long, because it might warp.
"Personally, I prefer a medium-sized lightweight [cutting board] that's easy to clean. This is why the Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board takes the cake for me. It's great for quick, small jobs like dicing veggies, which is what I do the most. It's also slim and easy to store." — Carolyn Truett, Former Pastry Chef, Recipe Developer at Caramel and Cashews
Material: Richlite composite | Dimensions: 14.5 x 11.25 x 0.25 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Ease to clean: nonporous, dishwasher friendly, easy to clean
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Best for Meat: Sonder Alfred Cutting Board
What We Love: Made with high-quality walnut wood, made in the USA, has non-skid pads and drip catcher, has built-in handles and compartments
What We Don't Love: Pricey, needs regular maintenance (like oiling)
Keep your knives sharp with this self-healing, end-grain wood cutting board. Fashioned from sustainable American black walnut wood, this 8-pound board is heavy and significantly sized, so you won’t want to count on it for travel or to move around your kitchen too much.
Our tester found the size of the board, which clocks in at over 7 pounds, both a pro and a con. The sizable surface area made food prep easy enough for her family of four. But the weight made it slightly difficult to move around.
The board is perfect for prepping seasoned or marinated meats because it doesn’t get easily stained. In fact, after over a month of use, she didn't observe any liquid being absorbed. "The board is great for cutting raw meat. It has a smooth surface and does not absorb much liquid if any at all. With a good scrubbing, the board seems to be clean after washing with soap under tap water," Prerna says.
Furthermore, the drip catcher is deep, designed to catch 3 ounces of liquid, which means that juicy rare steak won’t drip onto your floor. When it comes to your mise en place, this board is extremely functional and well thought out. There are also three compartments on the other side to hold prep items like chopped herbs, onions, and garlic—and that side can double as a cheese board, according to the manufacturer. But Prerna found it a bit useless and that it decreased the space on the board to do actual chopping.
Another thoughtful touch: The rubber feet are removable, which means you can make the board completely flat if you want, or keep them on for slicing stability.
"The chopping board is adequate enough for prep work for a meal for a family of four. For a group of more than that, the board might feel small, and the veggies might either pile up on the board or spill onto the counter." — Prerna Singh, Writer and Product Tester
Material: Sustainable American black walnut | Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? No (and requires oiling)
Best Large: Stanton Trading Plastic Cutting Board
What We Love: Plenty of room to prep for big-batch cooking, heavy-duty, nonporous
What We Don't Love: Size and weight can be inconvenient to handle, no nonskid pads or handle to grip on
The largest version of this Stanton Trading cutting board measures 30 by 18 inches, and it’s heavy, at almost 9.5 pounds. But consider this: Your most massive projects will find a welcoming landing pad on this board, which can play host to several groupings of vegetables at once as you quickly prep to toss them into an Instant Pot or boiling stockpot. In fact, our tester found it more than adequate for cooking for her family of four: "The veggies could be chopped and spread in individual piles for prep work without any problem," she says.
Though it’s no-frills, with a completely flat surface and no drip catcher, this cutting board is a suitable partner to big-batch cooking. You won’t struggle to clean it, as there aren’t any crevices for bacteria to hide. "The board seemed to work well for chopping and prepping raw meat, fish, and veggies. ... I'd use it for a combination of the three," she says.
Our tester also found it easy to scrape food off of the board, and it can even serve as a large cheese and charcuterie board or serving platter in a pinch. However, while the surface of the board is easy to clean, it was a little inconvenient to do so in a small kitchen sink, and it was too large to fit in her dishwasher. But luckily, soap and water with a little scrub was all it took to clean the surface of the board, Prerna notes. Plus, even after a month of use, it barely sustained any nicks or scratches.
If you’re looking to create a permanent chopping space on top of your counter, this could be the perfect surface.
"I liked the quality, weight, and durability of the chopping board, but I would still not use it in my home kitchen just because of the size. I ended up placing it in my outdoor grill area, which has a small counter for prep work." — Prerna Singh, Writer and Product Tester
Material: Polyethylene | Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Related: The Best Knife Sharpeners
Durable and easy to clean, OXO's Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board (view at Amazon) is a welcome addition to anyone's kitchen collection. The incredibly lightweight and nearly indestructible Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board (view at Amazon) will always be a Simply Recipes favorite.
What Are the Other Options?
Heim Concept Organic Bamboo Cutting Board (view to Amazon): Prerna also tested our former Best Bamboo pick. The Heim board is made of organic bamboo and looks and feels like wood—but it didn't pass muster in our home tests. While the knife slid well on the board and the item was visually appealing enough to be used as a charcuterie board, our tester didn't think it was durable enough for heavy-duty food prep: "The board started getting nicks and scratches from knives right away after the first use," she says. Plus, she could see and feel the grains of the bamboo when she ran her hand on its surface, so she's hesitant to recommend this board for cutting raw meat, particularly because it's not dishwasher-safe.
How We Tested
We purchased and sent our product tester six of our top picks for the best cutting boards, and had her put them to the test in her home kitchen. We had her use the cutting boards as she would her own, in her day-to-day cooking, for her family of four. For over a month, she chopped all kinds of fruits and vegetables, as well as raw meat and fish, on the boards, looking at how stable each board felt on the counter and how easily her chef's knife was able to slide on its surface. In addition to the chef's knife, she also used a serrated knife on each board and examined how much the surface retained damage like nicks and scratches, and whether the knives themselves sustained any damage after regular use.
She also observed how much liquid from meat and juicy vegetables and fruits the boards absorbed, and whether they stained or absorbed odors easily. Lastly, she looked at how easy each was to clean thoroughly, and added them to a dishwasher cycle if it was safe to do so. Our tester sent her notes to us, along with ratings on the following attributes: Durability, Design, Size, and Overall Value. Learn more about how we test products.
What to Look for When Buying a Cutting Board
When you picture a cutting board, you might imagine a thick slab of wood. While many cutting boards are made with wooden materials like teakwood, they can also be made with natural materials like bamboo and dishwasher-safe materials like plastic.
If easy cleanup is a must for you, look for cutting boards made of polyethylene, a synthetic material made of food-grade plastic that’s dishwasher-safe and antibacterial. These cutting boards tend to be thick, heavy-duty, and nonporous. However, they stain easily, as cutlery leaves behind permanent marks. This makes them more difficult to clean and more prone to bacteria over time.
Those going for a traditional wooden cutting board may prefer teakwood or walnut wood. Plastic cutting boards are usually antibacterial, but wooden surfaces might be even safer for cutting meat. Wooden cutting boards have a rustic yet luxurious appearance and add an element of sophistication to any kitchen, but they require more upkeep. Cleaning them isn’t as simple as throwing them in the dishwasher, and you’ll have to prevent them from drying out.
A nice compromise between plastic and wood is a rubber cutting board. Like plastic, rubber is non-porous, though it may not be dishwasher-safe. It also has a similar heavy weight as wood, so it won’t slide around. It’s more scratch-resistant than plastic, but if you do manage to cut through it, you can sand down the surface. Since a rubber cutting board is not as hard on your knives, it will also last longer. However, the soft material may not provide as much friction when cutting, slicing, or chopping.
Bamboo is a popular material for cutting boards since it’s natural, budget-friendly, and sustainable. It gives a similar earthy vibe as wood, but for a fraction of the cost and less upkeep, since it doesn’t need to be oiled. The only downside is that bamboo is harder on your knives. Another sustainable option is Richlite composite, a material made from post-consumer recycled paper. It’s lightweight, dishwasher-safe, and nonporous, though it can also be harder on knives.
Ultimately, the best material for a cutting board depends on your preferences and cooking habits. Truett recommends considering how you will use the cutting board and whether you want something that's easy to clean and maintain.
The material of your cutting board will determine how you should clean it. Cleaning dishwasher-safe boards made of plastic or Richlite composite requires the least amount of maintenance. Rubber and bamboo cutting boards are also easy to clean by hand with warm water and soap but should not be placed in the dishwasher since they are sensitive to moisture.
Wooden cutting boards require the most maintenance since they’re prone to drying out. They should be exclusively washed by hand and oiled every three to four weeks. This prevents them from becoming brittle to the point where they could crack.
What’s the difference between a cutting board and a carving board?
A cutting board can be used for a variety of foods, while a carving board is mainly used to slice and serve meat. You’re more likely to use your cutting board for chopping fruits and vegetables, but resort to your carving board for carving meat. Carving boards also tend to have grooves to collect juices from the meat, though cutting boards can have this feature too.
Will a cutting board dull my knife?
Some cutting boards are harder on your knives than others. This comes down to the hardness of the material. Plastic, bamboo, and Richlite composite are harder on your knives than rubber and wooden cutting boards.
Can I use olive oil to oil a cutting board?
Since olive oil can become rancid, it should not be used to oil a cutting board. It can also become sticky. Instead, use a food-safe mineral oil once every three to four weeks to prevent a wooden cutting board from drying out.
What kind of cutting board should I use for meat?
When it comes to cutting meat (including fish and poultry), you want to use a chopping board that prevents bacterial growth and is easier to clean and sanitize. The USDA's Food and Inspection Service recommends using a chopping board made with wood or nonporous material for meat and fish (as opposed to a porous or light material like bamboo). It's also a good idea to keep separate chopping boards for chopping vegetables and your meat products to prevent cross-contamination. Bottom line: Use a chopping board that is either wood or plastic, easier to clean and sanitize, and preferably dishwasher-friendly.
What's the best way to clean a cutting board?
Gently scrubbing the chopping board with soap and warm water is the best way to clean a chopping board. If your chopping board is dishwasher friendly, then it's best to run it through a dishwashing cycle after washing it under tap water to get rid of food stuck to the cutting board.
Heavy wood cutting boards also require oiling from time to time to keep the surface clean, filling the pores in order to prevent bacterial contamination, and keeping it from drying out and cracking.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Dakota Kim is a freelance writer and former restaurant owner who has tested many cookware items both for articles and for her restaurant. She swears by her OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board, which has seen her through an epic Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl, and the creation of countless cheese and charcuterie boards.
Prerna Singh tested our picks for the best cutting boards and updated this piece. Prerna specializes in Indian cuisine and is a longtime recipe developer and contributor for Simply Recipes. She's also passionate about finding and testing the best kitchen tools to make the delicious meals we all enjoy.
Read Next: The Best Charcuterie Boards
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.
What is NSF certification? (n.d.). NSF International. https://www.nsf.org/knowledge-library/what-is-nsf-certification