Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Cutting boards are great for preparing and slicing foods, but when it comes to carving and serving large cuts of poultry or red meat, you’ll want a board that's made for the task and also one that's presentable for a dinner party or holiday setting. Carving boards should always be just as functional as they are visually appealing. Look for design features like juice grooves, carving spikes, and pour spouts, and also take the material of the board (typically wood, bamboo, or polypropylene) into consideration when purchasing. These boards can be an investment piece, but they're incredibly useful and make for lovely serving ware.
Here are our favorite carving boards to buy.
Best Overall: J.K. Adams Large Reversible Maple Carving Board
Juice grooves throughout
Spikes available (additional cost)
No pouring edge
This board offers high-quality design, functionality, and aesthetics, making it our top pick. It’s a great option for small portions like whole chickens or ribeyes, as well as larger poultry like turkey or duck. The board is reversible, and it features an indentation on one side that can cradle poultry or roasts to prevent them from slipping around while you carve. The opposite side is flat, and it’s designed for daily cutting and chopping. This side also has a juice groove for easy cleanup. The deep channels, which are located an inch from the edge, can hold up to 2/3 cup of juices on the indentation side and 3/4 cup on the flat side. If you want steel spikes to help secure the roast while you carve, you can add those to your purchase.
It’s made from edge-grain maple and withstands long-term use, holding up to cutting without sustaining too many knife nicks. Our tester used the flat side for everyday chopping of veggies and the reverse side for carving a roast. She loved the design as well as the deep juice grooves, and even though there is no pouring spout, she was able to funnel the juices into a saucepan easily without spilling. When you’re not using it to carve meats, use it as a serving platter for your next charcuterie board. This board is hand wash only—it will warp or crack in the dishwasher—but it's a worthy investment for its quality, durability, and design.
Size: 20 x 14 x 1.25 inches | Weight: 6.28 pounds
"After significant use, I saw almost no knife marks." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Budget: Royal Craft Organic Bamboo Cutting Board with Juice Groove
Built-in juice groove and handle
Easy to clean
No spikes or grip
Most carving boards are quite the investment, but if you’re looking to go a little easier on your wallet, this bamboo board is a great option. While it may not have the sleekest design or bells and whistles that some of the other boards have, it is very functional and durable. This 18-inch board offers plenty of space for all of your carving needs, but it’s not so big that you’ll need lots of counter or storage space for it.
The built-in drip groove catches any runaway juices, and the bamboo material is easy to wash. It is non-porous, meaning it won’t absorb any excess juices or odors. We love that the board is also available in a ton of different sizes as well as a rectangular or round option. You can easily use this board as a serving piece for your next dinner party.
Size: 18 x 12 x 0.7 inches (also available in other sizes) | Weight: 3.2 pounds
Best Plastic: OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board
Easy to clean by hand or dishwasher
Not aesthetically pleasing
Grooved rim is fairly shallow
The OXO Good Grips board is a low-maintenance, lightweight board. It's easy to move around and wash by hand, but if you’d rather put it in your dishwasher, it’s safe to do so. It’s made out of polypropylene, which means that it can resist warping, staining, and odors better than the other plastic boards, and it does not require the diligent care and maintenance that wooden boards need.
The board is cleverly designed with a juice groove and easy-pour corners. These features are convenient for slicing juicy fruits and veggies as well as chicken, roasts, and more. The non-slip rubber grip makes this board ultra-secure, so no need to worry about it sliding around as you’re using it. During testing, our reviewer also found that the grips make it easy to lift the board off the counter, which is not the case for some other handle-less options.
Although it doesn’t have the same stunning visual appearance as some of the other boards on this list, it’s still a kitchen workhorse that will help you accomplish your cutting and carving needs. If you do opt for this board, think about buying a separate serving platter so you don’t have to present meats on this for your guests.
Size: 14.34 in x 21.11 inches | Weight: 3.43 pounds
"The nubby feet, non-slip side grips, flat and grooved sides, and durable surface are just a few reasons I love this cutting board. All those features, wrapped in a very affordable price, make it a clear winner for hard-working kitchens." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best with Spikes: John Boos Reversible Carving Board with Spikes
Spikes are removable
Large enough for big cuts
Darker colors of meat can cause stains
You shouldn’t have to worry about your food sliding off the carving board as you’re slicing or serving. This gorgeous board, made of durable northern hard rock maple with heavy-duty spikes, is the solution to that problem. It will easily secure your roast to the board with built-in spikes for quick and easy carving.
These removable spikes (taken off by unscrewing the metal pins from the threaded sockets) can conveniently double as skewers to position and hold racks and roasts while carving. Once you've used the spikes for carving, you can remove them and flip the board for serving and presentation.
Even though you’re most likely to come across a board like this in commercial and restaurant kitchens, this is also a favorite of seasoned home chefs. It is designed with an outer juice groove as well as an inner tree groove, which will act as a way to direct the juices to the outer groove. It’s large, so you’ll have more than enough space to comfortably carve, slice, and cut.
Size: 20 x 15 x 1.25 inches | Weight: 9.83 pounds
Best End Grain: John Boos Maple Butcher Block
Gentle on knives
No juice grooves or spikes
Heavy and hard to wash
If you’re going to use the board for lots of prepping and cutting, it might be a good idea to go for an option with an end-grain design—a choice worth the splurge. This Boos butcher block is highly functional, offering a good amount of space for whatever you’re carving, and has a beautiful checker design. At nearly 20 pounds, the board is quite heavy and clunky. The tradeoff, though, is that it’s sturdy, durable, and a true centerpiece.
Keep in mind that there are no grooves or spikes, so if these features are important to you, this is probably not the board for you. It will cost you a pretty penny, but the extra money will be worth it if you find yourself cutting on the board frequently. Your wrists and your knife blades will thank you as end grain provides a nice give as your knife blades move through it.
Size: 20 x 15 x 2.25 inches | Weight: 19.56 pounds
Best Set: Kikcoin Bamboo 3-Piece Kitchen Chopping Board
Built-in handles and juice grooves
Needs to be secured to the counter
If you’re in the market for a set of boards, this three-piece purchase will cover all your needs. Each board is designed with juice grooves around the edges as well as built-in handles for easy maneuvering and washing. The boards are 10 inches, 14 inches, and 17 inches, so you’ll have the right size for whatever it is that you’re carving or serving.
The oil-treated bamboo is visually appealing and can handle the brunt from chopping and washing. Plus, the boards are constructed with three thick layers of bamboo, which helps prevent cracking and warping. Reviewers love both the looks and durability of these boards, noting that it’s helpful to place a damp paper towel under the board to keep it secure.
Size: 17 x 12 x 0.7 inches; 14 x 10 x 0.7 inches; 10x 7.1 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 6.69 pounds
Best for Red Meat: Virginia Boys Kitchens Walnut Wood Cutting Board
Walnut is beautiful and won’t be stained
Extra large size for big proteins
Carving red meat can be difficult because the size of the proteins is so big. It’s important to make sure that the board you’re using for tenderloins, rib racks, and other hefty red meats is large enough. It’s also ideal if the board is a darker color so that the juices won’t irreversibly stain it.
This stunning walnut board is deep enough in color that you don’t need to worry about staining it, and it offers plenty of surface area for even your biggest projects. Plus, the side grooves can catch any red meat juices. The board comes pre-seasoned with fractionated coconut oil to prevent anything from turning rancid. Reviewers love that this board has a gorgeous appearance and that it’s a very practical addition for all of their carving needs.
Size: 24 x 18 x 1 inches | Weight: 8.8 pounds
Best with Pour Spout: J.K. Adams Maple Reversible Pour Spout Carving Board
Multiple sizes available
Requires diligent upkeep
If you really want to make the most out of your carving board, opt for a board that’s reversible and has pour spouts so that you can maximize all sides. This elegant maple board from J.K. Adams is similar to the best overall pick, which we tested, but it boasts pour spouts and juice grooves on both sides to help collect liquid and ensure that your countertop won’t be covered in drippings. The board comes with a stunning mineral oil finish to give it a chic look and to protect it from heavy usage (your purchase also includes a free bottle of additional mineral oil).
It’s available in three different sizes, so how large your roasts are as well as how much countertop and storage space is available to you will indicate which size is best for you. This board is hand wash only and you should get in the habit of seasoning it with mineral oil to preserve its coat.
Size: 20 x 14 x 1.25 inches | Weight: 6.28 pounds
“While considering a carving board, think about how important additional features are to you. Some folks prefer a solid working surface with no additional features, as this can double as a daily prep board. Juice grooves are immensely helpful for those who grill or roast often, as the juices from your favorite foods can overflow into these wells, without getting all over the counter. Spikes are helpful for those who host Thanksgiving, or who roast in the oven regularly. Quick tip would be to look for a pour spout on the board, if you find yourself using foods with juice overflow.” — Sean Osborne, Creative Director at J.K. Adams
What to Look for in a Carving Board
Cutting boards are available in a variety of materials including wood, bamboo, man-made composites, and plastic. For a meat carving board, look for wood or plastic, the latter of which can usually be cleaned in the dishwasher. Usually, looks aren't as important as function, but since carving boards tend to come out of the cupboards for the holidays and can double as serving dishes, you might want to pay more attention to aesthetics.
Specific features that you’ll want to pay attention to are dual sides, spikes, and juice grooves. The larger the proteins you plan to carve on this board, the larger your board will need to be. For the most part, a 20 x 15-inch board can fit any full-sized bird with enough room to spare. As convenient as the big boards are, they’re also harder to wash and store, plus you’ll need extra counter space when you use them. Grooved cutting boards are more useful than flat boards for carving meat (and juicy produce such as tomatoes or watermelon) because they are able to catch juices that run off as you’re slicing. Some boards are double-sided, though, so you can get the best of both worlds.
“For red meat and roasts, having an ample carving surface is important, so size is likely a key factor," says J.K. Adams Creative Director Sean Osborne. "Juice grooves and wood type can also be thought about for these types of proteins. Going with a darker-toned wood, such as cherry or walnut, may provide a bit more forgiveness against staining and visible carving marks over time.”
The edge of the wood that faces out on your board will indicate how it performs and lasts. “Edge grain” means the carving board is made from parallel pieces of wood that have been fused together. This style of board is recognized for durability and lower price. “End grain” boards usually have a checkered pattern, as the board is made from end pieces of wood. They are known for their "self-healing factor" as some wooden boards may be subject to splitting, splintering, warping, or cracking without proper care. But end grain boards come with a much higher price tag.
Most wooden carving and cutting boards must be treated first. That hairy, rough feel is the reaction of a new cutting or carving board's fiber raising. The fibers between its grain will rise when wet because it's new. Most wooden boards must be oiled regularly to maintain their finish, but we promise it’s low labor to maintain a great board in the long run. “If a board has started to warp, split, or crack, it may be time to start looking for a new one," says Osborne.
How do you clean a wooden carving board?
The best way to clean a wooden carving board is hand washing in the sink with very warm water. It is fine to use a gentle soap and clean with a brush or sponge. Rinse the board and immediately towel dry it in order to prevent any warping, cracking, or splitting. Always use a lint-free cloth to dry it, and store the board in a place where it has air ventilation from all sides.
Should you season a wooden carving board?
Seasoning your carving board from time to time can prevent unwanted splintering or warping. It also keeps the board visually stunning. To do this, use food-grade mineral oil and allow it to soak for 30 minutes. Next, apply a beeswax finish to seal in moisture while simultaneously creating a water-repellant barrier on the surface. Avoid using vegetable or olive oils, as these can go rancid with time.
Why Trust the Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written dozens of buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef, food writer, and recipe developer. She understands the importance of having a reliable, sturdy, and easy-to-clean carving board. After researching different carving boards and their materials, and interviewing Sean Osborne, the creative director at J.K. Adams, she can help you find the best board for all of your cutting and carving needs.