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While smaller cutting boards are best for simple tasks like slicing an apple or cutting lemon wedges, sometimes you need a heavy-duty board for some serious meat handling in the kitchen. A great carving board is both beautiful and functional enough to be used for Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, summer steaks, and beyond.
Look for one made of antibacterial wood or dishwasher-safe plastic, and pay attention to design, as you'll likely be pulling this product out for holidays and special occasions. Here are the best carving boards that any cook would be proud to have in the kitchen.
The beautiful wooden J.K. Adams Maple Carving Board is perfect for roasts, large poultry like turkey, and any other meat carving. It’s reversible and features an indentation on one side that cradles poultry or roasts so they don’t slip while you carve. The flip side is flat, designed for normal cutting and chopping, with a juice groove. Deep channels located an inch from the edge contain 2/3 cup of juices on the indentation side and 3/4 cup on the flat side. You can even choose to add steel spikes when ordering, which helps keep the meat locked in position as you carve.
Meant to manage sizable loads, this board clocks in at 14 x 20 x 1.25 inches and 6 pounds. It’s made from edge-grain maple and withstands repeated use, holding up to cutting without sustaining too many knife knicks. It’s also gorgeous enough to double as a serving platter for cheeses, charcuterie, and hors d'oeuvres. Skip the dishwasher, though—this board is hand-wash only.
If you’re looking for a functional carving board at a lower price, Greener Chef's Extra Large Bamboo Cutting Board is it. Not only is this 100 percent bamboo cutting board affordable, but it's also durable, going years without cracking, warping, or splitting. And if for some reason it does, it comes with a lifelong guarantee, so the company will replace it. It’s naturally antibacterial, grown in organic, toxin-free soil, and made sans harmful chemicals and lacquers.
Measuring 18 x 12.5 inches, this carving board is comfortable enough to fit in even small kitchens, and it minimizes mess by allowing you to prep over the sink. It's thin, making it easy to store away neatly—and yet still sturdy enough to hold large meats, roasts, or even heavy fruit like watermelons. The reversible board has a juice-catching groove on one side and a beautiful presentation space for charcuterie, fruits, cheeses, and more on the other—a perfect-for-every-occasion sort of board.
If you'd rather pop your carving board into the dishwasher when you're done using it, go with a plastic option such as the OXO Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board. Made of polypropylene, this OXO carving board resists warping, staining, and odors better than the other plastic boards, and it's a little easier to clean and maintain than wooden ones.
The board measures 14.5 x 21.1 inches and comes with a juice groove and easy-pour corners—features that are just as handy when slicing juicy fruits and veggies as they are for chicken, roasts, and more. It’s sturdy and secure, thanks to the grippy rubber feet that keep it firmly stationary, and though not as beautiful as its wooden counterparts, it still looks professional and presentable.
This 20 x 16 x 1.5-inch cutting board is large and reversible, making it a go-to board for barbeque- and pit-masters, especially when it comes to preparing brisket and ribs. That's because the deep grooves, or "well," that wraps around one side will keep your counters clean while carving, catching meat slivers, drippings, and juice. After chopping or carving a chicken, ham, or pot roast, some chefs pour off what’s captured in that channel and use it in gravy, reductions, sauces, glazes, and more, so this feature makes quick work of that.
The other side is perfectly flat so it can double as a standard cutting board or stunning serving tray. The edge grain is durable as well as attractive, and it comes with a natural oil finish that guards against drying and cracking from moisture loss.
Worried about your food flipping off your carving board while slicing? Enter the John Boos board, made of durable northern hard rock maple and boasting heavy-duty spikes that help secure your roast to the board for quick and easy carving.
We love that the spikes are removable (simply unscrew the metal pins from the threaded sockets) and can double as skewers to hold racks and roasts while carving. Once the spikes are removed, the board can be flipped and used for serving.
Though designed for commercial use, this board is a favorite of serious home chefs as well. Not only does it feature an outer juice groove, like others on this list, but it also has an inner tree groove to help guide any runoff. It’s amply sized at 20 x 15 x 1.25 inches, so you’ll have more than enough space to comfortably carve, slice, and cut your meats.
The Teakhaus by Proteak Edge Grain Carving Board is made from sustainably harvested teak, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Because teak fights off moisture more effectively than other woods, this board requires less oiling and overall maintenance. It will “shrink” less than other wooden boards over time and is resistant to splitting, warping, and stains. However, like most wooden cutting boards, it should still only be washed by hand.
Integrated hand grips allow for easy movement of the carving board, and a juice canal catches excess liquids from food. The generous 24 x 18 x 1.5-inch dimensions allow ample room for carving and cutting. The beautiful edge grain is a great, solid surface for cutting without dulling knives.
At 2.25 inches thick, this professional-grade butcher block is meant for serious chopping and whacking. It's as utilitarian as it is pretty: The end grain is said to be gentler on knives and self-healing against knife-scarring, and the attractive checkered-wood pattern is a nice bonus. Built from premium hard rock maple, one of the most resilient and durable species of maple, it naturally resists bacteria, so you can rest assured that there’s little risk of contamination.
The board’s 20 x 15-inch frame provides tons of workspace—meaning you won't have to stop cutting to move food off the board (plus, there are additional sizes to choose from). Though it doesn't feature grooves to collect juices, it is reversible, and finger grooves at each side make it easy to transport from counter to table.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Marisel Salazar is a food, restaurant, and travel writer with extensive experience in the industry. She spoke with industry professionals, chefs, and home cooks for this comprehensive piece, in addition to a cross-section analysis of consumer and editorially rated carving boards for meat.
What to Look for in a Carving Board
Material: 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, which is naturally antibacterial, or plastic, which can usually be cleaned in the dishwasher. Normally, looks aren't as important for cutting boards, but since carving boards tend to come out of the cupboards for the holidays and can double as serving dishes, you may want to pay more attention to aesthetics.
Design: Specifically, you'll want to look at the size and features, such as dual sides and juice grooves. If you plan on carving whole hams or birds on this board, you'll need to account for enough space. Generally, a 20 x 15-inch board should be able to fit any full-sized bird with some space to spare. Keep in mind, however, that big boards are harder to wash and store and require a larger prep space. Grooved cutting boards will be more useful than flat boards for carving meat (and not to mention juicy produce such as tomatoes or watermelon), as the well will be able to catch juices that run off as you slice. Some boards are double-sided, though, so you can get the best of both worlds.
Grain: “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). Some also say end grain boards are better on knives. But these come with a much higher price tag.
Maintenance: 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.