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A knife is, arguably, only as good as the cutting board it's being used on. Whether the task at hand is chopping vegetables, carving meat, or prepping a garnish, there's likely the perfect cutting board for it. Plus, these oft-reached-for kitchen tools are versatile: they can act as a serving plate or a layer to protect your table from heat and scratches, for example. But how exactly do you pick the right cutting board? Well, for starters, it should give you enough room to chop and slice, as well as be relatively easy to clean and store. It should also be able to stand up to stains and odors, as well as handle slippery foods or juicy ingredients.
From plastic to wood, flexible to sturdy, we've got you covered. Here's a list of the best cutting board to help you decide what's best for your needs.
Can be used for chopping
Lots of work space
Needs seasoning before use
Must be washed by hand
This John Boos cutting board is substantial, so you won’t feel like it’s slip-sliding around on your countertop, but it isn't heavy or cumbersome. Made from wood, this attractive cutting board is elegant enough to use to serve cheeses and meats but it’s also a workhorse in the kitchen. Since it’s reversible, you can flip it over to use the other side when you need a fresh cutting surface.
This cutting board has a one-year warranty. Since it's wooden, it requires a little additional care to keep it in top shape. It should never be left out wet or washed in the dishwasher, and it will need to be pretreated before you use it. This special care is worth it, according to our reviewer: "Because this board was built with professional use in mind, it should last most home cooks a lifetime if it is well cared for," she says.
"Considering the long life you can expect from a board like this, the price tag is actually very reasonable." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Features both flat and grooved-rim surfaces
Nub feet keep it off the countertop
Grooved rim is fairly shallow
The biggest advantage of a plastic cutting board is the ability to pop it in the dishwasher after use (a wood cutting board will crack and deteriorate with dishwasher use). One side of this OXO cutting board has grooves around the edges to catch liquids before they run on your counter, plus rubber grips so that the board won’t slide around on your kitchen counter.
Our reviewer especially liked that these grips are designed in such a way that she can easily lift the board off the counter without needing to paw at it or slide it to the counter edge. The other side of the cutting board does not have grooves, but can be used for chopping—a reversible board comes in handy if you’re preparing meat or fish and wish to avoid cross-contamination.
The board is made from polypropylene, which doesn’t retain smells and also guards against the kinds of deep scratches that can occur when you're using a sharp knife.
"If this board were larger, it would be more difficult to store, and if it were smaller, it would be much less useful. As Goldilocks would say, 'It’s juuuust right.'" — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Large enough for a turkey
Deep wells to catch juices
You’ll find plenty of features in this cutting board that make it a good match for carving meat—like grooves in the board’s surface and a slight slope to one side so that the juices that release from meat all run down into a single large well. This particularly impressed our reviewer, who typically puts her cutting board into a sheet pan to collect overflowing juices when she is carving; with this board, she doesn't have to. This well also makes it easy to spoon the juices out and use them for sauces or gravy.
When you order the J.K. Adams cutting board, you can even choose to add steel spikes to it, which helps keep the meat locked in position as you carve. This sturdy board has substantial size and weight that's perfect for significant cuts of meat and comes with a five-year warranty.
"We could carve at the table without worrying about staining the tablecloth." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Thin yet sturdy
Grippy bottom prevents slipping
One-sided use only
Juices tend to drip off edges
A flexible cutting board makes transport of chopped up items easy—just lift and fold up the edges to create a handy funnel to send food into a pot or bowl. You’ll get a set of four in bright colors, each perfect for everyday usage. For thin boards, these are relatively sturdy, even while their thinness makes them easy to store in cabinets or drawers. Moreover, grip marks on one side of each cutting board prevent the cutting boards from sliding around.
"We used these on a smooth countertop and a wooden table, and the boards remained in place, with no slipping or sliding as we worked," our reviewer says.
The plastic is both non-porous and non-absorbent. The colors are attractive, and can also help prevent cross-contamination—so you can remember which board you used for which ingredient. To clean, use hot water and soap or just toss the cutting boards into your dishwasher.
Padded box for storage or gifting
No juice groove
This board is a showstopper. It’s made from American walnut with decorative accents from cherry and oak wood. You may find yourself leaving this one on your counter, rather than placing it in a cabinet, just to show it off a little. It also is perfect for displaying food—cheese plate lovers will find that the board is perfect for serving cheese and charcuterie. That’s particularly true since one side of the cutting board has a long groove that’s perfect for a baguette or crackers—or, "I particularly liked the way it looked when it was filled with small bright red tomatoes," our tester says.
But this cutting board is also functional. Since it’s reversible, you can use either side of it during food preparations. The indentation on one side is handy for sectioning off one ingredient if you’re chopping up lots of items or keeping round ingredients from rolling off of the board.
Easy to store
Easy to pick up
Some reviewers say it doesn't sit flat
If you only have a small job—mincing up a few cloves of garlic, for instance, or quartering a lime—it can feel like a hassle to drag out a full-sized cutting board. Enter the Villa Acacia wood cutting board: the grain of the tropical hardwood is beautiful, and at just half an inch thick and 12x9 inches in size, it’s lightweight, perfect for smaller tasks, and can be easily stashed away in cabinets when not being used. But it's also large enough to serve as a board for cutting and carving large pieces of meat, many reviewers rave.
The board is reversible, with one side that’s totally flat and another with a juice groove running around the edge. Small indentations on the two sides of the cutting board make it easy to pick up.
Each labeled with food icon
Textured on the bottom
May slip and slide a bit
If you’re looking to avoid cross-contamination—or live with someone who has dietary restrictions—this set of cutting boards will come in handy. Each one is labeled with a recognizable food icon. There’s one for poultry, vegetables, red meat, and fish. The icons give it an edge over simply having different colors since you won’t have to remember that yellow is for chicken, while green is for vegetables.
This set is made from food-grade silicone and is dishwasher-safe. The cutting boards are smooth on one side, with a textured pattern on the bottom, but some reviewers note that it does still slip and slide around a bit on the counter, so you may want a backup way of securing the board down.
The John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Cutting Board is our top pick because of the large amount of space available to cut your food. Plus, it's sturdy enough for hardcore chopping. If you're in the market for something thinner and easier to store, go for the Dexas Heavy-Duty Grip Mat: it's both flexible and sturdy.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats writer Madeleine Burry has compiled several kitchen-focused roundups for us, including the top dry food containers, nonstick cookware sets, and dinnerware sets of 2020.
What to Look for in a Cutting Board
Material: Cutting boards are made from a variety of materials including wood, bamboo, man-made composites, and plastic. While plastic can usually be cleaned in the dishwasher, wooden boards are naturally antibacterial, so hand washing is sufficient. Looks aren’t critical when you’re using a board just for cutting, but if you plan to serve cheese or appetizers on yours, look for one that fits your personal style.
Size: From tiny to large, cutting boards come in an array of sizes. In general, bigger is better, but large boards can be hard to wash and store—and if you’ve got a small counter, you don’t want the board to be hanging over the edge. Small boards aren’t as useful for meal prep, but they come in handy when you’re slicing a tomato for a sandwich.
Grooved vs. flat: Some cutting boards have a groove around the edge, while others are completely flat. A groove is great for containing meat juices, but it’s also handy when you’re cutting other juicy foods like tomatoes. Flat boards are perfect for dry foods like carrots and cabbages.