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The Ultimate Kitchen: Cutting Boards

This one seems obvious, but the ultimate kitchen should have a cutting board or three. Traditionally cutting boards were big blocks of wood, however these days there are many different kinds of materials, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, glass is very durable and easy to clean, however they are terrible for your sharp knife edges. Wooden boards, on the other hand, are terrific for knife edges, but not so easy to clean.

At my house, we have several plastic boards, and a large wooden one. The plastic boards are used for meats and fish and the wooden one for vegetables and pastry (it's pretty large and fits over one half of the sink, creating more work space - which is great in my tiny house).

The right kind of cutting board will depend on your needs and personal taste. Pay attention to the size of it vs. your countertops, and the weight. A good board should be heavy, so it does not slip, but if it's too heavy to move and won't fit in your sink, it won't do you much good.

No matter what you end up deciding on, here are a few rules that you need to follow:

  • All boards need to be washed in hot soapy water immediately after use.
  • If your board has many small cracks and cuts, it's time to say farewell. Those grooves are a terrific hiding place for bacteria and raw food. Wooden boards can be resurfaced, but you will need to coat them with a "food safe" finish.
  • Don't put a wooden board into the dishwasher. It will dry it out and ruin the lifespan.
  • Always cut raw meats (including poultry and fish) on a board that is easy to properly sanitize.
  • Be sure your boards are completely dry before putting them away for the night.
  • Wooden boards should be seasoned and oiled with food grade oil. This should be done before using and then again on a monthly basis, or as needed.

The large wooden board by John Boos & Co. (shown above) gets rave reviews and is available for $57.95.

And, I'm not sure about the durability of these particular bamboo boards($24.95 - $25.95), but, to be honest, I really like the way they look.

Join The Conversation
wynter wynter 10 years
I have a Corian cutting it!
themexcellentone themexcellentone 10 years
Thanks for the tip on cleaning wooden boards...I didn't know the trick with the salt!
Iwillmarryunick Iwillmarryunick 10 years
Wooden boards are SUPER easy to clean after cutting meat. All you have to do it put cheap normal salt over it and then wash normally. I hate plastic boards and refuse to use them. Wooden is totally the way to go. Also, I have never ever heard of oiling your wooden boards, it sounds kinds dumb.
JessNess JessNess 10 years
Katie its actually the opposite you should use a plastic board for meats because wood can soak up the juices which would not be easy to clean out
katie225 katie225 10 years
i've heard something about using wooden boards for meats because they don't harbor as much bacteria as plastic boards do. i know that doesn't make sense, and that's why the article i read about it really intrigued me. i just go to ikea and get some really cheap plastic boards that come in a set of three. they're great because you don't feel bad about tossing them out once they get worn. and you can just put them in the dishwasher if you wanted to.
Aggie Aggie 10 years
I've read about this Chop 2 Pot, chopping board. It seems really cool.. Wanted to buy it for my mom for Christmas but couldn't find it.. Check it out: ______________________________________ \Don't chase the beat of your heart/
themexcellentone themexcellentone 10 years
I've got a couple of plastic cutting boards, which I toss in the dishwasher once I've used them. I've also got a nice wooden Wusthof board that I use to cut breads, mostly.
Beaner Beaner 10 years
Eww - wooden cutting boards freak me out. All those cuts you make - I don't think there's anyway to kill all the bacteria. But I have a glass one and it's so loud when I'm chopping. What's a girl to do?
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
I used to have William Sonoma's big ol cutting board that fits over your sink and has a strainer that fits into it. Very handy. I always go for plastic now, because like you said, Yum - easiest to get actually clean. And I don't mind tossing them and getting new ones!
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
I highly recommend the bamboo boards. We have several cutting boards (mostly different types of wood) but the one I reach for most is the lightweight bamboo board. It's very durable and even my sharp knives (Mac pros) don't nick the surface.
JessNess JessNess 10 years
I dont have enough space in my itty bitty apartment for a nice wooden cutting board :( I have two small plastic ones. A green one for veggies and a blue one for meat. I rinse and wash them in steaming hot water
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