Just like a quality knife, a good cutting board or chopping block is a kitchen essential. Not only will it protect your countertops, but will also make food prep safer and easier to clean up.
When you’re shopping for a board, you’ll first have to choose which material you prefer. Most boards are made from wood or plastic, and both have their advantages. Wooden boards are more aesthetically pleasing, but plastic boards can go in the dishwasher making them easier to clean. You’ll also want to shop... for a variety of sizes, since mincing onions and carving a full turkey require different amounts of chopping space. Here are the best boards on the market to get your collection started.
01 of 07
By far the most aesthetically pleasing, and traditional option, a wood cutting board is a kitchen staple. They might have lost out in popularity recently with the rise of bamboo and plastic alternatives, but a 100 percent wood board is a kitchen must-have. This wood cutting board is made of maple hardwood, and comes in a range of five different sizes. The largest 20- by 15-inch board can handle everything from carving a pork roast to chopping all the veggies from your farmers’ market haul.
Wood... boards like this one are also incredibly durable, and this one has two sides that can be put to use since neither have raised feet. The butcher block quality wood won’t easily suffer scratches, scoring, or dents from your slicing and dicing. Keep in mind that you will need to give a wooden board a bit more TLC to keep it in top shape, but caring for your chopping block is easy.
The only complaint about this product has been with the packaging. Some reviewers report that their shipment hasn’t come with the proper plastic wrapping.
02 of 07
This is the other board that you should have in your kitchen tool collection. The 10.5- by 14.5-inch plastic board from OXO is a true workhorse. It is just the right size—a bit larger than a piece of letter size paper—so it's ideal for most chopping tasks. The soft, tapered handles on two edges make it easy to grip and carry from your counter to the stove, and because it can go in the dishwasher it’s ideal for cutting up raw meat and fish.
The groove around the edge of the board, while it... cuts down on the chopping surface, does prevent tomato juices, or worse yet, those from raw meat, from draining onto your countertop. A word of warning, that this board does stain, but that’s mostly an aesthetic issue, and won’t affect the quality of the board. Cleaning it in the dishwasher will also make it show wear and tear more clearly, so stick to hand-washing when possible.
03 of 07
The best thing about this Amazon top seller is that the boards in this set are surprisingly tough. Bamboo might not seem like a tough material, but it is one of the best at camouflaging the wear and tear it endures from all your knife work. The three boards in this set are conveniently sized, with the largest measuring 9.5 by 13 inches, the medium, 9.5 by 11 inches, and the small one 6 by 8 inches.
The non-porous surface of these boards mean they won’t absorb any juices from your raw beef or... chicken, and will resist staining from tomatoes, beets, carrots, and more. The smooth surface also prevents your knives from dulling too quickly—a definite bonus. The two larger boards have cutouts to create handles or make them easy to hang on a hook on the wall. Hand-washing is the best option to extend the longevity of these boards, and it’s recommended that you use the revitalizing oil as well.
According to consumers, these sturdy boards are known to stand the test of time for many years, keeping replacement costs low. That is, of course, as long as you take proper care of them.
04 of 07
It’s also possible that you don’t want a board that’s plastic or wood. In that case, consider opting for composite boards, which gives you the best of both worlds. This composite set gives you three cutting boards in a range of sizes to cover all of your food prep needs. The large board measures 10 by 17 inches, the medium, 14.5 by 9.5 inches, and the smallest comes in at 10 by 7 inches.
These boards are designed to withstand all the possible chopping, mincing, dicing, and slicing tasks you’ll... encounter in your kitchen. Plus, they are even heat safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use them as a trivet in a pinch, or carve a turkey straight from the roasting pan. Like the plastic OXO board, these from Epicurean are dishwasher safe, and will actually show less wear and tear than the plastic ones. And if you’re not a fan of the faux wood look, they also come in a slate color.
One of the few disadvantages is that these boards don’t have a channel around the edge to keep liquids from running off the board. While it’s not a deal breaker, it does mean you’ll have to clean more spills off your counter.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
If you want to have the feel of butcher block counters without having to replace your existing kitchen, this heavy wooden cutting board is a great choice. Not only is the striped dark and light wood grain aesthetically pleasing, but the board is heavy enough (a whopping seven pounds!) that it won’t slide around on your countertop when you’re trying to chop something.
Thankfully, with all that bulk this board is still easy to move around because of the built in handles. This means it can go from... chopping block to serving board without missing a beat. At less than $50, this is also a great bargain for such a solid wooden block, and it holds up in terms of quality as well. Consumers sing this cutting boards praises even after months of consistent use. Plus, at two inches thick it can also be helpful for tall cooks who find their countertops a bit on the short side. Even adding those extra inches can make preparing dinner less of a chore.
Just keep in mind, that this board should never go in the dishwasher (we’re not sure it would fit, to be honest). Too much exposure to water can cause swelling, shrinking, and eventually warping of the board. Hand-washing followed by regular care with an oil or paste meant for wooden boards is recommended to keep it in top shape for the long haul.
06 of 07
If you need a couple of supplementary boards, or want to send your new college student off to school with something other than their desk to chop on, these flexible cutting mats might be just the ticket. The four-piece set is vibrantly colored and almost paper thin, making the mats easy to curl up to store, but shortening their working life.
The colors, in addition to adding some cheer, have second purpose—color coding for different types of food. That way you don’t have to worry about... cross-contaminating your veggies with raw meat. They mats also have micro ban protection built in to prevent any bacteria from taking root.
Just be careful not to cut too aggressively when using these mats, as they are not as indestructible as our other picks. With gentle usage, they reportedly last for around a year. But for the price and small storage footprint they are a great deal for dorm rooms, starter kitchens, or even your office kitchen.
07 of 07
When you're not doing heavy-duty chopping, a flexible board is a smart option for everyday use that can be used on slicing simple things like bananas, cheese and more. This set comes with three colored mats and it's BPA-free. The fact that it is dishwasher safe is a plus for most because you can clean it safely, though it does have an anti-microbial coating.
What's best about a folding board is when you are done chopping you can fold up the board and scrape food into your pot or... bowl so you don't miss. Plus, they are easy to store. While we don't recommend for chopping everything (think hard onions and root vegetables) on them they are a good option to have for daily use.
Disclosure: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page.