When it comes to absolutely essential home cooking tools, you can’t get more essential than a cutting board. Second only to a chef’s knife, a cutting board is the tool that helps you get things done. Chopping, slicing, dicing, all manner of prep—you can’t do it without a cutting board!
Earlier this week we shared a guide to cutting board materials and which one to choose, an in-depth look at the pros and cons of various materials and things to consider when buying a cutting board.
But if you’d like some solid recommendations from us in lieu of doing your own research, we have them!
Wondering about the best cutting board material for meat, seafood, and poultry? Simply Recipes’ Nutrition Editor, Katie Morford, says regardless of what material you pick—plastic, composite, wood—you should designate boards for different uses and stick to that. “I recommend people use [whatever material] they like and have one cutting board designated for meat and seafood and wash it well after each use,” she told me. “I personally use wood, because I just don’t like the feel of plastic under my knife.”
Plastic Cutting Boards
As we wrote in this guide to cutting boards, plastic cutting boards are not necessarily safer than wood when it comes to harboring bacteria, but they’re an affordable and low-maintenance choice.
“I like to keep small plastic boards for my kids to use,” says Summer. “I’m starting to have them slice their own apples. My husband picked this one up from a hardware store, and I like it. It hasn’t warped, and it’s about five years old.”
Core Kitchen Grip Strip Essential Board, 2-pack, $5.99 from Amazon
Composite Wood Cutting Boards
Composite wood boards are a go-to for many of us, because they’re a step up from plastic while still being dishwasher-safe, easy to clean, and easy to maintain.
I’ve used these specific Epicurean boards for the last 10 years, and I’m a fan, as I wrote about here.
Epicurean boards are lightweight (which makes them easy to clean in the sink) and hardwearing. They’re my go-to board for cutting meat or seafood.
Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board, $24.95 from Amazon
Wood Cutting Boards
Wooden cutting boards require the most maintenance of any cutting board material, but it’s worth it in the long run. It you wash and dry a wood cutting board thoroughly and oil it regularly, it’ll last you for years.
If you’re going to invest in a wood cutting board, we recommend choosing a dense, closed-grain hardwood like maple, walnut, or cherry and to opt for a size that’s at least 12-inches by 18-inches. Check out small makers or independent woodworkers in your area for a handcrafted cutting board. In some cases, they may be made with more attention and care than you’d get from a bigger, mass-produced brand.
If you plan to use a wood cutting board for chopping meat, seafood, or poultry (and that’s ok!), we recommend getting a smaller, separate wooden cutting board specifically for that purpose. (Smaller because it’ll be easier to pick up and move to the sink for washing!)
I adore this large, flat, end-grain walnut cutting board from Magnus Design.
Made in Wisconsin and available in three sizes (and also in white oak and maple), I love the rounded edges and slim profile. It’s only 3/4-inch high, which makes a big difference if you plan to move it around at all, but still solid and sturdy enough to handle all the chopping I throw at it.
Plus, it’s pretty enough to double as a serving platter.
Large 13″ x 18″ Walnut Cutting Board, $120 from Magnus Design
Made In’s butcher block also makes our list, because it has many of the features we look for in a wood cutting board: It’s made of 100% repurposed American maple (a great wood choice for a cutting board); it’s generously sized, and it has a juice groove to catch the delicious drippings from that roast chicken we just made.
You can also flip the board over for a larger, completely flat work surface!
The Butcher Block, $99 from Made In