The best boards make meat and vegetable prep easier — and protect your knives.
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At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we reach for our cutting boards as often as we do our trusty kitchen knives. The best cutting boards provide a safe and sturdy surface to slice raw meat and crunchy veggies for Sunday meal prep and even a perfect place to prepare pastry and other baked goods. But the best cutting boards for raw meat and poultry may not be the best picks for vegetables, so we looked at a range of options to pick the best out there.
In the Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, we tested 26 of the best cutting boards, including a variety of brands, materials, shapes, sizes and styles. We used various knife styles, including sturdy Western-style knives and nimble Japanese knives to slice fresh mozzarella, salami and a variety of produce, including ripe, soft tomatoes and crunchy, raw carrots. Our tests evaluated how easy the boards were to clean, how delicate they were on our knives and how they handled hard or slippery ingredients.
After our picks, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of various cutting board materials plus what to look for while shopping for them.
OXO cutting boards have been our favorite for years. We love how they grip the counter to prevent slipping and can be used for a variety of foods, from raw meat and chicken to fresh veggies since they're made of an easy-to-wash plastic that's dishwasher safe. They’re slim and lightweight, which makes cleanup easy — one of the most important factors we consider when we review tools.
In our tests, we found the 13" x 9" board to be a little smaller than we're used to, but it grew on us very quickly, mostly because it fits into the dishwasher so easily. The board felt good against our knives and ingredients didn't roll around when we cut them. The juice groove, which is built into only one side for added versatility, proves to be helpful when cutting juicy chicken, steak and tomatoes. The cutting board material does wear over time, but we've been using these almost daily for years and have yet to replace them. OXO also offers a large carving board, our preferred size for special occasions and large tasks.
This Farberware Bamboo Cutting Board is a larger version of our previous best value pick, which has been discontinued. It's longer than some of our testers were used to using (15" x 21" versus the previous 11" x 14") but still includes all the great features that tested well: It's thick but lightweight and easy to move around for cleaning. It's also balanced, and the nonslip grips keep it from shifting during cutting.
In our tests, the bamboo was comfortable to cut on, was easy to clean and didn't stain. It didn't show many gashes, though cuts can become more prominent over time if not cared for properly. In general, wood and bamboo cutting boards need to be treated to prevent drying and cracking. The size and design of this cutting board allow it to double as a serving board for charcuterie or a carved cut of meat. The juice groove is thin and not too deep but helps trap some liquid.
Epicurean makes composite cutting boards that look and feel like wood but are thin, durable and can be washed like plastic. They come in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes. Our top pick is the Gourmet Series Cutting Board due to its size and versatility. At 14.5" x 11.25", it’s big enough to carve a whole chicken with a wide well to catch the juices on one side, but it's thin and light enough to toss in the sink or dishwasher for easy cleanup.
It can also be flipped for an even larger cutting surface that doesn't feature the juice groove. We liked how flat and sturdy it felt on the counter, even with a wet paper towel placed beneath it. While pricier than other cutting boards, these have become a go-to item in the Kitchen Appliances Lab. They've stood up to years of use and are easy to clean and store. The larger version of this board even received a Good Housekeeping 2023 Kitchen Gear Award.
We had a hard time picking our favorite J.K. Adams cutting board out of the seven we tested. Overall, they were our top wooden boards in terms of design, portability and ease of cleaning. We loved that these maple boards come in a set of multiple sizes.
These maple boards are gentle on knives, and the included sizes are sturdy and durable but can fit into a home sink for easy washing. Our testers found that this style of board from J.K. Adams is great for pastry when working with flour. They do, however, need to be treated to help prevent cracking. Over time, J.K. Adams' boards have developed some stains, but they tend to go away as you wash them more.
This 15" x 20" cutting board claims to be nonporous and nonabsorbent for better peace of mind when using it to cut raw meat. (Just remember to always wash it between uses!) We love its large size and the trough designed to collect juices. It’s also lightweight, which makes cleaning and storing easy (a common pain point with carving boards). The best part is that it's certified dishwasher safe according to the National Science Foundation, a huge pro for sanitizing it after cutting meat.
The board is reversible; it can be flipped and used as an ungrooved pastry board designed for mixing or rolling out dough, an advantage of its nonabsorbent surface. In our tests, we needed to put a damp paper towel underneath it to prevent slipping, which is common and didn't deter us from using it. Over the years, it has developed stains, but we still reach for it when we need to cut large pieces of food.
This gorgeous wooden cutting board is another winner of Good Housekeeping's 2023 Kitchen Gear Awards for its durability, sleek design and the unique feature of feet that raise it off the counter for easy drying and additional air circulation.
Because it’s made of end-grain wood, this board should be long-lasting and very gentle on knives, but it may require oiling more often and with more oil than other types of cutting boards. Testers found it to be heavier and more expensive than other boards they tried, making it a little trickier to wash and maneuver around the kitchen, but the quality and durability of the board made up for it. Testers were excited to cut veggies on it and then display it in their kitchens.
Like maple, walnut and cherry wood, bamboo is dense and good at keeping water and juices out. It makes a good material for cutting boards because it’s lightweight and can be cleaned easily. If allowed to fully dry after washing, it requires little maintenance, although oiling bamboo every so often helps prevent cracking.
This three-piece set has stood the test of home use for years. The smallest size is good for quick prep work, while the biggest one is good for larger tasks; the middle is a nice catch-all for everyday tasks like chopping carrots and onions. In our tests, we liked that the boards felt sturdy and didn’t move around when a wet paper towel was placed beneath them. We also liked the various sizes and built-in handles for portability. Sometimes the boards warped, but quickly reshaped after a quick wash and proper dry.
Cutting mats are often too flimsy, and their surfaces feel hard and slippery like you're cutting directly on your counter. The Dexas Grippmat boards are different: They have textured surfaces and grips across the entire bottom. They’re also a little thicker than the mats we’re used to. They come in a pack of four and are color-coded, which can help prevent cross-contamination. We liked how easy they were to use and how they didn't move around during cutting. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe. They're still the cutting boards we reach for in a pinch or when handling raw meat and chicken. They line up in the dishwasher and take up very little space to store.
We use cutting boards multiple times a day in the Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, so we have strong opinions on them based on our side-by-side tests and continuous use in the office and at home. When we test cutting boards, we assess how they feel when using them with different knives, including sturdy Western-style knives, thin Japanese knives, serrated knives and paring knives. The cutting board should feel like it's absorbing the slice without fear of breaking or damaging the knife. We're checking whether the board shifts around during use and whether bits of the board flake off when facing a serrated knife.
In addition to using different knives, we cut hard, slippery ingredients on each, including carrots and salami — a good cutting board helps prevent items from sliding. We also cut juicy tomatoes to test the juice grooves and sticky cheese to see how well the boards clean up. Our top performers remained in the Lab and have been put to daily use for several years. We periodically assess them for cuts and stains as well as ease of use. Over the years, we've become more interested in thinner, durable boards that are easy to wash and can be tossed in the dishwasher.
In our testing, we confirmed that a good cutting board lays flat on the counter and stays put. It’s also easy to clean and doesn’t retain odor or warp over time. Here's what to consider before buying:
✔️ Size: We recommend choosing a cutting board that you can clean easily in your sink or dishwasher if you have one, about 15 inches wide or smaller. Larger cutting boards have their place for big roasts or as a surface for rolling out dough, but they're bulky and not our everyday go-to. Smaller cutting boards come in handy when you need to quickly cut something small like a clove of garlic.
✔️ Cleanability: If you prefer using your dishwasher to clean up, opt for plastic or a composite material. Wooden cutting boards should not be put in the dishwasher because they can warp and will have a hard time drying completely, which could cause pre-mature molding and cracking.
✔️ Nonslip grip: Look for boards with a textured bottom or rubberized edge that can help the board stay put. You can certainly work like professionally trained cooks and place a dampened paper towel beneath your board to help it stay put, but we prefer to eliminate the extra step.
✔️ Juice groove: Whether cutting meat or juicy fruits, we prefer using cutting boards with what we like to call a "moat" around the perimeter to catch liquids. If you using your cutting board primarily for carving meat, look for a board with a deeper moat/trench as well as a pour spout so you can easily drain collected juices.
The best cutting board material depends on what you're preparing. Cutting boards come in a variety of materials from plastic to wood and glass.
Nicole Papantoniou conducted the most recent side-by-side cutting board test in the Kitchen Appliances Lab and continues to use the top performers daily as she's an avid cook. She uses multiple cutting boards a day between her work and home life, so she understands the need for them to fit in the dishwasher or sink for cleaning. Nicole also loves her knives more than most things, so she won't recommend a cutting board that would damage them or that doesn't optimize her cooking experience.
She has a grand diplome in classic culinary arts from the former French Culinary Institute and a certificate in culinary nutrition from the former Natural Gourmet Institute, now both known as the Institute of Culinary Education.
Becca Miller is the associate food editor in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen where she writes about great recipes, new food products and top-tested kitchen tools. As an avid home cook, she understands the importance of the best cutting board, and she worked closely with Nicole to update this story.
Nicole (she/her) is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she has overseen content and testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances, tools and gear since 2019. She’s an experienced product tester and recipe creator, trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition. She has worked in test kitchens for small kitchen appliance brands and national magazines, including Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal.
Becca Miller (she/her) has been working in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen since 2018, where she researches and writes about tasty recipes, food trends and top cooking tools. She graduated from NYU with a liberal arts degree focusing on creative writing. She makes killer scrambled eggs, enjoys a glass of un-oaked chardonnay and takes pride in her love of reality television.
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