How To Choose a Cutting Board
What to consider before purchasing a cutting board
- Quality. Is this cutting board going to last a long time?
- Board sizes vary. Will the dimensions of the cutting board suit your kitchen space?
- The cost. Will you use your cutting board enough to justify the investment?
- Knife Compatibility. Is the surface going to dull your kitchen knives?
- Convenience. How easy is it to clean the cutting board?
An opening word about cutting boards
When you are a novice in the kitchen, any cutting board seems like it will do. But as you gain more experience preparing your food, you start to see just what a huge difference a good cutting board can make when chopping and slicing world cuisines.
A high quality wooden chopping board will offer a new ease and comfort to your food preparation. It will be your true ally: keeping your new set of knives sharp and powerful. When maintained properly, it is more durable and hygienic than a cheap plastic or glass board. Finally, it will add a touch of class to your home kitchen arsenal.
I remember the first time working on a wooden cutting board. It took my chef game to a new level. Not only did I feel the difference in my slicing, dicing and cutting, but I also felt like a true amatuer chef. Looking down on that gorgeous, end grain surface gave me the confidence to start experimenting with more sophisticated dishes. It allowed me the opportunity to work with a better set of knives, knowing that their blade edges were safe from damage.
Any chef already knows that investing in a good wooden cutting board will save them money in the end. A high quality cutting board will be more durable, and maintain a knife’s razor sharp edge. Because it is easy to maintain, you will not have to worry about errand juice or bacteria build-up in cracks along the cutting surface.
In the know cooks also understand that a good cutting board will lead to more professional cuts and a more beautiful aesthetic on their countertop, or even out of the kitchen. A high quality wooden board will add sophistication and elegance to your food presentation. Believe it or not, your presentation will play just as much of a role in your guests’ enjoyment of the meal, as the taste of the food itself.
In this article, we will look at what makes for a good kitchen cutting board and what to look for when searching for a high-quality board. We will also explore why one ought to steer away from a cheap board and which boards we recommend.
- Why people need a good cutting board
- What to look for in a cutting board
- Negatives of owning a cheap cutting board
- What are the best cutting boards to buy
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why people need a good cutting board
A cutting board might not always get the attention of a new set of knives, but a good chopping board is essential to any home chef. It is our opinion that the best cutting boards are high-quality wooden cutting boards.
A good wooden board, maintained properly, will be your slicing and dicing companion for years, even as your primary cutting surface. It will help maintain the sharpness of your knives and stay a reliable and sanitary surface for food prep. To spend a little extra on a good wooden cutting board will pay dividends in the end. As these boards will be a mainstay in your kitchen arsenal for a long time.
If you already own a plastic cutting board, or a glass cutting board, these can work well too. You can keep more than one cutting board in your kitchen for different types of food preparation. But when you want to get down to the serious business of cutting meat, cheese or vegetables, a quality wooden cutting board will be your best ally. In addition to being a prep board, stylish cutting boards can double as charcuterie boards.
The reason you really need a good board is that it is more durable, more hygienic, and offers a more elegant presentation. Also, it will keep your knives sharp, and when maintained properly will not suffer knife marks, cracks, cuts and warping.
Pro Tip : Check out this handy guide on how to clean cutting boards properly.
2. What to look for in a cutting board
When you look for a good cutting board, you want one that will not easily warp or crack, and that will not dull or damage your knife’s blade. You will also want your board to be thick and spacious-- to give yourself room to work in comfort. While a wood chopping board will minimize damage to your knives’ blades, especially compared to a plastic board, glass or marble-- keep in mind that not all wood is created equal. Like any kitchen tool, you should only go for the best.
When considering a wooden board, you have the choice between end grain and edge grain. End grain boards, where you can see the tree rings on the cutting surface, allow you to cut with the wood fibers. These end grain boards, often referred to as butcher blocks, are easier to clean than edge grain and they are generally more durable. They also keep your knife’s blade sharper for longer. However, end grain boards are more susceptible to expansion.
Edge grain boards, where you see the tree rings on the edge, on the other hand is a more economical option. While edge grain boards will suffer knife cuts on their surfaces more quickly than end grain, they are less susceptible to the elements, such as water and juice. In turn, edge grain boards are less likely to expand or warp than end grain.
The type of wood you choose will also make a difference. Maple wood is a very popular choice, and for good reason. Maple cutting boards are strong and attractive. They hold up well against the elements. Walnut is also a solid choice. It has a darker look; so, for some, it might hold an aesthetic advantage over maple.
Teak boards and or boards with acacia wood are Asian woods that have gained popularity because of their affordability. These boards are also incredibly durable and easy to take care of and maintain. A bamboo cutting board is another option. The bamboo board is notoriously hard on knives. Therefore, you might think twice before acquiring a bamboo cutting board, especially if you have a knife collection of which you are particularly fond.
3. Negatives of owning a cheap cutting board
Added cost of replacements
While a cheap cutting board might be tempting for its price tag or easy accessibility, before too long you will regret that cheap purchase. Over time, an investment in a good cutting board will actually save you time and money. Cheap cutting boards lack durability.
Their surfaces will scratch more easily. These scratches will become havens for bacteria. Also, cheap cutting boards will wreak havoc on a knife’s surface. This will shorten the life-span of your knives.
When you are back in the market for another set of knives, or a new cutting board without scratches on its surface, you will no longer consider the price tag of your cheap cutting board a bargain.
Even a cheap wooden cutting board is more susceptible to warping and expanding. In short, regardless of the material, a cheap cutting board is not the way to go. In life, there are some things one just doesn’t want to cut corners on, and a cutting board is one of those items.
Style / Design
Besides all of the durability and health concerns associated with a cheap cutting board, consider the aesthetics as well. A beautiful wooden cutting board can act as a cheese board. Imagine your new teak, walnut or maple board, packed with charcuterie, at your next get-together.
A beautiful cutting board can also be your serving board. You’ll want a high quality butcher board, or custom cutting board, when you bring out your Thanksgiving turkey to carve for your family.
4. What are the best cutting boards to buy?
Now that we have covered why it is crucial to own a high quality butcher block or wooden cutting board, now let’s go over some of the best options out there for you. If you are familiar with professional cutting boards on the market, you will be aware of John Boos wood boards and similar companies, but we at Dalstrong like to think outside of the box. This is why we feel the below are the best options for your kitchen upgrade.
A handcrafted cutting board that can become your versatile workhorse in the kitchen. It is ready to take on any of your chopping, slicing and dicing needs. It is durable, easy to maintain, and will keep your knife edges razor sharp. Coming in a sleek and sturdy Obsidian Black, it will add toughness and elegance to your kitchen arsenal..
- Low-maintenance surface does not absorb water, making it both dishwasher-safe and mold resistant
- Beautiful presentation, and a G-10 serving handle, allow you to move this to the front of the house and serve charcuterie, fruits, cheeses, and more on it
- Durable and lightweight.The scorable surface protects your precious, razor sharp blades
- Not intended for hot surfaces, so you should not put hot pots and pans on it.
- Medium-sized: (9”x11”). Might not be able to handle your bigger chopping and cutting jobs.
2. Dalstrong Lionswood Colossal Teak Cutting Board ($129.99)
The king of the cutting boards. This handsome giant has been sustainably sourced from tropical teak wood. It is substantial in size and weight, able to take care of any cutting task you have in front of you.
This beautiful butcher block has been meticulously hand-crafted from end-grain wood and filled with rich moisturizing oils. Teak is recognized as a luxury wood, naturally resistant to water, bacteria, and staining. Featuring two steel handles, this lovely cutting board can be easily stored above your sink, stove, or tabletop saving you valuable countertop space.
- Easy to maintain its hygienic surface.
- It’s high quality end grain surface will keep your knives razor sharp.
- Beautiful presentation to be used to present anything from cheeses, veggies, to roasts. Making it the perfect carving board.
- The underside of the board features a curved cut-out to house a side plate for easy scraping and transferring of ingredients from the cutting board to the pot, pan, serving plate, or for waste
- The price tag might be over some budgets.
- If you have a small kitchen it will take up a lot of counter space.
A chef’s best ally in the kitchen.This beautiful wooden board, in obsidian black, is up to handling any of your chopping, dicing or slicing needs, while adding a touch of sophistication to your countertop and kitchen. Both durable and lightweight, its scorable surface will protect the sharpness of your precious blades. It is also an easy cutting board to clean and maintain.
- Non-slip silicone feet keep this versatile cutting board firmly grounded in the middle of rigorous cutting action.
- Sleek, sophisticated look and G10 serving handle allow for flawless presentation of charcuterie, fruits, cheeses, and more.
- Low maintenance surface, which is easy to clean. Dishwasher-safe and mold-resistant.
- Cannot put pots or pans on it, as it is not intended for hot surfaces.
- It might seem too large for small kitchen surfaces
4. Dalstrong Teak Cutting Board ($69.99)
This handsome cutting board, sustainably sourced from tropical teak wood is substantial is your all-purpose, go-to cutting board.. It has been meticulously hand-crafted from end-grain wood and filled with rich moisturizing oils, teak is recognized as a luxury wood, naturally resistant to water, bacteria, and staining. Featuring two steel handles, this beautiful butcher block can be easily stored above your sink, stove, or tabletop saving you valuable countertop space.
- Easy to maintain its hygienic surface
- Keeps your knives razor sharp
- Beautiful presentation to be used to present anything from cheeses, veggies, charcuterie, and more.
- The underside of the board features a curved cut-out to house a side plate for easy scraping and transferring of ingredients from the cutting board to the pot, pan, serving plate, or for waste.
- Lacks the size and mass of the Lionswood model.
- Not dishwasher safe.
5. Frequently asked questionsWhat is the best type of cutting board?
In our opinion, the best cutting boards are high quality wooden cutting boards. These boards will keep your knives razor sharp, be durable, and offer a beautiful presentation. They are also the most hygienic. Choice of wood and style are up to your personal preferences and how you will be utilizing the cutting board.Which cutting board is best for meat?
A wooden cutting board makes for the best surface for cutting both cooked and raw meat. Consider a butcher board for its size and end grain pattern. A cutting board with on-slip silicone feet is also advisable, as it will keep your board steady as you slice your way through that cut of meat.Which type of cutting board is the most hygienic?
Once again, a high quality wood cutting boards offer you the most hygienic surface, much more so than a plastic cutting board. Choose a wooden board that is easy to maintain and to clean. Remember to choose one that has been crafted from a type of wood that repels knife marks, cuts, and other damage to its surface.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Jonathan Scolnick
Born in Philadelphia and living in Argentina, Jonathan loves learning about culture through the food and conversation at the dinner table.