If you’re shopping for a new cutting board, the choices laid out in front of you may seem endless. There are all sorts of cutting board materials, designs, sizes, and even extra features. This can make choosing a high-quality cutting board a pretty overwhelming task.
For this reason, we compiled this brief guide to help you sift through the sea of options and pick the perfect cutting board for you. Read on to find out why choosing the right cutting board will pay off dividends in the end, how you can use a cutting board (besides chopping up veggies), and our top tips for buying the right cutting board.
Why It’s Worth It To Invest in a Quality Cutting Board
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of choosing a cutting board, let’s talk about why quality matters. Well, you might know that if you care for it properly, a wooden cutting board will last you for up to a decade. However, we have a few more reasons why it’s important to consider your next cutting board as an investment. Here are some of them.
It’s More Durable
The higher the quality of a wooden cutting board, the thicker it will be. That means that, first and foremost, it won’t feel flimsy when you’re chopping up fruits and veggies on it.
More importantly, however, is that it will be much less likely to warp if it happens to get exposed to excessive moisture. This will save you from having to go through the tedious (and sometimes impossible) process of fixing a warped cutting board.
It’s Easier on Your Knives
High-quality wood cutting boards use premium hardwoods, which resist scratches while still being easy on the knives. If you have a set of knives that you really value and want to preserve (or if you just hate sharpening them), then a quality cutting board will be a knife-saver.
It Just Looks Better
Let’s admit it: wood looks gorgeous. If you’re the type to want to display your cutting board on your countertop or even the wall, then a beautiful wooden cutting board is the way to go. Definitely not something you can do with plastic.
Things You Can Do With a Cutting Board
Now that you know why it’s important to invest in a high-quality cutting board, let’s take a look at the main reason it’s worth it: its versatility. Beyond chopping up produce, here are some of the things you can do with the right cutting board.
- Use It as a Serving Platter: When it comes to using a cutting board to serve food, the possibilities are truly endless. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is making a charcuterie spread against a beautiful wooden backdrop. Another great idea includes serving mini desserts on top. But of course, anything—from sliced bread to cheese to roasted turkey—will look good when served on a cutting board.
- Use It as a Trivet: Wood is the traditional material used for serving hot dishes. With a wooden cutting board, there’s no need to invest in a separate trivet. Instead, you can serve everything on top of a cutting board.
- Use It as Extra Counter Space: If you like to cook up grand feasts every once in a while but have little counter space to accommodate it, one trick you can try is putting the cutting board over your sink and using it to hold extra ingredients.
- Use It as Décor: There’s nothing more beautiful than a cutting board hung up on the wall. Bonus points if there’s a recipe engraved in it.
Things To Look for When Choosing a Cutting Board
Hopefully, we all get why a quality cutting board is so important. Now, let’s get on to the fun stuff: choosing your next cutting board. To make the process as stress-free as possible—which hopefully results in your perfect cutting board—here are some of the things to look for when shopping for it.
Make Sure It’s Made Out of Wood
From a bamboo cutting board to plastic boards to marble, there are tons of different materials that claim to give you clean cuts with no mess. While someone may claim to have the best plastic cutting board, cutting boards made from nice pieces of wood like teak, acacia, and oak will always be the superior cutting surface. There are many reasons why wood is synonymous with high quality, but we’ll narrow it down to just a few.
First and foremost, wood is a living material that has the ability to heal itself. This means that all of the nicks, cracking, and imperfections that a cutting board sees from knife pressure get sealed up on their own when it comes to wood. Even with heavy use, a little mineral oil or wax can make a walnut cutting board, teak boards, and other wooden options look like new.
The second reason why wood is so amazing is because of its natural anti-microbial properties. This means that even if your wood cutting board comes in contact with some kind of pathogen or bacteria (like from raw meat), it will absorb them and keep them away from the surface—where cross-contamination usually occurs. Hygiene is key when you slice and dice, and wooden boards make staying clean easier than ever.
And in the final place is the fact that wood is biodegradable. Once you’ve gotten years of use out of your cutting board, it won’t stay in the landfill for decades like polyethylene, polypropylene, and silicone do. Instead, it will naturally decompose into the environment, which makes it the perfect eco-friendly choice.
Make Sure It’s High-Quality
Even if you decided to go for a wood cutting board, there are still types of wood that we definitely prefer to others. For instance, maple is the industry standard for a reason. It’s one of the most durable types of wood with just the right amount of hardness for your knives. Some other great wood choices include beech and black walnut.
However, we would definitely avoid pine—which can impart a taste you don’t want on your food. We would also steer clear of any woods that don’t provide the right amount of hardness as they can’t withstand pressure from sharp blades and will develop huge scratches.
Make Sure It’s the Perfect Size
If you’re only going for one cutting board, then it’s super important to go with the right size for you—and bigger is usually better, as it will allow you to be more flexible with what you put on it. In this case, we recommend getting a cutting board that’s at least 20” inches long.
But if you’re planning to invest in a few cutting boards for different purposes, then you can be much more flexible with size. We recommend getting one large cutting board for produce, one medium cutting board for meat, and a small cutting board for fragrant herbs and spices.
Make Sure It Has the Features You Want
These days, there is an endless amount of features that cutting boards can come with. While a classic cutting board is the most versatile choice, you can definitely consider some cutting boards with added features like rubber feet, grooves, hand grips, or a pour spout.
For instance, if you want your cutting board to simplify the process of chopping things up, then there are a few add-ons that can be incredibly useful. Some cutting boards come with built-in compartments that you can throw your chopped-up food into. So, if your recipe calls for a ton of different vegetables, for example, you can keep them all inside your cutting board until you’re ready to cook.
If your cutlery tend to dull up pretty quickly—way before you have a chance to realize what’s going on—then a chef’s knife sharpener on your cutting board can serve as a reminder and even save you some kitchen space. Plus, it'll make sure you've always got a sharp blade on hand.
Another extra feature we love is a tablet attachment. If you follow your recipes to a tee, then it can get tedious to run back and forth between your cutting board and your electronic device. However, with this feature, you can have your tablet in front of you the entire time. Some cutting boards even come with a protector that prevents food from splattering on your device.
You may want a juice groove or juice canal for easy clean up, or maybe you're looking for something dishwasher safe.
Make Sure You Love How It Looks
Once you meet all of the above criteria, you need to ask yourself one last question a la Marie Kondo: does it bring me joy?
The right cutting board will be with you for years to come. For this reason, it’s super important to make sure that you love the color, the design, and the feel of it. If the answer is “no,” then it’s time to keep searching—no matter how good of a deal the cutting board feels like at the moment. You should also ensure that your board will look good over the decades and won't stain on first contact with tomatoes, beet juice, or sauces.
Once you find the cutting board that simply belongs in your kitchen, then grab it! And maybe get one for a friend, too.
Treat Yo’ Self...
…to an amazing cutting board.
Since you know all the reasons why a food-grade cutting board makes for such a smart investment, it’s only right to go for the best one. From end-grain boards to edge-grain boards and everything in-between, the right cutting board is a game-changer. Like great pans, bowls, and knives, it will make your culinary life so much easier.
For a selection of premium hardwood cutting boards, Sophistiplate always has your back with the latest and greatest styles.