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Wood is wood, right? When it comes to cutting boards, apparently not. As it turns out, certain woods are ideal for cutting boards and chopping blocks while others fail to measure up. Whether you’re an old pro or just learning your way around the kitchen, having the right tools makes all the difference. So today, we’re going to take a look at the best woods for cutting boards.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of different types of wood when you look at cutting boards. Plenty must be taken into account including things like moisture, stains, and durability. The best woods for cutting boards are durable, non-toxic, and kitchen knife-friendly.
- Quick Overview (comparison)
- The Ten Best Woods For Cutting Boards In 2021
- 1 – Michigan Maple Chopping Block (Best Pick 🥇)
- 2 – Ironwood Gourmet 28218 Chef’s Board Acacia Wood
- 3 – Royal Craft Wood Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board
- 4 – The Sinclair Company Dandelion Teak Cutting Board
- 5 – John Boos Block WAL-B12S Walnut Wood Edge Grain Cutting Board
- 6 – John Boos R02 Maple Wood Cutting Block
- 7 – Ziruma Premium Grade-A Teak Wood Cutting Board
- 8 – Natural Design Edge Grain Chopping Block
- 9 – AtoHom Walnut Small Cutting Board
- 10 – Sonder Reversible Acacia Wood Cutting Board
- A Simple Buying Guide To Determine The Best Woods For Cutting Boards
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Final Verdict
Quick Overview (comparison)
The Ten Best Woods For Cutting Boards In 2021
1 – Michigan Maple Chopping Block (Best Pick 🥇)
A true chopping block, the Michigan Maple is durable and sturdy at 3” tall. It’s a hefty block, so you won’t be dragging it around the kitchen. Just put it in its designated place and let it serve its purpose. Because it’s such an attractive, high-quality block, you won’t mind having it displayed on your counter.
Since this is such a heavy, stable board, you don’t have to worry about it spinning or slipping while you’re chopping and slicing. With this board, you can truly “set it and forget it.” And since it’s NSF certified (National Sanitation Foundation), you can rest assured that this board meets all the necessary standards for food safety.
Overall, we love the look, feel, and heaviness of this board. Although it won’t function as a serving tray because it’s not easily transferred, it does a spectacular job at its primary purpose – as a chopping block and cutting board. Hard Maple is a great cutting board wood because it’s antibacterial, built for longevity, and resistant to stains. If you’re looking for the best woods for cutting boards, this is definitely a good contender.
- Northern Michigan Hard Maple
- 3.5” thick
- NSF certified
- 28.1 lbs.
- Chopping block
- Specially crafted to prevent knife slippage
- Extremely durable maple wood
- Heavy – requires effort to pick up
2 – Ironwood Gourmet 28218 Chef’s Board Acacia Wood
Acacia wood is not only durable and strong, it’s well-loved for its striking contrasting variations in color and design. And that beauty is on full display in the Ironwood Gourmet 28218 Chef’s Board. It’s a nice square cutting board that’s plenty sturdy and durable.
Intended for both commercial and home kitchens, you can get a lot of use out of this board. While it’s great for all your slicing, dicing, and chopping needs, it also makes an attractive serving or charcuterie board.
Because it’s designed to be kind to your cutlery, you don’t have to worry about excessive wear and tear on your kitchen knives. Also, the Acacia wood is sustainably harvested so you have the added benefit of knowing your board was ethically-sourced. Designed by a restauranteur, the Ironwood Gourmet is a classic, beautiful board that’s secure on the counter and versatile in its functions.
- Square chef’s board
- Acacia wood
- Grain wood construction
- 1.5” thick
- Contrasting wood patterns
- Made from high-quality materials
- Designed by restauranteur
- Dry immediately to keep from warping
- Needs a lot of oiling to keep in pristine shape
3 – Royal Craft Wood Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board
Though this board comes in 4 sizes, we’re taking a look at the XL version today. Bamboo is known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and makes a great cutting board material because it doesn’t cause excess wear on your knives.
Bamboo is also less absorptive than other woods, so warping and staining are not a concern. The Royal Craft XL Organic cutting board has a juice groove and handles, so it doubles as an excellent serving tray. Lastly, this board is eco-friendly, made from 100% natural bamboo with no stains or pesticides.
All in all, this is a great board if you’re looking for something both super-sized and easily transportable.
- Has handles
- Made from bamboo
- Chopping, cutting, and serving tray
- Professional grade
- Lighter, so it might slide on the countertop
- Not as sturdy as some of the other boards
4 – The Sinclair Company Dandelion Teak Cutting Board
This unique board is as stylish and display-worthy as it is functional. Because it’s so beautiful and it comes with the option of engraved personalization, the Sinclair Company Teak Cutting Board board makes a great gift. Teak is a premium cutting board wood because it’s a tropical hardwood that’s sturdy, scratch-resistant, and food-safe.
At 16X11’, this board is decently-sized for larger meal-prep. And because it’s so finely-crafted, it makes an impressive serving tray or cheese board. Even better, this board is made from all natural, durable teak wood without the use of any harsh chemicals.
Lastly, this board is safe for your favorite kitchenware and utensils. It’s designed to go easy on your knives so that they, and your board, can last you a long time.
- Teak wood
- Customized laser engraved design option
- Food safe
- Sustainably sourced
- FSC certified
- Makes a great gift because it can be personalized
- Thick, attractive teak wood
- Lightweight, so it can move around a bit
- Lack of feet means moisture can gather underneath
5 – John Boos Block WAL-B12S Walnut Wood Edge Grain Cutting Board
John Boos brings something exciting to the table with this Maple Wood Cutting Block with feet. The feet are a great addition for several reasons. Firstly, the board stays in place well and won’t spin or slip when you’re busy prepping your meal. But also, the feet lift the board from the countertop where moisture and wetness can accumulate, potentially warping the base of the board.
Crafted from durable, high-quality maple wood, the John Boos R02 is 12” square and 1.5” thick. John Boos has been crafting gorgeous chopping blocks since 1887, so they’ve got some experience and time-honored tradition under their belt. In fact, these boards are popular with professional chefs and restaurants all over the globe.
Maple wood is largely considered to be one of the most ideal, durable surfaces you can find for food preparation. And because it was designed with culinary professionals in mind, it meets all the highest standards when it comes to keeping your cutlery in tip-top shape.
- Black walnut wood
- Has feet
- Sustainably sourced
- Made in the USA
- Grain edge construction
- Smooth and flat for cutting, chopping, mincing, and more
- The feet keep the bottom of the board dry
- On the smaller side
6 – John Boos R02 Maple Wood Cutting Block
Another board from Boos, the R02 Maple Wood cutting block is a good choice among grain cutting boards. It’s reversible, versatile, and sustainably-sourced. Maple wood is a popular choice for this kind of board because it inhibits bacterial growth.
Interestingly, maple wood actually captures bacteria in its small pores and suffocates them. So maple is not only heavy-duty, but hardcore, because it keeps you safe from nasty bugs. Edge grain wood simply means that the board is edge-grain-up. This makes the board more resistant to both moisture and stains.
Lastly, this is a massive board. If you’ve got the space, this is a great option for large meal prep or elaborate tray display.
- Maple wood
- 1.5” thick
- Wood edge grain
- Sustainably sourced
- Boos has been crafting cutting boards since 1887
- Very large board
- Requires a lot of space
7 – Ziruma Premium Grade-A Teak Wood Cutting Board
Another large board, the Ziruma Grade-A Teak Wood cutting board is 17X11” and includes a nice juice groove along the edge. It’s reversible, so you get good versatility with this board.
100% premium grade teak-wood is the only wood that’s mold-resistant, so you can feel confident about the longevity and endurance of this board, as well as the safety. The organic beeswax protection is a nice touch, and continues in the spirit of all-natural, food-safe materials.
Impressively, Ziruma hand-picks only ethically-sourced and sustainable wood for their cutting boards. Further, they don’t use any plastic in their shipping and their boards are 100% formaldehyde-free. Also, with teak wood, you don’t have to be concerned with foul smells and bacteria getting trapped in the wood.
All in all, the Ziruma Premium Grade-A is a strong, heavy-duty board made from one of the best cutting board woods known to man. Teak cutting boards are revered for their hardness, durability, and longevity and the Ziruma board delivers where it counts.
- Has juice groove
- Teak wood
- Cured with organic beeswax
- Ethically sourced
- Gentle on knives
- Easy to clean
- Slightly higher price
- Has a distinct smell
8 – Natural Design Edge Grain Chopping Block
This is a particularly stunning board with contrasting woods. The unique look is thanks to its incorporation of four different kinds of organic wood: walnut, ash, oak, and maple. It’s a thick board that’s plenty sturdy without being too heavy to transfer of use as a tray.
In fact, for easier mobility, the Natural Design Edge Grain chopping block has finger grips on the sides. If you’re concerned with environmental factors and safety, the wood used in this chopping block is eco-friendly and 100% natural. Although boards should be periodically oiled, this board comes well-protected with a natural oil to protect from both dryness and too much moisture.
Lastly, this board makes a great gift because it comes beautifully packaged and wrapped. It’s as good in the dining room as an impressive charcuterie or serving tray as it is at providing a durable surface for chopping and slicing. It’s a really sturdy piece of wood. With proper care, it should last many years.
- 1.2” thick
- Oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and ash wood
- 100% natural and eco-friendly
- Thick and sturdy
- Finger grips for easy serving and transfer
- Striking design
- Great for chopping and as a serving tray
- It’s on the light side, so watch out for spinning
- Slightly pricey
9 – AtoHom Walnut Small Cutting Board
This rectangular board has a juice groove along the edge and comes in both a light and dark shades. Because it’s made from American black walnut, you can be sure this board will be durable and reliable for years to come.
The AtoHom Walnut board is 100% hand-made, sustainably sourced, and seasoned with food-grade oil and beeswax. Walnut wood is particularly desirable for its beauty, strength, and durability. It can be used to prepare and serve meat, bread, vegetables, and fruit. The juice groove is wide and easy to clean so catching overflow liquid is a breeze.
Not only is this board heavy-duty and known for longevity, it’s also stain resistant and knife-friendly. Walnut is a hardwood, so it’s an ideal choice for a cutting board and butcher block because it’s safe for the kitchen and not as porous as softer woods.
- Juice groove
- American black walnut
- Edge grain expert handcraft
- Thick and durable
- On the small side
10 – Sonder Reversible Acacia Wood Cutting Board
The Sonder Reversible Acacia Wood board is specifically designed as multipurpose kitchen aid to make food prep and presentation more enjoyable. For cutting boards, Acacia wood is a good choice because it’s a hardwood with rich natural oils and water-resistance. This keeps your board in great shape and protects from warping, cracking, and staining.
You can use this board for all your cutting and food-prepping tasks, including vegetables and juicy fruits. The handy juice groove will catch any excess moisture and keep it from pooling on the surface of the board.
Acacia is becoming a popular wood for use in cutting boards and chopping blocks because it’s durable, high-quality, and attractive. The Sonder Acacia Board comes with carved handles in the side, making it a great choice for a dual cutting board and serving tray. It’s reversible, with one side intended for food preparation and the other designed for serving and displaying your meal.
- Strong Acacia wood
- Juice groove
- Cracker/bread holder
- Made in the USA
- Great for food prep and charcuterie board
- Eco-friendly sustainable wood
- Slightly pricey
- Not suitable for large items like a turkey
A Simple Buying Guide To Determine The Best Woods For Cutting Boards
As you can see, there are a lot of different woods being used in cutting boards and chopping blocks. While certain kinds of wood have been tried-and-true staples for hundreds of years, other woods are just now gaining in popularity as formidable competition. But there are a few more things to keep in mind before you make your final decision and select the cutting board that’s perfect for you.
What To Pay Attention To When Searching For The Best Woods For Cutting Boards
All of the wood types on our list are safe and sturdy for food prep and serving. However, there are certain kinds of wood you want to avoid. You’ll notice that teak, acacia, and bamboo are very popular, food-safe woods that show up frequently in home and restaurant kitchens.
But open-pored woods like ash and red oak aren’t always a good choice. They can stain easily and absorb too much moisture to make them long-lasting, good-looking cutting boards.
Another wood to avoid is pine because it can actually add an unwanted flavor to your food.
Generally, you want to stick with closed grain hardwoods that aren’t porous or knotty and won’t do damage to your kitchen knife blades. We really like acacia wood and walnut for their look, durability, and hardness.
Cutting Block Or Serving Tray
Luckily, you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to choosing between a cutting board and a charcuterie tray. While some larger, heavier blocks like the Michigan Maple aren’t meant to be lugged around or displayed on the coffee table, many cutting boards serve both purposes.
If you’re someone who is a big fan of charcuterie boards or displaying your snacks in all their glory, try to find a board that’s sturdy enough to stay put but lightweight enough for easy mobility. Also, check for finger grooves or handles to make sure you can safety transfer the board.
One thing that will vary from home to home is the ideal size for a cutting board. If you’re a person who usually cooks or preps for one, a smaller square board will be more than sufficient for you. And if you’re only chopping one of two vegetables at a time, you don’t need to worry about a lighter board sliding all over your counter.
On the other hand, if you prep a large quantity of food for a big family and you’ve got plenty of counter space, a big board will obviously suit you better. With a high volume of food items and heavy-duty meal prep, you want to make sure you have a sturdy, heavy board that’s firmly planted on the counter.
And if you are a frequent charcuterie-board maker or you love the idea of a serving platter to display all of your freshly sliced brisket and home-made sourdough bread, you probably want to opt for a big, beautiful board that you can show off – even if you’re the only one in the room!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can get a lot of good use our of hardwoods like maple, walnut, and acacia. Bamboo is also popular because it’s antibacterial and stain-resistant. You want a durable hardwood that doesn’t warp, crack, hold stains, splinter, or do damage to your knives.
This depends a lot on the quality of the cutting board and the time you put into caring for it. Cutting boards should be carefully cleaned and dried and many require oiling and special attention. A high-quality cutting board that’s well-cared for should last you 5-10 years.
There’s a common misconception that wood cutting boards hold more bacteria than plastic ones. However, that’s largely a myth. Both kinds of boards are safe as long as you invest in a high-quality board made from premium materials and you keep it properly cleaned, dried, and stored.
Surprisingly, shopping for a cutting board is quite a bit of fun. For one thing, you’re investing in a multi-purpose, long-term addition to your kitchen space. Many quality cutting boards are beautifully handcrafted with striking all-natural wood designs and patterns that give a shot of organic life to kitchens otherwise overrun with machines and gadgets.
There are a lot of cutting boards and chopping blocks to choose from. Just remember, the best woods for cutting boards are those that aren’t porous, are crafted from 100% natural hardwood, and don’t do damage to your kitchen knives.
Although all the woods and boards on this list are durable and food-safe, our top pick has to be the Michigan Maple. Although it doesn’t double as a serving tray, it’s a standout because of how heavy-duty and substantial it is. Yes, it’s heavy. But once it’s in place this tray isn’t going anywhere. You can dice, slice, and chop to your heart’s content without worrying about spinning or slipping, and it’s a gorgeous piece of fine craftsmanship as well.
Plus, you can always choose from any of the other boards on this list if you’re in love with the idea of a serving tray or charcuterie board! After all, you can never have too many all-natural, ethically-sourced, handmade hardwood boards and blocks, now can you?
David Clarke is one of the most active authors for KnivesExpert. He has been working as a professional chef for 8 years now. In his spare time he is always looking for new tastes which he can use in his restaurant. David is also a real knife enthousiast and he only wants to use the best of the best. The search for the best knife resulted in the start of Knivesexpert!