Selecting a good cutting board for your kitchen can be fun. You have so many different materials to go through, you can weigh out the aesthetics, and eventually land on one that fits your needs best. While these things might make shopping more exhilarating, they can also make it a bit overwhelming. Which board holds up well with the number of dinners I cook? Which one will give me the best bang for my buck? Which one will stay sanitary longer? Fear no more because we're here to break down all the burning questions you have about how to select the best cutting board.
Our list will go over the main attributes you should be looking for in your perfect cutting board:
We'll also be comparing based on the different materials on the market:
After we go over everything you need to know, you can make a decision that's best for your home and personal tastes!
When you're choosing a good board you're going to need one that will stand the test of time and all the chopping that's going to occur. So, which one should you be leaning towards when shopping in stores?
This material is considered to be the new kid at school and technically, it's grass, not wood. The material is also a renewable resource given that it's made from natural materials and that's a huge plus for many people. These boards are a popular choice not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their durability. Their surfaces are harder than a wood cutting board and less porous. Of all the materials on this list, bamboo cutting boards are one of the most durable.
Wood has been a fan-favorite for years now and it's not hard to see why. They offer just as much aesthetic appeal, their hard surfaces take longer to wear down, and they can last a few years before needing to be replaced. You should look into purchasing a good quality wooden board if you want something durable because they won't scratch half as easy as a plastic board. Plus, wooden cutting boards can also be carefully sanded to rid of any cosmetic scratches thereby extending its life.
The plastic board has been something chefs gravitated towards in the past and they still hold a special place in people's hearts. They're sturdy and last for years, but they're not as gentle on knives as wood or bamboo. The board itself may be durable, but it's contributing to the downfall of your cutlery, so keep that in mind.
I mean, it should really go without saying that a nice-looking glass cutting board isn't going to last very long. Not only do they wear out much faster than the other kinds on this list, they also do a number on your knives after a while.
The last thing you want in your kitchen is a cutting board that builds up a significant amount of grime and bacteria in a short amount of time. Contrary to popular belief, there are some well-known boards notorious for this.
Bamboo is one of the more sanitary materials on this list because it doesn't scar as easily as the others. Obviously, you'll leave scratch marks in any kind of cutting board over time, but given that bamboo is a dense material, it won't damage as easy. Not only does this make them more durable but it also ensures you won't have a dirty, scratched up board susceptible to bacteria.
Wood boards are a good addition to the kitchen, but remember that they're porous. What this means is that whatever you leave on top of it will seep into the wood and add bacteria. This can be taken care of with proper cleaning methods, but it's recommended that you don't use them for raw meats or foods with lots of juices. Stick to drier things like bread or herbs.
We've all heard that plastic boards are pretty sanitary (even more so than wood) but recent studies have discovered that plastic cutting boards actually carry more bacteria in some cases. A University of Michigan study discovered that "more bacteria are recovered from a used plastic surface than from a used wood surface." You can, however, use them to slice meat but you'll want to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
These particular boards aren't porous so they don't pick up bacteria the same way wood does. They're also fairly easy to clean and don't need the same kind of cleansing routines as other materials.
One of the best things you can do with your cutting boards is to take proper care of them. This guarantees that they'll live a longer life and you won't be dealing with any gnarly bacteria when you go to use it again.
To properly clean this you'll need to use a bit of hot water and soap with a dish rag. Avoid putting your bamboo cutting boards in the dishwasher since they're prone to absorbing liquid and that will cause bacteria. Leave your board to air dry in the upright position before you store it away. You should also take care to oil your bamboo boards every month or so to prevent it from splitting. Rub a liberal amount of food-safe oil onto the board using a rag.
Wood boards need to be cared for almost the exact same way that bamboo boards do. You'll need to wash them with hot water and soap on a rag and leave them to air dry in the upright position before storing them away. Wood cutting boards should also be oiled every few months to keep them looking their best and avoid splitting. You can use the same method with bamboo cutting boards for your wooden ones.
Technically speaking, plastic cutting boards can survive the dishwasher but it also might cause them to warp. Instead, you can simply wash them by hand and leave them to dry. These are pretty low-maintenance and don't need any fancy washing techniques.
These boards are also non-porous so they can easily be added to the dishwasher or washed by hand and you're good to go. They don't need any special treatment either.
When it comes to choosing a size of your board, it's really up to personal tastes. Do you need one that will accommodate a significant amount of food? Do you plan on using it as a serving tray for a cheese or charcuterie board? You can also gauge it based on how much space you have in your kitchen, how much storage you have, and how large your knives are.
Keep in mind that you should invest in a good quality board, especially if you're looking at something like wood or bamboo. These materials will cost you a bit more depending on the size you want but they'll also last you for years and will be worth the price.
When it comes to the overall best cost for a board, plastic wins hands down. It's the cheapest material to get and even when you're searching for larger boards, they still take the cake with the lowest price.
We recommend getting a nice, solid bamboo or wood board if you're looking for a board that will last you many years. They might need to be oiled every once in a while but that doesn't mean they won't live for a good number of years while also treating your knives well.
The worst kind of board you can get is a glass one; they're prone to shattering, don't hold onto your food as well as the others, are rough on your knives, and make a terribly loud noise when you chop. All in all, a glass board only offers aesthetic appeal and easy cleanup.
Of course, it also doesn't hurt to have more than one cutting board in your kitchen. Some chefs like to use the more porous, yet sturdier materials for the drier stuff like vegetables and bread and then a plastic board for meat. Overall, though, we like the wood or bamboo cutting boards.
No matter which one you decide to go with, the most important thing to remember is to live life to your tastes. Whichever one you think is going to get the job done best in your kitchen is the one you should go for. Just make sure you do the proper research on all the important factors and what you'll be using the board for before you make an informed decision.