Chopping boards are used to provide a surface on which to prepare food. They protect the underlying kitchen counter from damage by cutting so need to be durable and cut-resistant themselves. It is also important that kitchen hygiene can be maintained and cross-contamination prevented by washing or disinfecting the board, as necessary.
Chopping or cutting boards are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and materials. The most common materials-of-manufacture are plastic and various woods, but other materials such as marble, glass and steel are also used – especially for decorative reasons. These latter, hard materials, though, are not usually recommended since they can cause damage or undue wear on knives.
Plastic boards can usually be cleaned in hot water or a dishwasher (but check the specifications before as some way warp). Wooden boards do not like to be immersed for a long period and soap and detergents can remove the natural oils from the wood, leading to the board drying out and possibly splitting. Periodic oiling of the board by wiping oil across its surface will keep the board in good shape and prolong its useful life (vendors recommend a food-safe mineral oil but we use olive oil successfully). Unlike wooden boards, plastic boards are not porous but all boards can harbour bacteria in cuts in the surface and can be sanitised when necessary with a mild bleach solution.
In making a choice for your kitchen, you will consider material, colour, size and price as well as some other possible features such as non-slip ‘feet’ or a ‘rim-gutter’ to prevent meat juices from running off the board onto the counter. Some like flexible boards that can be folded into a ‘shovel’ that makes it easy to transfer chopped items directly into a salad or casserole. Other boards are available in colour-coded sets (so that you can avoid some cross-contamination by using different colours for meats, fish, cheeses, vegetables etc.). Price can vary from cheap to expensive (for some for fancy-looking wooden boards) but we’ve researched the field and, taking into account some of the issues we’ve considered in the prior paragraphs, have come up with our list of the best of 2017.
Best chopping and cutting boards
Kitchen Craft Colourworks Polyethylene Cutting Board
The Colourworks board is 36.5cm x 25cm and is offered in a choice of seven different trim-colours. The board is reversible and one-side has a perimeter groove to capture juices; the ends are rubberised to prevent slipping on countertops. It is lightweight (about 750g) but rigid and the polythene material will not blunt or bend knives: A cost-effective cutting board that can ‘do the job’ and protect your kitchen counter.
H & L Russel Anti-Bacterial Chopping Board
The H & L Russel board is a good-sized 42cm x 25cm, polyethylene board that is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. It is non-porous and non-absorbent and will not splinter or crack. Two handle holes allow it to be lifted as a tray and rubberised trim around the holes and corners makes the board slip-proof. This is a practical and hard-wearing pick.
Kitchen Active Bamboo Cutting Board
The Kitchen Active board is available in a regular 38cm x 30cm size or a smaller 33cm x 25cm option. Bamboo stalks are cut, pressed and laminated to produce a cutting board that is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. The surface is harder than oak or maple but kind to knives. This bamboo board is not dishwasher safe but can be wiped or washed quickly with soap and water. We like the two-tone design with the maple-coloured frame that incorporates a handle cut-out. Reviewers note that this is a good-quality board at a fair price, ideal for buyers who prefer a natural material over plastic.
Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot Large Folding Chopping Board
These chopping boards are so clever! They are offered in a range of colours and two smaller sizes (small and mini) but our pick is the full-size 35cm x 27cm model, with a 12cm handle. When the handle is squeezed the two sides turn up to form a chute down which chopped items can be slid into a pot or salad bowl and the whole thing is knife-friendly and dishwasher-safe. The material-of-manufacture is silicone which yields a durable board with a non-slip surface. Our team owns two of these boards and can fully attest to their durability and usefulness.
Sablerock Teak Chopping Board
The Sablerock offering is a solid teak-wood board at an excellent price for this style. While it will need to be re-oiled occasionally for longer life, the board is delivered pre-coated with beeswax and mineral oil. In common with other wooden boards, it can be cleaned with warm, soapy water as long as it is not soaked. It measures 40cm x 26cm and has a juice groove around the rim, making it suitable for meat carving, and it is 2cm thick. Teak is naturally non-absorbent and anti-bacterial and will not damage knife-blades. Weighing in at 1.3kg, this is a solid piece of kitchen furniture.
WorkTopExpress Solid Oak Board
This large, all-oak chopping board is 45cm x 30cm, and 4cm thick. It is manufactured in Europe and nicely finished with rounded edges. The board is reversible and is delivered pre-oiled and ready-to-use. The wood is moisture resistant and anti-bacterial and will not blunt or damage knife blades. It is offered at a great price for an all-wood board. With a little maintenance, the WorkTopExpress cutting board will preserve its good looks and provide many years of reliable service.