The 4 Best Wooden Cutting Boards, According to Our Tests

Our top pick is The BoardSmith Maple Carolina Slab Butcher Block.

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Several wooden cutting boards on a work table, with brand new chef's knives on top of each one.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Straight to the Point

Our favorite end-grain wooden cutting board is the The BoardSmith Maple Carolina Slab Butcher Block. We suggest going with the 16-by-22-inch board. We also like the Ironwood Gourmet Acacia End-Grain Prep Station, which is our budget-friendly pick. At a fraction of the cost, it still does a good job.

The wooden cutting board is the kitchen's unsung hero. Knives get all the attention, with their different shapes, sizes, metal types, and blade geometries to choose from. But a great knife isn't much good if the surface you're using it on is working against it. Add to that the risk of food-born illness from a cracked and deeply scratched board, and there's good reason to choose wisely.

A good wooden cutting board can last for years as your primary cutting surface, even with heavy use. But if you spend money on a bad one, you'll curse yourself every time you chop an onion on it.

We put a range of wooden board materials, constructions, and brands to the test to find out which ones were worth the investment.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best End-Grain Wooden Cutting Board

The BoardSmith Maple End-Grain Cutting Board


Board Smith

A fine piece of woodwork, this maple end-grain board from The BoardSmith is thick, solid, and gets all the details right. It's also been time-tested by the author for three-plus years of heavy home use, so we know that with proper care, this board can last. It comes in a variety of useful sizes, and by default has feet attached, but you can request for them to be left off (you can also add a juice groove and other customizations, if desired).

Another Great End-Grain Cutting Board

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks End-Grain Maple Cutting Board

12 x 18 x 1.75 End Grain Maple Butcher Block

Brooklyn Butcher Block

With perhaps the most beautiful finish of all the boards we tested, Brooklyn Butcher Block's maple end-grain board is impressively well made. It comes in one stock size of 12 by 18 inches, but custom orders are possible, as are added details like a juice groove and indented side handles.

The Best Edge-Grain Cutting Board

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks Long Grain Maple Cutting Board

More affordable than an end-grain board, this edge-grain number from Brooklyn Butcher Block is thinner and lighter, but still solid and very well made. It'll ever-so-slightly wear down your blade faster than its end-grain counterpart, and it'll take on deeper scratches more readily, but in exchange you get a board that should be somewhat more resistant to splitting and warping over time, which is good if you're not likely to oil it regularly.

The Best Affordable Wooden Cutting Board

Ironwood Gourmet End-Grain Acacia Wood Cutting Board

Ironwood Gourmet Large End Grain Prep Station


At a fraction of the cost of the above boards, this acacia end-grain cutting board will do its job more than well enough. We've given this brand many years of home and test-kitchen use, and our boards hardly look different from when they came out of the box. The harder acacia wood will be a little less gentle on your knife blades, but not so much that you should rule it out.

Wood Versus Plastic Cutting Boards

As I've written in my review of plastic cutting boards, many of the assumptions about plastic being a more sanitary material than wood for cutting boards have been undermined by research. Yes, plastic is less porous than wood, and yes, it can be sanitized more easily—at least initially.

But as scratches pile up, plastic begins to look less appealing. Unlike wood, which can close back up around more minor knife scratches, plastic holds the evidence of each and every bit of damage like a stubborn grudge. Those scratches in plastic are great places for bacteria to fester. Eventually wood can get scratched up, too, to the point where it also becomes an unsafe food preparation surface; the bright side is that it can then be sanded back to like-new condition.

While wood's porous nature may seem unappealing, studies have shown that wood sucks harmful microorganisms into it via the capillary action of its fibers. There they remain, locked away until they die.

On the flip side, wood requires more careful maintenance and frequent oiling, and, unlike some more durable plastic boards, can never be put in the dishwasher.

It can be handy to have both in your kitchen, but I prefer to use wood as my primary work surface.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Great Wooden Cutting Board

Dicing an onion on a wooden cutting board.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

There's a lot of detail to get into here, so let's start with the most basic assertion: A great wooden cutting board should inflict minimal damage on a knife's blade, and it shouldn't be prone to warping and cracking. Give me those two things, and I'm a happy camper.

Unfortunately, those two qualities are hard to come by. Wood is, by its nature, prone to warping and cracking. It's a once-living material, and as a result it comes with imperfections that put it at greater risk of failure than, say, a plastic cutting board.

Wood fares better in the minimizing-damage-to-a-knife's-edge department—better than a lot of plastic options, better than composite materials, and infinitely better than glass or marble (please, never cut on glass or stone)—but not all wooden cutting boards are the same in this regard. The way the board is constructed and the wood it's made from can have an effect on how your knife holds up.

There's one more criterion that we feel is important for a primary cutting board: It needs to be large and thick. Anyone who cooks regularly knows how annoying it is when your pile of sliced onions slides off the edge of your board onto the countertop. Sufficient real estate is essential for a neat and organized workspace. For us, that means a cutting board that is at least 12 by 18 inches, and preferably larger. Wooden cutting boards of this size should be at least an inch and a half thick, if not thicker, to lessen the risk of warping.

Sure, you can buy a smaller board or two for little tasks like slicing a lemon into wedges, but you need at least one cutting board that will give you the space to prep a recipe frustration-free. If you've never used a spacious cutting board, you don't know what you're missing.

End- Versus Edge-Grain Cutting Boards

A comparison of end- versus edge-grain boards: end-grain boards have the tree rings visible on the cutting surface, while edge-grain ones don't.
End-grain boards, at left, show the tree-ring cross section on the work surface, while edge-grain boards (right) show the length of the wood fibers.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A tree trunk grows vertically, and its fibers run along that length, providing channels through which water and nutrients flow from the roots to the branches and leaves. There are a lot of ways to cut up a tree trunk, but for the sake of clarity I'll keep this discussion simple.

When you crosscut the trunk, you expose what's called the end-grain. That's the cross-section of fibers that we see as the tree's concentric rings. Cutting boards for which the end grain is on the cutting surface—that is, where the tree's rings are visible on the surface—are often referred to as butcher blocks.

When you cut the trunk vertically, on the other hand, you expose a side view of the fibers running lengthwise; this is often called the edge-grain. (As I said, there's more to it than that, but for the purposes of cutting boards, I'm limiting it to these two terms.)

Think of it like a bunch of plastic straws all glued together: They're just like the fibers running up and down the length of a tree trunk. If you were to cut them into cross-sections, you'd get rounds full of visible holes. Make these hole-filled cross-sections the surface of your cutting board, and it'd be an end-grain board. If you were to cut the bundle of straws lengthwise, you'd split the straws into smaller groups of straws that are all the same original length; glue those smaller straw bundles together side-by-side so that they fashion the work surface of a board and it'd be an edge-grain board.

Edge- versus end-grain boards as seen from the cutting board side edges (tree rings visible on the edge grain boards and not on the end-grain boards.
The edge-grain board (top) has end-grain sides, while the end-grain board (bottom) has edge-grain sides.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Note that an end-grain board will have the edge grain visible on its edges, and an edge-grain board will have the end-grain visible on its edges.

Which is better? Well, that's hard to answer. End-grain boards, where the tree rings are visible on the work surface, are ever so slightly more gentle on your knives, since the blade can slip between the exposed individual fibers. You can't see this because the fibers are practically microscopic, but if you could zoom in, it'd look like a knife sliding between brush bristles, which close back up as soon as the knife is lifted away. This does less damage to the blade over time. The board holds up better, too, because the fibers can reset after the knife is pulled away; an end-grain board can still develop scratches, but they won't be as severe as on an edge-grain board under the same conditions.

On an edge-grain board, the knife comes down sideways onto the tree's fibers, splitting them like broken strands of spaghetti. This will wear down the blade somewhat faster, and it'll lead to gashes in the wood that won't heal so easily. The board will eventually develop deeper scratches and can even splinter, though it'd take a lot of abuse to get there.

Sounds like an end-grain board is better then, right? Not so fast. End-grain boards are more difficult to make, which means they're more expensive than an edge-grain board of otherwise similar build and material quality. They also have a lot more glued seams compared to the long strips of wood that make up an edge-grain board. Seams are frequent points of failure, which puts end-grain boards at higher risk (assuming equal construction and material quality).

Water absorption on end and edge grain boards: we dabbed water on end and edge grain boards, and the end-grain board soaked up the water much more quickly, while the edge-grain board is still wet
End-grain boards, like the one at left, absorb liquids more rapidly than edge-grain ones do. That's why it's even more critical to keep an end-grain board well oiled, to prevent it from drinking every drop of water that touches it, and warping as a result.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

End-grain boards are also more prone to warping and cracking, since all those exposed fibers absorb and release moisture much more rapidly (one of their purposes in the tree was to transport water, after all). An end-grain board will expand and contract with the weather and seasons, and will be harmed more dramatically and rapidly from over-exposure to water than an edge-grain board will.

That said, a well-made end-grain board will still have a better chance at survival than a poorly made edge-grain one. This is a key point—there's no type of wooden cutting board that is guaranteed not to fail. High-quality expensive ones may be less likely to crap out on you, but some percentage will crap out nevertheless, even if you care for them properly (here's how to treat a wooden cutting board right).

The type of board you choose should depend on a few factors. First is price. If you can't afford a good end-grain cutting board, a good edge-grain will be your default. Second is how heavily you plan to use the board. Cook a ton? You may see a small benefit from the blade-protecting qualities of an end-grain board, though the difference is hardly dramatic. Third is care, and you have to be honest with yourself. Are you really going to saturate your cutting board regularly with food-grade mineral oil to keep it quenched and less susceptible to warping, cracking, and water damage? Or are you going to neglect it the same way you've neglected those fancy knives you should have resharpened four years ago? If you're ready to put in the care, consider an end-grain board; if not, go for an edge-grain, which will generally tolerate abuse better.

What's the Best Type of Wood for Cutting Boards?

Cutting boards can be made in a range of hardwood types. Maple is one of the most common materials for cutting boards, and I mostly limited much of my testing pool to that, though I did include a few teak boards and one acacia, since they're popular options on the more affordable end. Walnut is another highly regarded option. It's significantly darker than maple, so if that appeals to you on an aesthetic level, it's worth considering.

Cherry is another popular option, though it's softer than maple—some say it's too soft to be an ideal cutting-board wood. I have cherry countertops in my home kitchen, but I've always made a point of not cutting directly on them; the wood is noticeably softer and easier to ding and dent than my maple cutting boards, so I'd agree that it's not the best for a true work surface, though a skilled woodworker may know how to pick cherry wood that's harder than what's typical.

Oak is one material I didn't consider at all, since I found no credible sources that would endorse it for cutting boards. Bamboo is another I cut from the get go, since it's infamously hard on knives.

Teak and acacia are woods that tend to be grown in Asia. They get mixed reviews, with some people complaining about their unpredictable hardness levels (in the case of acacia) and high knife-damaging silica content (in the case of teak), but because they've become so common, and because they're priced affordably, I decided to include them in this review to see how they'd fare against the maple options in some real-world tests.

The Testing

The main test I wanted to run for this review was the knife-dulling one, to see just how much end- versus edge-grain and different wood types damaged a factory-sharpened edge.

Durability would have been nice to test in a controlled manner, but it's a very difficult thing to test methodically for cutting boards. I could have abused all of the boards mercilessly to see which would fail first, but that didn't seem fair—one of the rules of wooden cutting board use is to care for them properly. Breaking that rule just to force a failure would only prove which board could withstand the worst treatment the longest, not which one would last longest when treated properly. Those aren't the same things—just as the longest-lived sedan isn't necessarily the one that survives an off-roading adventure, but the one that's still ticking after a couple hundred thousand miles on the road.

The problem is there's no easy way to subject multiple wooden cutting boards to exactly the same heavy use over the course of many months while caring for them properly, which is what would be required to properly test durability fairly. My solution was an anecdotal one: Through the course of my professional career, I've been using many of these boards at work and at home for years. I've seen which ones have failed and which ones haven't, the nature of those failures, and I've noticed what qualities the boards that have failed have had in common (spoiler: lower quality workmanship). I've also talked to plenty of other cooks about their experiences, expanding my understanding more.

I know it's not the perfect way to test durability, but I trust these experiential insights more than I do an unrealistic schedule of abuse that goes against basic care guidelines.

Test 1: Visual Inspections

A nicely-finished wooden cutting board versus a more roughly finished one
How finely a cutting board is crafted is visible even on the surface. Compare the finishes on these two boards, both maple. The one on the left has a smoothness and luster, while the one on the right is drier and less refined.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A little over a year ago, I ordered new maple end-grain cutting boards for the brand new test kitchen at Serious Eats. They were big, heavy, and incredibly thick, if a little rough around the edges. They were also relatively affordable, which was appealing given that I was running up a pretty steep bill on new kitchen gear.

We treated them right, soaking them regularly in baths of food-grade mineral oil, and leaving them to dry upright after gentle washing. They seemed fine for many months, then, within a couple weeks, two of the three formed fatal cracks. In retrospect, their rough-around-the-edges build quality was a warning sign. Cutting boards—and especially end-grain ones—need to be made well if they're going to have a decent chance at a long life.

Unlike many other lower quality wooden products, cutting boards don't have a lot to hide behind. Because a cutting board is used for food prep, manufacturers can't rely on the full spectrum of glues, varnishes, lacquers, and other products to shore up fundamental weaknesses and ensure the product holds together despite them. In the world of cutting boards, shoddy craftsmanship will frequently reveal itself over time.

How can you tell if a cutting board is well made or not? For one thing, you can look at the outward signs of quality. How finely has the board been finished? Is the surface smooth or rough? Are the pieces of wood uniform and free of obvious flaws, or is there evidence of patch-jobs and filler to cover up damaged and cracked pieces that probably shouldn't have made it into the board in the first place?

Closeup of John Boos end-grain maple cutting board, showing minor flaws in the wood
This John Boos end-grain board had various small imperfections: note the light-colored wood filler in the center used to patch tiny gaps and cracks. Less stringent wood selection for a board can lead to problems later.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

And what about other details? Did the manufacturer go above and beyond on the smaller touches, beveling the edges and corners? Did they ship a board that was dry enough to be used as kindling, or did it arrive well-oiled? If a company is cutting these obvious corners, there's good reason to suspect they're cutting other ones as well—ones that relate directly to the longevity of the board.

A detail shot of Brooklyn Butcher Block's maple end-grain board, with beveled edges and corners.
Fine details like beveled edges and corners on a well-made cutting board.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Another thing to note is how large (or small) the pieces on an end-grain board are. The smaller the pieces used, the more seams you have, which means there's more opportunity for failure, since the seams are generally the weakest part of a cutting board. How the pieces are arranged is also telling: Is it in a classic bricklayer's pattern, which offsets each coarse of wood from the next, or are they aligned, such that all the seams meet like four-way intersections? Those intersections where four pieces of wood come together are particularly weak.

A comparison shot of the tiny pieces of wood used to construct Teak Haus's end-grain board versus the larger pieces used on the maple one by Brooklyn Butcher Block
A less well-made end-grain board has many smaller pieces that are completely aligned, such that the seams meet in four-way intersections—a particularly weak construction. Better end-grain boards use bigger pieces of wood to minimize the number of seams and stagger the courses so that the seams don't all converge in a cross.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Just by examining many of the cutting boards I ordered for this test, I was able to sort them into groups. Some looked just like the ones that had failed us before, some were works of art, and a few fell in between. That doesn't mean a fancy one won't fail you, nor that an unrefined one won't last a long time. But on average, that's how it'll go.

Really, all of this adds up to the timeworn advice that you get what you pay for. There are exceptions when it comes to wooden cutting boards, but, in general, this is a piece of equipment you're better off paying more for.

Test 2: Knife Dulling

Testing a cutting board's effect on a blade: A 4.5-pound skillet set on top of a chef's knife provided a consistent pressure along a set stroke length.
A 4.5-pound skillet helped us maintain an even downward pressure on each knife, while a ruler (in the background) allowed us to keep a consistent stroke length.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

In theory, an end-grain board will be gentler on your knife than an edge-grain board will, and teak will wear down a blade faster than maple. To test this, I ordered a bunch of identical chefs knives, each with a brand-new factory edge. I then slid each knife back and forth on each cutting board, using a consistent five-inch stroke length and 4.5-pounds of downward pressure. After every 50 back-and-forth strokes, I would attempt to slice parchment paper with the blade, taking note of when I could detect a decrease in its cutting ability. I made sure to move the knives around on the boards so that I wasn't working the same spot over and over.

After repeated strokes of a chef's knife on each cutting board, we tried to slice parchment paper with the knife to see how the blade's sharpness has changed.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The maple end- and edge-grain boards from Brooklyn Butcher Blocks lined up with my expectations, though the differences were subtle. It took more than 300 strokes on each board before I began to notice a slight dulling on the knife that was used against the edge-grain board. And while it's difficult to see it in the photo below, the end-grain board was smoother to the touch at the 300-stroke mark than the edge-grain board was. This supports the wisdom that end-grain boards heal better than edge-grain boards do.

Scratch marks from the knife slicing tests: at left, the end-grain board was scratched but smoother, while the edge-grain board at right took more damage
After 300 consistent knife strokes, the end-grain board (at left) has less severe scratches in it than the edge-grain board at right.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The end-grain acacia and teak boards similarly took about 300 strokes before knife dulling was clearly noticeable. That put them about on-par with the edge-grain Brooklyn Butcher Block maple board above. While they didn't perform as well as the maple end-grain Brooklyn Butcher Block board, they did well enough to keep them in the running. Edge-grain teak, however, utterly trashed the knife and got eliminated.

Strangely, the John Boos end-grain maple board performed worse than Boos' edge-grain alternative, with the knife used on the end-grain board growing dull before the 300-stroke mark, while the edge-grain was less severely dulled at that point. This defies expectations. One possibility is that the John Boos end-grain board's more exposed knots and cracks patched with filler could have taken a toll on the blade (this goes back to the visual inspection: a board with visible flaws may be problematic in more ways than one).

How We Chose Our Winners

The recommended boards below excelled in all of our inspections and tests relative to their price point, and have demonstrated long-term durability based on our direct experience using them in the Serious Eats test kitchen and at home.

The Best End-Grain Wooden Cutting Board

The BoardSmith Maple End-Grain Cutting Board


Board Smith

What we liked: I've owned this end-grain maple cutting board from The BoardSmith for about three years now, and it just gets more beautiful with time. The board arrives from the manufacturer damp with oil—a great sign that it's treated with care right up until it's boxed and shipped.

The workmanship is self-evident: The wood has been sanded to a fine finish, the edges and corners have been neatly beveled, and the wood pieces themselves are all pristine, with no major cracks, chips, dents, or knots to be seen. At a solid two-inches thick, it's also as sturdy as can be.

The fine finish on the BoardSmith's end-grain maple cutting board, showing light reflecting off the smoothly finished surface

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The BoardSmith offers its maple boards in a variety of sizes, starting at 12 by 18 inches and going up to a hulking 18 by 24. For most folks, I'd suggest splitting the difference and getting the 16-by-22-inch board, unless your kitchen is very large or very small.

Because it's a small company, The BoardSmith can also make boards to custom specs, including different sizes and wood types. A perimeter groove to catch juices when carving meats can be added (for an extra cost) upon request, though one should keep in mind that the groove reduces usable board surface area.

As a default, The BoardSmith ships all cutting boards with rubber feet on one side. The board I have at home has them, while the board I ordered to test for this review did not (I requested they be left off). I'm torn on whether to recommend them.

The feet confer a couple advantages. First, they lift the board off your countertop, allowing air to circulate. This helps prevent the board from getting damp on its underside, which will eventually lead to warping and other problems. And, by lifting the board up, they make it easier to slip your fingers under to pick the board up and move it around.

On the downside, the feet render one side of the cutting board unusable as a work surface, which means you'll wear down the top side while leaving the underside untouched. Over time, this has the potential to wear the board away unevenly. It can also contribute to warping, since gravity will be acting on the board in only one direction. My BoardSmith board at home has bowed downward ever so slightly in the center, likely as a result of the feet, though it's very minor and not noticeable when using it.

If you're confident that you can treat your cutting board right, oiling it regularly and storing it upright on its side so that both sides can air out, then I'd suggest getting one without the feet. If you suspect you might get lazy and let the board sit flush with your countertop for long stretches of time, then you might want the feet, which will help offset your bad habits.

What we didn't like: Nothing—this board is absolutely worth investing in.

Price at time of publish: $325.

Key Specs

  • Available sizes: 12 x 18 x 2 inches; 16 x 22 x 2 inches; 18 x 24 x 2 inches; and custom orders
  • Weight: 9-10 pounds (12 x 18); 18-19 pounds (16 x 22); 23-24 pounds (18 x 24)
  • Wood type: Maple
45-degree angle photo of the BoardSmith's end-grain maple cutting board

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Another Great End-Grain Cutting Board

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks End-Grain Maple Cutting Board

12 x 18 x 1.75 End Grain Maple Butcher Block

Brooklyn Butcher Block

What we liked: The boards from Brooklyn Butcher Block impressed us just as much as the ones from The BoardSmith. We tested both an end- and an edge-grain maple board from them (more on the edge-grain below), and each is a work of art. It arrives with the finest luster of all the boards, buffed to a shiny finish with beeswax and mineral oil before being shipped out. And just like The BoardSmith board, all the outward signs of quality craftsmanship are there—gorgeous, flawless wood, finely cut edge and corner bevels, and more.

The fine finish on Brooklyn Butcher Block's woodwork, showing how light shines off the incredibly smooth surface.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Unlike The BoardSmith, the maple end-grain cutting board comes in only one stock size of 12 by 18 inches. It's also slightly thinner, at about 1 3/4 inches. However, just like The BoardSmith, Brooklyn Butcher Block is willing to do custom orders, so you could talk to them about going up in size and thickness, if desired.

Additional details like a juice groove and indented side handles are also an option for a small surcharge.

What we didn't like: Like I said above, this board comes in just one size.

Price at time of publish: $250

Key Specs

  • Size: 12 x 18 x 1.75 inches; custom orders also available
  • Weight: 8-12 pounds
  • Wood type: Maple
45-degree angle shot of Brooklyn Butcher Block's end grain maple cutting board

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The Best Edge-Grain Cutting Board

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks Long Grain Maple Cutting Board

What we liked: If you're interested in an edge-grain board, Brooklyn Butcher Block's option is reasonably priced and very well made. Like its end-grain counterpart, it too comes in a stock 12- by-18-inch size, though it's thinner at 1 1/4 inches (being less prone to warping than end-grain boards, an edge-grain one can be made a little thinner without sacrificing sturdiness).

In my knife blade durability tests, it took about 300 five-inch strokes at a consistent (and heavy) 4.5 pounds of downward pressure before the knife became slightly—but noticeably—duller. This means it'll dull your knife faster than their end-grain option, but in a real-world situation where you wouldn't just run a blade back and forth repeatedly with so much pressure, it'd take even longer. What this means is that while you lose some of the knife-protecting benefits of end-grain, you can still get tons of use out of the board before it'll have any noticeable effect on your blade. Add in the lower price compared to an end-grain board, and it's a compelling option.

What we didn't like: It comes in just one size.

Price at time of publish: $120.

Key Specs

  • Size: 12 x 18 x 1.25 inches; custom orders also available
  • Weight: 6-9 pounds
  • Wood type: Maple
A 45-degree angle photo of Brooklyn Butcher Block's edge grain maple cutting board.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The Best Affordable Wooden Cutting Board

Ironwood Gourmet End-Grain Acacia Wood Cutting Board

Ironwood Gourmet Large End Grain Prep Station


What we liked: If the fancier end-grain cutting boards above just aren't in your budget, this end-grain acacia wood board will serve you more than well enough. I've owned one at home for about five years now, and it hardly looks different from when it first arrived.

The acacia wood is noticeably harder under a knife than a maple board, but it also seems to be more durable. I've neglected mine quite a bit over the years, and yet it shows no signs of cracking, splitting, or warping. It's a decent size, too, at 14 by 20 inches.

Based on my knife-blade tests, this board will wear down your blade sooner than a good end-grain maple board will, but it still took about 300 consistent knife strokes before dullness emerged. Like the edge-grain board recommended above, that's more than enough for regular longterm use.

Little rubber feet on Ironwood Gorumet's acacia end-grain cutting board: they provide slip resistance but render one side unusable

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

What we didn't like: One thing worth noting is that this board comes with small foam-rubber anti-slip feet on one side. It's not ideal, since the feet themselves aren't of high quality and can come off over time, and they render one side of the board unusable. In my home use, it's never bothered me too much, and the board has tolerated use on only one side without showing any detrimental wear or warping as a result, but if you wanted, you could just take them off and try to sand away any remaining adhesive.

Price at time of publish: $60.

Key Specs

  • Size: 20 x 14 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Wood type: Acacia
Overhead view of Ironwood Gourmet's acacia end-grain cutting board

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The Competition

Here are notes on the other models we tested for this review:

  • Michigan Maple's End Grain Chopping Block: This was the board I ordered several of for the Serious Eats test kitchen, then had fail (despite good maintenance practices) several months later. The seams split on two of the three boards, rendering them useless. In 2020, the Michigan Maple Block shut down, so this board is no longer available.
  • Catskill Craftsmen's 19-Inch End Grain Chopping Block: This was of similar build quality, at least based on my visual inspection, as the Michigan Maple ones. Those observations, combined with a relatively high number of one-star reviews on Amazon with photos showing unacceptable quality issues, makes me unable to recommend it.
  • John Boos Thick Reversible Maple Cutting Board: This maple edge-grain board from John Boos is nice and large, but based on personal experience (and corroborating reports from pro-cook friends) of Boos boards splitting a little too often, combined with the high price tag, I can't recommend it.
  • John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Wood End Grain Chopping Block: Similarly, this John Boos end-grain board comes at a price comparable to that of our top picks, but is visibly less finely crafted; add in personal experience with Boos boards failing prematurely, and I think you're better off going with our top end-grain board picks instead.
  • Madeira Cutting and Carving Board: Madeira's teak edge-grain Cutting and Carving Board is worryingly thin and had seams that weren't perfectly flush.
  • Teakhaus Wooden Cutting Board: The Teakhaus by Proteak edge-grain teak cutting board trashed my knife in the dulling tests, earning it a disqualification.
  • Teakhaus End Grain Butcher Block: performed better in my knife dulling tests, but the very small pieces of wood used (leading to a higher number of seams), and the alignment of those seams, was worrying. Also, given that it costs roughly twice as much as our top budget pick, we couldn't recommend it.


How do you clean a wooden cutting board?

All it takes to clean a wooden cutting board is hot water and dish soap. Use a sponge or soft bristle brush to gently scrub the cutting board, rinse it thoroughly, then wipe off excess water with a clean cloth or paper towels. Leave the board standing upright while air-drying to help avoid warping or pooled water. 

Do you need to sanitize a wooden cutting board?

As we explained here, "Some people fear that wood, because it's porous and can absorb liquids, is unsanitary, but studies have often found the reverse—wood is able to absorb bacteria, trapping them and killing them." As long as you clean and care for a wooden cutting board properly (i.e. not dishwashing it, to prevent the wood from breaking down)—hand-washing it gently—it shouldn't need to be more thoroughly sanitized.

What oil should you use for a wooden cutting board?

There are lots of oil, wax, and oil-and-wax options on the market to protect your wooden cutting board, but food-grade mineral oil is always a great option. Using a protective oil on your cutting board does more than just help keep it looking great—it forms a barrier against scratches and odor absorption.

Are wooden cutting boards safe?

As long as they’re kept clean and allowed to dry properly, wooden cutting boards are definitely safe. If you’re concerned about cross-contamination, it’s perfectly fine to have multiple cutting boards and designate one specifically for use with meats. And, of course, if your wooden cutting board ever cracks, splinters, or sustains deep, hard-to-clean scratches, it’s time for a replacement.

Is acacia wood good for cutting boards?

Acacia wood is less gentle on your knives, but not so much you should avoid it. In fact, one of our favorite wooden cutting boards, from Ironwood Gourmet, is made from acacia wood.

Article Sources
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  1. MSU Extension. “Cutting Boards and Food Safety.”