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Anniversaries, weddings, housewarmings, holidays — whatever the occasion, a high-quality wooden cutting board makes for a thoughtful gift guaranteed to last a lifetime. The trick is to know what you’re looking for.
The best wooden cutting boards should be durable and feel substantial. A solid wood cutting board should be at least a few inches thick, and made from a high-quality wood that is naturally antibacterial, soft on knives, and likely to last. Cheap, thin cutting boards are prone to warping or cracking, which not just looks bad but could be unsafe — divets in the surface created by a knife blade is a great place for germs and bacteria to collect. When shopping for the best wooden cutting boards, we also look for details like grooves along the edge for juices to collect, and built-in handles for easy carrying (say, when you want to use the wooden cutting board as a cheese tray or party platter).
Wooden Cutting Board Materials
There are a few common wood types used for cutting boards. The best woods are hardwoods like walnut or teak, as softer woods will become easily scratched or dented, and can dull knives after repeated use. Also look for close-grain woods which have smaller pores and woods that are non-toxic. Materials like bamboo (which is not technically a wood but has similar properties) earns points for eco-friendliness.
Bamboo: Bamboo is actually a soft grass, not a wood, and it is the preferred choice of many environmentally-minded consumers because it is an easily renewable resource that is highly sustainable. However, bamboo is also 19 times harder than common hardwood like maple, and so can be more damaging to your knives in the long run. Bamboo cutting boards also have a shorter shelf-life than hardwood.
Hardwood: Commonly considered the gold standard when it comes to long-lasting, high-quality cutting boards, hardwood like walnut, teak, or maple are easy on knives and long lasting, in addition to being mostly sourced in the United States. The downside is that they can be pricier than other cutting boards, and require regular maintenance.
Acacia: This sustainably-sourced hardwood is gaining in popularity and not just for cutting boards. Like other hardwoods, acacia is gentle on knives, water-resistant, and long-lasting.
1. Organic Bamboo Cutting Board
Bamboo is a standby material for cutting boards because of its naturally antimicrobial surface. We like this all-purpose and handcrafted reversible board, which is crack and odor-resistant, as well as BPA-free and easy to clean. Handles carved into the sides are ideal for when you’re using it as a cheese board or serving tray.
Large grooves on the edges help prevent any “juices” for spilling onto the countertop or table.
2. Reversible Teak Wood Cutting Board
This gorgeous board is made of sustainably-harvested organic teak wood and is pre-seasoned with 100 percent all-natural vegetable oil. It is more than large enough for practically any job, at 18 by 14 inches, and includes a juice groove and side handles for serving. Its 1.25-inch thickness also gives it substantial heft, which is great for durability, but fair warning for when it comes to washing up — this gets heavy.
3. Sonder Los Angeles Multipurpose Thick Acacia Wood Cutting Board
At an inch and a half thick, this butcher block-style board definitely gets top marks for stability and durability. The product description notes that if properly cared for, including applying an oil every three to four weeks to keep the wood moisturized, it will probably outlast everything else in your kitchen.
We also like that this board’s acacia wood is eco-friendly and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for coming from sustainable plantations, and that it is made by a small American business run by a husband and wife team.
4. Large Walnut Wood Cutting Board
It should be no secret by now that we love an eco-friendly product, which is just one reason this sustainably-sourced black walnut board makes our list. The manufacturer notes that the boards are only made from American walnut wood from forests growing at at least 2.4 times the harvest and mortality rate. The packaging, meantime, is made from recycled, post-consumer materials.
In addition to being planet-friendly, the walnut wood is also particularly knife-friendly thanks to walnut’s soft straight grains that don’t dull knife edges. The board is also pre-seasoned with natural fractionated coconut oil. Plus, the black walnut is really stunning, making this a great gift and presentation tray.