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Cutting Board Common Sense: Which One Should You Choose?

Cutting Board Common Sense: Which One Should You Choose?

So many cutting boards to choose from—wood, plastic and glass. Which one is the best?

There’s really not one correct answer. Each plays a different role in food safety and the life span of knives. In addition, the quality of the board plays an important role, regardless of the board’s material.

For clarity, here is a breakdown of each type, so you can use cutting board common sense in your own kitchen.


A wooden board is a classic, and may be the type your parents used while you were growing up. Chicago Cutlery® recommends only using wooden cutting boards for fruits, vegetables, herbs, bread and baking dough.

One of the best things you can do to keep your wooden cutting board in great shape is season it with mineral oil once a week to seal the grain against bacteria. If you do use a wooden board for meat, be sure to buy a high-quality butcher’s block and perform regular upkeep. Why are wooden cutting boards popular? They’re:

  • Attractive
  • Easy on knives
  • Durable
  • Respond well to upkeep
  • Easy to clean. Just use mild detergent and warm water after each use.

Bamboo boards share many of the characteristics of wooden boards and are preferred by some because bamboo’s sustainability is more eco-friendly than other types of wood.


Plastic is the most commonly used material in commercial kitchen cutting boards. Plastic cutting boards can be used for cutting or chopping just about anything, and they’re an especially good choice for cutting meat and fish because they can be cleaned in a dishwasher with high heat, killing harmful bacteria. Plastic cutting boards are:

  • Nonporous
  • Easy to clean
  • Gentle on knives
  • Affordable

Bacteria can thrive in the deep gouges that sometimes occur, so plastic boards should be replaced once they develop those issues.


Glass cutting boards combine some of the best features of wood and plastic boards: They are nonporous, durable and easy to clean. This makes them a good choice when working with meat and fish. The smooth surface also makes this board great for working with baking dough.

There may be a few drawbacks to glass. It may dull knives more quickly, and there is a risk of the glass chipping or breaking. For that reason, it isn’t a popular choice among most cooks.


With that in mind, here are some tips on how to best use cutting boards:

  • Avoid food contamination by designating some of your cutting boards only for meat and fish, and others for produce. Commercial kitchens do this using a color-coded system.
  • Place a damp hand towel or rag under the cutting board to prevent slipping. Professional chefs do this for increased safety.
  • Replace your cutting boards once they begin to show signs of wear—it’s a matter of food safety.