Over the years my husband and I have acquired a number of cutting boards, in all shapes and sizes — most of them have lasted years while others have failed to live up to their slicing promises. Regardless, a cutting board is an investment: it should be durable, resist gouges, not warp, be easy to wash and not dull your knives. Rather than experimenting with your money, Cooks Illustrated has done the work and tested a range of cutting board materials — read on to find out the last cutting board you'll ever need!Cooks Illustrated had a list of criteria for testing the boards:
- The board must be at least 15 by 20 inches
- A decent weight to keep the board from sliding around on the counter
- Deep gashes would be a deal breaker because they trap food, odors and bacteria, and can lead to splintering
- Each board was tested for three months of daily use.
Here are the top three recommended boards, in order:
PROTEAK Edge Grain Teak Cutting Board, $84.99, Material: Teak "Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny. It resisted warping and cracking, showed only minor scratches, never seemed 'thirsty,' and — despite its heft — was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end."
OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board, $21.99, Material: Polypropylene "Our favorite bargain board sports rubber strips on both sides that keep its lightweight frame anchored to the counter — and make it reversible. It did suffer deep scratches and gouges but never split or warped, and it cleaned up stain-free in the dishwasher.
JOHN BOOS Chop-N-Slice Reversible, $44.95, Material: Maple "A classic wood model, this reversible, edge-grain board's slightly rough surface offered twofold control: it securely held the counter and gently gripped the knives. Though it absorbed stains and developed hairline cracks after a few months, it never warped."
A few other notable comments were that for wood boards, edge-grain is better than end-grain, because end-grain allows the board to soak up more liquid and therefore more warping will occur. Also, none of the typical 'eco-friendly' materials were recommended: the bamboo boards had distortion and warping issues, while the Richlite board was easily gouged and splintered. Durability was the key for this test, and other materials such as teak or maple are most likely to last for years.
• Read more: The Last Cutting Board You'll Ever Need at Cook's Illustrated
(Image: Geoffrey Lilge/Gorgeous Eco-Friendly Cutting Boards by Geoffrey Lilge)