Best Chopping Block

For professional chefs, the most important tool in their kitchen is almost certainly a great set of knives. And just like those tops chefs, home cooks appreciate the value of working with a blade that’s super-sharp and always ready to perform. That’s just one of the many reasons why you want to invest in a top-quality chopping block that delivers the hard surface needed to slice and dice your favorite foods while still offering up the “give” necessary to protect your pricey knives from damage and dulling.

What Are the Benefits to Using a Chopping Block?

A well-proportioned chopping block not only protects your countertops from scratches and damage caused by the sharp cutting edge of a knife but also protects your favorite blades from wear and tear, helping to retain that all-important razor-sharp edge. And while plastic boards can be easier to clean and maintain, nothing beats the benefits of real wood when it comes to preserving your knife’s edge. Even the hardest of woods, provides a gentler blade stop, than the plastic or synthetic options.

What to Look for When Buying a Chopping Block

Construction

Always invest in the best quality wood that your budget will allow. Not only will a fine-grain, hardwood help eliminate cracking and warping over time, but it will also be more resistant to staining, permitting food fluids to saturate the surface and ultimately cross-contamination. Plan to splurge for an end-grain finish as well as one of the harder woods that are more resistant to scratches and damage.

End Grain versus Edge Grain

Top-quality chopping blocks will feature end-grain versus edge-grain construction, resulting in a surface that is softer and more yielding to knife blades. Unlike edge-grain, where longer wood pieces form an ultra-hard cutting surface, end-grain blocks reveal the fibrous tips of each wood board to form a more pliable, knife-friendly work surface. In fact, the sheer density of the wood fibers causes them to self-repair over time.

Choice of Wood

Both hard and soft maple wood are popular chopping block options because of their closed-grain hardwood finish that makes them durable enough to withstand daily use. These woods can be prone to shrink, so monthly conditioning is strongly recommended.

Beech is another closed-grained hardwood that is highly scratch resistant and great at preventing the infiltration of bacteria caused by moisture and fluids. Because of its light finish, it does show stains more easily than some of the other boards and will require monthly conditioning.

Teak is a stunning option for infrequent use or light prep work. The wood actually contains a high level of silica (quartz), which will dull your knife over time, but it is durable and resistant to scratching and shrinking, so requires oiling bi-annually.

Care and Cleaning

Chopping blocks are used for prepping everything from raw meats and seafood to vegetables and breads, so extra diligence is needed when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing. Dishwashers can split and warp the wood, so it’s down to you to deliver a thorough cleaning. Start with rinsing – never soaking – in warm water, air-drying and then spritzing with white vinegar before a final rinse. Prevent cracking and splitting by rubbing the top, bottom, and sides with a food-grade mineral oil every few months.

Top 6 Chopping Blocks

John Boos 20-inch x 15-inch Maple End-Grain Chopping Block with Reversible Design

Editor’s Choice

When only the best will do, this solid maple, end-grain chopping block is the way to go for the professional or aspiring chef. Not only is this chunky, 2.25-inch-thick block capable of standing up to the rigors of daily chopping, but its 20-inch by 15-inch dimensions also make it the perfect size for slicing and dicing larger cuts of meat and whole vegetables. End-grain construction helps protect from cuts, scarring and contamination caused by juice saturation. And you can extend your chopping time by simply flipping this reversible block over to continue working with a clean, fresh surface. This quality block has been hand-crafted using Northern Hard Rock Maple for one of the most durable chopping surfaces on the market. Hand-wash and condition with food-grade oil every couple of months.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

This professional-grade block is the perfect choice for the chef that needs a well-sized hardwood board that’s designed to withstand volume production but won’t damage their pricey knife blades.

Pros:

  • Hard Rock maple wood
  • Reversible design
  • Durable, end-grain construction
  • Larger cutting surface

Cons:

  • Requires regular oiling

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Maple

Grain: End-grain

Dimensions: 20-inches x 15-inches

Thickness: 2.25-inches

Country of Origin: United States

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Daddy Chef 16-inch Round Oak End Grain Chopping Block with Recessed Handles

Best for Transitioning from Prep to Display

This stunning chopping block is perfect for the home chef who likes to prep and display without the need to transfer foods onto a separate serving board. The end-grain solid oak construction protects the cutting surface from the scratches, staining, and scarring that can occur over time while non-slip silicone tabs prevent the block from slipping when in use. It’s the thicker depth of this board that makes it ideal for steady and sturdy chopping of heavier cuts of bone-in meat, whole vegetables, cheeses, and fruit. With beautiful oak graining, a generous 16-inch round cutting surface, and recessed easy-grip handles you can proudly display your favorite cheeses, breads, charcuterie, and more. Protect your block from cracks and preserve its unique finish by hand-washing and regular oiling.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

This block is the perfect choice for the Home chef that wants a board that can seamlessly transition from heavy prep work to a beautiful display platter without missing a beat.

Pros:

  • End-grain oak construction
  • Non-slip silicone feet
  • Recessed handles
  • Solid, 2-inch thick

Cons:

  • Oak can be porous

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Oak

Grain: End-grain

Dimensions: 16-inches round

Thickness: 2-inches

Country of Origin: United States

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 Mevell 18-inch x 12-inch Maple End-Grain Chopping Board with Juice Groove

Best Larger Cutting Surface

If your prep work requires a little extra elbow room, you want a chopping block with a larger cutting surface. We’ve found just the board. This beautiful end-grain maple wood block features a generous 12-inch by 18-inch chopping top that makes it perfect for prepping larger pieces of meat, whole fish fillets or vegetables while a large top groove along the sides collects all those juices to eliminate messy run-offs. The chunky depth delivers that solid, non-slip surface you want when chopping heavier foods and because it’s fully reversible, it literally doubles up your prep surface. Cut meats and fish on one side, then flip to prep breads, cheeses, vegetables on the other – free from the risk of cross-contamination. Hand-wash this stunning prep/display chopping block and oil regularly to prevent drying and cracking.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

If your prep work calls for a larger, sturdy chopping surface that can withstand the rigors of daily use, this reversible maple board with a juice groove is a perfect option.

Pros:

  • Extra-large prep surface
  • End-grain maple wood construction
  • Reversible with easy-grip handles
  • Grooved lip prevents dripping

Cons:

  • Regular oiling required

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Maple

Grain: End-grain

Dimensions: 12-inches x 18-inches

Thickness: 1.5-inches

Country of Origin: Canada

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Sonder Los Angeles 17-inch x 13-inch Teak Wood End-Grain Chopping Board with Non-Slip Feet

Best for Entertaining

When your chopping block needs to do double-duty as a cheese or charcuterie board, this is the one you’ve been looking for. This stunning, end-grain teak board is fully reversible and lets you use one side of the block for the business end of all your messy prep work, then flip it over for a clean and tidy surface where you can present your cheeses, breads, and finished foods. Its end-grain construction protects this block from the scarring and damage that can happen with regular use. Three small, grooved compartments are ideal for holding nuts, olives, or those finely diced condiments we need when entertaining. The deeply grooved edges on the prep side of this versatile board, collect food juices to eliminate messy drips. Hand-washing required.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

Perfect for the entertainer, this reversible chopping block features a generously sized end-grain construction prep-surface on one side and a clean-lined serving board with recessed condiment compartments on the other.

Pros:

  • End-cut teak wood construction
  • Larger prep surface with juice grooves
  • Easy-grip recessed handle
  • Small condiment compartments

Cons:

  • Requires regular oiling

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Teak

Grain: End-grain

Dimensions: 17-inches x 13-inches

Thickness: 1.5-inches

Country of Origin: United States

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Bambusi 17-inch x 13-inch Organic Bamboo Chopping Block with Raised Carving Grid

Best Eco-Friendly Design

If you love the hard-wearing versatility of all-natural bamboo, then this reversible chopping board is about to become your favorite kitchen tool. Constructed from sustainably sourced organic bamboo, this extra-large block features a spiked grid-like panel in the center of the prep side that makes it ideal for gripping larger cuts of meat for easier carving. The heavier weight of this board prevents slipping during prep, while a wide, deep groove around the outer edge traps food juices to eliminate those messy, greasy drips. For entertaining, simply flip this block over and you have a substantial presentation board that’s beautifully grained and ideal for serving cheeses, breads, crudites, or charcuterie. Clean up is easy with soap and warm water, then finish with a food-grade oil after drying.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

This is the perfect choice for the environmentally savvy cook that is looking for a chopping block that also works as a carving board and presentation platter.

Pros:

  • Sustainably sourced organic bamboo construction
  • Reversible design
  • Raised grid and drip tray on the prep side
  • Extra-large prep surface

Cons:

  • Regular oiling required

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Organic bamboo

Grain: n/a

Dimensions: 17-inch x 13-inches

Thickness: 1.5-inches

Country of Origin: China

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Ironwood Gourmet 14-inch Square Acacia Wood End-Grain Chopping Block

Best for Dramatic Appearance

When you’re looking for a chopping block that is a true show-stopper, look no further. This stunning acacia wood board uses end-grain woods for a stronger, more durable cutting surface that not only resists scratches and stains but looks amazing when not in use. And with end-grain construction, you get a little extra “give” when chopping and dicing your favorite foods which help preserve your knife edge. Known for its beautiful contrasting variations in color, this hardwood’s natural oils make it water-resistant and ideal for prepping everything from meats to cheeses, vegetables, or fruit. Because it’s reversible, use one side for prep work and keep the other side pristine for when entertaining. Prevent drying and splitting by hand-washing with warm water, then air-drying and oiling after use.

Who Should Buy This Chopping Block?

When counter space is at a premium, kitchen equipment has to look great. Made from durable, water-resistant hardwood capable of standing up to daily use, this beautiful acacia wood board makes the dramatic statement every kitchen deserves.

Pros:

  • Durable end-grain construction
  • Dramatic acacia wood patterns
  • Reversible design
  • Naturally water resistant

Cons:

  • Requires regular oiling

Specs for Comparison:

Wood: Acacia wood

Grain: End-grain

Dimensions: 14-inch x 14-inches

Thickness: 1.25-inches

Country of Origin: Thailand

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Bottom Line

With a great quality chopping block you not only get that ultra-functional kitchen essential needed to properly slice and dice your favorite foods, but you also you get a beautifully designed presentation board that tells your guests just how seriously you take food prep. Today’s designs take into account the importance of preserving your knife-edge, the must-have durable construction that won’t let you down, and the need for this cornerstone of meal prep to seamlessly transition from your kitchen counter to dining table, without missing a beat. Because let’s face it, a top-of-the-line chopping block is an investment piece you’re going to want to show off.

Photo credit: Natalia Lisovskaya/Shutterstock

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