A good chopping board will be your best friend in the kitchen. A bad chopping board will crack under pressure (quite literally), warp in heat, spill juices all over your work surface and harbour nasty bacteria if you’re not careful when washing it.
But as our review reveals, you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get a quality chopping board, and when you think of how often you slice, dice, cut and carve ingredients, spending time considering your choice of board is a no-brainer.
Which chopping board should I buy?
There are myriad chopping boards to choose from. Many people like a solid wooden board, some of which are good-looking enough to double as a serving platter. Wooden boards are great for bread and carving meat – they often have a little moat for catching juices.
However, they’re more likely to absorb odours and stains than plastic chopping boards, although hard wood is less absorbant than soft. A wooden chopping board shouldn’t be exposed to lots of water as it might warp or crack, and if you’re a real geek you should treat it with oil to keep it shipshape.
Teak is a reliable wood type, but equally as important is the style of chopping board – one solid piece of wood may be more likely to withstand the test of time than a board made up of lots of layers or pieces of wood joined together.
Plastic (polypropylene etc) chopping boards are seldom as attractive as their wooden counterparts, but they win on hygiene (and often price) as they can be colour-coded for particular tasks, as seen in professional kitchens (red for raw meat, blue for raw fish and so on) and can withstand rigorous washing and sanitising.
Clever new designs include chopping boards with folding sides, to funnel your chopped food into a pan or bowl. Bamboo chopping boards are excellent and often quite reasonable, so we included them in our test.
Whichever board you choose, remember to consider the tasks you’ll be using it for, where you’ll be storing it, whether you want a handle on your board to hang it up, and whether it’s non-slip, as you don’t want your board skidding all over the place.
Best chopping boards to buy in 2020
Read on to discover the best chopping boards as recommended by the BBC Good Food on-test team. For more unbiased expert buyer’s guides, visit our reviews section to find 200+ round-ups of everything from chef’s knives to food processors.
Joseph Joseph Folio chopping board set – best board set
The latest in a whole stable of functional worktop savers from Joseph Joseph, a company that never fails to come up with solutions to niggling kitchen problems. This time, it’s a set of boards for those with space-challenged kitchens.
This ‘library’ solution keeps four boards snug in a slim, upright storage box, which can sit unobtrusively against a wall or splashback. In a choice of two different colourways, either brights or greys, each one is in a different shade, so you could decide to keep one solely for veg, meat or strongly-flavoured foods such as spices and fish.
The boards themselves are uniformly sized and performed well, their corner ‘feet’ gripping worktops with food items held in place thanks to a subtly textured surface. Choose from regular (20x30cm) or large (24x34cm).
There’s space for air to circulate around each chopping board too, so it’s a great way to keep boards dry and hygienic once out of the dishwasher – they came out looking good as new.
Stellar beech wood butcher’s block – best all round chopping board
One of the heaviest boards we tested, this chunky beech block is probably one to keep on a kitchen counter if you have the space.
Made from chunky panels of beech wood, it’s a generous 4cm thick and there are four corner studs under the block that add to the height.
That makes it feel like a real chopping workstation and meant sliding ingredients onto plates and pans didn’t require picking it up. (Handy under-board cut outs at each end make it easy to grip if you do.)
With a deep integral groove and wider channel at one end, we found this butchers block could cope easily with slicing a juicy leg of lamb without spills and overflow.
As with all boards of this type, you’d never immerse in water as it could cause warping in the long run. But with occasional treatment with a food-grade mineral oil (we like this Catskill Butcher’s block oil), it should be a trusted kitchen helper for a long time to come.
Salter bamboo chopping board with lip – best chopping board for families
We liked an outstanding design feature of this bamboo choice – an ingenious lip at the front edge which butted securely against the counter to make slicing and chopping safe and secure. It gave a mess-free way to slide peelings off the edge of the worktop and into a compost caddy, too.
Food didn’t slide off the back either, since the board can be flipped to stop cross-contamination – another upside.
It’s a nice size for family food prep, 38x32cm – one of the bigger models in our selection.
As per the instructions, we used coarse salt and a lemon to keep this no-soak worktop saver scrubbed clean between different foods in one chopping session. Additional hand-washing and drying ensured it stayed fresh-looking without staining, compared to some other wooden boards we tried.
It has a five year guarantee when registered, so look after it and it will be a countertop stalwart.
Brabantia Tasty+ chopping board set – best chopping board for versatility
This set of boards by Brabantia gave us a choice of three great cutting areas. The largest also served (literally) as a lipped tray for serving up meals or transporting cuppas to the next room.
We used it as a breakfast tray – it was the perfect size for bacon sarnies and tea for two. Flip it over and you have a rock steady board with enough space for large meal prep.
Nesting side by side inside the larger board, the two smaller surfaces of our test model were in different tones of green and looked great in the kitchen. These stayed unblemished no matter what we chopped and sliced, repelling smells and stains and saving stray juices in the channels running around their borders.
Although guaranteed by Brabantia for five years, it points out that hot pans shouldn’t be rested on them – bear that in mind if you’re prone to plonking hot trays on boards straight from the oven.
Smidge Slice chopping board – best eco-friendly chopping board
Don’t want to oil or hand-wash a wooden board? This can go straight in the dishwasher.
There’s lots to like about this hardworking Smidge chopping board. Crucially, it stands out from a sea of lookalikes as it’s made from sustainable materials rather than plastic.
Salvaged paper is compressed to make a rock solid board that can withstand heavy duty use without blunting knives. The squishy, removable silicone corners meant it stayed firmly in place on the worktop.
Available in three sizes, we tested the largest version, and at a roomy 44x32cm, it came into its own when prepping sofrito for a marathon batch cooking session.
Believe it or not, it’s also ovenproof to a temperature of 240C – once we’d prepared our bolognese, we gave the board a rinse and used it for heating (and serving) homemade garlic bread.
Harts of Stur (£18.98)
Oak and Rope carving board – best investment chopping board
Yes, it’s far more expensive than any other board here, but its style and quality are another level. It may seem strange to get excited about a slab of oak, but this expertly handcrafted piece would make a beautiful wedding gift or family heirloom.
These boards are individually made of English oak and hand-carved with your choice of words on each side of it its chunky 50cm lengths.
Most popular orders read ‘Mum/Dad’s Sunday Roast’ or give namechecks or birth dates, but get as creative as you like. Oak and Rope want to make every individual board bespoke.
Another nice touch is a deep, carved channel running around the edge with a scooped well in one corner, so juices won’t spill if carving at the table. The grooved ‘spout’ makes transferring liquids into another vessel easy, and insures every last drop from a juicy roast can be poured into the gravy mix.
Whether the Christmas turkey or a Sunday rib of beef, this board will make every single carving an occasion, holding meat in place with screw-in stainless steel spikes.
Sous Chef ash salmon slicing board – best chopping board for narrow spaces
This long, skinny board is 60cm long and designed to accommodate a whole side of salmon. Putting it to work in the kitchen, though, we soon realised it’s perfect for areas where you may not have the full width of the countertop, for example in front of a stand mixer.
If you’re going to use the board for its intended purpose, you’ll find the surrounding channel catches the salmon juices, whilst presenting it elegantly.
But even if you want to chop onions, spread butter on your toast or slice up a pile of sarnies, this is a versatile board that will slot right into place in any kitchen. When not in use, it looked good hanging from a wall peg and makes a welcome alternative to the usual square choice.
Available from Sous Chef (£29.50)
ProCook non-slip chopping board – best cheap chopping board
This little board soon became a firm favourite. Easy to use, lightweight and versatile – all for a very reasonable £8.
It has a handle, is reversible and keeps firm on surfaces without slipping thanks to rubber corners. Grooves on either side led to a narrowed ‘slope’ at one end of the board, great for sliding chopped ingredients into a pan easily.
Of course, that means lots of fruit or meat juice can leak off the board, so best to avoid using for cutting the Sunday joint. Nevertheless, this bargain performed well, cleaning like a dream in the dishwasher and stashing away snugly in the narrowest of cupboard spaces.
Marks & Spencer hexagonal rectangular large chopping board – best chopping board for storage
This board is lighter to hold than it looks, and well designed for its price tag.
The useful grab handle means it can be hung from a meat hook-style rack – a nice to option for storage.
The herringbone alignment of the wood looks great, but makes the surface less smooth than others tested, and means it’s more likely to split with heavy, long-term use.
But for now, it withstood our drop test and stayed looking pristine after lots of chopping, hand-washing (this one’s not for the dishwasher) and splashing with beetroot juice and spiced chicken joints, heavy on the turmeric.
Available from M&S (£19.50)
Robert Welch pebble chopping board 32cm – best chopping board for presentation
In a world of oblong chopping boards, be pebble-shaped. This option, from British company Robert Welch, is made with a smooth, solid oak that’s a nice alternative to the usual style. It looks great on display in the kitchen or used to present food on the dining table.
Staying unscored after hefty knife use, it wiped down easily and seemed more water resistant than others when given a thorough hand-wash. However, to avoid any warping, we followed instructions to dry it straight afterwards and made sure not to soak or immerse it in water.
Solid oak with a food-safe oiled finish, this felt lovely to handle, with soft, tapered edges. We tried the 32cm version, which was a good size for making and serving lunchtime sandwiches.
There’s a larger 44cm version, and since it’s surprisingly light for such a solid board, it would also be a versatile worktop-to-table choice.
Available from Robert Welsh (£36)
How we tested chopping boards
We tested a representative sample of chopping boards made from wood, bamboo, plastic and eco-friendly recycled material and scored them using the following criteria.
The Good Food ‘drop test’: reasoning that over its lifespan, a chopping board suffers lots of knocks and scrapes, we dropped them from knee height to see if they stayed intact.
Extra functions and aesthetics: boards come in all shapes and sizes – some with spikes to secure meat, others with knife sharpeners and folding sides. We rated the extra functions on whether they’re worth the extra money. We poured water over boards with moats to check whether the groove captured all the liquid – in an everyday kitchen, a substandard moat equals wasted meat juices.
No marks: we put each board through a rigorous test of chopping and hacking with a sharp knife to check whether the surface was left with irremovable marks. Chopping boards naturally suffer wear-and-tear, but we wouldn’t expect them to damage easily on first use.
Ease of washing: we used beetroot during testing to check whether the board would absorb colours and odours that can’t be removed with warm soapy water.
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For more of the best kitchen equipment, visit our reviews section.
Which chopping board do you use? Leave a comment below…
This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.