The Best Non-Toxic Cutting Board For Your Kitchen

18 min reading time

We spent 10+ hours researching cutting boards—and the materials used to make them—so you can easily find a healthy option for your kitchen.

Cutting boards might seem innocent, but we found many shocking reasons why a cutting board could be a safety concern in our research.

From potentially unsafe adhesives that could release formaldehyde to plastic cutting boards that could contain toxic ingredients, it’s essential to know what’s lurking inside that seemingly inconspicuous block of wood (or plastic) on your countertop.

So what’s the verdict? Are wooden cutting boards safer than plastic cutting boards? Are plastic cutting boards safe at all?

Let’s take a closer look at the world of cutting boards, and find out why purchasing a non-toxic cutting board might be in your best interest.

Our Quick Recommendation: Sonder Los Angeles

Following our thorough review, we recommend the Alfred Cutting Board by Sonder Los Angeles. This artisan-crafted American Black Walnut board offers versatile functionality and added stability. It needs regular maintenance but guarantees a safe, non-toxic surface for food preparation.

Check it out on Amazon here.

The Safest Non-Toxic Cutting Boards

To summarize the above, the safest non-toxic cutting board will be made from one solid block of wood, without any adhesives or mineral oil treatments.

This means that cheap boards are generally off the table because most cheap ones are made by gluing together smaller pieces of wood or bamboo.

We researched and rounded up our choices for non-toxic cutting boards that cover different materials, price ranges, and use cases. Any of these cutting boards are a safe choice for any conscious and non-toxic kitchen.

Best End-Grain Board: Sonder Los Angeles

Made InUSA
MaterialsWalnut, Teak, Acacia
Price Range$70 – $200
Where to buy?Amazon

On the left we have the Alfred ($149.95) and on the right, the Laurel ($69.95)

The Alfred (Left)

The Alfred Board is a premium cutting board, handcrafted in the USA from sustainably sourced American Black Walnut. Measuring 17 x 13 x 1.5 inches and weighing 7.5 lbs, this board is equipped for diverse kitchen tasks.

Its end grain construction promotes knife blade longevity, while the dual-sided design offers versatile usage. One side includes a juice groove for mess-free meat carving, and the other side features three compartments useful for meal prep or serving.

Added stability is provided by removable rubber feet. However, regular maintenance, like oiling every three weeks, is necessary. Avoid water submersion, steam cleaning, and dishwashers to prevent damage.

The Alfred Board is free from BPA, phthalates, and formaldehyde, ensuring a safe food prep surface. Inspired by a local coffee shop in Los Angeles, this cutting board—while requiring attentive care—can be a valuable and stylish addition to your kitchen.

Click here to see it on Amazon

The Laurel (Right)

The Laurel Board is a versatile cutting board, sourced from sustainable Teak and crafted to fit various kitchen tasks. Its dimensions are 18 x 14 x 1.25 inches, and it weighs 7.5 lbs, very similar in size to the Alfred Board.

Like the Alfred, the Laurel Board also features a juice groove side with a 3.5 oz capacity, keeping your workspace clean during wet food preparation. The reverse side is flat, making it ideal for tasks needing an uninterrupted surface, such as rolling doughs or serving dry foods—a contrast to Alfred’s compartment feature.

While the Alfred Board is perfect for dedicated owners and end grain enthusiasts, the Laurel Board presents itself as a classic cutting board, making it an excellent upgrade for first-time home or apartment dwellers or those keen to enhance their cooking or baking hobbies.

The Laurel Board requires similar care to the Alfred, including regular mineral oil or beeswax treatments every three weeks, and it should be kept away from dishwashers, water submersion, and extreme heat sources. Serrated or electric carving knives are to be avoided to prevent splintering.

Like the Alfred Board, it’s free from BPA, phthalates, and formaldehyde, providing a safe food prep surface. This board gets its name from the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, notable for its rock musician inhabitants in the 60s and 70s. The Laurel Board requires some maintenance but less than its sibling, Alfred, making it more user-friendly for first-time board owners.

Click here to see it on Amazon

Best Large Cutting Board: John Boos

Made InEffingham, Illinois
MaterialsCherry, Maple
Price Range$125+
Where to buy?Amazon

This large 20 x 15-inch maple cutting board is a great option for those with the countertop space to use it.

This maple wood cutting board is large and heavy-duty. Maple is a durable wood, but soft enough that it won’t damage knives. Made in the USA from edge-grain wood, this cutting board is designed for professional use and should last a lifetime with proper care.

Click here to see it on Amazon

Best Small Cutting Board: Naturally Med

Made InTunisia
MaterialsOlive wood
Price Range$13
Where to buy?Amazon

The Naturally Med Olive Wood Chopping Board is a versatile addition to any kitchen. Measuring approximately 10 inches in length and 4.3 inches in width, it provides a compact yet functional surface that’s perfect for chopping a variety of ingredients—not just garlic.

Handcrafted from olive wood, this board offers both durability and a distinct aesthetic appeal. The unique grain and pattern of each board are a testament to the natural material and artisanal craftsmanship, making each one a one-of-a-kind kitchen tool.

While the board is ideal for garlic given its ability to limit odor cross-contamination, it’s equally suited for other small chopping tasks. Each board’s appearance may vary from the product picture due to its handmade nature, but every piece will undoubtedly bring a touch of rustic charm and functionality to your cooking experience.

Click here to see it on Amazon

Best Edge Grain Cutting Board: TeakHaus

Made InUSA
Price Range$150+
Where to buy?Amazon

The 15-inch-by-20-inch Teakhaus board is 1.5 inches thick and weighs 12 lbs.

Crafted from FSC-certified, sustainably sourced teak, this cutting board from TeakHaus is not only eco-friendly but also notably durable. Teak, renowned for its water-resistant properties and centuries-long use in boatbuilding, requires less upkeep compared to other solid wood cutting boards.

While this TeakHaus board doesn’t come with non-slip feet, its substantial weight of 12 lbs provides ample stability on most countertops. If extra assurance is needed, placing a damp cloth or paper towel underneath can effectively prevent any potential movement.

Each TeakHaus cutting board boasts a unique appearance, making it a one-of-a-kind addition to your kitchen. Available with or without a juice reservoir, you can choose the version that best aligns with your culinary needs.

Click here to see it on Amazon

Best Natural Rubber Cutting Board: Yoshihiro Hi-Soft

Made InJapan
MaterialsNatural Rubber
Price Range$129
Where to buy?Amazon

Yoshihiro Hi-Soft natural rubber cutting boards are one of the best non-toxic cutting boards. They are made in Japan from 100% natural rubber, durable, non-slip, and water-resistant.

They’re also BPA-free and phthalate-free, making them a safe food-grade material.

It’s important to note that cutting boards like these are meant for users with high-end knives. It’s crucial to be careful when using a cutting board like this, or damage is likely to happen. The cutting technique used is also critical because the natural rubber surface is susceptible to damage.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Best Budget Cutting Board: Ziruma Teak Wood Cutting Board

Made InColumbia
Price Range$80
Where to buy?Amazon

For the budget-minded shopper, this solid teak wood cutting board just might be the best non-toxic cutting board for you.

It’s made from FSC-certified teak wood and comes in 100% plastic-free packaging.

It comes in four sizes: 14×9″, 17×11″, 20×15″ and 24×18″ depending on your requirements. As a nice bonus, Ziruma includes a container of organic beeswax for treating your new solid wood cutting board.

This cutting board comes to you straight from the factory treated with a mixture of beeswax, linseed, and lemon oils, and avoids potentially toxic coatings like mineral oil.

Judging by user reviews of this cutting board, some people have issues with their board arriving cracked. However, it appears that the brand is quick to rectify any problems like this.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Rating Cutting Board Materials

There are several different materials used in cutting boards, and here’s how we rate them at Better Goods.

Wood (Rating: Best)

Wooden cutting boards come in two types: hardwood and softwood. There are tradeoffs to each type.

  • Solid Construction — Hardwood cutting boards are fashioned from materials such as maple, walnut, oak, cherry, beech, and teak, offering a robust and resilient surface.
  • Knife-Friendly — While these boards can be a bit harder on your knives, they resist scarring far better than their plastic or softwood counterparts, maintaining a smooth and hygienic surface.
  • Non-Toxic Excellence — When crafted from a single solid block of wood, hardwood cutting boards stand as the superior choice for a non-toxic cutting board, keeping your food preparation safe and healthy.

Softwood cutting boards are made from wood like cedar or pine. They’re softer on your knives and can scar more easily.

Rubber (Rating: Good)

Natural tree latex can be used to make non-toxic cutting boards with many benefits.

  • Knife Preservation — The soft nature of rubber acts as a cushion, safeguarding your knives from rapid dulling and ensuring their longevity.
  • Stability Ensured — The innate non-slip property of rubber enhances safety, providing a steady grip on the table and eliminating potential accidents while chopping.
  • Hygienic Advantage — Contrary to wooden boards, rubber cutting boards repel absorption of liquids. This attribute makes them an ideal choice when dealing with meats, ensuring a clean and hygienic food prep area.

The downside to rubber cutting boards is that they can quickly become damaged if care is not taken while using them since they’re a soft material.

Epicurean Wood (Rating: Avoid)

Epicurean wood cutting boards are often touted as a great eco-friendly alternative because they’re made from waste wood.

  • Material Composition — Epicurean Wood Cutting Boards feature a unique construction, created from compressed layers of paper bonded together with a food-safe resin.
  • Resin Ambiguity — The specific type of resin used in the bonding process remains undisclosed. This lack of transparency raises concerns as it could potentially introduce undetected, toxic chemicals into your kitchen environment.

Plastic (Rating: Avoid)

We do not recommend plastic cutting boards. There are several reasons why:

  • Chemical Release — Over time, plastic cutting boards degrade and may leak harmful chemicals into your food.
  • Cracks and Scratches — These boards are prone to cracking and scratching, leading to small crevices where harmful bacteria can nest and multiply.
  • Triclosan Presence — Many plastic boards contain toxic antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, a potential endocrine disruptor. Despite the USDA banning the sale of soaps with triclosan, it persists in some products, posing a risk to humans and being especially toxic to aquatic life.
  • Plasticizer Hazards — Plastic cutting boards often contain plasticizers like bisphenol A (BPA), a notorious chemical associated with various health issues. These plasticizers can disrupt normal bodily functions by altering or mimicking hormones.

If you use a plastic cutting board, check it for deep cuts. If they’re there, we strongly recommend that you get rid of it. Ideally, you’ll replace it with a better non-toxic alternative.

Bamboo (Rating: Iffy)

Bamboo can be an excellent option for a non-toxic cutting board that’s also more eco-friendly.

  • Strength and Durability — Bamboo cutting boards are tough, long-lasting, and lightweight, ensuring a lengthy lifespan with proper care.
  • Sustainability Champion — With bamboo being a fast-growing grass, these boards present a more sustainable alternative to plastic or traditional wood.
  • Knife Wear — A downside to bamboo boards is that they’re harder than wooden ones, leading to quicker dulling of knives.
  • Comparative Longevity — Despite their durability, bamboo cutting boards generally fall short of wooden ones in terms of lifespan.

Glass (Rating: Avoid)

There are a lot of upsides to a glass cutting board. Glass is an inert material, meaning there are no worries of chemicals lurking inside, they’re low cost, and easy to clean.

  • Knife Dulling — Glass cutting boards are naturally hard, leading to rapid dulling of knives.
  • Noise Production — The usage of glass boards generates substantial noise, which may cause disturbance in some homes.
  • Fragility Factor — Glass boards have a propensity for breakage and cannot endure being dropped.

Given these issues, these boards are not typically recommended for most users.

At Better Goods, we recommend wooden cutting boards.

Because of factors such as durability, knife friendliness, environmental impact, and health safety, we recommend wooden cutting boards over other types of boards.

When it comes to wooden cutting boards, there are two types we recommend: end grain and edge grain boards. In this section, we’ll dive into the difference between both of them.

End Grain vs. Edge Grain Cutting Boards

When it comes to wood cutting boards, there are two types: end grain and edge grain.

Edge Grain Cutting Boards

These are made from wood that has been cut with the grain. These cutting boards are less durable and cheaper than their end grain counterparts and will develop scars quickly.

The top of an edge grain cutting board will show long wood fibers. These fibers are more rigid and don’t have much give, so you’re chopping against the grain of the wood, making them dull knives more quickly and also hold scars more easily.

End Grain Cutting Boards

End grain cutting boards are the most durable and resist knife cuts more easily. The wood fibers in an end-grain cutting board are cut at an angle, so the blade meets the wood at many different points when you chop into it. This makes the end-grain cutting board less likely to scar and dull your knives.

On the other hand, end grain cutting boards are typically the most expensive type of cutting board because they’re more challenging to produce.

Which Safe Cutting Board Treatments Are Safe?

Seasoning your cutting board is a crucial part of its maintenance. Here’s why:
  • Warping and Cracking Prevention — Cutting boards, especially those made of wood, are naturally porous. They absorb moisture from the food you cut on them and from the surrounding environment. When a board dries out after absorbing excess moisture, it can warp or crack, damaging its structural integrity. Seasoning the board creates a protective barrier that repels water and keeps the board’s surface uniform and sturdy.
  • Stain Protection — The absorbent nature of cutting boards also makes them prone to staining. If you’ve ever cut brightly colored vegetables, fruits, or used sauces on an unseasoned board, you may have noticed it discolor over time. When a cutting board is well-seasoned, it won’t absorb the pigments from the food, helping to keep it looking clean and new.
  • Odor Absorption — Similar to the way cutting boards can absorb colors, they can also absorb odors from strong-smelling foods like onions, garlic, or fish. A well-seasoned board is less likely to hold onto these odors, ensuring that it doesn’t affect the taste of other foods you prepare on it later.
  • Hygiene and Durability — Seasoning your board can prevent the growth of bacteria and molds, contributing to a safer food preparation environment. The process of seasoning also keeps the material from drying out, thus increasing its lifespan.

However, not all board treatments are created equally. Let’s take a closer look at the most common ones and whether we recommend them or not.

Beeswax (Rating: Best)

At Better Goods, we recommend using a beeswax coating as a safe and sustainable way to protect your wooden cutting board.

Food-grade beeswax is a safe alternative to mineral oil. It’s also an all-natural material that helps wood stay hydrated and makes it less prone to cracking and warping.

Beeswax coatings are a popular way to protect wooden cutting boards. The wax soaks into the wood, sealing it and making it water-resistant. It also helps to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Tung Oil and Walnut Oil (Rating: Best)

These are drying oils, which means they harden inside the wood’s pores. Some people prefer these because they can create a more water-resistant surface than mineral oil. However, they can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them, so they are not recommended for people with nut allergies.

Only use 100% pure tung or walnut oil, as some products labeled as tung or walnut oil may contain other additives that are not food-safe.

Fractionated Coconut Oil (Rating: Best)

Fractionated coconut oil, unlike regular coconut oil, is liquid at room temperature and does not go rancid. It can be a good option for those looking for a natural, plant-based oil to treat their cutting boards.

Vegetable Oils (Rating: Avoid)

Vegetable oils are made up of unsaturated fats, which can oxidize when exposed to air, heat, and light. This oxidation process can cause the oil to become rancid over time. Rancid oils can have an off smell and taste that could potentially transfer to the food prepared on the cutting board.

The rancidity of the oil could potentially provide a breeding ground for bacteria, making the cutting board unsafe for food preparation.

Mineral Oil (Rating: Iffy)

Mineral oil coatings are a popular way to protect wooden cutting boards. The oil soaks into the wood, sealing it and making it water-resistant. It also helps to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Although food-grade mineral oil should be safe to use on a cutting board, but at Better Goods, we don’t recommend it for two reasons:

  • Mineral oil is an unsustainable resource. It’s created from petroleum.
  • Mineral oil is toxic to the environment and the people responsible for its production.

Why We Recommend Avoiding “Antibacterial” Cutting Boards

If your cutting board is marketed as antimicrobial, antibacterial, or low-odor, it likely contains Microban. Microban is a specific blend of chemicals, potentially including Triclosan—an endocrine-disrupting substance known to result in dangerous bacterial resistance.

Microban’s primary function is to safeguard products against bacteria, mold, and sometimes algae, which can lead to stains, odors, and product degradation. However, it’s important to note that Microban does not aim to shield users from disease-causing microorganisms.

In fact, one study on the antibacterial coating on cutting boards showed that the antibacterial effect of triclosan-containing boards was limited and dependent on certain conditions such as low humidity, extended exposure time, and clean conditions.

The antibacterial effect also decreased with repeated washing, and it wasn’t equally effective against all types of bacteria. Therefore, triclosan-containing cutting boards might not be a consistent or reliable solution for avoiding food contamination.

In summary: Not only are antibacterial coatings on cutting boards useless, but they also cause potential health impacts. For this reason, we recommend avoiding them.

Caring For Cutting Boards

To keep your cutting board safe and effective, here are some helpful tips you should always follow.
  • Clean after each use — After every use, clean your cutting board with warm soapy water and a soft brush or sponge to remove any food residue. Be sure to get into all the nooks, crannies, and knife marks.
  • No dishwashers — Never put a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher. The extreme heat, water, and harsh detergents will ruin it, coming out of the machine warped.
  • No submerging — On the same note, never submerge a cutting board in water.
  • Handle glass with care — Don’t drop a glass cutting board, lay hot pots directly on the surface without protection, or put it in the dishwasher or microwave.
  • Air dry — Allow the board to air dry completely before storing to prevent the growth of bacteria. Stand the board on its side to promote air circulation and faster drying.

Preventing Damage and Extending Life

Good habits and proactive care can significantly extend the life of your non-toxic cutting board:

  • Use the right tools — Avoid using extremely sharp knives or cleavers that might deeply score the board.
  • Avoid high temperatures — Do not place hot pots or pans on the board to prevent warping or scorch marks.
  • Rotate your use — Try to use both sides of the cutting board equally. This balances the wear and tear, preventing one side from wearing out faster.
  • Regular maintenance — Especially for wooden and bamboo boards, ensure to apply a food-safe oil or a board cream (a mix of beeswax and oil) regularly. This helps maintain the board’s moisture and prevents it from cracking or splitting.
  • Resurfacing — Over time, deep cuts can harbor bacteria. If this happens, consider resurfacing your cutting board. You can do this by lightly sanding the surface and then applying a generous amount of food-safe oil.

In Summary

Our Quick Recommendation: Sonder Los Angeles

Following our thorough review, we recommend the Alfred Cutting Board by Sonder Los Angeles. This artisan-crafted American Black Walnut board offers versatile functionality and added stability. It needs regular maintenance but guarantees a safe, non-toxic surface for food preparation.

Check it out on Amazon here.

If you’re in the market for a cutting board, any of the boards we’ve recommended would be a great choice. Our top pick is the TeakHaus edge grain cutting board, which is made from sustainably-sourced teak and is FSC-certified.

If you’re looking for a natural rubber cutting board, the Yoshihiro Hi-Soft is our top pick – it’s durable, non-slip, and water-resistant.

Finally, if you’re on a budget, our best value pick is the Ziruma Teak Wood Cutting Board.

Download our free swap guide.
A cheatsheet of 50+ clean alternatives for your whole house. 
Thank you for subscribing!

1 Comment

  • Avatar photo

    Thank you for the helpful information. I am leery of rubber though because not all of it is safe. I have environmental toxins in my body including ingredients found in rubber.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *