The 3 Best Maple Cutting Boards, According To Home Cooks
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Just like the knife you use to chop and slice, a good cutting board is one of the most important purchases you can make for your kitchen, and a hardwood like maple boasts a tight grain construction, making it a durable and safe choice. Depending on your preferences, the best maple cutting boards will be made from either end-grain or edge-grain wood, so you can find the best balance of durability and upkeep.
End-Grain vs. Edge-Grain Cutting Boards
One of the chief things you’ll want to consider is the grain of your board. An end-grain board is made from a tree trunk that’s been cut cross-wise, and the fibers of the resulting board will run up and down, with minuscule spaces in between. These spaces give your knife a place to slide into, which can help prevent blade damage. What’s more, the end-grain board itself is more scratch-proof than an edge-grain option. The down sides? This type of board tends to be expensive and requires more frequent upkeep in the form of regular mineral oiling.
An edge-grain board is made from a tree cut vertically, so your knife will hit the tree’s fibers sideways; this can wear your blades down a little more quickly, and the board will be more prone to scratching. On the bright side, edge-grain boards tend to be more affordable, require less upkeep, and are actually less likely to warp over time.
Cutting boards come in a variety of sizes, and anything bigger than 12 by 18 inches provides ample room for everyday cooking, as well as prepping larger items like roasts. Ideally, experts recommend a board that’s at least 1.25 inches thick, and if you plan to carve meats or juicy ingredients, consider getting a board with a groove around the perimeter to capture runoff and keep countertops clean.
One last thing to note: I’ve only included options by the John Boos Company because they manufacture a number of National Sanitation Foundation-certified maple cutting boards, which means they meet certain standards for materials, design, and construction, which guarantees optimal performance and a sanitary food surface. Plus, they’re a well-loved brand that’s (conveniently) available on Amazon. With a bit of care and maintenance, the best maple cutting boards below will serve you for years of daily chopping, carving, and slicing.
1. The Overall Best: A Solid End-Grain Board
At a thickness of 2.5 inches, this reversible cutting board from John Boos is made from hard rock maple with an end-grain design, meaning that the wood’s cut side creates the board’s cutting surface, rather than long planks. (If you look closely, you can see traces of the tree’s growth rings in the rectangular pieces of wood.) This cutting board not only has a unique look, but its fibrous cutting surface can resist more serious scratching while reducing wear and tear on your cutlery. Due to its sturdy 20-pound weight, this cutting board isn’t likely to slip around when in use, and both ends have handles to make it easy to lift or transport.
One reviewer wrote: “We use this cutting board almost every single day and it's just as sturdy as it was two years ago! We oil/wax it regularly and I've found it to be my favorite kitchen item- so much so that I use it as a background to capture photos of our cut flowers and fresh garden treats year round.”
- Available sizes: 20 x 15 x 2.5 inches
2. The Runner-Up: An Edge-Grain Board With A Juice Groove & Tray
With a unique 18-by-18-inch square design, this reversible edge-grain cutting board from John Boos has a thickness of 2.5 inches and a runoff groove around the perimeter that collects drippings from carved meats, tomatoes, citrus, and other juicy foods. Cleverly, the groove is slanted, which means any runoff will be collected in the stainless steel drip tray. The reverse side of the board is flat, making it appropriate for cutting less juicy items, and in this application, the tray can be used to store already chopped food, giving this option big-time design points. This pick is also made from hard rock maple and has a very respectable weight of 10 pounds.
One reviewer wrote: “This board is gorgeous! The drip edge is slanted so the juice will drop down into the pan. It can handle any size roast or turkey. Makes a great charcuterie board. It's large and pretty heavy. Love it!”
- Available sizes: 18 x 18 x 2.5 inches
3. The Best Budget Option: A Basic Edge-Grain Board
Weighing between 1 and 9 pounds depending on the size, John Boos’ Chop-N-Slice maple cutting board is thinner and more lightweight than the other two options, so it may shift a bit while chopping, but it’s a significantly more affordable choice. Plus, the slim design does have its benefits: If you prefer to store your cutting board between uses, rather than leave it out on your countertop, it’s easy to move out of the way. Made from hard rock maple, both sides of the edge-grain cutting board are flat, and the reversible design means you can dedicate one side to cutting fish or meat, and the other to fresh produce. The thicknesses vary from 1 to 1.5 inches, depending on the size you choose, which means some fall short of the recommended 1.25 inches. Nonetheless, this option is quite popular, boasting a 4.4-star rating on Amazon and more than 2,000 reviews.
One reviewer wrote: “I love this Boos board! We have the larger one that you see on many of the cooking shows, but it's too big to easily wash in our sink, so I rarely use it. This one is the PERFECT size so I keep it on my kitchen island all the time and use it daily. Wonderful quality!”
- Available sizes: 8 x 12 x 1 inches, 10 x 5 x 1 inches, 10 x 10 x 1 inches, 16 x 10 x 1 inches, 18 x 12 x 1.25 inches, 20 x 15 x 1.25 inches
Also Great: A Protective Mineral Oil
If you’re investing in a maple cutting board, you’ll definitely want to pick up some food-grade mineral oil to keep it it from warping and cracking over time (which is especially important if you opt for an end-grain board). This option has a near-perfect 4.8-star rating and more than 16,000 reviews, so it’s virtually guaranteed to keep your board in good condition for years to come.
One reviewer wrote: “Good quality, maple soaked it up and left a nice finish on my block.”