End grain cutting boards are typically constructed from small pieces of wood arranged in a checkerboard pattern, with the fibers facing up so you can truly appreciate the details in the grain. But the best end grain cutting boards are more than just aesthetically appealing. Many cooks prefer this style of cutting board because it is resistant to cuts, nicks, and scratches.
End grain boards are considered to be "self-healing" because their fibers absorb the impact of the knife blade, allowing scratches to close back up over time. That said, they aren't totally invincible. Since end grain boards are porous, which means that they absorb more liquid, they need to be cleaned shortly after use. And as with any wood cutting board, routine oiling is a must.
End grain boards can be made from different types of wood:
- Maple is a common option, and is known for being super hard and durable.
- Walnut is also a highly regarded wood for cutting boards, and it’s usually darker than maple, so some find it more visually appealing.
- Teak and acacia have become increasingly popular because they tend to be budget-friendly.
- Bamboo is another option, but I left it off this list because it’s so hard that it can damage your knives.
Beyond variations in wood, you'll notice that end grain boards come in a couple of different styles:
- Standard cutting boards are usually thinner and lighter, which means they are easy to move around the kitchen. However, this also means they're more prone to sliding around during use. Cutting boards are ideal for day-to-day tasks like slicing and dicing.
- Butcher blocks, also known as chopping blocks, are a much thicker and heavier type of board. Butcher blocks are intended for heavy-duty tasks like cutting meat. Many people keep these boards permanently displayed on their kitchen surfaces, rather than trying to move the heavy blocks back and forth from cabinet to counter.
Finally, there are a few nice features you might want to look for in a board, like grooves around the edge of a cutting board help contain the liquid runoff from any particularly juicy foods, or rubber feet that help prevent a cutting from sliding around.
Since end grain cutting boards are typically an investment, it's important to research before you buy. In this case, I did the research for you, so that you can be sure you're getting the best end grain cutting boards and blocks on Amazon.