WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Food Prep / Types of Cutting Boards

Types of Cutting Boards

It is nearly impossible to think about food preparation without picturing a chef standing over a cutting board with a large chef's knife. Cutting boards are essential in commercial kitchens, protecting countertops and preventing cross-contamination of different food groups. However, a cutting board is more than just a flat chopping block. Various materials, sizes, shapes, and colors all contribute to helping you find the perfect types of cutting boards for your operation.

Shop All Cutting Boards

Use the following links to learn about the different types of cutting boards:

  1. Cutting Board Usage
  2. Cutting Board Materials
  3. Cutting Board Sizes
  4. Cutting Board Colors
  5. Cutting Board Shapes
  6. Cutting Board Types
  7. Cutting Board Care

Cutting Board Usage

A cutting board is a solid, flat board used during food preparation or service to protect countertops and other surfaces from damage while slicing food items. They also prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by providing separate places to prepare different foods, such as raw meat and vegetables. Cutting board usage varies depending on the board material, and many operations have multiple types of cutting boards for different tasks. When choosing a cutting board, carefully consider the needs of your establishment, your budget, and your various knives since some materials can damage these instruments.

Cutting Board Materials

One key aspect of choosing the perfect cutting board for your operation is understanding the distinct advantages and disadvantages of cutting board materials. Some materials are better suited for specific tasks than others. Knowing your operation's needs allows you to pick the best cutting board for a job. Other considerations include cost, size, cleaning and maintenance, durability, and the effect of the material on your knives.

Below is a list of common cutting board materials used in commercial kitchens, including some general uses, distinctive features, and purchase considerations. All these aspects play a role in determining whether that cutting board material is best for your operation.

Restaurant Equipment

1. Epicurean Cutting Board

Unlike other cutting boards, an Epicurean cutting board is a mix of recycled wood fibers and resin for the feel of wood but the ease of plastic. Also known as composite or resin cutting boards, Epicurean uses a very durable material, allowing it to last without needing to resurface the board. It also does not damage or dull your knives, which can cause unsafe knife usage. Additionally, these cutting boards are non-absorbent, easy to clean, and eco-friendly. Though usually at a higher price point than glass or plastic, an Epicurean cutting board is worth the investment.

Uses: Ideal for nearly all items, especially ones that stain or cause foul odors on regular cutting boards, such as onions, garlic, or meat


  • Dishwasher safe
  • Temperature-resistant up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Easy maintenance
  • Eco-friendly
  • Hygienic
  • Stain-resistant
  • Material can warp if damp for a long time
  • Requires extra stability such as nonslip feet
  • More expensive than other options
Restaurant Equipment

2. Glass Cutting Board

For operations on a tight budget, a glass cutting board is an excellent choice. They are low-cost and do not require the same maintenance as many other cutting board materials. Additionally, they’re nonporous and easy to clean, which helps protect your establishment from harmful bacteria. However, glass cutting boards dull and damage knives, which results in the need for frequent sharpening. They are also prone to shattering despite being made of tempered glass, which could incur additional expenses in the long term.

Uses: Ideal for prep work requiring little force, foods with a high risk of bacteria, hot items, and dough


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Nonabsorbent
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Hygienic
  • No need for resurfacing
  • Eco-friendly
  • Heat-resistant
  • Chips and dulls knife blades
  • Easy to break
  • Require additional stability
  • Slippery cutting surface
  • Noisy
Restaurant Equipment

3. Bamboo Cutting Board

If you want a traditional wood cutting board but have concerns about its durability, porousness, or maneuverability, try a bamboo cutting board instead. Despite being more lightweight than wood, bamboo boards have a high density that makes them long-lasting. Though tough on knives, they protect your blades more than plastic, glass, and marble. Additionally, bamboo is a renewable resource. However, bamboo cutting boards suffer from many of the same problems as wood, including needing frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Uses: Ideal for slicing vegetables or raw meat


  • Lightweight
  • Eco-friendly
  • Durable
  • Less porous than wood
  • Uniform grain
  • Unlikely to crack
  • Tough on knives
  • Requires frequent maintenance
  • May eventually need resurfacing
  • Handwashing required
  • More expensive than wood
  • Not temperature-resistant
Restaurant Equipment

4. Marble Cutting Board

Similar to glass, a marble cutting board is an aesthetic, durable, and hygienic cutting surface. Unlike other materials, marble is difficult to break and will last as long as you need it. These boards are easy to clean and dry quickly. Additionally, marble cutting boards are nonporous and will not harbor bacteria or foul odors. However, marble is expensive and causes significant damage to knives if you lack experience cutting on marble boards.

Uses: Ideal for prep work requiring a lot of force, outdoor settings, and foods with a high risk of bacteria, temperature-dependent items, dough


  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • No resurfacing necessary
  • Nonabsorbent
  • Temperature-resistant
  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Damages knife blades
  • Slippery cutting surface
  • Can crack or chip
  • Requires some maintenance
Restaurant Equipment

5. Plastic Cutting Board

Commercial kitchens are full of plastic cutting boards due to their affordability and replaceability. However, the best feature of plastic cutting boards is the wide variety of colors available. Having color-coded cutting boards is crucial to protecting food from cross-contamination in the kitchen, and plastic cutting boards are made specifically for that purpose. However, plastic can be scored and scarred by knives, leaving places for bacteria to fester. Additionally, there are no resurfacing options for plastic, resulting in the need to replace them frequently.

Uses: Ideal for prep work in a busy kitchen because color coding prevents cross-contamination


  • Inexpensive
  • Options for color coding to prevent cross-contamination
  • Nonabsorbent
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lightweight
  • Can blunt knives over a long period
  • Surfaces scar
  • No ability to resurface
  • Frequently need to be replaced
Restaurant Equipment

6. Wood Cutting Board

Perhaps the most popular cutting board material, a wood cutting board is a classic surface for many kitchen tasks. Wood cutting boards come in end grain wood and edge grain wood, each serving different purposes. While wood is absorbent, it also has antibacterial qualities that reduce the potential for food contamination. Additionally, wooden boards can be resurfaced and used for a long time, making them a worthwhile investment. However, a wood cutting board requires more care and maintenance than any other material, so carefully follow proper procedures to keep your cutting board in good condition.

Uses: Ideal for all kinds of prep work where the foods are at a moderate temperature


  • Durable
  • Easy on knives
  • Long-lasting
  • Can be resurfaced and restored
  • Nonslip
  • Has antibacterial properties
  • Requires frequent maintenance and seasoning
  • Handwashing only
  • Absorbent
  • Can warp with moisture
  • Not temperature-resistant
  • Heavy

Cutting Board Sizes

There is a range of cutting board sizes available, but choosing the right size is crucial to prevent potential cross-contamination. If your cutting board is too small, food can fall off the sides and touch other surfaces without your knowledge. Small cutting boards also increase food preparation time, which slows down your operation. In contrast, a large cutting board takes up valuable counter space and can be difficult to maneuver. This makes cleaning and sanitizing it an issue as well.

Standard cutting board sizes range from 10 - 15 inches by 14 - 20 inches, while small cutting boards are typically 4 by 6 inches and large cutting boards are 18 by 30 inches. Thickness is also a factor, especially for carving boards and butcher blocks. Thicker boards are more durable and less likely to move during heavy-duty use, making them a stable and dependable option for meat carving. On average, a standard cutting board is 1 - 2 inches thick for wood and bamboo boards and as little as half an inch thick for plastic, composite, glass, and marble.

Cutting Board Colors

Having different cutting board colors is not for aesthetic purposes but plays a crucial role in preventing cross-contamination. If cutting boards are not properly sanitized, harmful pathogens transfer from unsafe foods like raw poultry to ready-to-eat foods. Additionally, prepping allergen-free food on a separate cutting board reduces the risk of accidentally exposing the meal to allergens and harming customers. Using color-coded cutting boards prevents this by keeping different ingredients separated and prepped on specific surfaces.

To avoid confusion, the food service industry already has a system of cutting board colors. Adopting this system allows you to keep your kitchen aligned with industry standards and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Additionally, they help maintain strong HACCP protocols. Below is a list of the meanings of each cutting board color in food service preparation.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Blue: Raw fish and seafood
  • Yellow: Raw poultry
  • Red: Raw meat
  • Tan: Cooked meat
  • Green: Fruits and vegetables
  • White: Dairy and bakery products
  • Purple: Allergen-free

Cutting Board Color Chart

Use this cutting board color chart in your kitchen as a reminder to staff to prevent cross-contamination in your establishment.

Cutting Board Color Chart

Cutting Board Shapes

While rectangular cutting boards are the most common, there are many cutting board shapes with specific purposes. Different shapes help preserve counter space and reduce crumbs and other food debris by catering to the foods. For example, a pizza shop might use a round cutting board to prepare a pizza, while a bakery could use an oval cutting board to slice bread.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Rectangular: A rectangular cutting board is a popular, versatile board that allows you to prep many ingredients in one space.
  • Round: While not as common as their rectangular counterparts, round cutting boards are smaller and ideal for prepping ingredients that require you to rotate your board.
  • Square: Like oval cutting boards, square cutting boards accommodate square-shaped foods. These are ideal for cutting up sandwiches or displaying fruits and cheese.
  • Oval: An oval cutting board has rounded edges, like a circular cutting board, but is also the size of a rectangular cutting board. You can also find options that accommodate specific food shapes, like loaves of bread.

Cutting Board Types

Cuttings boards do more than protect your countertops and prevent cross-contamination. There are many cutting board types with various uses. Each has a different size, thickness, and unique attribute that caters to a specific task. Thicker boards with end grain wood and rubber feet are used for heavy-duty tasks, such as butchering or carving meat. Similarly, flexible mats are ideal for moving thinly sliced ingredients into a soup pot or casserole pan.

Below are several cutting board types and their common uses.

  • Standard cutting board: A standard cutting board is a versatile tool with many uses, including chopping vegetables, bread, or preparing meat. It is typically 12 by 18 inches and is 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick.
  • Bread board: Unlike regular cutting boards, bread boards have a slatted surface, allowing crumbs to fall into the bottom container for easy cleaning. They are also long enough to accommodate baguettes and large loaves of bread.
  • Butcher block: Significantly thicker than standard cutting boards, butcher blocks are heavy, durable cutting boards used to butcher meat. Generally, butcher boards use end grain wood.
  • Carving board: While often the same size as a regular cutting board, carving boards have grooves and troughs to catch the juice. Some also have guidelines to help you carve meat correctly.
  • Flexible mat: A flexible mat is a thin cutting board made of a flexible material, such as polyethylene, used to protect countertops from damage and transfer chopped ingredients to a cooking pot or pan.
  • Serving board: Also known as charcuterie boards, serving cutting boards have a distinct finish and other features designed to create an appealing display when serving bread, cheese, or meats.
Restaurant Equipment

How Many Cutting Boards Do I Need?

The number of cutting boards your operation needs varies on the size and scope of your business. A small establishment that only serves one food item, such as a food truck, should have a minimum of two cutting boards to perform different tasks and prevent cross-contamination. On the other hand, large restaurants and catering services with an extensive menu should have at least two sets of color-coded cutting boards and an assortment of specialty cutting boards, like carving boards. Having more cutting boards is one way to reduce the potential for cross-contamination in addition to proper care, cleaning, and sanitation.

Cutting Board Care

As a crucial tool in food preparation, cutting board care should be a top priority to preserve your existing cutting boards. Proper cleaning, seasoning, and sanitation will keep your cutting boards in excellent shape, so you won't have to replace them. Different cutting board materials require different types of care, and bamboo and wood need extra attention.

Use these cutting board care tips to clean and maintain your cutting boards.

Restaurant Equipment
  • Do not fully submerge cutting boards made of semi-absorbent materials, such as wood or bamboo, in water when you wash them. Doing so can cause the cutting board to warp.
  • Avoid putting wood, bamboo, or plastic in the dishwasher since prolonged exposure to heat damages the material. Check out our guide to cleaning cutting boards for specific cleaning instructions for all types of cutting boards.
  • Regularly season wood cutting boards with beeswax, a wood conditioner, or mineral oil to prevent bacteria growth and splintering.
  • If your cutting board has deep gouges from knives, you can resurface it by sanding down the board evenly. Once finished, clean and season the new surface. Note that this technique does not work with every cutting board material.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

Related Resources

May 2024 WebstaurantStore Coupon Code

Spring is in full bloom, and to celebrate Webstaurantstore is offering a variety of amazing monthly deals! In May, you'll discover incredible prices on beverageware, dessert ingredients, and food packaging supplies. Take a look at our selection of sale items below and don't forget to enter the code MAYFLOWERS at checkout to enjoy savings of up to 30%! We're also excited to introduce the new Webstaurant Rewards® Visa Business Card ! Sign up for a new card today and start earning rewards on every WebstaurantStore purchase. Use Coupon Code: MAYFLOWERS Finest Call Premium Tropical Puree Mix 1 Liter reg. $4.19 Each $3.77 Shop Now Blue Henry Dried Blood Orange Slices - 20+ Slices per Box reg. $12.49 Each $8.74 Shop Now Fee Brothers 5 fl. oz. Oran

Japanese Knife Types

Japanese knives are known for their unparalleled strength and sharpness compared to other kitchen knives , allowing you to make precise cuts of fish, vegetables, fruit, or sushi rolls . However, Japanese knives come in many shapes, sharpness levels, and sizes, and every type has a specific purpose. We outline the Japanese knife types, the uses for each design, and how to sharpen and care for them. Equipped with the perfect knives, you are well on your way to delighting your guests with perfectly crafted sushi. Shop All Japanese Knives Use the following links to explore different types of Japanese knives: What Is a Santoku Knife? Types of Japanese Knives Japanese vs German Knives How to Sharpen Japanese Knives How to Care For Japanese Carbon

Charcuterie Board Essentials

Charcuterie boards are a trending appetizer for caterers and restaurants, offering a delicious spread of snacks in an artistic presentation . They allow venues to unleash their creativity while using low-cost ingredients they might have left over on their shelves. Before you start building your unique board , use our list of charcuterie board essentials to ensure you have everything you need. Shop All Charcuterie Boards Use the following links to find charcuterie board essentials: Meat Cheese Crackers Bread Dips Garnish Utensils Board Themes Tips

Join Our Mailing List

Receive coupon codes and more right to your inbox.

Recipe converter
WebstaurantStore blog
Videos of demonstrations, how-tos and more