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What Size/Dimensions are Most Cutting Boards? How Thick?

Different types of cutting boards on the table.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” said celebrity chef Julia Child. She also said “You’re alone in the kitchen.” She was encouraging and forgiving of people who made small mistakes while cooking. However, there are some mistakes in the kitchen you should never make. One is cross contamination.

This is the transfer of harmful bacteria from one place to another. You don’t want to do this because it leads to foodborne illness. Knife safety is also something you don’t ignore in the kitchen. A good cutting board keeps knives sharp. Sharp knives are not only easier to use but, strange as it seems, safer to use. 

There are many schools of thought on what material a cutting board should be made of. The size and dimensions of a cutting board are another. Let’s see what’s most recommended. 

Height from Floor

A modern kitchen with granite countertop.

The standard height for a kitchen counter is 36 inches. Julia Child’s butcher block counters were 38 inches as the woman was over six feet tall in flats. You might not be able to do much to change the height of the counters your kitchen came with, but you should be able to adjust things so that you can use them comfortably.

If your height is outside the average, this will mean thinking outside the box. This could mean standing on a stepstool if your height is below average. Someone of above average height may be more comfortable with an extra thick cutting board, or perhaps a trivet underneath to give an extra inch or so. Do what works for you. 

Thickness of a Cutting Board

Raw meat on a wooden cutting board.

There are rubber and plastic cutting boards that are less than an inch thick. However, your traditional wooden cutting board should be 1 ¼- to 2-inches thick. The thicker ones are most recommended as they are least likely to warp or be damaged easily. The rubber and plastic ones are durable and do not take up much space due to their thinness. Here again, you want to go with what suits your needs and preferences best. 

Size of a Cutting Board

Plastic cutting board with different sizes.

This is a little tricky. While the traditional cutting board is rectangular, there are circular, square and oval cutting boards. There are even novelty cutting boards shaped like animals or a state’s borders. The rectangular ones are the most practical. Something that is twelve inches by eighteen inches may best serve your needs.

If you work with larger cuts of meat or large fruits like watermelon or pineapple, you may prefer a larger cutting board of fifteen by twenty inches. If you dress game, fish in the round or jackfruit, you may want the extra large 24 by 36 inches.

If all you do is mince herbs or cut up small fruit for a baby, there are mini cutting boards that are only in the neighborhood of four by six inches. You will find that the most ubiquitous sizes run somewhere between ten by fourteen inches and fifteen by twenty inches.

Shape of the Cutting Board

A pile of wooden cutting boards.

The rectangular shape is really the best to work with as it has more surface area. Unless you get a very bug one, round cutting boards usually don’t have enough surface area to work with. They’re better used as a serving board for Charcuterie. The novelty shaped boards are cute, but better off as decor than any practical purpose. 

Material of the Cutting Board. 

2 circular granite cutting boards.

Do not use anything made out of glass or any type of stone as this will dull your knives. There are differing schools of thought on plastic vs wooden boards. Plastic is often thought to be more sanitary as it is easier to clean, but the truth is most woods, particularly hardwoods like maple, are antimicrobial to start with. (Sanitize them anyway to prevent cross contamination.)

Some wooden boards will even “heal” themselves so that there are no grooves for bacteria to form in. On the other hand, wood is porous enough to retain strong odors like fish or garlic. If after hand scrubbing your wooden cutting board with soap and water it still smells odd, rub a wedge of lemon over it and let it air dry. It should be slicked with beeswax or mineral oil every two weeks. 


Wooden cutting boards and kitchen utensils.

There are many different types of cutting board. Some are bigger than others. A wooden one with the dimensions of twelve inches by eighteen inches in surface area and two inches thick is ideal for a standard kitchen (and standard cook), but you should go with what your personal needs are. Whatever that case is, keep your boards clean and your knives sharp for safe and healthy cooking.