Plastic or wood chopping boards? Debunking myths & making good choices

Plastic or wood chopping boards? Debunking myths & making good choices - Papa Oki


  1. There's no right or wrong when choosing wood over plastic boards
  2. Wood and plastic boards each have unique benefits and you should choose which one suits you best based on your specific need
  3. No single board can easily handle every situation in the kitchen
  4. Consider having a single workhorse board with a couple of back-ups for specific tasks to minimise cross-contamination

Do we need another blog on this?

There’s no shortage of articles out there debating the pros and cons of wooden and plastic chopping boards but one thing jumps out – companies making wooden chopping boards always think wood is better. I can’t blame them for that but it still makes you question their motives and how helpful their articles really are. Most articles though go into so much detail it’s easy to skim through it all, none the wiser for it.

We’re going to set out some clear, helpful facts and ideas in this blog. Hopefully it’ll give you enough insight to make a better and more informed decision about what’s best for you and your kitchen.

First things first: cross contamination is a risk if you only have one board

The UK Food Standards Agency is clear on how to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading onto food:

Take care to keep all utensils and dishes clean before preparing food. This is to avoid cross-contamination. You should use different utensils, plates and chopping boards when preparing ready-to-eat foods and raw foods that require cooking. Remember to wash them thoroughly between tasks to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria”.

The reality is, both plastic and wood boards can pose significant health risks if not cleaned correctly. Following the advised washing and drying methods is essential to prevent cross-contamination.

Of course, you could keep washing your (one and only) board every time you switch between different foods but that’s just not feasible when you’re busy getting dinner ready.

With this in mind, let’s dive into which type of boards will suit you best.

Wood and plastic chopping boards: head-to-head

Let’s look at the basics: here we put wood and plastic boards head-to-head to see if there’s a winner. 

  Wood  Plastic
Average cost The average cost of ‘plastic chopping boards’ on Page 1 of Amazon is £14.08 while the ‘wooden chopping boards’ average is £19.58. Decent wooden boards start at around £25 and can go into the hundreds...
Look and feel This depends on you, but rarely do you see plastic boards left out on the counter top in people’s homes.
Durability Plastic boards can last for years but can’t be renovated, are prone to heat damage and discolouration.
Weight This will depend on the wood and plastic but HDPE boards weigh in at about .95 g/cm3. Acacia wood weighs in at about 0.7 to 0.9 g/cm3. We’re calling this a draw.
Dishwasher Plastic boards are dishwasher friendly – wooden boards aren’t. Period.
Heat resistance Plastic melts and wood doesn’t. A hot pan will destroy any plastic board.
Knife friendly It will depend on the wood but again this one is a draw – both plastic and wood are usually knife friendly. Glass, slate or marble cutting boards are a disaster though.
Maintenance Boards need TLC to keep them in tip top condition – plastic boards don’t need mineral oil.
Hygiene Lots is written about the natural anti-bacterial properties of wood but if you’re chopping raw chicken on any board you need to rely on something else.
Environment Wood is bio-degradable and usually comes from sustainable forests (ours do at least!). Plastic in landfills can last for hundreds or even thousands of years


It looks like wooden boards are the winner right? Not so fast.

Although the final tally suggests plastic boards win against wooden boards, the fact is, only some of these things will matter to you – so these totals are less relevant.

For instance, if you really don’t care what your board looks like as long as it does the job, then plastic would be the better option especially as they tend to be cheaper.  

The most important thing is that it’s down to you and what you want – ignore the hype, there is no right answer on which option suits you best.

We suggest having more than one board in your kitchenware arsenal. That way, you can easily switch between boards for different tasks. This comes down to personal preference, but whatever you decide, it’s a good opportunity to leverage the best of wood AND plastic chopping boards for the ideal set-up.

This is what we do in our own kitchen:

Our workhorse: a solid, large wooden chopping board

There’s a lot of decent wooden boards out there, but we think ours should be on your list.

A Papa Oki chopping board will fit comfortably on most kitchen worktops and is large enough to handle a lot of chopping, slicing and dicing. It’s thick, sturdy and has innovative features to keep your chopping technique efficient and your countertop clean.  The wood is kind on your knives, is heat resistant and if well looked after should last for many years.

It’s also good looking, so looks great in your kitchen whether you leave it out flat or propped up against a backsplash.

We use ours to handle all manner of vegetables, fruit, nuts, salads and even chocolate for desserts – that’s what takes up most of the time prepping our own meals so that’s our main board.

Our back-ups: two plastic boards for specific food prep tasks

When we have to prep foods that have a heightened risk of cross contamination (like raw chicken), we grab one of our plastic cutting boards. It lets us isolate the meat from all the food we’ve prepped on our wooden board.

It takes only a few seconds to slice up a chicken breast – and once done we throw the plastic board into the dishwasher to be ready for next time. This leaves our wooden board clean and bacteria free, ready to handle more food prep.

We also have a much smaller plastic board for those tiny tasks that crop up once in a while – like slicing chillies and we don’t want the ‘heat’ to spread elsewhere.

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