Three sets of color coded cutting boards

The Simple Trick Professional Chefs Use to Make Meal Prep Safer

It's all in the cutting boards.
By Laura Denby
July 25, 2021
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When it comes to kitchen organization and efficiency, I love to model my processes at home after those I learned while working in professional restaurants. After all, an organized kitchen means a safer kitchen, and restaurant chefs are typically super strict about how they store both food and tools. Who better to look to for guidance? Keeping stringent storage and cleaning procedures is key to preventing cross contamination that can lead to foodborne illnesses.

That's why I take special care to protect the most vulnerable tools in my kitchen: my cutting boards. They're the catch-all for every ingredient that needs to be cut, from meat to fish to fresh vegetables—but if not cleaned and stored properly, they can also become a home for bacteria. That's why I've taken a tip from professional chefs and decided to start color-coding my cutting boards. 

I know what you're thinking—and yes, it can be a little complicated and means more dishes for me. But it's easier than it sounds, and more importantly, it gives me peace of mind that I'm preparing food for my family as safely as possible. If you live with people who have allergies or specific dietary restrictions, color-coding your cutting boards is even more vital. Here's how I do it: I use a red board for raw meat, a yellow board for raw poultry, a green board for fresh produce, and a white board for dairy and bread. That way, I know exactly what was cut on each board, so raw meat never has the opportunity to touch raw lettuce, and someone with a fish allergy won't have to worry about eating a steak that was prepared on the same surface. 

When searching for a set of color-coded cutting boards, you'll want to look for options made from non-porous materials. Surfaces like wood are easy to cut and chip, and any tiny holes or divots in the board can collect bits of food and breed bacteria. For added safety, select a board with some type of non-slip grip on the border.

If you've been looking for a foolproof method to make your food prep a little safer, try taking advice from restaurant chefs and color-coding your cutting boards. Amazon has tons of great sets that'll make it easy to incorporate this practice into your cooking routine, and we've rounded up a few of our favorites for you to consider. Keep reading to shop four of the best color-coded cutting board sets on Amazon.

Related Items

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Multicolor Set

Oxo's three-piece set of non-porous polypropylene cutting boards are specifically designed to resist deep cuts, so you don't have to worry about bacteria hiding in the grooves of your board. They're also dishwasher-safe and resistant to odors and stains, so you can be sure they get thoroughly cleaned between each use. The different-colored borders make organization easy, and the non-slip bottoms will keep them in place as you slice.

To buy: $40 (originally $42) at amazon.com

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Gorilla Grip Oversized Cutting Boards

Each non-slip board in this three-piece set comes with a durable rubber border that prevents slipping or sliding. The thick plastic boards are  dishwasher-safe and come in three different sizes and colors for extra versatility. Plus, deep grooves along the edges collect any running liquids. It's no surprise this is the best-selling cutting board set on Amazon.

To buy: $30 (originally $45) at amazon.com

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Tutubo Flexible Plastic Colored Mats

In this surprisingly durable set, you'll get seven cutting boards made with food-grade silicone for just $16 (yes, really). Ideal for anyone looking for a thinner, lightweight option, each board is only one millimeter thick to allow for extra flexibility, while a waffled, non-slip back adds extra grip to prevent sliding. Plus, each cutting board in this set comes in a different color, which is especially helpful for people with severe dietary restrictions who need to be particularly diligent about cross contamination. 

To buy: $16 at amazon.com

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Raj Plastic Reversible Cutting Boards

For a thicker option, try this set of three reversible boards that are each just under one-half inch thick. Offered in three different sizes and colors, the dishwasher-safe cutting boards each come with a large handle for easy transport. Made from food-grade polypropylene, they're extra durable and clearly color-coded to avoid any confusion.

To buy: $30 at amazon.com