The 5 Best Color-Coded Cutting Boards for 2022

Prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen with the OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Cutting Board Set.

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Best Color-Coded Cutting Boards

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When we think of food safety, our minds tend to go to restaurants and health scores, without considering how important food safety is at home. Without some precautions, you might expose yourself to foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella, through cross-contaminated food, where harmful bacteria or other matter transfer from one person or surface to another. It can also affect people with food allergies.

“Cross-contamination can be prevented by color-coding your cutting boards — in fact, we push consumers to do this often,” says Mitzi Baum, M.Sc. and CEO of Stop Foodborne Illness. Using one color per type of food (paired with thorough cleansing between uses) will greatly reduce the risk of getting, say, raw chicken juice onto your chopped salad ingredients or peanut residue into a dish meant for someone with a nut allergy.  

Professional chefs use color-coded cutting boards to make food prep safer, and a set of three or more can help home cooks streamline the process, too. When picking out a set of color-coded cutting boards, you’ll want to consider what they’re made of and how easy they are to clean. Other key attributes we considered for this list included size and anti-slip properties. Read on for the best color-coded cutting boards to keep your kitchen safe.

Best Overall: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Cutting Board Set

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Cutting Board Set

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Pros: This set is made of durable, odor-resistant plastic that is easy to clean. The color-coded edges act as non-slip grips.

Cons: If you’re prepping a wide variety of foods at once, three boards may not be enough.

This set by OXO consists of three cutting boards with color-coded grips to help prevent cross contamination. Use the red one for raw meats, blue for cooked food, and the green to prep vegetables. Each board measures 9 by 13 inches, giving you plenty of room to work, and one side features a drip ring that will catch excess liquids so you can keep your counter clean when cutting into juicier foods like watermelon or roast chicken. The non-porous plastic surface is resistant to odors and won’t dull knives, and once you’re finished using them, you can pop them into the dishwasher for easy cleaning. 

Price at time of publish: $45

  • Material: Rubber and plastic
  • Size: 9 x 12.9 inches

Best Value: Fotouzy Cutting Boards

colorful cutting boards

Pros: Simple in design, this seven-piece set of mats is easy to clean and provides a large work area.

Cons: These cutting mats aren’t as thick or durable as traditional cutting boards. They are prone to warping in the dishwasher.

This set from Fotouzy gives you seven cutting mats — one in each color of the rainbow — at a very reasonable price. Made of BPA-free plastic, each is marked with a food icon for easy distinction: use the green for veggies, red for meat, blue for seafood, yellow for chicken, and so on. They’re quite spacious but don’t take up much room to store, making them ideal for small kitchens. These mats are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and though they are prone to warping during a heated drying cycle, you can easily remedy that by storing them between two wooden boards or baking sheets to let them flatten again. 

Price at time of publish: $17

  • Material: BPA-free plastic
  • Size: 12 x 15 inches

Best Splurge: Joseph Joseph Folio Plastic Cutting Board Set

Joseph Joseph Folio Plastic Cutting Board Set

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Pros: Stylish and sleek, this set looks great on the counter. The surface doesn’t damage your knives.

Cons: The boards aren’t very large, so you may not be able to prep as much as you need to at once.

Style and function meet in this sleek, color-coded set by Joseph Joseph. It features four different colored boards housed in a stainless steel case set up like standing file folders. The plastic boards each measure 9.5 by 13.4 inches, providing a medium-sized surface to cut and prep food. Additionally, the surface won’t dull your knives and is super easy to clean since it’s dishwasher safe. If you have the counter space for this set, you’ll love how it keeps your cutting boards accessible while also seamlessly stowing them. 

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Material: Polypropylene, ABS, TPR, stainless steel
  • Size: 9.5 x 13.4 inches

Best Nonslip: Gorilla Grip Reversible Cutting Board Set

Gorilla Grip Reversible Cutting Board Set

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Pros: These extra-thick boards are durable and won’t slide thanks to slip-resistant borders.

Cons: Each color is a different size, which may mean not enough work space.

Gorilla Grip’s multicolored set of boards includes three different sizes (small, medium, and large) made of durable BPA-free plastic. The rubberized border provides plenty of anti-slip grip so the boards won’t budge during use, and a built-in juice groove ensures you can keep runoff liquids contained. The cutting boards are also fairly thick, making them resistant to warping. These durable boards are easy to clean and can withstand many runs through the dishwasher without breaking down. If three colors aren’t enough for you, they’re also very affordable so you can choose from their array of available hues and pick up multiple sets.

Price at time of publish: $17

  • Material: BPA-free plastic, rubber
  • Sizes: 16 x 11.2 inches; 13.8 x 9.6 inches; 11.8 x 8 inches

Best Professional Grade: San Jamar Saf-T Grip Cutting Board Set

San Jamar Saf-T Grip Cutting Board Set

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Pros: These cutting boards are made for commercial kitchens, so you know they'll last.

Cons: They’re on the expensive side, and they’re more functional than they are beautiful.

These cutting boards from San Jamar are widely used in professional kitchens, due not only to their durability but because they come in recognizable HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) colors and are NSF-certified. Made of a high-quality co-polymer, they won’t warp and also have anti-slip grips so they won’t move around when you’re using them. Each board also features an integrated ruler to help gauge cut and portion sizes, which is very useful if you’re trying to make even and consistent sizes when food prepping. This set comes with six boards that measure 12 by 18.8 inches for a spacious work surface. Cleaning up is simple —  since they can withstand high-temperature commercial sanitizing, they’ll be totally fine in your home dishwasher.

Price at time of publish: $133

  • Material: Commercial-grade co-polymer
  • Size: 12 x 18.8 inches

Our Favorite

The OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Cutting Board Set  is our top choice for anyone looking to add color-coded cutting boards to their food prep routine. They’re durable and very easy to clean, and are also well priced for the quality and size.

Factors to Consider

Material and Construction

Color-coded cutting boards generally come in an easy-to-clean material, most often some sort of plastic. Look for thick, BPA-free plastics or professional-grade polymers that are substantial enough to be used as a cutting surface without damaging your knives. Bonus features to look for include an anti-slip element (like built-in grips) and a juice groove, which helps catch any runoff from watery or juicy meats or produce.

Dimensions

Size should be a deciding factor in purchasing a cutting board. How much food you want to prep at once, along with how much counter and storage space you have, will determine how big your cutting boards should be. You’ll want models that give you enough room to work while also being easy to store.

Ease of Cleaning

Look for non-porous materials that withstand a heated dishwasher cycle (if they can go through a ‘sanitize’ cycle, that’s even better). If you don’t have a dishwasher, that’s OK, too. You’ll want to thoroughly wash your color-coded boards with dish soap and hot water, then let them dry completely before storing.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How can I prevent cross-contamination when using cutting boards?

    “Confine a specific task and food group to a specific cutting board,” says Baum. For example, use a red board for raw meats, green for vegetables, yellow for raw poultry, and so on — and don’t stray from that usage. Additionally, you should always use separate utensils and dishes for raw and cooked food, according to Baum.

  • What material is best for cutting boards?

    According to Baum, the best materials are wood, bamboo, rubber, or plastic, but it depends on what you’re cutting. She does not recommend glass for use as a cutting board.

  • How do you care for color-coded cutting boards?

    Plastic can go in the dishwasher,” says Baum. “Don’t leave wooden boards to soak. Wash them and prop them up to air dry as soon as possible.” Cutting boards and utensils must be thoroughly washed with soap and warm water and sanitized before reusing.

Our Expertise

Bernadette Machard de Gramont is an LA-based freelance writer specializing in food, wine, and kitchen products. After a two-year stint at Williams Sonoma headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.

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