10 Best Cutting Board Wood Options For 2024: Exotic Hardwood

Welcome to your ultimate guide for the “best wood for cutting board” selection in 2024. In this guide, we’re on a journey into the world of exotic hardwoods as a cutting board wood. And why? Because no ordinary cutting board will do for your kitchen. A cutting board is more than just a slab of wood; it’s a trusty sidekick in your culinary adventures.

But why exotic hardwoods? Well, they boast unmatched toughness and beauty that can withstand chopping, slicing, and dicing while adding a dash of luxury to your kitchen.

So, let’s dive into the vibrant world of exotic hardwoods and discover the top 10 options for your cutting board in 2024. Ready? Let’s start this exciting journey.

Note: A great sidecar article to this one is Finding The Best Wood For Cutting Board Creation in 2024.

What Makes an Exotic Hardwood Ideal for Cutting Boards?

Unmatched Durability

One of the major reasons exotic hardwoods stand out for cutting boards is their exceptional durability. These woods typically come from species of trees that grow slower than others, resulting in denser wood. The density contributes to a long-lasting cutting surface that resists deep scratches and cuts, extending the life of both your cutting board and your knives.

Unique Aesthetic Appeal

Exotic hardwoods come in a range of stunning colors and grain patterns not usually found in domestic woods. From the deep, rich tones of Cocobolo to the contrasting stripes of Zebrawood, the uniqueness of these woods adds a touch of elegance to any kitchen. This means your cutting board can double as a serving tray or a conversation piece during gatherings.

Resilience Against Bacteria

When choosing the best wood for cutting boards, hygiene is a top consideration. Exotic hardwoods, like Teak and Rosewood, naturally contain oils and resins that help resist moisture penetration. This quality makes it more difficult for bacteria and mold to find a home in your cutting board, promoting a cleaner food prep area.

Sustainable Harvesting

Sustainability is a growing concern in every industry, and woodworking is no exception. Some exotic hardwoods are responsibly harvested, meaning they come from well-managed forests and plantations. Woods like Bamboo and Acacia are not only great for cutting boards, but they also support the global push towards sustainable practices.

In the sections to come, we’ll introduce you to the top ten exotic hardwoods for cutting boards in 2024. We’ll explore each one’s distinct characteristics, strengths, and things to consider, guiding you towards the perfect choice for your kitchen.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Exotic Hardwood Cutting Boards

When it comes to cutting boards, exotic hardwoods are often seen as a premium choice. Their unique characteristics and visual appeal put them a cut above the rest. However, like anything, they come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s explore both sides to give you a well-rounded perspective on these fascinating materials.

Benefits of Exotic Hardwoods

  • Durability: Exotic hardwoods are incredibly durable, providing a robust and resilient surface for your food preparation. This durability ensures that your cutting board will stand the test of time.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: These woods offer unique colors and patterns that add an element of luxury and sophistication to your kitchen.
  • Hygienic Properties: Many exotic hardwoods have natural antibacterial and water-resistant properties, making them a hygienic option for a cutting board.
  • Sustainability: Certain exotic hardwoods are responsibly sourced and can be an eco-friendly option, supporting global sustainability efforts.

Drawbacks of Exotic Hardwoods

  • Cost: Exotic hardwoods can be more expensive due to their unique qualities and the costs associated with responsible sourcing and import.
  • Maintenance: These woods often require more upkeep to preserve their beautiful appearance, including regular oiling and careful cleaning.
  • Hardness: The extreme hardness of some exotic woods can dull knife blades quicker than domestic hardwoods or softer wood options.
  • Availability: Depending on your location, exotic hardwoods can be more difficult to find than domestic woods.

The world of exotic hardwoods offers a multitude of options for those in search of the best wood for a cutting board. They provide a blend of function and form that’s hard to beat. While they may require an initial investment and ongoing maintenance, their durability and beauty can make them a worthwhile addition to any kitchen. Now, let’s dive into our top ten exotic hardwood picks.

Top 10 Exotic Hardwoods for Cutting Boards in 2024

If you’re looking for a cutting board that stands out from the crowd and combines practicality with luxury, exotic hardwoods are the way to go. Each wood species brings its unique blend of characteristics to the table, enhancing your food preparation experience. Let’s explore some of the most captivating options in our top 10 exotic hardwoods for cutting boards in 2024.


Padauk, an African hardwood, has garnered attention for its striking reddish-orange hue, which matures over time into a purplish-brown. Its grain is usually straight but can sometimes be interlocked, contributing to its visual appeal.

From a functional perspective, Padauk is durable and resistant to wear and tear. It’s relatively easy to work with and finishes well. However, it’s worth noting that Padauk’s vibrant color might require a bit more maintenance to prevent fading over time. If you’re up for that task, a Padauk cutting board could be a splendid addition to your kitchen.


As the name implies, Zebrawood stands out with its light color and dark streaks, reminiscent of a zebra’s stripes. Originating from Central Africa, this hardwood is not only stunning but also remarkably sturdy. Zebrawood has an interlocked grain and coarse texture, adding to its visual intrigue.

On the practical side, it holds up well under regular use, making it a strong candidate for a cutting board. As an added bonus, Zebrawood tends to darken over time, which can add a new dimension to its look. For those wanting a functional conversation piece in their kitchen, a Zebrawood cutting board might just be the answer.


If you’re after a wood with a rich history, Jarrah could be your choice. Originating from Australia, this hardwood is known for its exceptional durability and resistance to decay.

Its stunning reddish-brown color paired with its slightly interlocked grain gives it a distinctive look that can make your cutting board stand out. Jarrah is relatively heavy and hard, yet it works well with both hand and machine tools, making it a great material for a sturdy, long-lasting cutting board.


Wenge is an African hardwood known for its very dark brown, almost black, coloration, making it a unique and stylish choice for a cutting board. The dense and coarse texture of Wenge, coupled with its distinctive straight grain, creates a striking contrast that can make your kitchen truly unique.

Keep in mind, however, Wenge’s hardness could be a bit tough on knives, and it requires careful maintenance to prevent drying and cracking. But for those who value aesthetics alongside functionality, a Wenge cutting board might be well worth the effort.


Bubinga, also known as African Rosewood, is a hardwood that brings a touch of luxury to your kitchen with its rich, warm hues and intriguing grain patterns. It’s a tough and heavy wood, which makes it an excellent choice for a durable cutting board.

The workability and ability to finish of Bubinga as well also adds to its appeal. While it’s on the pricier side of exotic hardwoods, its combination of beauty and resilience makes it a noteworthy candidate for those willing to invest in a high-quality, eye-catching cutting board.


Iroko, often referred to as African Teak, is a sturdy hardwood that offers an appealing balance of functionality and aesthetics. With its golden to medium brown color and interlocked grain, an Iroko cutting board can bring a sense of warmth and sophistication to your kitchen.

This is a durable wood, offering good resistance to decay and wear, making it a suitable material for a long-lasting cutting board. Although its hardness could be slightly hard on knives, with regular maintenance, an Iroko cutting board can serve as a practical and attractive addition to your food preparation process.


Lacewood, originating from Australia, is recognized for its striking appearance. The wood exhibits a beautiful lace-like pattern, which comes from the wood’s large rays. Its color can range from pink to reddish-brown with darker streaks, making for an eye-catching cutting board.

In terms of hardness, Lacewood is moderate, which means it’s neither too tough nor too soft for your knives. While it may require a bit more maintenance to keep its lustrous look, a Lacewood cutting board can be a centerpiece in your kitchen both for its functionality and visual appeal.


Canarywood is a South American hardwood known for its vibrant array of colors, ranging from pale yellow to a deeper reddish-brown, often with streaks of purple, orange, or red. It’s moderately hard, providing a durable surface that’s not excessively harsh on knives.

This exotic hardwood is also known for its resistance to decay and wear, adding to its suitability as a cutting board material. If you’re looking for a cutting board that offers a combination of durability, knife-friendliness, and exotic beauty, Canarywood could be an excellent choice.


Cocobolo is a Central American hardwood prized for its extraordinary range of colors and striking grain patterns. The heartwood can vary from a bright yellow to a deep reddish-brown, often with contrasting darker streaks.

This dense wood is highly durable, making it an excellent choice for a sturdy cutting board. However, its extreme hardness may be tough on your knives, and some individuals may be sensitive to its natural oils. But with the right maintenance and care, a Cocobolo cutting board can be a long-lasting and visually stunning addition to your kitchen.


Ebony, a name synonymous with the deepest black in woodworking, offers an unparalleled level of elegance and sophistication. This extremely hard and dense wood is known for its dark color, although it can sometimes feature lighter streaks.

Because of its exceptional hardness, an Ebony cutting board is extremely durable, but it might be tough on your knives. Ebony is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but for those seeking an exquisite and classy look in their kitchen, an Ebony cutting board can be worth the investment.

Top 5 Tips for Maintaining Exotic Hardwood Cutting Boards

Taking proper care of your exotic hardwood cutting board not only preserves its aesthetic appeal, but it also prolongs its life and ensures a safe food preparation environment. Here are five tips that can help you maintain your exotic hardwood cutting board:

  1. Regular Cleaning: After each use, gently clean your cutting board with warm, soapy water. Avoid soaking the board as it can lead to warping or cracking. Dry it immediately and thoroughly after cleaning. For deep cleaning, you can use a mixture of salt and lemon or a mild bleach solution to remove stains and odors.
  2. Oil Regularly: Oiling your cutting board can prevent it from drying out and cracking. Depending on the frequency of use, oil your board once a month using food-safe mineral oil or board cream. These products hydrate the wood and create a barrier against moisture, stains, and odors. Avoid using cooking oils, which can become rancid over time.
  3. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Exotic hardwoods, like other woods, can warp or crack under extreme temperature changes. Avoid using your board in direct sunlight or near heat sources. Never put your wooden cutting board in the dishwasher, as the heat and prolonged exposure to water can severely damage the wood.
  4. Use Both Sides: To prevent your cutting board from warping over time, use both sides equally. This practice helps ensure an even wear and extends the life of your cutting board.
  5. Handle with Care: While exotic hardwood cutting boards are generally durable, they are not indestructible. Avoid dropping your board or banging it on hard surfaces, which can cause dents or cracks. Remember, a well-cared-for exotic hardwood cutting board can last for many years, even a lifetime, and often becomes more beautiful with age.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your exotic hardwood cutting board remains a functional and attractive centerpiece in your kitchen for years to come.

Considerations When Buying an Exotic Hardwood Cutting Board

Purchasing an exotic hardwood cutting board is an investment, and you want to ensure that you’re making the right choice. Here are some crucial factors to consider when shopping for your exotic hardwood cutting board:

  • Wood Type: The type of wood you choose can greatly impact your cutting board’s durability, look, and feel. Each wood species has its unique properties, colors, and grain patterns. Research different exotic hardwoods, such as those mentioned above, to understand which one aligns best with your needs and preferences.
  • Size and Thickness: Consider the size of the board based on the counter space available and the volume of food you usually prepare. As for thickness, a thicker board will generally be more stable and durable but also heavier. A thickness of 1.5 to 2 inches is often recommended for exotic hardwood boards.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Exotic hardwood cutting boards require regular care to maintain their beauty and longevity. Make sure you’re willing to put in the necessary time and effort to clean, oil, and generally look after your board.
  • Price: Exotic hardwood cutting boards can be more expensive than their domestic counterparts due to the cost of importing the wood. Decide on your budget beforehand, and remember that a high-quality cutting board is a long-term investment.
  • Sustainability: Some exotic hardwoods are harvested in a sustainable manner, while others are not. If environmental impact is a concern for you, check the wood’s source and certification to ensure that it’s been sustainably harvested.
  • Edge Grain vs. End Grain: End grain boards, with their self-healing properties, are often considered superior but come with a higher price tag. Edge grain boards, while slightly less gentle on knives, are more affordable and can still offer excellent durability.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose the exotic hardwood cutting board that best suits your lifestyle, culinary needs, and personal style, ensuring a worthwhile addition to your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Exotic Hardwoods

Can I Use Any Type of Exotic Wood for a Cutting Board?

Technically, you can use any type of exotic wood to create a cutting board, but not all exotic woods are created equal. The best exotic woods for cutting boards are those that are hard, dense, and have a closed grain structure, such as Cocobolo or Ebony.

These types of woods are naturally resistant to moisture absorption, making them less likely to warp or crack over time. Furthermore, they’re non-toxic and safe to use in food preparation.

Is Bamboo an Exotic Wood Option for Cutting Boards?

Although bamboo is commonly associated with cutting boards, it is technically not a wood but a type of grass. Originating from the Asian continent, bamboo is often considered an exotic material. It is a popular choice for cutting boards because it’s renewable and harder than some woods.

However, due to its hardness, bamboo can be tougher on your knives compared to other wood options. Furthermore, bamboo boards are often made with glue to hold the thin strips of bamboo together, which can raise concerns about durability and food safety.

Are There Any Exotic Woods I Should Avoid?

When choosing an exotic wood for your cutting board, there are a few types you should avoid. Woods with a high level of toxicity, such as Snakewood or Mansonia, should not be used for a cutting board as they can leach toxins into your food.

Additionally, soft or porous woods, even if they’re exotic, are not the best choices for cutting boards. They can absorb moisture and harbor bacteria, and their surfaces can be easily marred by your knives.

How Often Should I Oil My Exotic Wood Cutting Board?

The frequency at which you should oil your exotic wood cutting board depends on how often you use it and the specific type of wood. However, a good rule of thumb is to oil your board at least once a month.

Oiling your board helps to replenish the wood’s natural oils that get washed away with use and cleaning, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Always use a food-safe mineral oil or a special cutting board oil for this purpose, and remember to wipe off any excess after application.

Can I Use Both Sides of My Exotic Wood Cutting Board?

Yes, you absolutely can—and should—use both sides of your cutting board. Alternating between the two sides of the board helps to ensure even wear and tear over time, which can extend the lifespan of the board.

However, it’s important to thoroughly clean and dry each side of the board after use to prevent the growth of bacteria. If one side of the board has a juice groove for catching liquids while cutting meat, you might prefer to use that side specifically for meat preparation to prevent cross-contamination.

Our Final Thoughts About Exotic Hardwood for Cutting Boards

Choosing the best wood for a cutting board is an exciting venture, particularly when delving into the realm of exotic hardwoods. From the vivid color variations of Padauk and Zebrawood to the unique patterns in Lacewood and Bubinga, there’s a richness that these woods bring to both the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen.

Our list of top 10 exotic hardwoods for cutting boards in 2024 provides a wide range of choices to cater to different tastes and needs. While each wood boasts its unique characteristics, it’s essential to remember that their longevity hinges greatly on proper care and maintenance.

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each wood, alongside considerations like density, hardness, grain structure, and toxicity, will allow you to make an informed decision. In addition, our FAQ section has hopefully answered some common queries about exotic hardwoods and their suitability for cutting boards.

In essence, the best wood for your cutting board is one that aligns with your cooking habits, aesthetics, and care routine. Whether you opt for the light patterns of Canarywood or the profound, dark beauty of Ebony, an exotic hardwood cutting board is an investment that can elevate your culinary experience while adding a touch of elegance to your kitchen.

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