Epicurean cutting boards are a popular choice among home cooks. But are they right for you? We take a deep dive into the features, composition, and pros and cons of this cutting board.
Epicurean Cutting Boards at a Glance
Here's Epicurean's cutting board lineup. They also make some other products, such as utensils, trivets, serving boards, and more, but here we look just at the cutting boards (in alphabetical order). See the Epicurean site for the full lineup of their products.
Most Epicurean cutting boards are customizable, which we talk more about below.
All Epicurean cutting boards are:
Epicurean Cutting Board Series
-5 sizes (10x7, 11x9, 14x11, 17x13, 19x14")
-3 colors (natural, slate, nutmeg)
-Non-slip feet on both sides
-Juice groove on one side
-2 sizes (23x14, 29x17")
-Natural color w/slate juice groove (one side)
-3 sizes, different design in each size (9x6, 13x9, 19x13")
-Black with gold etching
-3 sizes (14x11, 17x13, 27x17")
-3 colors (natural, slate, nutmeg)
-Rectangular and round, in two sizes each
-3 colors (natural, slate, nutmeg, or with contrasting handle color)
-Original and most popular line
-4 sizes (8x6, 11x9, 14x11, 17x13")
-3 colors (natural, slate, nutmeg)
From the Epicurean website:
In 1997 three entrepreneurs founded TrueRide, Inc., which specialized in creating custom-made municipal skate parks. Over ten years the TrueRide crew designed, built, installed, and serviced more than 450 skate parks, providing vital community spaces across the USA and abroad. The skate ramps surfaces were made using a paper composite material also used for decades in commercial kitchens.
One year the trio of owner/entrepreneurs made cutting boards as holiday gifts from the waste and cut-off generated from the fabrication and building of the skateboard parks…and Epicurean was born in 2003.
Epicurean is a USA-manufacturer using primarily USA-sourced materials. Its iconic paper composite material is manufactured 100% in the USA, using materials locally sourced in the USA. While all Epicurean products are thoughtfully designed, manufactured, and packaged in Superior, Wisconsin at a 60,000 square-foot facility, a small amount of silicone components and nylon utensil heads are sourced from China.
At every stage in the production process, Epicurean minimizes, repurposes, and recycles waste whenever possible.
In making its products, Epicurean “nests” products onto a raw material sheet, much like cutting cookies out of cookie dough, for the best material yield and least possible waste.
Epicurean recycles or reuses every component it receives with its raw material. The protective plastic is recycled. All metal banding is clipped and recycled. The pallets the material ships are reused on by being sent back to the supplier to use again.
Epicurean’s heat reclamation system captures warmth and uses it to heat its warehouse over the winter.
All of Epicurean’s off-cut material waste is burned as biomass. Every week Epicurean sends approximately 6,000 lbs. of material to a local facility.
Epicurean’s material is:
What Are Epicurean Cutting Boards Made Of?
Epicurean cutting boards are made from Richlite, a material made from hundreds of layers of paper soaked in food-grade resin.
According to richlite.com:
Richlite is an incredibly durable, sustainable and versatile material made from paper. High-grade custom FSC-certified paper infused with a thermosetting resin is laid up by hand and pressed into a solid panel.
Richlite is extremely strong and has a warm, natural look and feel, much like wood. It's light, nonporous, fairly easy on knives, and dishwasher safe. It won’t crack, split, or stain, all of which make it a great material for cutting boards.
And as we already know, Richlite is environmentally friendly, too. The raw material comes from FSC certified sources and/or recycled paper. 99.99% of the volatile organic compounds released by the resin are destroyed during the saturation process and never reach the atmosphere.
The Richlite company was founded in 1943. The material is used for commercial, industrial, and marine purposes, as well as skate parks and, of course, cutting boards.
Click over to richlite.com if you want to learn more about this interesting material.
Customizing Epicurean Cutting Boards
All-in-One, Gourmet, and Kitchen series Epicurean boards are customizable with graphics, frames, monograms, or can be cut into the shape of an American state. To customize, you must buy from the Epicurean site, which has slightly higher prices than on Amazon.
The Chef, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Handy series are not customizable.
Are Epicurean Cutting Boards Toxic?
Some people are concerned that Epicurean cutting boards aren't safe because they're made with a resin called phenol formaldehyde. This is one of the safest resins used to make laminated products, even before it cures. It can cause skin or lung irritation when wet, but less so than other resins. And once it is cured, it is considered stable, non-reactive, and very safe.
What to Look for in a Cutting Board (A Buying Guide)
A cutting board is a simple tool, but it's one of the most used items in your kitchen, and there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right one(s). What works for one cook may be wrong for another one, so give some thought to what you want in a cutting board.
Here are the features that we think are important to consider.
One of the most important features is the size of a cutting board. If you are buying for your main prepping board, you want one that's fairly large; a big board makes cutting tasks so much easier.
A large cutting board is typically around 18 x 24 inches; a medium around 10 x 14 inches, and a small 8 x 10 inches. An oversized cutting board will run about 20 x 30 inches.
For a main cutting board, the minimum size we recommend is 10x14 inches. If you have room for a larger board, you will probably appreciate the extra room.
If you're looking for a cutting board for meat, you also want a good-sized board; one that will hold a whole roast or chicken (or better yet, a turkey) easily.
You can go with a smaller board if you want it for cheese, fruit, or presentations, or want a secondary board to use when your main board is already in use.
On the other hand, the larger the board, the heavier it will be, so if you want to be able to carry to a pan or bowl, a large one may not work. (We recommend a pastry scraper or other type of scoop for this, which eliminates any weight issues.)
Epicurean Kitchen series cutting boards are thin, so even a large one is light enough to easily carry--which eliminates the need for a scraper.
Weight and Height
Weight: As we said above, a heavy board is harder to maneuver, but it is also more stable, so it won't move around when you cut on it. You have to weigh which is more important to you: stability or maneuverability.
On the other hand, you can easily stabilize a light cutting board by placing a damp towel underneath it or by wrapping rubber bands around each end. It won't have the hefty feel of a heavier board, but the maneuverability may be worth it to you.
Height: Here we're talking about the thickness of the cutting board. Height is important particularly if you're short because the thicker a board is, the more height it adds to the counter, which may throw off your cutting angle. This isn't a huge issue for most people, but it's something to think about, especially if you're short.
Most Epicurean cutting boards are great for short people and people who aren't strong because it's thin and lightweight. (If this is you, avoid the Chef board, which is thicker and heavier than the other Epicurean lines.)
There are many options for material of a cutting board, including wood, plastic, glass, rubber, bamboo (like wood but not wood), and laminated materials like the Epicurean. If you like wood, then you can choose from literally dozens of different boards: walnut, teak, cherry, oak, acacia, beech, maple, and more.
Different materials are good for different foods, so most cooks like to have two or three different materials for cutting boards. For example, wood is great for veggie prep, but plastic is better for meat because you can throw it in the dishwasher.
We recommend that you avoid glass cutting boards because they're terrible for your knives. If you like the look of them, use them for presentation trays, but not to cut on.
Epicurean cutting boards are good for everything because they have the feel of wood (a hard wood, anyway), but can go in the dishwasher.
Grooved edges are there to catch meat juices and keep them from running all over the counter or table, so they are only important if you're using the cutting board for meat. Grooved edges can be a nice feature, but they also reduce the workable space of the board, so consider that before buying.
If you are getting a cutting board for meat, it should definitely have grooved edges. Epicurean lines All-in-One, Chef, and Gourmet have grooved edges. Their Kitchen series does not.
Handles can be an extension of the cutting board itself, as in the Epicurean Handy series, or it can have indentations where you can grab it.
Handles aren't really all that important for a cutting board. In fact, a long handle reduces the usable space of a cutting board, so isn't a good trait for a main prepping board.
However, if you're going to use a board for presentation, a handle is a good feature.
Ease of Care and Maintenance
Different materials require different levels of care and maintenance. Wood is one of the highest maintenance materials, requiring hand washing and occasional oiling (a few times a year, depending on use) to keep in good shape. However, it is beautiful, and also one of the most pleasant and knife-friendly surfaces to cut on, so a lot of cooks don't mind caring for it.
Plastic, rubber, and laminated cutting boards are all dishwasher safe and much easier to care for, which is appealing to people who don't want to take care of wooden boards. These materials are also non-porous, so they don't retain odors or pathogens.
Epicurean boards are laminated, and because they're thin and light, they're super easy to maintain. You can rinse them off in a sink or throw them in a dishwasher, neither of which you can do with a large, heavy wood cutting board.
Knife friendliness is an important factor, especially if you have expensive kitchen knives. A knife-friendly board is one that is easy on your blades; that is, it will take as small a toll as possible on the cutting edge of a knife.
You might think that all cutting boards would be knife friendly, but different materials have different hardnesses, and some of them are hard enough to be bad for your knife edges. Glass, in particular, is terrible for knives. And different woods have different hardnesses, some of which can take a toll on your knives. One rule of thumb for good woods are if they produce a food that humans can eat, such as cherry, walnut, and maple. There's more to it, but this is a basic rule.
Epicurean boards aren't the most knife friendly, but they're not the least, either. These boards are slightly harder than wood, and opinions are mixed on whether they're hard on knives or not. We think they're a good choice, but probably not the best choice you can make.
If knife friendliness is the most important factor for you, then you should probably go with a good quality wooden board or possibly a rubber one. If ease of maintenance and/or sustainable manufacturing are more important to you, then Epicurean is the right choice.
Stability refers to how much a board slides around when you use it. Obviously, you want one that stays put.
In general, the heavier a board, the better it stays put. Or, if a board has rubber feet, these will help it stay put, too.
Stability is an issue with most Epicurean boards because they're thin and light, and only the All-in-One line has rubber feet. Easy workarounds for a light board is to place a damp towel under them or wrap rubber bands around each end.
This is another trade-off situation where you have to decide what's more important to you: do you want a heavy board that stays put, or do you want a light board that's easy to move and maintain? It's up to you, and there is no wrong answer.
Does it Retain Odors?
Many cutting boards will retain some odors, but keeping them to a minimum is important. This means regular care and washing, whatever the material of your board is.
Non-porous materials like plastic, rubber, and laminated boards retain far fewer odors than wood. This is a big plus for these materials, which are also easier to maintain.
Of course, all boards can be cleaned thoroughly enough to remove odors, but some require more work than others.
Epicurean boards are completely non-porous, so they retain very few odors.
Is it Easy to Move and Store?
A thick, heavy board is harder to move and store (many people leave their big wooden boards on the counter all the time because of this). They look great there most of the time, but if you have limited counter space, this could be an issue.
If you want a light board that's easy to move, wash, and store, you should go with a plastic board or an Epicurean board. These are the best options for a light board that's easy to move and store.
Is it Heat Resistant?
If you're going to use your board as a trivet (or simply want the option to do so), then you need to make sure the material is heat resistant. All wood is heat resistant, but you have to be more careful with plastics.
Epicurean boards are heat resistant up to 350F, which makes them useful as a trivet if ever needed.
Will it Warp?
Obviously, thinner cutting boards will warp more easily than thicker ones. You're pretty safe with a thick, heavy wooden board, but thinner boards may warp, including thinner wooden boards.
There are some complaints in the Amazon reviews about Epicurean boards warping, even when washed by hand. We didn't see any warping in our testing, but it's probably a concern whenever you go with a thinner material over a thicker one.
How Many Cutting Boards Do You Need?
Most kitchens need more than one cutting board. This can be for sanitary reasons/avoiding cross-contamination, such as not using a board you use with raw meat for other foods; you can also achieve this by using different sides of the same board for different foods (though you have to keep track of which side you use for what).
You will also probably want a separate cutting board for fruits, so they don't pick up oniony- and garlicky-odors from your main prepping board.
Finally, you may want a pretty board to use for presentations: cheese and crackers or charcuterie, for example.
And if you bake, you may also want a special board for preparing pastries like pie crusts, although this is certainly a luxury and not a necessity.
You may also want a few different types of cutting boards: a wood-grain one for veggie prep, a plastic (or Epicurean) for meats that can go in the dishwasher. A glass or fancy wooden one for presentation.
Overall, most kitchens probably do best with at least three cutting boards in different sizes, or at least two, one of which you use both sides of for different foods.
Using the Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board
The Kitchen series is Epicurean's original and best selling cutting board. It's available in four sizes:
We used the 14.5"x 11.25" board for about two months with several different knives and all types of foods, including onions, garlic,
What we like: The board is light (even the big one), so it's easy to move: you can pick it up easily to dump meat or veggies into a pan. It's thin, which makes it easy to put in the dishwasher and store.
Cutting on it was a good experience. The knife bit into the board ever so slightly, just enough so you know you've cut through the food. It shows cut marks, but they are not deep. It has a nice feel against the blade of your knife; it has a slightly harder feel than a wooden cutting board, but not overly so.
It is an excellent choice for meats because you can toss it in the dishwasher. If you want to use it for fruits or bread, you can flip it over and use the other side; if you do this, we recommend marking the sides so you can keep track of which side is which.
Another nice feature is that it does not retain any food odors (onion, garlic, etc.).
We also love that this is a sustainably produced product that uses recycled papers and produces very little manufacturing emissions or waste. And, it's made in the USA.
Finally, we liked the price: the largest size is under $50, and this for a cutting board that should last for many years.
Overall: Super easy to care for, super durable, a pleasure to cut on, and easy to move and store.
What we don't like: This board is a little bit harder than wood, which means it's going to be a little bit harder on your knives. We did not see a noticeable difference, but a lot of knife forums said these boards are hard on knives. (Several also really praised the board.)
The Kitchen series doesn't have any rubber feet and it's light, so it can slide around on your counter if you don't anchor it with something. A damp dish towel or paper towel works, or you can stretch rubber bands around each end (this works great, as long as you avoid cutting them).
It did retain cut marks, but this is pretty standard for cutting boards (glass excluded), so we don't really count this as a negative.
This cutting board gets a high percentage of positive reviews, but the number one complaint among negative reviews was that it had a terrible chemical smell. We did notice a slight chemical smell (it smelled a lot like Elmer's glue) when the board was wet. It dissipated over time until it was completely gone after about a week of frequent uses and washing. If it had been stronger, it would have been unnerving to use it for food, but it was mostly only noticeable during washing and not during use, so it was a minor an issue with your testers.
There were also a few complaints that the board warped, but ours did not; it held up to steady use over several weeks and being washed in the dishwasher, with no warping.
Recommendation: If you're looking for a light, durable, affordable cutting board, or want a product that's sustainably produced with minimal emissions and waste and made in the USA, then the Epicurean Kitchen cutting board is for you.
buy epicurean kitchen series cutting board:
If you want to upgrade, go with the Chef, Gourmet, All-in-One, or Frank Lloyd Wright cutting boards.
The Chef board comes in two oversized sizes, making it great for an all-purpose meat and veggie prep board. At half an inch thick, it's twice as thick as the Kitchen series, so it's heavier and stays in place better. Both sizes have a juice groove on one side, so it's easy to use both sides--e.g, one for meat, one for veggies. Unfortunately, the Chef boards are expensive, with the small size (23x14") going for $125--more than double what you'll pay for the Kitchen series.
The Gourmet boards are just slightly thicker than the Kitchen series, so just slightly heavier. They also have a juice groove on one side. There's a hole for hanging the board, which the Chef board doesn't have. The large size is almost as big as the large Chef board, so if you prefer the looks of this board, it's cheaper, although still more than the Kitchen series.
Or, if you want rubber feet to hold your cutting board in place, you can try the All-in-One series, which has rubber feet on both sides. They are a nice feature, but we would prefer that a board had them on just one side, as they can get in the way of cutting.
Then there is the Frank Lloyd Wright series, which is a fancy version of the Kitchen series with art noveau-like etching. They're pretty, but you're basically getting a Kitchen series board and paying more for the design.
There is also the Handy series, which are cutting boards with handles. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and they're great for presentation, but aren't the best choice for a basic cutting board because they have less room to work on than boards without handles.
Finally, don't forget that many of these boards are customizable, with lines, floral designs, and monograms--and you can also get them in the shape of your favorite American state. For these options, you have to buy from the Epicurean site.
Pros and Cons of Epicurean Cutting Boards
Epicurean Cutting Board FAQs
Here are some commonly asked questions about Epicurean products.
Are Epicurean Cutting Boards Safe?
Yes, Epicurean cutting boards are safe to use. They can sometimes give off a chemical smell, which is residual from manufacturing. The resin used to bind the boards is food-grade and completely safe, and the smell will go away with use.
Can Epicurean Cutting Boards go in the Dishwasher?
Yes! All Epicurean cutting boards can go in the dishwasher.
Is an Epicurean Cutting Board Good for Meat?
Because Epicurean cutting boards can go in the dishwasher, they are an excellent choice for meats. They are more durable than plastic cutting boards and won't retain smells like plastics can.
Are Epicurean Cutting Boards Really Sustainably Made?
Yes! Epicurean cutting boards are made with recycled paper and close to zero emissions during manufacturing. They have both FSC and Green Guard certification, meaning that they've been independently tested and found to be ecologically and sustainably made.
Are Epicurean Cutting Boards as Good as Wooden Cutting Boards?
This depends on what you're looking for in a cutting board. Epicurean boards are just as durable and won't retain odors like wood will. They are also lighter and easier to maintain. However, wooden boards are a little easier on your knives, and most are thicker and heavier than Epicurean boards, so they provide a more stable cutting surface.
Final Thoughts on Epicurean Cutting Boards
If you want a durable, lightweight, affordable cutting board that's sustainably made from recycled products, then Epicurean is a great choice.
They are also made in the USA, also making them a great choice.
Thanks for reading!
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