Should You Use an Olive Wood Cutting Board? The Pros and Cons of This Stunning Material

These intricately grained olive wood cutting boards are sourced from dormant olive trees and inspired by European home decor.


May 28 2024, Published 1:31 p.m. ET

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When I picture an Italian villa with an old-world aesthetic, there's always a rustic cutting board made of olive wood hanging on the kitchen wall. Beloved for its bold and intricate grain, olive wood is typically sustainably sourced from olive trees that no longer bear fruit. Olive wood housewares originated in places like Italy, France, and Tunisia, where olive trees are abundant. An olive wood cutting board is often used for serving things like cheese and finger foods, then displayed proudly like the work of art it is.

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Is olive wood good for a cutting board?

Olive wood is known for being a strong, hard material, so it's naturally long-lasting. It's also dense and non-porous, so it repels odor and bacteria, and its ability to resist scratches means germs have nowhere to hide.

That said, olive wood has its limitations. Any super hard cutting board material can dull knife blades after prolonged use, so it's recommended to choose olive wood cutting boards with an end grain (meaning the rings of the tree are visible on the surface) and to skip the ones with an edge grain (meaning you can see the length of the grain), which are less forgiving. When in doubt, a thicker cut of olive wood is always better at holding up to abuse than a thin cutting board would be.

The 5 Best Olive Wood Cutting Boards

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I've picked out a few sustainably-sourced, non-toxic olive wood cutting boards that marry form and function beautifully, so you can elevate the aesthetic of your kitchen and give your next party that je ne sais quoi.

Thirteen Chefs Tramanto Olive Wooden Serving Platter

This Thirteen Chefs cutting board made of olive wood has a distinctively swirly burl grain, a charming shape, and a sweet-spot size that's not too big and not too small: it's just right. One shopper who loves their board wrote, "There’s also natural bark on both sides which I love, I am over the moon with my purchase, and I would buy this board again."

Dimensions: 20" L x 10" W x 1/2 to 3/4 H

$67 at Amazon
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Crystalia Olive Wood Large Cutting Board

This paddle-style olive wood cutting board by Crystalia has an easy-to-grab handle to help you hand-serve your guests and easily hold and move the board, plus a hole to accommodate some twine and a hook for hanging. The board is handcrafted in Europe and pre-oiled, and the company promises it's safe for cutting fruits, veggies, and meats.

Dimensions: 15.62" L x 6.96" W x 0.72" H

$56 at Crystalia

Olivewood Cutting Board with Mezzaluna Set

This round olive wood cutting board from Anthropologie is as stunning as it gets with a highly contrasted wood grain and a deep groove for catching juices. With its matching mezzaluna—an Italian-style curved knife that makes chopping and mincing a breeze— this one will be the highlight of your next dinner party.

Dimensions: 9" L x 9" W x 0.8" H

$60 at Anthropologie
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Verve Culture Italian Olivewood Charcuterie Board with Rope Handle

For display purposes, this handmade Verve Culture cutting board made of olive wood sustainably sourced in Italy can't be beat. It has a rustic built-in rope for hanging and a solid construction that will stand the test of time.

Dimensions: 13" L x 5" W x .75'' H

$36 at Verve Culture

Sur La Table Olivewood Cheese Board With Built-In Slicer

Is there anything more brilliant and charming than a cheese board with the slicer built right in? This olive wood cutting board by Sur La Table is useful and a conversation piece at the same time. "I bought this because it was pretty, and discovered it slices cheese like a hot knife through butter!" one customer wrote.

Dimensions: 10.5" L x 6.75" W x 0.5" H

$45 at Sur La Table
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