Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board? the Unspoken Truth

Walnut wood, renowned for its beauty and strength, is a popular material for crafting furniture and other decorative items. But can you use walnut wood for a cutting board? Is it beneficial or risky to use walnut wood in this manner? This article will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of employing walnut as a chopping board–as well as ways of making sure it’s safe to use.

So, Can you use walnut wood for a cutting board? well, No! Contrary to what many assume, walnut wood should not be used for a cutting board due to its toxicity. Walnut wood contains juglone, a toxic chemical that can leach into food and pose a risk to health.

Are you a professional woodworker or just looking to upgrade your kitchen with a DIY project? This comprehensive article will provide the knowledge you need to make the best decision when it comes to selecting a cutting block material.

Discover the different woods that are safe for food preparation and find out the factors to consider when selecting a cut board below. Read on to learn all about the safest materials for butcher blocks and how to pick the ideal one for you.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Can you use walnut wood for a cutting board

Why Should You Pick Walnut Wood?

When choosing a cutting board, it’s essential to look at different aspects, such as the firmness, attractiveness, durability, and water-resistant nature of the wood. In this article, we will analyze why most people think walnut wood is ideal for this purpose. Nevertheless, in the end, you will realize that the potential toxins and other drawbacks override these advantages.

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Very Good Janka Hardness Score

Walnut wood has been given a Janka Score of 1010 (in the case of Black Walnut), which makes it incredibly durable. This score reflects its resistance to dents and wear and tear, making it a fantastic option for a wood cutting board since it can tolerate everyday use without compromising the sharpness of your knives.

Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board the Unspoken Truth
How The hardness of wood is tested


Beautiful walnut wood comes in various colors, lending an air of sophistication to any kitchen. Commonly used for butcher boards, the natural patterns of this type of wood can add a unique charm and texture. However, more than just its appearance should be considered when selecting this material.
Related article: English Walnut Vs Black Walnut Wood – a Clear Comparison

Durable wood

Black walnut offers tremendous durability and longevity, making it an ideal material for an end grain cutting board, were it not for the juglone present in it that is toxic to humans.

Water resistance

Due to its natural resistance to water, black walnut wood is a viable choice for many people looking for a durable material since it will not easily crack or warp even with frequent exposure to moisture. However, some may forget that walnut wood can be toxic and should be handled with care.

There is more to discover in my article Is Walnut Wood Water Resistant (A Clear Answer)

Can you use walnut wood for a cutting board

Walnut wood is prized for its captivating look and durability as a cutting board, yet it can be hazardous if comes in contact with food due to the presence of juglone.

There are some resources online that argue walnut wood is safe to use as a cutting board, however one must make an educated choice when selecting which material to use. Let us look into the dangers associated with utilizing walnut wood and if it can truly be trusted for cooking purposes.

Walnut wood is toxic

When utilizing walnut wood for a cutting board, it is prudent to remember that the timber features juglone, a naturally occurring chemical that can be toxic and dangerous if consumed.

I’ll go more in-depth into this topic in my article Is Walnut Wood Toxic? Important Health Info. This is an article you have to read in case you want to get started with walnut wood

Walnut wood is expensive

Walnut wood is a superior, luxury option and may cost more than other types of cutting board woods. On a tighter budget, there are several alternative options to consider.

Walnut wood is prone to scratches

If you plan to use your cutting board often, it is wise to consider other types of wood like maple that are more resistant to scratches and less prone to developing openings where bacteria and fungi can reside. Later in this article, I will revisit this topic.

Walnut wood is heavy

Walnut wood is a denser material than other woods used for wood cutting boards, providing additional stability and durability; yet, its heavier weight can be cumbersome when manipulating or storing.

What are the alternative woods for walnut cutting boards

When pondering various materials to use as a wooden cutting board instead of walnut wood, there are many options to consider. This section will analyze some of the most popular materials for crafting an alternative to a walnut cutting board.

Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board the Unspoken Truth
Maple wood – Source: the wood database

Maple Cutting Boards

Maple wood is a great option for kitchen cutting boards thanks to its light hue, compressed grain structure and sturdiness. It’s deemed safe for food consumption as well, which makes it the ideal choice of board.

In comparison to walnut, maple butcher boards are usually more affordable and not as prone to scratches, though they can cause knives to become blunter faster. In fact, maple is even less prone to scratches than plastic cutting boards.

The durability of maple that prevents it from being scratched easily has multiple advantages. Not only does this guarantee a longer-lasting, visually appealing look, but it also stops mold growth and the accumulation of leftover food particles.

Scratches are the ideal environment for fungi to inhabit since they open up wood cells and provide an opening for residue to remain.

Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board the Unspoken Truth
Oak wood – Source: the wood database

Oak cutting boards

Oak chopping boards are usually economical compared to walnut, yet they may not be as attractive. Though sturdy and water-resistant, oak is easily scratched, making it a less than perfect choice for butcher blocks. Check out the differences in my article Walnut Vs Oak – A Quick Guide To Help You Choose

Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board the Unspoken Truth
Beech wood – Source: the wood database

Beech cutting boards

Beech wood is an excellent selection and alternative for walnut cutting boards thanks to its strength and longevity. Additionally, it is deemed a safe choice for consuming food, so you can feel secure in using it in your kitchen.

In comparison to walnut, beech cutting boards are usually more lightweight, yet they may not be quite as resistant to water.

Other food safe woods

When it comes to chopping blocks, cherry, birch, and teak are all types of wood considered to be food-safe. However, I haven’t personally looked into teak thoroughly, so take that with a grain of salt.

Each possesses inherent characteristics that make them stand out from the rest, so make sure to invest time in researching and comparing different options before making a decision on which one is best for you.

What woods should you not use for a cutting board

It is essential to abstain from utilizing timbers which are notorious for being toxic, including treated lumber, plywood, and MDF. Furthermore, certain varieties of wood comprise resins that can be detrimental if ingested, so it is imperative to investigate the safety of any timber prior to using it for food preparation.

Adhere to woods that produce edible produce such as fruit, nuts, leaves, or sap. These types of wood are deemed safe for food preparation, except for walnut, which is toxic due to the presence of juglone.

Steer clear of rare and exotic solid woods since they can be aesthetically pleasing, yet contain dangerous toxins that can contaminate food on the slicing surface. Yet, you can use these woods to make serving trays that don’t come in contact with food.

To guarantee your culinary safety, use only wood types considered safe for food consumption. In my article The Complete Guide To What Kind Of Wood Is Food Safe I go more in dept into this topic. Do not miss this article if you want to build items for your kitchen

Can you make walnut wood food safe using a finish?

Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board the Unspoken Truth

No matter which type of finish is applied, walnut wood cannot be considered safe for food preparation due to the presence of juglone, a hazardous compound.

Even if a finish labeled as food-safe – such as mineral oil or food-grade wax – manages to seal the surface, some of the juglone can still penetrate and come into contact with any food.

It’s imperative to realize that not all finishes offer protection from toxins, so even if a supposedly “food-safe” coating is used, it does not ensure the wood’s absolute suitability for use in relation to food.

Furthermore, it must be noted that even if the finish is regularly reapplied, the juglone will remain dangerous and put food safety at risk.

Can you use walnut wood for a cutting board – Conclusion

Ultimately, black walnut wood may be aesthetically pleasing and hard-wearing for a cutting board, charcuterie board, or cheese board; yet, it is essential to take into account the potential perils of juglone in a walnut board.

You have to understand that there are other varieties of wood that might be more secure and desirable for your demands. When selecting a cutting board material, factors like toughness, water repellency, and security need to be taken into account.

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