Board Butter! for Conditioning Your Wooden Cutting Boards and Utensils




Introduction: Board Butter! for Conditioning Your Wooden Cutting Boards and Utensils

About: I like to tinker. :-)

Are your cutting boards and wooden spoons looking a little parched? Have you run them through the dishwasher too many times, and now they're starting to develop cracks? Does everything seem to soak into your wooden-ware, causing stains? BOARD BUTTER to the rescue!

In just a few short minutes you can have smooth, resilient, happy cutting boards and wooden spoons again! Bonus: You'll have the softest hands in town, too!

Step 1: Gather These Things

Beeswax: You'll need some quality beeswax, which you can get from your local beekeeper (you might even find them at the farmer's market) or from a reliable online source. If you're purchasing online, look for a beekeeping supply site (such as Mann Lake, Glory Bee, BetterBee, etc.) rather than just grabbing some from Amazon. That way you'll know it's pure beeswax, not mixed with paraffin or other cheaper waxes. Pure beeswax has antibacterial properties...sweet! Purchasing it in the form of little "pearls" makes it easy to measure, but if you buy it as a solid chunk you can just cut some off with a sharp knife or use a cheese grater to get it into an easy-to-measure form.

Mineral Oil: You can generally find this in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store or drug store. I found this bottle for about $1. Make sure to use food-grade mineral oil (the kind you'll find in your grocery or drug store), not the mineral oil you buy in a hardware store! The advantage of using mineral oil over olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, etc. is that other oils will end up going rancid (yuck!), but mineral oil won't.

Glass Jar: I used a 1/2 cup Mason jar, which made enough board butter to condition every cutting board and wooden utensil I own and still have half of it left.

Measuring Spoon: A Tablespoon works well.

Step 2: Mix and Melt

The basic recipe is one part beeswax to three parts mineral oil. For my small jar I used 2 Tablespoons beeswax and 6 Tablespoons mineral oil.

You can melt the beeswax and mineral oil together one of two ways:

Option 1: Place the jar in a pan of water on your stove (make sure the water isn't deeper than your jar -- it should only go about halfway up or a little more) and bring it to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the beeswax and mineral oil are melted together.

Option 2: Place the jar in your microwave and heat for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat the 30-second heat-and-stir process until the beeswax and mineral oil are melted together.

Once the ingredients are melted, carefully remove the jar from the pan or microwave using a towel or hot pad (the jar will be hot!) and let it cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Condition Your Cutting Boards and Wooden Spoons

Make sure your wood surface is clean and dry.

Scoop out a blob of board butter (about a tablespoon for an average sized cutting board) and smear it all over the wood using your hands. The warmth of your hands will melt the board butter into the wood.

Let the treated wood sit overnight so it can absorb the board butter. The next day you can use a cloth or paper towel to buff off any that didn't soak in (but usually it's completely absorbed). You should have a nice, satiny (not greasy) surface.

You can store your board butter (with the lid on, of course) at room temperature.



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    11 Discussions

    I've noticed that beeswax tends to be ultra expensive. Why not just use mineral oil?

    3 replies

    Although mineral oil alone will help hydrate the wood's fibers, it won't protect your board from outside germs. Beeswax will give your board a more water-resistant finish that's more impervious to external bacteria, in addition to the antimicrobial properties of the beeswax itself. Also, the beeswax will help keep the moisture of the mineral oil sealed within, so the effects of conditioning your board will last longer.

    I found a reliable beeswax source on Amazon that's $6 for 5 ounces, which is way more than you'd need for this (it would make about 5 batches; enough to last a few years, probably). My local beekeeper sells it for $12 per pound, which doesn't seem expensive for something that can be used in so many ways.

    Thankyou for the useful information. I never realized that and that is really good to know. $6 is still alot of money but I appreciate the education. Thankyou.

    A little bit of bees wax goes a long way I also use it to make my Vaseline.


    11 months ago

    Also, if the chopping board has a dinged-up surface, it's a good idea to give it a good sand across the face to cut back into fresh wood, before cleaning all the dust off, then waxing it. I used a B&D "Mouse" detail sander for this :)

    The original factory-finish was some kind of varnish/coating which was starting to peel and flake away.

    Additionally, I found that putting the chopping board under a grill (low light!) warms the wood up nicely so that the beeswax-oil mixture melts and flows across the surface better.

    It definitely makes it easier to clean and dry the chopping board when it can't absorb water.

    I justified t cleaned all my cutting boards this morning. (My boys have been cooking a lot but are not all that great about the clean up afterwards.) I need to get some beeswax.

    3 replies

    Indeed, now would be a great time to get your cutting boards in great shape and ready for the next round! :-)

    Especially since the one I found in the dishwasher is in pretty desperate shape.

    I reapply every couple months on the items I use more often, and once or twice a year for the ones that didn't see much use.