Why a $5 Flexible Cutting Mat Is My Kitchen MVP

These mats are not fancy, but they are endlessly useful.

Published Mar. 31, 2022.

Even if you’re not much of a cook, you need a cutting board. My coworkers on the ATK Reviews team have tested every style under the sun, from big wooden cutting boards to petite bar boards. Our winners in each category are great. But more often than not, I reach for a flexible cutting mat

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As you can tell by their price—about 20 bucks for four—these mats will not be as sturdy as a regular wooden or plastic cutting board. But these are not meant to be family heirlooms. They are handy tools that you can use for your messy, everyday tasks. When I tested them, our winners—from Dexas and Progressive International—withstood knife cuts and general use better than all the others. I’ve had mine since 2017 and still use them several times a week. 

Although these mats are not fancy, they are endlessly useful. Here’s an incomplete list of reasons why I love them and think you might, too.

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The Best Flexible Cutting Mats

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1. They’re dishwasher-safe.

You don’t need to be precious or even particularly careful with these mats. After I’m done using them, I toss ‘em in the dishwasher. This is especially great when I’m prepping raw meat or fish on the mats and want to give them a top-notch scrubbing.

2. They’re small enough to actually fit inside the dishwasher.

Yes, most plastic cutting boards are dishwasher-safe. Unfortunately, my dishwasher is too small to accommodate our best lightweight plastic cutting board, so I still have to wash it by hand. Not so with these mats!

3. They can “funnel” food around the kitchen.

After I chop ingredients, I curl up the edges of the mat and funnel the ingredients directly into my mixing bowl or skillet.

4. It doesn’t matter if they stain.

My big wooden cutting board is gorgeous, so I often use it as a centerpiece with breads, cured meats, or cheeses at dinner parties. These mats are just for behind-the-scenes work. If they stain, who cares? I use them when I’m chopping roasted beets and mincing chipotles in adobo.

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