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Caring for Wood Cutting Boards and Utensils with Spoon Butter

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2014

How does homemade spoon butter compare to straight mineral oil for maintaining wood kitchenware?

We’ve always used mineral oil to keep our wood cutting boards and utensils from drying and cracking, but lately we’ve been hearing about spoon butter, a mixture that you can prepare at home that is touted as a more durable, water-repellent option for wood kitchenware.

We made spoon butter in a Mason jar by combining mineral oil and chopped beeswax (ordered from a cheese-making store) in the recommended ratio of 3 to 1 and then placing the jar in a water-filled saucepan set over low heat to melt the beeswax. Once the mixture had cooled to room temperature, we rubbed it into several boards and utensils with a clean cloth. We let the tools sit for 24 hours and then buffed off the excess coating. For comparison we also applied straight mineral oil to a set of similar utensils and boards. After washing both sets 20 times, we found that the set treated with spoon butter was in noticeably better shape. Those treated with straight mineral oil looked ashen, with dried, rough spots, while the spoon butter set had a smooth finish and retained some protective coating. Making spoon butter takes a little more effort up front, but the long-lasting results are worth it.