DIY Butcher Block Oil Recipes

Restoring the shine to your wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks is easy and inexpensive! There are many products on the market that you can use that come in fancy packaging, but it’s easy to make your own DIY product. Keeping cutting boards conditioned extends their life and keeps them sanitary, so it’s good to have something on hand for regular use. This article shares three very easy recipes for treating your butcher boards when they become dry, need refinishing, or repair.

Will need:

Food Grade Mineral Oil

Bee wax


container – Mason jars and old coffee cans work great.

Jar – to use as a bain-marie

Sanitized stirring rod – the wooden ones work very well

Always Start with a spotlessly clean and super dry butcher block. Wash it with vinegar the night before and let it air dry while you sleep. The next morning, condition your board clean and dry using one of the following methods.

the first method not really a “recipe” at all. It is simply food grade mineral oil. There are a lot of different ideas about which oils go rancid and which oils are best to use. In general, food grade mineral oil is considered the best oil to use on wood cutting surfaces. It’s odorless, colorless, inexpensive, and definitely won’t go rancid. It can be easily found at your local hardware or drug store. To treat your butcher block with mineral oil, gently rub warm oil onto the wood and allow it to soak. Get your oil warm, not hot. If you’re like me and don’t have a “nuker,” just use a double boiler on the stove. Just be careful as the oil is obviously flammable. This is a great regular treatment to keep your board in condition.

the second recipe it is for a creamy tabla oil or “Dream Cream” as I call it. This is a rich blend of mineral oil and beeswax. Adding beeswax to your oil increases its resistance to water and adds a very slight shine to the finish. Paraffin can also be used. It is odorless and much less expensive; however, I personally prefer beeswax. This is a great treatment for a board that has become very dry or has been sanded down to restore it. The recipe calls for 9 parts food grade mineral oil to 1 part beeswax.

Measure 1 part wax to 9 parts oil. Wax beads available or you can scrape pieces of wax off a block like I did.

Heat the oil and wax slowly until the oil is lukewarm and the wax has melted. Be sure to stir and incorporate the wax as it melts.

Put some of the melted product on your butcher board and rub it in making sure to get to all surfaces, especially the cut edges. Allow to absorb before using the board to prepare food. The consistency of this recipe is a bit like hair gel after it cools down a bit and gets firmer as it cools. It will melt into the board like butter as you apply it. It can be used warm or cold; However, I find it works better and faster when it’s hot.

the third recipe it is for a “board wax” paste style. This is a rich, ultra-greasy blend of oil and beeswax. It is thick and waxy and offers a lot of water resistance once the wax has hardened. It can be polished to a smooth shine and looks beautiful. Use this recipe as a polishing paste or as a crack filler. Keeping the occasional cracks and knife marks filled extends the life of your board!

This recipe is 4 to 5 parts food grade mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. Heat the oil and add the wax as indicated above. Rub it on the board. Allow the oil to soak in and the wax to harden before buffing and preparing food on it. If used warm, this wax will spread a thinner layer. If used cold it is quite thick and doughy and will give you a thicker coating.

Your wood needs to be treated regularly to prevent it from drying out and cracking! The frequency of treatment and the type of butcher block oil you need to use depends on many variables; like the weather and how often the board is used and washed. You will have to be the judge. These “recipes” will not only beautifully condition your butcher board, they will increase its lifespan. They will also last indefinitely. Once you’ve made a batch, it’s easy to grab off the shelf and use all year long!

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