When cooking Chinese cuisine, a wok is a powerful tool to have, especially if you consider how useful it is for stir-frying. Heat is spread uniformly, and less oil is required than you would use with a traditional frying pan. Woks are flexible as well: they can be used to deep fry, steam and smoke your food. These benefits make the cooking of Chinese food and other foods quicker. But it is necessary to purchase the right wok as it comes in all shapes: from flat and red woks to cast iron or carbon steel.
In Chinese, the term "wok" means "cooking pot", and the pans are being used for several cooking activities. Although woks are better associated with the preparation of stir-fries in the U.S., any food can be cooked in a wok that benefits from a central heat source and large, clear cooking area. This includes braising, preparing sauces, deep-frying, steaming, soups and more.
Woks typically have round bottoms and smooth, rounded sides, ideal for heating over a small flame quickly and evenly. Generally, they have extended grips that make it easy to shake them while cooking, often removing the need to stir at all. Some contemporary makes are equipped with lids that help to steam and finish food gently.
No doubt this raises some questions in your minds about woks and what you need to look for before buying one.
What is the best material for woks?
The most common material used for a wok is carbon steel. It heats up easily and evenly and becomes nonstick over time if washed and appropriately handled. Carbon steel woks are not as standard as they once were, as the need seasoning before you use it and careful washing is required in that you cannot just put in the dishwasher or make use of any old soap to clean it. The carbon steel also contributes to food flavouring, which some people find repulsive, while others agree it's properly seasoned.
It takes a little more time to heat the cast iron, but it absorbs heat very well. A cast iron wok must also be seasoned well before use, similar to a carbon steel wok, to help avoid sticking, although some are sold pre-seasoned. Much like carbon steel woks, if handled correctly, it too will turn nonstick over time. Cast iron tends to be formidable, which might make it hard to shift the wok. In such situations, to stir the food, a wok spatula can be used; it has a shovel-like shape, suitable for quickly and easily moving food around.
Woks made of stainless steel are becoming more popular. Although it takes time for stainless steel to heat, it has robust and consistent heat distribution. Traditionalists oppose stainless steel woks because they can be heavy and do not respond easily to changes in temperature as carbon steel woks do. However, they're durable and do not have to be seasoned. Stainless steel woks, like an aluminium core, are also paired with other forms of metal that enable them to heat up faster. Usually, they're even dishwasher friendly.
For the entry-level chef, Nonstick woks are a no-brainer: they don't have to be seasoned, so they're washable, do not use anything abrasive or a scouring pad. Nonstick woks should not be heated too high either, so it's difficult to sear meats and vegetables. Nonstick works like a charm when you embrace a low and steady pace, which some may say defeats the intention to use a wok, typically used at too high heats.
Following are some of the best-reviewed woks.
Inside the dual layers of stainless steel, this 12-inch wok has an aluminium core, so it heats uniformly, enables faster browning, to be used on any cooktop, even induction. The outer surface consists of polished stainless steel, and because it is stainless inside out, you can also use metal utensils in it without any trouble.
This best wok for 2020/2021 features a lid of tempered glass, so you could use it for steaming or other purposes, so you can look at what's cooking. The pan and lid for use in an oven so you can cook a dish in the oven, or heat it for serving. The pan is also safe for broiling purposes.
Inside and out, this wok features a flat bottom so that it can be used on any stove. It has boasted a long handle and one handle for your helper, so it is quick to use and easy to shift. Each mark, burn, and grease mark is visible after a good soak.
The Calphalon Triply Stainless-Steel Wok with its aluminium core heats up rapidly, intensely and evenly. It pays to consider premium cookware brands if you are searching for high-quality pans that also serve as woks. That is to say if you have any space left in your budget. This Calphalon promises stove to oven convenience, compatible with nearly any heat source, and even heating regardless of whether you hop, brown, sear, barbecue, snuff, or sautee. It has a sleek silhouette and glamorous stainless steel construction on its sleeve too.
This 14-inch wok blends conventional carbon steel with a premium, non-stick surface that is suitable for metal utensils so that there is no need to bother with a finely-coated wok. Oak, nylon, or silicone utensils, however can help prolong the nonstick surface's life.
The wok features a long wooden handle and a handle to assist in cooking that is both attractive and convenient. A domed lid is also provided.
This is perfect for a first-time user, as the bamboo spatula, six pairs of chopsticks, a steaming rack and bamboo tongs and bamboo rice paddling have all tools required, among them a tempura rack, a bamboo spatula.
Without abrasive pads or cleaners, this pot should be washed by hand. There is no need to wash it in a dishwasher. It is not safe for use in an oven due to the wooden handles.
Lodge is well known for its cast-iron parts that last a long time, which is no exception to this wok. This is a solid, heavy pot that holds heat very well and can help you reach the high-quality restaurant sear that is difficult to accomplish without some kind of high BTU flame. Like other woks, the Lodge has a flat bottom to ensure it possible to place it on a gas burner without the ring required for rounded woks. With a diameter of 14 centimeters, this wok is big enough to cook your favourite meals for a group of people. Since cast iron needs seasoning to preserve its surface, this model comes with 100% vegetable oil pre-seasoned surface – you just have to maintain it.
The wide handles allow for easy transportation and maneuverability, but you have to keep its temperature in mind at all times as they are also cast iron. It is also pretty big, weighing in at almost 11 pounds, so if you intend on using it regularly, it could be a little frustrating to pull it out when needed. That said, Lodge pans are relatively cheap and function like it should.
Although Anolon's Ultimate Pan does not seem to be a wok, it is functional for everything that a wok represents. The hard-anodized aluminium base, heats quickly and is lightweight, but still strong due to the inbuilt carbon steel and cast iron. Metal utensils can also be used. We appreciate the huge cooking area, which reminded us of the casseroles that we used to use, but also that we can shake it easily: the handle is slip-proof and easy to carry.
This pre-seasoned cast iron wok provides users with the strengths of cast iron, including a lightweight structure. If you are preparing fried rice, fajitas, or stir-fry, it's big enough to cook dinner in one single batch but much lighter than conventional cast-iron woks, so that's easier to lift and store. This model is available with stainless steel handles, but also with wooden or Bakelite handles.
You can start using the wok immediately because it has been pre-seasoned, but with the extra seasoning and use the surface becomes even more nonstick. You should wash this wok by hand.
Our easy-to-use, non-stick cookware makes yummy meals which are thanks to the innovativeness of Tefal Precision Plus.
Owing to our famous thermo-spot heating predictor, you'll never have to worry about under or overcooking your food again. This smart Thermo spot applied to all Precision Plus cups ensures that you cook every meal perfectly when your pan is at optimum temperature.
The durable, non-adhesive coating of Easy Plus means that your food won't slide and your pans will not scratch over time. These pans are often externally non-adhesive, making them extremely easy to clean – either yourself or in the dishwasher. They are compliant with all hobs, excluding induction, and are made of lightweight aluminium with comfortable handles.
Tefal Precision Plus is the optimal cooking solution for newbies to ensure that delicious food is cooked to perfection. Tefal Precision Plus, made from high-quality materials for everyday use, has advanced features that combine to make cooking experience easier and quicker. The Thermo-Spot Unit is your trump card to prepare and cook at the optimum temperature, with impeccable results. The lasting, easy Plus non-binding coating provides longer non-stick efficiency, while the ergonomic handle offers a more friendly grip.
This is a fantastic kitchen tool. You may have cooked with a wok for years, but this one is the Rolls Royce of woks. It's heavy, sure, but it's heat-radiating, without resorting to hotspots. Also, now I would suggest to go round bottomed for woks: much better distribution of heat. The effect of cooking is faster, which is also fresher. Let's admit, it is certainly worth paying for a wok rather than settle for alternatives.
This wok includes simple instructions for seasoning the wok before using. When seasoned, it heated up within a flash and allows one to toss and mix and heat up without having to worry about the artificial non-stick coating.
Really easy to clean, even when you've have made satays or other fun meals, all you need is some water and a cloth afterwards.
The Wok's main function is to 'stir fry' — quickly fry and constantly stir on a thermal pot. However, the wok pot may also be used when preparing various soups as a vessel for deep frying food in hot oil. It is also suitable as a smoker and a steamer. The steel wok can be carried outdoors and impress friends with amazing Chinese dishes.
Remember a carbon steel wok still needs to be seasoned! Guidebooks can also be found on the internet and on when you get your wok.
Kitchenware with carbon steel must be seasoned and preserved in order to prevent rusting. Tip: Always dry and keep the wok oiled, particularly after washing.
Round bottom: not ideal for a flat electric oven.
Before you cook with a cast-iron or carbon steel wok, you would have to season it to ensure the food doesn't stick. This is how you do it:
Modern, round-bottomed woks are intended for use with a special stove fitted to cradle a wok with a burner. Although sending heat to the sides of the wok, this configuration produces a hotspot at the bottom and also enables the smooth scooping movement to stir components through. You would be more likely to have restaurant-style outcomes if you opt for a round-bottomed wok, but you will also need a special ring to allow the wok to be held by your burner. Choose a flat-bottomed wok if it seems like a hassle-as this configuration will sit directly on your current cooktop without any special considerations necessary.
Restaurants specializing in wok cuisine sometimes cook at temperatures higher than you can attain when using a home stove, so a standard carbon steel wok can certainly stand up to high heat in your range. Stainless steel and cast iron can also withstand very high temperatures. To check the cooking range of your wok, double-check with the manufacturer. Nonstick pans often don't do so well in very high heat (e.g., anything above 450 degrees will start to destroy the Teflon), so you should pick a pan with a higher temperature threshold if you are trying to achieve a restaurant-quality stir-fry.
Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API