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Whether you’re trying to prepare an impressive Chinese meal or if you’re looking into equipping your kitchen appliances for any occasion, the best wok or skillet can be the answer to what you’re looking for. Although you don’t necessarily need it to create the best Chinese meals (or any other dish), it can fit right into the cooking process and help save you time—giving you optimal results.
This bowl-shaped utensil, however, has its advantages when you’re looking for traditional Chinese food. Not only do they spread the heat evenly throughout the entire pan while you’re cooking, but they also are great for deep-frying. In this guide, we’re going to go through why there is absolutely no substitute for a good carbon steel wok when it comes to satisfying Chinese food. Fortunately, they are quite affordable if you do your research beforehand.
We’re going to also give you adequate information and details on the different types of woks or skillets on the market today, from aluminum, stainless steel to copper. After hundreds of hours of research all over the web, we’ve broken down the best woks—from their features of material, diameter, capacity, warranty, and weight. In our guide, we’re going to go through our comparison table with the best products side-by-side, in-detail reviews of each product one by one, and a buying guide to help you choose the right one for your kitchen.
More features: PFOA-free non-stick coating, flat bottom, metal utensils safe, brushed stainless steel handle, dishwasher safe, tempered glass lid
The Calphalon Signature Wok is rated as our Editor’s Choice for the best wok on the market. The reason for our decision is simply based on the way this wok works—it not only has unique and functional features, but it is also just a great kitchen companion.
With a high-quality cooking performance and built durability that can last you until its warranty of a lifetime, this stainless steel cookware is designed to do its best in the kitchen. On the bottom of the Calphalon Signature Wok, you’ll find the sear nonstick interior that helps keep the cooking process as smooth as possible.
If you‘re looking to evenly sear, brown, sauté, and seal in juices of meats of anything you might be cooking, the Calphalon Signature Wok is for you. Designed in its traditional shape, it has the perfect slopes to toss foods.
You can also enjoy the brushed stainless steel long handle that keeps cool even when cooking with high temperatures. Need to leave the stovetop for a second? No problem—the tempered glass cover keeps food warm.
You also don‘t have to worry about which utensil to use with which skillet—the Calphalon Signature Wok is compatible with all metal spatulas, spoons, and whisks.
Designed with heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum, you won’t have to worry about its durability. It’s also easy to clean and maintain, being dishwasher and oven safe.
What stands out?
Dishwasher and oven safe for simple maintenance
The handle doesn’t get hot
Tempered glass cover
What cons did we manage to find?
Weighs 7 lbs without food—so might be a bit heavy when there is food in it
More features: non-stick coating, lid included, dishwasher-safe, flat bottom, color variation
The Le Creuset of America Enameled Cast Iron Signature Wok is rated as one of our best cast iron woks on the market. Designed with a seamless concave cooking interior, the bottom of the wok has a flat base so it is actually compatible with various types of stovetop heat sources.
This type of wok combines both the traditional type of wok and the modern one—making it highly compatible and ideal for high-heat cooking. You‘ll definitely enjoy the fact that it has quality heat transfer, making it great for all kinds of cooking—but especially with searing and browning.
The Le Creuset of America Enameled Cast Iron Signature Wok also features a tight-fitting glass lid, which is perfect for locking in the heat and moisture while you‘re cooking. To make it convenient in cooking for you, the wok also has wide loop handles, which can give you a secure grip when transporting to and from the table.
Another notable feature of this wok is that it is available in eight different colors, which makes it a great and unique choice to choose from. You also don‘t have to worry about the color because it is made with long-lasting exterior enamel which resists chipping and cracking.
Designed to be high-quality in weight balance, the wok has sloping sides made of enameled cast iron, which helps you slip the food right back onto your plate.
Stir-frying fresh ingredients is also not a problem with this curved design.
Why did it make our list?
Performs well with slow-cooking or high temps
Can be used on all heat sources—gas, electric, radiant ring, glass, induction, and ovens
What is not ideal about it?
You can’t slide the pan—so if it’s heavy, you might cause damage to the stove or pan
More features: flat bottom, 9’’ long handle, oven safe, metal utensils safe
The best carbon steel wok on our list today is the Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok. There are various features on this design that set it apart from other woks on the market.
For one, the design makes it possible that it has extremely optimal heat conduction. Dating back to what the French used to turn to create an even cook, the Mauviel M’Steel Black Steel Wok uses the same concept as a cast iron pan.
Designed with a high-density material, it makes the pan unique since it doesn’t retain odors that may linger because of your cooking. It also can withstand extremely high temperatures—which means that leaves you to have optimal cooking, searing, and preheating so that you keep all the nutrients and flavors possible.
The Mauviel M’Steel Black Steel Wok does what the name promises—changing black in color once it’s fully seasoned. It also acquires its natural non-stick properties through proper seasoning. You don‘t have to worry about which utensils to use since the Mauviel M’Steel Black Steel Wok is compatible with various metal utensils.
One of the best parts? It is lighter than a cast iron and one of the lightest woks on the market. This skillet weighs only 4 lbs.
Despite its weight, however, it still is quite durable, rated as a commercial-grade product. You can also hand wash it, with hot water and a paper towel, making maintenance quite simple.
What makes it special?
Cleaning and maintenance is simple
Weighs extremely light!
Has a long handle and is compatible with most metal utensils
More features: non-stick coating, temperature adjustment with 4 heat settings, heat resistant silicone handles, tempered glass lid, 120 V
The VonShef Electric Wok is the best electric wok on the market that we could find. Although it only comes backed by a 2-year limited warranty, it still has the features to make it a high-quality buy.
From tasty Asian food to stir-fries and curries, the VonShef Electric Wok is a great choice when it comes to features. The design of the wok has a bottom for non-stick coating—which helps you avoid situations where you‘re scraping off seasoning or food off of the pan.
This surface also makes it possible that you have little-to-no-oil cooking while preparing your food, which makes it much healthier.
You can also enjoy the cool-touch handles on the wok and tempered glass lid of the VonShef Electric Wok, making you worry-free to burn yourself while cooking. When your food is ready, you can simply detach the wok from the power cord and bring it right to the table!
The VonShef Electric Wok has a 5L capacity, meaning you can feed your whole family in one cooking time. From stir-frying to searing to sizzling, you can choose the way you cook and enjoy its diversity.
The VonShef Electric Wok is also highly adjustable and controllable when it comes to cooking temperatures, making it possible for you to have full control over what you’re cooking!
What makes it stand out?
The temperatures are extremely easy to control
It is also easy to clean
Very quick delivery and well packed.
High quality, non-stick finish
The heat is quick and even
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Since it’s electric, it can’t be submerged in water or used outside
More features: steel and wooden handle, round bottom, hand hammered
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get quality. The Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is our budget pick for the best wok on the market that is also placed at an affordable price.
The pan has a round bottom, like most traditional walks, with the possibility of a long handle and a gripping one. You can also use the gripping handle to hang up the wok for storage. The Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok specializes definitely in stir drying but can be used with a number of various types of foods and cooking.
You can use this pan for deep frying food in hot oil and for preparation of various soups. You also can enjoy the fact that the Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is useable in open fire
One of the downsides? You‘ll have to season this carbon steel wok yourself. Unfortunately, it is also not suitable for flat electric or flat induction stove.
However, all downsides aside, if you want the traditional look and feel covered by Chinese professionals, the Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is one of the most popular among the experienced chefs.
Why are we impressed?
Very sturdy build and non-stick after seasoning
Has two different handles for cooking and storage
Round bottom for traditional feel
What negatives must you be aware of?
The bottom isn‘t flat so cannot be used in electric stove
More features: stay-cool handles, induction compatible, oven safe up to 500 degrees F
Woks are meant to be used for high-heat cooking such as stir-frying, pan-frying, and deep-frying. If you don’t have a high-powered gas stove, you need a slightly different type of wok, and that is exactly what the Cooks Standard Stainless Steel multi-ply wok is.
For starters, it is a 3-ply stainless steel and alloy vessel weighing 3.14oz, which gives it the ability to retain heat well even on an electric oven top. It also has a flat bottom for stability and better heat distribution.
These first impressions of the wok were confirmed when we went ahead to cook some fried rice on it. Thanks to the dome cover, it holds heat very well, and we found that the 13” size is sufficient to cook for 2-3 people easily.
What makes it special?
Great heat retention and distribution
It is rated at 500F for oven cooking
The close-fitting heavy dome lid makes it an excellent casserole
It is very easy to clean
What cons did we find?
It could have used thicker walls
Tends to have hot spots that cause burns and sticking
For years, people have used woks and skillets and swore by its skills and usage. Especially when it comes to Asian cooking, woks have been in the spotlight during the preparing process.
Nowadays, woks have been used throughout various cultured cooking—from Asian to other continents because of its simple benefits in healthy cooking.
Before you choose a wok for you from this list, read on for our buying guide that highlights the features you need to look out for in some of these woks.
Benefits of cooking with wok
One of the best parts about it is that it eliminates clutter in the kitchen—the wok does it all and can reduce the need to cook with a number of pots and pans. Since it can hold multiple types of foods at once, this is a great benefit.
You can also do different kinds of cooking with it at once—from deep frying to steaming to sautéing.
Especially if you’re looking to keep cooking healthy, a wok is great since it uses very little oil—especially when preparing meat, seafood, and veggies. The reduction in oil also helps the texture of the food.
How to cook with wok
Especially if you’ve never cooked with a wok before, you might feel a little intimidated with its years of rich history behind the invention.
So, what is a wok? It is a large bowl that is generally designed with carbon steel, aluminum or cast iron. Since it has a rounded bottom, it helps project the stovetop’s flames and the heat into an adequate distribution.
There are so many different ways to cook with a wok—and it’s not solely focused on Asian food, either. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a meat-eater, there are so many different recipes you can use to work with a wok.
Here is a great vegan recipe for wok cooking and a simple noodle recipe:
To help you cook (especially if you’ve never used a wok before, here are a few tips:
Most woks will have to be seasoned before you use it. Please do your research beforehand or consult the manufacturer to see how to do it correctly.
Washing a wok only with soap can destroy all the work you just did. Seasoning the wok is a lot of work—so make sure you know the proper cleaning instructions.
Beforeyou start cooking, make sure you preheat your wok. To let you know it’s ready, simply let a droplet of water fall into it—it should almost immediately evaporate.
The oil should also be cold when you add it into the pan. This will prevent any complications.
Cut your ingredients to roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
You should also cook your protein first before the veggies—all ingredients should be dry when you throw them in!
You should be able to stick to your budget—regardless of the quality, you want to have in your wok or skillet. Do your research before you buy—you should definitely be able to stay under the desired price with the proper look around.
Features to consider while buying the best wok
Before you buy, quickly inform yourself about the various features and choices when it comes to choosing the best wok:
If you’re looking to go traditional, carbon steel is the way to go. It is extremely lightweight, making it easy to maneuver around the kitchen and on the stove. It is also extremely effective when conducting heat, retaining it and heating it up quickly.
Cast iron is also high-quality rated when it comes to heat retention, but it’s normally quite heavy. Fortunately, most cast iron pans are already seasoned, which means less work for you.
Stainless steel pans are a mixture of cast iron and carbon steel. Although they’re much lighter than cast iron, they take much longer to heat up than carbon steel.
Aluminum pans are generally very good when it comes to heat conduction but since it’s generally thinner, it is susceptible to damage much more than the other types.
Size and weight
The size and weight of the woks or skillets make a huge difference in your cooking experience. From how heavy the pan is to the capacity—generally measured in quarts or liters—these measurements are definitely something you want to look out for.
Before you buy, keep in mind the number of people you’re going to be cooking for.
One of the most special things about the woks is their bottoms—which are round, making it perfect to be able to cradle your food and create a round hot spot. This allows for even heating.
Choosing the cooktop can be quite a difficult decision. You more likely than not will have to choose between a wok ring or a flat-bottomed wok.
You can’t necessarily go wrong with either decision. However, knowing which type to go for will mainly have to do with whether you are using electric or gas. Heating your work directly by sitting it on an electric range are generally your two options.
Do your research properly before choosing the right one for you and your kitchen.
Non-stick coating – is it necessary?
Most of the pans that are featured here on this guide are non-stick. Whether the coating is made from hard-anodized aluminum or beeswax, you can simply get the same results from seasoning it.
Choosing a wok with non-stick coating may make it difficult to achieve that high-heat sear you’re looking for.
If the pan has a nonstick coating, it most likely won’t be able to handle the high heated temperatures that you’ll need for stir-frying.
However, on our guide, we have introduced both the double handle and single hand—especially if you’re looking to stir-fry.
Choosing either one won’t make too much of a difference—unless you’re looking to be skilled in a specific type of cooking. If you want to stir fry, toss, and create wok hay, you’ll want a single handle. If you’re looking to stem or cook in larger quantities, double handles work best.
Lid the way
The lid is also a very important feature that you’ll need to look into. Whether you’re looking for a vented lid for steaming and stewing or if you need a tempered, glass lid, like the VonShef Electric Wok, you’ll need to also pay attention to this feature to make sure you’ve got the right choice.
From the very short warranty of 2 years with the VonShef Electric Wok to a lifetime limited guarantee with most woks on this guide, you’re going to want to look into what you’ll be getting before you purchase your wok.
A quality product will most likely come with a lifetime limited warranty.
Wok seasoning tips
To help you in your wok cooking, here is a video with tips:
Before you buy, you might have some questions that need to be answered. To help you out, here are our most FAQ:
Choosing between gas or electric is honestly a personal preference—however, you can gage in the various features, like the variety of metals. A traditional, gas wok is able to absorb high heat to quickly cook. It also helps you get at the hot spot at the bottom of the stovetop wok. Electric woks don’t need to be seasoned—which is definitely considered as an advantage when it comes to preparation.
Electric woks have an almost immediate advantage over stove-top woks–they do not need to be seasoned. A traditional wok needs to go through a somewhat elaborate process of seasoning its metal to avoid future sticking problems. Nonstick electric woks help cooks avoid this process.
The electric wok also comes with its own stand, so you don’t have to worry about choosing between a round or a flat bottom. Electric woks are also much easier to maintain.
Although the newer woks don’t normally require a wok ring, the traditional round-bottom shape will generally require a wok ring. The wok ring, although not completely necessary, can help generate more heat with extra air between the flame and your wok.
Storing a wok can make the difference in its life span. You want to be promoting air flow across the surface, allowing plenty of gaps around the lid or covering. It’s recommended to store it upside down to prevent the dust from collecting on the cooking surface.
If you’ve decided to skip over the entire guide and head right to the bottom of our verdict, here it is:
The Calphalon 1948257 Signature Wok is our Editor’s Choice for best wok on the market. Designed with heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, this wok weighs only 7 lbs and is backed by a lifetime limited warranty. With features like a non-stick coating, flat bottom, metal utensils safe, brushed stainless steel handle, dishwasher safe, and a tempered glass lid, it’s hard to get a bad experience.
The Le Creuset of America Enameled Cast Iron Signature Wok is the Best Cast Iron Wok and our runner’s up of the best woks out there. Designed with cast iron and backed by a lifetime limited warranty, this wok also has a lid, flat bottom and eight different colors to choose from.