Finding the best wok for your kitchen can be a challenge. How to choose wok pan? When you’re researching woks, you need to consider material type, size, quality, capacity and your budget.
Read Also: Top 10 best wok (pan)
You’ll need to think about whether you want the easy cleanup that comes with a non-stick option or if you want to put in the work to maintain a material that needs seasoning. You should also think about whether you want electric or not.
Having an electric wok provides you with an extra burner for cooking. It can be a great way to extend your cooking options in the kitchen.
We’ve put together a few key points to keep in mind as you’re considering the best wok for your needs.
How to Select the Right Wok Pan
In traditional wok cooking, the middle of the pan gets hot enough to quickly cook food. As the food cooks, you push it up the sides of the pan to keep it warm.
Then you add more food to the middle of the pan to allow these ingredients to cook. This type of cooking works best in round-bottom woks with thicker centers.
But the wok has evolved beyond just traditional wok cooking. The best woks on this list include both flat and round-bottom options.
The definition of a great wok depends totally on your preferred cooking style in the kitchen. We’ve put together a list of several factors you should keep in mind as you look for the best wok for your kitchen.
Types of Woks
Woks come in many different kinds of materials. Each one requires different kinds of prep work and provides different types of heat. The weight also varies widely too.
You should know what weight you’re comfortable lifting before you make your decision. Keep in mind that at the 16-inch size, the food in the wok can add a lot of weight to it.
If you’re interested in using induction heat to cook with, you’ll need to make sure you choose a metal that a magnet will stick to. Many of the best woks on this list will work with induction heat—some non-stick option, will not.
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel heats quickly and evenly. It will transfer to your oven, and most have handles that don’t get hot while you cook. They’re typically lighter weight than cast iron but provide the same even heating. Some are induction compatible and others are not. If you want something easy to clean up, you might choose a non-stick option over stainless-steel. This material can be a bit difficult to clean sometimes.
2. Carbon Steel
Carbon steel woks are often noted as being the most traditional, quality option for woks. This metal does a great job facilitating the traditional cooking method described above. It gets hot in the middle and the sides keep things warm. If you want extra stability for your round-bottomed wok, you can buy a wok ring.
The electric woks on this list come in stainless steel and non-stick. These woks are great if you want a wok you can put directly on the table to keep your food warm. They’ll also work great for quick cooking right on your countertop. These woks are not good for high-heat cooking though.
4. Cast Iron
It woks the heaviest woks on our list at 11-12 pounds. Cast iron provides even heating. It will maintain its heat for a long time so your food stays warm. We’ve chosen woks with large looped handles for easy lifting. If you don’t want a heavy wok, any of the other materials will be a better option for you than cast iron.
Non-stick woks on this list are great for those who want to cook with less oil. Most of these woks come with wide flat bottom bases so they function both as a wok and as a large, deep frying pan. They’re great for those who want a healthier lifestyle. You’ll want to consider whether or not you want a PFOA-Free and/or PTFE-Free option. Some woks are free of both, some are free of one while others include one or both.
How to choose wok pan: Size
The main thing to consider in a wok is the diameter. 10-inch woks are the smallest options on this list and will feed two or three people. They’ll be easy to store and handle. 12-inch woks can feed a family of four. 14-inch woks will feed a family of four or more with leftovers. 16-inch woks will feed a crowd and will be very big to store. If you choose an electric wok, you should be aware that it will take up a bit more storage space because of its base.
How to choose wok pan: Cleanup and Care
Non-stick woks are a great choice if you want to avoid dealing with food that gets stuck on your cookware. These woks will be easy to clean up and can often be put in the dishwasher. To help maintain their condition, it’s best to use non-abrasive cleaning pads and silicone or wood utensils.
Cast iron and carbon steel woks will need ongoing care through seasoning. Some cast iron choices come pre-seasoned though.
All of the carbon steel woks on this list will require upfront work to season. The seasoning process means you will have less trouble with food sticking to the pan thereby making clean up simpler. Stainless steel is easy to maintain, but starchy foods and eggs can easily get stuck on it. Use the right amount of oil for your food when cooking
and keep some Barkeeper’s Friend on hand for the toughest stuck on foods and stains.
The electric woks on this list are either hand wash or dishwasher safe.
Brand and Warranty
Not all woks come with lifetime warranties though. Some warranties are limited and short term. Be aware that some products require you to keep proof of purchase to access the warranty. Note that the carbon steel woks on this list are hand-hammered and traditionally made. They do not come with warranties, but they do come with high-quality craftsmanship.
You should make sure you follow the care instructions that come with your product. Failure to do so will void some warranties.