The Best Woks (Review) in 2019
In our fast-paced times, it’s no wonder that quick and versatile wok dishes have had something of a renaissance. With the help of your trusty wok, it’s easy to whip up delicious healthy meals in minutes flat, making the wok pan an absolute must-have for any well-rounded kitchen.
If you’ve ever wanted a wok of your own, but felt intimidated by the sheer variety you have to choose from, read on. In our handy buying guide, we run through the best woks money can buy. Whatever your budget or culinary preference, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect wok for you somewhere on the list. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve also taken the time to address some common questions and concerns about this unique piece of cookware, so you can get the most out of your new favorite stir fry pan.
13-inch wok with flat bottom
Hard-anodized aluminum construction with nonstick cooking surface
Stay-cool handles made of brushed stainless steel
Maximum temperature: 450 degrees Fahrenheit
12-inch wok with glass cover
2 layers of stainless steel with aluminum in the middle
Tempered glass lid with stainless steel, stay-cool handle
Flat-bottomed design and reflective cooking surface
14-inch wok with assist handle
PFOA-free, non-toxic, nonstick coating
Premium aluminum construction
Maximum temperature: 350 degrees Fahrenheit
The Best Wok
This non stick wok by Calphalon is the first item to grace our list. Combining 12-inch flat bottom with traditional sloped sides, it’s the perfect happy medium between Western and Eastern style pans. Made from hard-anodized aluminum, the wok is guaranteed to heat evenly, making it easy to cook meat and veg to the perfect texture time after time. Thanks to a non-stick surface, the wok is also easy to clean, and resistant to sticky ingredients.
For improved versatility, the pan can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can put it in the oven worry-free, and save on washing up. In fact, the wok is dishwasher safe, so cleaning is a breeze. Attached to the wok, you’ll find a durable stainless steel handle, designed to stay cool during cooking. This makes it simple to toss ingredients, and safely remove your food from the stovetop or burner.
12 inch flat-bottomed wok
Made from hard-anodized aluminum for durability
Even heat distribution for consistent cooking
Suitable for oven use at temperatures up to 450℉
Stainless steel handles stay cool during cooking
If you’re after something a little more traditional, look no further than this hand hammered carbon steel wok. Each pan is made by experts in Guangzhou, China, to an extremely high standard of quality. In fact, many chefs in the country trust Craft Wok to deliver durable cookware for professional use. Its traditional round-bottom design makes tossing ingredients easy, while a wooden handle allows for easy manoeuvring on the stove.
The pan is made from durable, lightweight carbon steel, known for its hardness, heat conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. Budding and professional chefs alike love the wok’s attractive design, and were impressed with its durability. For under $50, the wok offers an impressive lifetime. Bear in mind that this wok must be seasoned before use, and isn’t suitable for use electric or induction stovetops because of its round bottom.
Round-bottomed wok made by hand
Constructed in China using traditional techniques
Suitable for professional use
Wooden handle for easy manoeuvrability
Resistant to corrosion
Great value for money
Requires regular seasoning
Not suitable for use with electric and induction stovetops
Lodge have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with this heavy duty cast iron wok. The 14 inch pan features a flattened bottom and sloping sides, making it the perfect option for sautees, stir-fries, and more. Made from 100% cast iron, the wok offers excellent heat retention compared to other options, allowing you to cook more efficiently. So you can get started right away, the wok comes pre-seasoned with pure vegetable oil – free from preservatives and other additives. Thanks to this professional seasoning the wok gets better with use, but you’ll need to top it up every now and again. Fortunately, the process is very simple.
Each Lodge pan is made with care in the USA. The company has been based in Pittsburg, Tennessee, since 1986, and started over 120 years ago. Lodge cast-iron is known for its durability and versatility, The wok is suitable for use with all types of stove top – including electric – so you can use it wherever you roam. It should be washed with mild soap only to retain its seasoning.
Heavy duty cast iron wok
Features a flattened bottom and sloping sides
Suitable for use with all types of stovetop
Pure cast iron offers excellent heat protection
Pre-seasoned with pure vegetable oil
Made in the USA
Calphalon have earned themselves a second spot on our list with this sleek and modern stainless steel wok. Featuring a flattened bottom and sloped sides, this pan expertly adapts the traditional wok to use with modern electric and induction stovetops. Inside, an aluminum core ensures even heat distribution, for consistent cooking time after time. On the outside, non-porous stainless steel provides a corrosion-resistant cooking surface that’s suitable for use with all utensils – unlike some non-stick surfaces.
For improved versatility, the whole wok can be placed inside the oven, too. Thanks to the inclusion of a clear tempered-glass lid, it’s easy to steam food or prevent it from drying out in the oven, all while keeping a close eye on the cooking process. When the cooking is done, the wok is also dishwasher safe for an easy cleanup. Meanwhile, long handles – also made from stainless steel – provide a convenient cool grip during cooking. For simple storage, the longer handle is equipped with a hanging hole. Each Calphalon product includes a full lifetime warranty, so you can rest-assured it’s built to last.
12 inch stainless steel wok
Flattened bottom is compatible with all stovetops (including electric)
Aluminum core makes for improved heat distribution
Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and non-porous
Suitable for use with all types of utensil
Oven and dishwasher safe
Tempered glass lid included
Lifetime warranty included
Pro Chef have earned the mid-way spot on our list, thanks to this 14 inch, flat bottomed wok. Made from uncoated carbon steel, this versatile cookware combines conventional materials with modern stovetops. Each wok is made using heavy gauge carbon steel, and built to a professional weight – heavy enough for durability, light enough for comfortable use.
Meanwhile, an ergonomic handle stays cool while you cook, for an easy grip and manoeuvrability during use. A loop on the end of the handle gives you the option to store it in a hanging position. An additional ‘helper’ handle on the other side of the wok makes it easier to transport to the table or serving area. Bear in mind that, before use, the wok must be seasoned, and washed by hand with a gentle soap.
14 inch wok with flattened bottom
Suitable for use with all types of stovetop
Made with durable carbon steel
Ergonomic handle makes for comfortable cooking
‘Helper’ handle for easy transportation
Requires seasoning prior to use
Hand wash only
T-fal are a well-known name in the kitchenware world, and they’ve turned their attention towards the humble wok with great success. If you’re feeding a lot of people, their 14 inch, flat-bottomed wok could well be the perfect solution. Its flattened design is suitable for all kinds of stovetops, while its superior non-stick coating makes it easy to cook healthy meals – you won’t need much oil or fat at all. Whatever you cook, a pair of ergonomic handles make it easy to toss the ingredients.
This handy coating also maes clean-up a breeze. To save even more time, you can even place this hardy wok in the dishwasher. The versatile pan is just as at home in the oven as it is on the stove. The durable design is oven-safe at temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit – more than hot enough for a wide array of dishes that require baking. Each T-fal wok includes a limited lifetime warranty, so you can keep on cooking for many years to come.
14 inch flat-bottomed wok
Great for cooking large family meals
Suitable for use with all types of stovetop
Superior non-stick coating requires little oil or fat
Oven safe at temperatures up to 350℉
Limited lifetime warranty included
The next wok to earn a spot on our list is this stainless steel design by Cooks Standard. Their 13 inch pan is the perfect mid-size option, suitable for use with any stovetop thanks to its sleek, flat-bottomed construction. Each wok is made from lightweight and non-porous stainless steel, crafted around an aluminum core that promotes better heat distribution. For ease of use, the wok also features two stainless-steel handles, riveted firmly into place. Each handle utilises ‘air-flow’ technology to stay cool while you cook.
Each Cooks Standard wok also includes a domed, stainless steel lid, allowing you to trap in heat and moisture during cooking. If a dish requires baking, the wok can even be placed into the oven, at temperatures up to 500 degrees fahrenheit. When you’re finished cooking, you’ll find the wok incredible easy to clean – simply pop it in the dishwasher. Cooks Standard offer a limited lifetime warranty alongside each of their woks, so you can rest assured it’s built to last for years to come.
13 inch flat-bottomed wok
Made from durable and lightweight stainless steel
2 handles with ‘air-flow’ technology stay cool during cooking
Domed steel lid included
Oven safe at temperatures up to 500℉
Limited lifetime warranty included
Bruntmor have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with this 14 inch cast iron wok. Its sturdy flattened base is suitable for use with all types of stovetops, and keeps things stable as you stir-fry or simmer. For ease of use, the wok is pre-seasoned, meaning it’s ready to go as soon as it arrives. Although this seasoning improves the pan’s non-stick properties with every use, it will need to be reseasoned now and then.
Made from 100% cast iron, the wok offers excellent heat distribution and retention. Thanks to extra-wide handles, it’s easy to manipulate despite its impressive heft. For ease of use, the wok is also oven-safe. The wok’s modern yet rustic design is a great fit for virtually any kitchen or dining table. It should be washed carefully after use with a stiff nylon brush and water, avoiding soap if possible.
14 inch cast iron wok
Flattened bottom suitable for use with all types of stovetop
Stable during use thanks to a weighty design
Pre-seasoned for immediate use
Cast iron offers excellent heat distribution and retention
Extra-wide handles for easy manipulation
Wash with cool water and a nylon brush only
The penultimate spot on our list goes to Helen’s Asian Kitchen, thanks to this stylish and versatile wok. Made from traditional carbon steel – but shaped with a flattened bottom – the wok allows you to cook traditional wok-based meals on your modern electric stovetop. Carbon steel is known for its heat distribution properties, ensuring your ingredients are perfectly and evenly cooked every time.
Over time, the wok will develop a natural patina – a great alternative to artificial non-stick coatings. Meanwhile, a heat-resistant bamboo handle makes the wok easy to move and shake during use. The pan also includes a domed lid, allowing cooks to trap in heat and moisture for effective steaming and simmering. Each wok includes a lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured it’s built to last. In addition, a free recipe booklet and bamboo spatula will help you get started on your cooking adventure. Like many carbon steel woks, bear in mind that it must be seasoned now and then for best results.
14 inch carbon steel wok
Flattened bottom for use with all types of stovetop
Distributes heat well for even cooking
Heat-resistant bamboo handle
Domed lid included
Lifetime warranty, recipe booklet, and bamboo spatula included
Requires regular seasoning
Last, but not least, comes this non-stick wok by Cuisinart. Made from hard-anodized aluminum, the wok combines lightweight durability with excellent heat distribution, for quick and even cooking time after time. For ease of use, the wok has been treated with a ceramic based non-stick coating, preventing ingredients from sticking around, and ensuring an easy clean-up. Unlike other non-stick solutions, this coating is free from PTFE and PFOA, which some believe may have adverse health effects if consumed.
Meanwhile, riveted ‘stay-cool’ handles help cooks to manoeuvre the wok during use. Each handle is made from 70% recycled stainless steel. The wok also features a tight-fitting glass lid, so you can trap heat and moisture inside during cooking. The wok is built to cope with a huge range of recipes, being totally oven safe at temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain the wok’s non-stick coating, you’ll need to wash by hand using a gentle soap.
12 inch flat bottomed wok
Made from hard-anodized aluminum
Offers excellent heat distribution
Treated with a ceramic based non-stick coating
Oven safe up to 500℉
‘Stay-cool’ riveted handles made from 70% recycled stainless steel
Secure-fitting glass lid included
Wash by hand with gentle soap to preserve the non-stick coating
Best Woks Buying Guide & FAQ
As promised, these 10 woks are the best that money can buy. From traditional to modern, aluminum to cast iron, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect wok somewhere among our list. To help you find your perfect match - and to get the most out of your new kitchen equipment - we’ve compiled this brief guide. Below, we discuss what to look for in a wok, the different options available, and more.
What to Look for When Buying a Wok
When it’s time to choose a wok of your own, there are some key factors to bear in mind:
When choosing your wok, one of the first decisions you’ll face in which material you want. The vast majority of woks are made from aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast iron. Below, we’ll discuss each type in some detail.
- Flat or Round Bottomed
Traditional woks have a rounded bottom, but this can make for difficult storage, and renders them incompatible with electric and induction stovetops. If you have gas burners and want to use your wok mainly for stir-fries, a round bottomed option could work for you. However, for most modern applications, a flat bottomed option is best.
A good wok can deliver a huge range of delicious healthy foods - from stir-fries to tempura, to stews. In other words, a good wok is incredibly versatile. To ensure that yours is, look out for oven safety, rounded sides for varied temperature, and the inclusion of a lid.
Many kitchenware manufacturers include handy extras with their equipment, and it’s worth bearing this in mind when selecting your wok. Many good quality woks will include a lifetime warranty - a sign of sturdy design - while others may come with a recipe booklet or spatula.
Different Kinds of Woks
As mentioned earlier, woks are typically made from one of four materials, each of which has its own unique advantages. Which option is right for you will depend very much upon your kitchen, and cooking preferences.
- Teflon Coated or Non-Stick Woks
This type of wok is typically made from aluminum, treated with a non-stick coating on its interior. Teflon is one popular type of coating, but ceramic options are also available. The main advantage of this type of wok is how easy they are to clean and maintain. Unlike their traditional counterparts, non-stick woks don’t require regular seasoning, and are easy to wipe clean. Many are also dishwasher safe. On the other hand, some wok enthusiasts find non-stick coatings irritating, since they prevent you from pushing ingredients up the wok’s sloped sides to cooler areas. Non-stick coatings can also be damaged by steel utensils.
- Stainless Steel Woks
Durable and non-porous stainless steel is a great material for woks. They’re suitable for use with any type of utensil, making them a versatile and durable piece of cooking equipment. Because it’s resistant to corrosion, stainless steel will also last for a lifetime, as long as it’s properly cleaned. This hardy type of wok is often oven and dishwasher safe, for ease of use and impressive versatility. On the other hand, stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat as well as other metals and alloys. To counteract this, many stainless steel woks feature an aluminum centre, which helps to evenly distribute heat.
- Cast Iron Woks
Cast iron woks are perfect if you’re looking for a heavy duty option. They tend to be more stable than other types of wok, making them ideal for dishes that require some time to simmer. On the other hand, this heaviness makes them more difficult to handle during cooking, and undertaking the flamboyant vegetable toss will be much more difficult. Cast iron woks usually require regular seasoning, too. It’s a simple task, but does take a little time.
- Carbon Steel Woks
When you visualise a ‘traditional’ Chinese wok, chances are your mind conjures up the carbon steel variety. This type of wok is made from a special type of steel, known for its exceptional hardness, conductivity, and corrosion-resistance. Carbon steel woks are a lot more lightweight than their cast iron counterparts, but they too require seasoning.
Best Woks FAQ:
Q: How do I season a wok?
A: Both cast iron and carbon steel woks must be seasoned on a regular basis for best results. Seasoning the metal not only lends it non-stick properties, it also helps improve the flavor of your cooking.
To season a wok:
- Work in a well-ventilated space.
- Thoroughly wash the wok in hot soapy water, and dry.
- Preheat the wok on the stove. When you drip water onto its surface, it should evaporate almost immediately.
- Add around 2 tablespoons of oil - peanut, canola, grapeseed, and palm work best.
- Lower the heat, and cook a handful of scallions, along with half a cup of diced fresh ginger, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
- When the ingredients soften, mash them against the side of the wok with a wooden spoon, to help release their flavors.
- If the ingredients begin to dry out, add an additional tablespoon of oil
- When the color of the metal changes from black to brown/yellow or blue, remove it from the heat. If no color change occurs, remove after 20 minutes.
- Remove the scallion and ginger, allow the wok to cool, and wipe it down under hot water. Allow it to warm on the stove for 2 minutes on a low heat to dry.
Q: What exactly is “wok hay”?
A: “Hay” is a Cantonese word which roughly translates as “breath”, “spirit”, or “energy”. “Wok hay” is a phrase used to describe food that has been cooked in a wok well.
To be considered wok hay, the food should have a good aroma (“heung mei”), and a concentrated flavor. Meat should be juicy, with a smoky taste, while vegetables should be crip and almost seared.
Q: Do I need a wok ring?
A: If you decide to purchase a round bottomed wok, you could probably benefit from a wok ring.
This circular piece of metal is designed to fit onto flat cooking surfaces to support the wok in use. With this handy device, you should be able to use a round bottomed wok even on an electric stovetop.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best wok to buy has to be this durable and versatile design by Calphalon. Their best-selling wok features a 12 inch cooking surface, non-stick coating, and stainless steel handles for easy use. The wok itself is constructed from sturdy aluminum, known for being strong, lightweight, and a good conductor of heat. This great material ensures that ingredients are evenly cooked every time, for simple, delicious meals.
For improved versatility, the wok can be placed in the oven as well as on the burner - in fact, it can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re finished cooking, the wok is incredibly easy to clean. Thanks to the aforementioned non-stick coating, wiping it down is effortless, and it’s also dishwasher safe. Each Calphalon wok includes a full lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured it’s built to last, too.