When it comes to cooking versatility, the best woks are unmatched. While stir-frying might be the first technique that comes to mind, the Chinese cooking vessel goes way beyond that – it can be used for steaming, frying, braising and much more. Thanks to its unique angled shape and traditional carbon steel material, a wok gets hot quickly and retains that heat, which is why it does such an outstanding job of cooking a wide variety of foods to perfection: and producing large volumes of aromatic fried rice.

There are a few features to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect wok for your home kitchen. “We think about size, handle type and material,” says Bill, Kaitlin, Judy and Sarah Leung, the family behind the Woks of Life food blog and upcoming cookbook of the same name. While the right handle length for you ultimately comes down to personal preference (woks come with both short and long handles), Leungs stand out with uncoated carbon steel as the best wok material. As for size, most people can get by with a 14-inch model; if you often cook for more than four people, a 16-inch wok is a better bet.

And don’t forget: maintenance of the wok is important. Like cast iron, carbon steel woks require seasoning to release their superior nonstick capabilities; they should also be thoroughly dried before storage to prevent rusting. But the extra work and elbow grease is well worth the varied capacities of the cooking vessel. Ready to add one to your kitchen? Here’s our list of the best woks you can buy right now.


Best wok overall

A flat-bottomed wok ideal for home kitchens

Material: Carbon steel | Type: Flat bottom | Dimension: 14 inches

A top pick from the Woks of Life team, this affordable wok ticks all the boxes. One of the biggest advantages of flat bottom woks is their ability to sit directly on cooktops without gas. “If you have an electric stove, a flat-bottomed wok will be your best bet,” Leungs says. (To work on non-gas stovetops, round bottom models require a wok ring to stand on.)

Overall, the construction of this wok is top notch. It’s made from carbon steel, the lightweight material recommended by nearly every pro for its ability to heat up quickly and become non-stick over time. It has two comfortable wooden handles for easy maneuvering, including a long one for tossing food (“an advanced wok maneuver, but never say never!” the Leungs say). Plus, it comes in a 14-inch size ideal for most home kitchens.

Advantages:

  • Doesn’t need a wok ring
  • Comes pre-greased to protect against rust

The inconvenients:


Best Budget Wok

A reliable round bottom choice under $20

Material: Carbon steel | Type: Round bottom | Dimension: 14 inches

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly beginner’s wok, look no further than this version from Town, a kitchen equipment company that’s been making professional-grade tools since 1929. Hand-hammered from carbon steel 18 gauge with riveted loop handles typical of Cantonese style woks, this one is known for its durability and ability to develop a nice smooth seasoning. Traditional round shape requires a wok stand, but dipped sides help cook food quickly and reach the elusive wok hiwhich references the coveted subtle shading and characteristic smoke of wok cooking.

Advantages:

  • Affordable price
  • Achieves rapid and even heating

The inconvenients:


Best crazy wok

A deluxe option compatible with most cooktops

Material: Carbon steel | Type: Flat bottom | Dimension: 12 inch

A chef-approved favourite, Made In’s wok is a real stunner. Crafted from stamped carbon steel by French artisans, it’s able to withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and release deep flavor from whatever you cook. The flat-bottomed base has been designed for domestic cooktops so that it is compatible with electric and induction in addition to gas.

Because the material is thicker than most other woks (it’s 2 millimeters thick versus 1.5 millimeters on average), the Made In model is heavier and harder to handle, especially if you plan to toss. The actual wok is smaller, however, which may appeal to those with small kitchens and little storage space. Keep in mind that since this is a 12-inch wok, it’s not ideal for large families.

Advantages:

  • Doesn’t need a wok ring
  • Oven safe up to 1200°F

The inconvenients:

  • Dear
  • Requires a more intense seasoning process than usual

Best wok for beginners

A pre-seasoned wok with a long wooden handle

Material: Carbon steel | Type: Flat bottom | Dimension: 14 inches

If the thought of seasoning a wok sounds daunting, consider this pre-seasoned option from MammaFong. Using a blend of natural oils, MammaFong seasons the wok and then seals it by cooking it twice in a high-temperature industrial oven. This means you have a smooth cooking surface to use right out of the box.

Crafted from a lightweight 16 gauge carbon steel with a flat bottomed base, this hand hammered wok is gas, electric and induction compatible. And that’s not all: it also has a long eucalyptus wood handle at one end and a short steel handle at the other, which makes it easy to lift and move.

Advantages:

  • Comes pre-seasoned
  • Doesn’t need a wok ring

The inconvenients:

  • More expensive than the average wok

Best Round Bottom Wok

An economical and easy to maneuver option

Material: Carbon steel | Type: Round bottom | Dimension: 14 inches

Traditional woks have round bottoms for a reason. “It’s easier to maneuver food through its curved, uninterrupted surface, and it offers maximum wok hi potential in two respects,” the Leungs explain. “With a wok ring, it can get closer to the flame for efficient heating. It’s also easier to stir the food, allowing the flame and the oil/fat in the dish to interact to achieve that smoky effect. Their favorite wok comes from Joyce Chen, a longtime maker of Asian cookware (the brand also pioneered flat-bottom woks, adapting the Chinese cooking vessel to Western cooktops). The wok’s 1.8 millimeter thick carbon steel wok is strong yet lightweight, making it easy to pick up using the solid birch handles.

Advantages:

  • Achieves rapid and even heating
  • Oven safe once handles are removed

The inconvenients:


What to look for in a wok

To make sure you choose the right wok for you, keep these tips from Leungs in mind when considering your options.

Opt for carbon steel

Experts agree: the best woks are made of carbon steel. “It will take some maintenance, like heating it to dry completely after washing and an occasional light oiling to prevent rusting, but a carbon steel wok can serve you well for a lifetime,” the Leungs say.

A 14 inch wok will do the job (most of the time)

“When shopping for a wok, you’ll want to buy one that’s the perfect size for you,” the Leungs advise. “A 14-inch wok works best for most home kitchens. If you’re cooking for more than four people, consider a 16-inch wok.

Choose the handle length that’s right for you

It’s true, the ideal handle length is ultimately up to you. While “the short handles reduce the risk of someone accidentally knocking it off the stove,” the Leungs say, the long handles are “a little more comfortable to use, especially if you want to move the wok around while you’re tossing. the food”. If you decide to go with a long-handled wok, the Leungs prefer wooden handles because they reduce the risk of burning yourself.