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12 Best Wok For Cooking At Home in 2022 & Buying Guide

Johnson Parker
  Aug 9, 2022 11:41 PM

Woks are the quintessential Chinese cooking tool, and they’re becoming more popular all the time. A wok is a cylindrical pan that is typically made of cast iron or carbon steel. It has two handles on opposite ends to facilitate lifting and turning. You can use a wok for stovetop, electric or even gas-powered stoves. The Wok features in Chinese cuisine are endless, from stir-frying to braising and steaming. That being said, not everyone knows how to choose the best wok for their needs at home. This guide will help you narrow down your options so you can make an informed decision about which type of woks to buy for your kitchen.


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Overview

What is a Wok?

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Woks are essentially large kettles that excel at high cooking temperatures. They’re typically used for stir-frying, sautéing and deep-frying. You can also make stocks and soups with a wok. Different types of woks are made out of carbon steel, carbon steel and cast iron. The main difference between them is the material they’re made out of. Cast iron woks are cheaper and lighter than their carbon steel counterparts but they may be less durable. Cast iron woks are great for Asian-style dishes and stir-fries. When it comes to Asian-inspired dishes, no wok can rival its versatility with herbs, spices, sauces and bold flavour combinations. The best way to choose a cast iron wok is by considering your needs as a home cook. If you mainly use your wok for stir-frying, a lighter model might be better suited for your needs. If you prefer sautéing, a heavier wok will likely be more suitable.

Differences between Carbon Steel and Cast Iron Woks

- Carbon Steel Woks: A cheaper alternative to cast iron woks, carbon steel woks are made of low-alloy steel. They can be used for both stovetop and electric stovetops, but they’re not as durable as cast iron woks. - Cast Iron Woks: The most common type of wok, a cast iron wok is made out of iron with a coating of manganese or carbon. It’s very durable, so you don’t have to worry about it getting scratched or dented. It can be used on both electric and gas stoves, but if you’re not careful, it can easily get too hot and cause burns.

How to Choose the Best Carbon Steel Wok

best wok for cooking at home

- Material: Carbon steel woks are made of low-alloy steel. Low-alloy steel means that it’s not carbonized, so it’s not as durable as cast iron woks. You don’t have to worry about carbonizing food in a carbon steel wok, but you should clean it well after each use. - Shape: A round-bottomed wok is an excellent choice for stir-frying and sautéing since it allows you to bring ingredients to high temperatures quickly. A flat-bottomed wok is better for making sauces and simmering soups. - Handle Material: Carbon steel woks are typically made of iron, so you should ideally choose a model that has a non-slip handle.

How to Choose the Best Cast Iron Wok

- Material: Cast iron woks are made of cast iron coated with manganese or carbon. You can use a cast iron wok on both electric and gas stoves, but you should be careful because it can get too hot. - Shape: A round-bottomed wok is the best shape for stir-frying and sautéing because it conducts heat evenly and quickly. You can also make Asian-style dishes and braises in a round-bottomed wok, but it’s not as versatile for steaming and making stocks. A flat-bottomed wok is best for making sauces and simmering soups. - Handle Material: Cast iron woks typically come with a non-slip handle, so it’s important to check that before you buy it.

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Final Words

There are many types of woks to choose from, so narrowing down your options can be tricky. Luckily, you can use this guide to find out what you should look for when buying a wok. Before you go shopping, make sure you think about what you’ll be using your wok for. Would you mainly use it for stir-frying? Sautéing? Steaming? Or are there other cooking styles you would like to try out? Having a better idea of your needs will help you narrow down your choices so you can find the best wok for your needs.


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