When shopping for the best carbon steel wok, factors such as material, size, and versatility, are a few of the things to take into consideration. It’s also important to consider the wok’s bottom. This is to ensure your new carbon steel wok sits well with your cooktop. To help you with your buying decision, I’ve gathered together the best carbon steel woks.
Pea sprouts, razor clams, eggplant, rice, and noodles — everything stir-fried you could think of can be easily done at home with a carbon steel wok. This particular kitchen utensil has been essential among Asian cookeries. With a wok, you can cook an array of cuisines from Chinese, to Indian, to Thai recipes. With such versatility, you could never run out of use of a wok.
But with tons of options, shopping for a good carbon steel wok can get a bit overwhelming. Today, I’ll walk you through finding the ideal carbon steel wok for you. But before we start, check out my top comparison chart for the best carbon steel woks.
Our Top 5 Picks for Carbon Steel Woks
|Best Overall and Best Round Bottom||Craft Wok Traditional Hand-Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok||– 14 inches in diameter|
– 22.52 x 14.02 x 5.98 inches
– 4.6 lbs- Round bottom
– No nonstick coating
– Not dishwasher safe
|Best Lightweight||Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok||– 12.5 inches in diameter|
– 21.7 x 12.5 x 3.74 inches
– Flat bottom
– Comes with a wooden lid and a stainless steel spatula.
– No nonstick coating
– Not dishwasher safe
– Not oven safe
|Best Flat Bottom||KYTD Carbon Steel Wok||– 12.5 inches in diameter|
– 5.59 lbs
– Has nonstick coating
– Flat Bottom
– Has a wooden handle and spatula
|Best Budget||Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok||– 14 inches in diameter|
– PTFE and PFOA free non-stick interior
– Has wooden riveted handles
– Flat Bottom
– Heat resistant up to 500F
|Best with Lid||Aneder Carbon Steel Wok Pan||– 12.5 inches in diameter|
– 12.5 x 12.5 x 3.7 inches
– 7 lbs
– Has detachable and anti-scalding wooden handle
– Comes with standable glass lid and wooden spatula
The 5 Best Carbon Steel Woks
If you’ve never owned a wok before, let me introduce you to the wonders they do for preparing delicious meals. Many professional chefs use them for different purposes, not just for stir frying. You can steam, braise, poach, boil, deep-fry, sear, stew, or smoke with a wok. To get you started, check out the best carbon steel woks we recommend below.
1. Craft Wok Traditional Hand-Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok (Best Overall and Best Round Bottom)
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert in the kitchen, the Craft Wok Traditional Hand Carbon Steel Pow Wok could be the best friend to be there for you in times of cooking needs. I like the traditional design of this wok, which is hand-hammered by Chinese professionals in Guangzhou. And its certified quality is meant to last. It does not have a nonstick coating, so seasoning it before use is a must. In my opinion, it’s easily the best carbon steel wok out there.
I appreciate the creation of this wok steel helping handle. The manufacturer put in the work to make sure users’ safety is not at risk. The handle does not burn when stir-frying over high heat. It’s also helpful for storage by just simply hanging the wok. For tight grip, while cooking, the wooden handle features a special hygroscopic not slippery surface. It’s 4.6 lbs heavy, yet sturdy. With a round bottom, you can’t use this on a flat electric or flat induction stove.
Craft Wok Pros:
– Has a long handle and a loop
– Wooden handle is easy to grip, not slippery, and doesn’t burn over high heat
– Authentic hand-hammered look; it’s attractive and practical
Craft Wok Cons:
– Round bottom is not suitable for flat electric or flat induction stoves
– Requires seasoning
2. Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok (Best Lightweight)
Wok pans are useful for cooking most meals, but the weight can be a burden when cooking. The Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok might be a good choice if you’re looking for a lightweight one with a flat bottom, which is great for different heat sources. This wok is suitable to use on electric and induction stoves, gas range, and other heat sources. It’s lightweight and responds quickly to heat changes.
What I like about the Souped Up wok is the stainless steel spatula and appealing wooden lid that comes with it. This lid doesn’t burn over high heat. It doesn’t have a nonstick coating, so seasoning this wok is a must before use.
Souped Up Wok Pros:
– Works on electric and induction stoves, gas ranges, and other heat sources
– Wooden handle doesn’t get burn over high heat
– Sturdy, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver
Souped Up Wok Cons:
– Small; not suitable for cooking large meals
3. KYTD Carbon Steel Wok (Best Flat Bottom)
Here’s another great choice for carbon steel wok that I find attractive. If you have an electric stove, induction cooker, or gas stove at home, the best flat-bottomed wok you could get is the KYTD Carbon Steel Wok. This wok heats up quickly and distributes it evenly throughout the surface. The nitriding craftsmanship behind it fights against rusting.
The KYTD wok boasts a sturdy body that guarantees lifetime use. It has a spatula and a wooden handle, which offers a comfortable grip and doesn’t hurt skin while cooking. With nonstick coating, there’s no season needed, and it’s easy to clean. The hook at the tip of the handles that you can simply hang, is useful for storage.
KYTD Wok Pro:
– Has a unique fish scale shape, which prevents food from sticking to the pan
– Heats up fast and evenly distributes heat
– Has nonstick coating; no need to season, and easy to clean
KYTD Wok Cons:
– Some reviews claim the lid cracks overtime
4. Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok (Best Budget)
We all love an excellent carbon steel wok that serves its purpose without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for an economical option, the Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok might just suit your budget. Much like its slightly higher-priced counterparts, this wok shares the same capabilities. Which I think makes this one a steal. It’s capable of resisting heat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, distributing evenly, and retaining it. This carbon steel wok is ideal for stir fry, deep fry, and steam.
The Kenmore Hammond wok has a double-riveted acacia wood handle. And this offers an ergonomic and heat-resistant grip. With this wok, stir-frying large servings on high heat is quite easy and effortless. It’s made from non-toxic material. It’s free of chemical compounds Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This makes it safe to use. Nonstick inferior doesn’t need seasoning, so yes to less oil and fat for a healthier meal.
Kenmore Hammond Wok Pros:
– Suitable for wok cooking on gas ranges and electric stoves, and all stove tops
– Can stand heat as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit
– Heats up quickly, distributes and retains it
Kenmore Hammond Wok Cons:
– Can’t be used with metal utensils
5. Aneder Carbon Steel Wok Pan (Best with Lid)
Cooking on any cookware with a clear lid is always a good feature as it lets you see through your food. The Aneder Carbon Steel Wok Pan may be the best-covered wok I have found. Plus, it’s relatively affordable, given that it has a glass lid. And because it is a flat bottom wok, it’s compatible with many stovetops such as electric, induction, gas stoves, and ceramic. I think of it as a very attractive wok that would make every kitchen setting look elegant.
The Aneder carbon steel wok has anti-scalding wooden handles that offer a cool feeling when cooking. It’s convenient for oven use and storage; just simply hang the wok using the hook at the tip. This wok also comes with a standable glass lid that’s heat and shatter-resistant, seals in the flavor and nutrients for a healthier meal. Its wooden spatula has a sleek design that offers a comfortable hold.
Aneder Wok Pros:
– Clear lid lets you watch your food while cooking
– Glass lid is heat and shatter resistant
– Easy to use and clean
– Value for money
Aneder Wok Cons:
– Wok can easily get scratched
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Carbon Steel Wok
Shopping for the best carbon steel wok is not as simple as others might think. You can’t go on a full compulsive buying without putting a thought on features a good wok must-have. This handy guide could help you make better buying decisions.
Carbon steel woks or traditional woks are alloys made of iron and carbon. This material shares the same quality as cast iron. Both hold heat extremely well, durable, and can be suitable on any cooktop, including open flame and induction. Carbon steel is lighter and more responsive to temperature changes than cast iron. The downside is that it doesn’t hold heat longer than cast iron.
Cast iron is a heavy-duty material that’s superior when it comes to cooking at high temperature. Its ability to maintain heat makes it a suitable tool for searing and deep frying. Cast iron retains heat longer than carbon steel. If you’re worried about the toxicity of BPA and Teflon, this chemically-free material is a top choice. Cast iron cookware has a very long life span and can be used on all cooktops. The downside is that they are heavier and have hot handles if those are things you don’t like in a wok.
Nonstick woks are great for eaters who are not a fan of fats and oil. With this material, you only need little to no oil. Foods cooked in nonstick woks are easily released. Nonstick coatings in woks come in various forms, from traditional PTFE to ceramic and hard-anodized aluminum. But, they are most prone to scratches, and that’s why metal utensils on nonstick cookware are highly discouraged. And they require low heat, so if you’re looking for a wok that can handle any heat source, this is probably not the best.
Stainless steel, contrary to nonstick, is one of the top choices for quality. Cookwares made from this material are durable and stain-resistant. Stainless steel woks have a heat-conducting aluminum core layered of 18/10 stainless steel, which gives them some weight and thickness. Woks made of stainless steel handle acidic food very well. Aside from the aesthetic, these woks are generally easy to maintain and care for.
Woks come in various scales and the size of yours depends on your cooking style and needs. Typically, a 12- or 14-inch wok is a suitable size for standard stoves. If you’re hosting a party in your home, a 38-inch wok would do it, as it’s big enough to cook large batches of food in one cooking. But, if you’re single, an 8-inch wok would probably be enough to take care of your meal for the day.
Round or Flat Bottom
Round bottom wok is suitable for stoves with a burner that is fitted to hold a wok in place. This builds a hotspot at the bottom while conducting heat up the sides of the wok. It also allows a smooth scooping motion to stir ingredients around the wok. Typically, round-bottomed woks result in a restaurant-style outcome. But you’ll need a special ring for the burner to hold the wok, and a gas stove.
Their round bottom removes them from choice for flat cooktops. If this is something you don’t want to invest on, then flat bottom woks are your other choice. A flat bottom wok sits directly on any cooking tops without the need for a special burner or ring to hold the wok.
Traditional carbon steel woks easily stand the highest heat on your range, but so do cast iron and stainless steel. Always check with the manufacturer about the cooking range of the wok you’re going to buy. Nonstick pans are the least choice for wok cooking if heating capacity is a big of a deal for you. Teflon easily breaks down at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Always look for a wok with the highest temperature threshold to maximize your cooking.
Woks greatly differ in prices. If you have the budget, there are woks that are just a tad bit pricier than others. But carbon steel woks are generally budget-friendly as are some cast iron woks. Depending on your budget, consider buying one that suits your needs.
One of the many things buyers look for when it comes to shopping for the best carbon steel wok is the brand. Craft Wok is a Chinese-originated wok shop that specializes in carbon steel wok. They have a range of branded products that are 100 percent authentic. And the company follows the standard for traditional carbon steel woks. Their woks are personally crafted by Chinese professional chefs in Guangzhou, China.
To care for your wok means blessing your family with delicious meals every day. Stainless steel woks are the easiest to maintain and care for and are generally dishwasher safe. Nonstick woks require careful cleaning and cannot be used with metal and sharp utensils as these scratch and destroy the coating.
Caring for a carbon steel wok is simple. Always use a non-abrasive scrubber and water to get rid of food debris. Then, wipe the surface dry with a paper towel. And to maintain its seasoning, follow our guide below.
How to Season Your Wok:
Correctly seasoning your carbon steel wok helps prolong its life span. Find out how by following this step-by-step guide.
1. Wash the wok with hot water and a little bit of liquid detergent and a sponge scrubber.
2. Avoiding the inside of the wok, scrub the exterior with the scrubber and an abrasive cleanser. Only do this step if needed.
3. Thoroughly rinse the wok and dry.
4. Place the wok over high heat.
5. Turn and tilt the wok up to the rim and back, until the metal turns a bluish-yellowish color.
6. Remove the wok from the stove, then adjust the heat to medium-low.
7. Drop a thin film of oil, about one and half a teaspoon, and evenly spread it all over the wok. You can do this with a paper towel, or a basting brush for barbecues.
8. Let the wok heat up on medium-low for about 10 minutes.
9. WIpe off the oil with a paper towel. If you notice a black residue on the towel, this is normal.
10. Keep going through steps 7-9 until you see no more black residue on the paper towel. The wok is now ready to use.
Asian Cooking Tools You Must Have
While you’ll do well with just any kitchen utensils designed for each wok material, cheffing with the right cooking tools makes the use of your wok pans more efficient. I was raised in an Asian household. So, trust me when I say this: you can never go wrong with pairing your wok with a spatula. Here are some Asian cooking tools that need space in your kitchen.
Spatulas vary in material. They can be made from metal or wood, and are great when you’re cooking large amounts of fried rice or making glutinous rice cakes. A good spatula should be able to scrape up the ingredients from the bottom of the wok. Some of the works we recommend here come with a free spatula in the package.
A clean wok is essential for your next use. A wok brush enables you to clean a hot surface without the risks of burning your hands. A brush specific to a wok is a preferable tool for cleaning to help make cleaning up an easier task.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you have to season a carbon steel wok?
Just like cast iron, a carbon steel wok needs seasoning before use. Special care to maintain its coating is necessary to extend its usability and life span. Carbon steel pans and woks that are seasoned correctly become naturally nonstick over time and can stand a lifetime use.
Is carbon steel wok safe for health?
Carbon steel wok is safe to use on a daily basis. It’s made out of carbon and iron, which is a safe cooking material. Cookwares made of carbon steel don’t contain toxic chemicals like other modern nonstick cookware, such as Teflon.
Which is better: cast iron or carbon steel wok?
Both cast iron and carbon steel wok are great choices. However, if you want your wok to conduct heat better, carbon steel is a slightly better heat conductor than cast iron. However, cast iron tends to retain heat longer than carbon steel, which is ideal for keeping the food hot.
My top pick for the best carbon steel pan is the Craft Wok Traditional Hand Carbon Steel Pow Wok. So, if you’re looking for a durable round-bottomed wok, then the Craft wok could be an easy choice. When it comes to ease of maneuvering, the lightweight Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok may be the perfect wok for you. The KYTD Carbon Steel Wok excels with great heat distribution, and it looks attractive just as the Souped Up wok.
But if you want to make the most out of your budget, the Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok might be a pocket-friendly choice. In terms of quality, it’s comparable to its slightly pricier counterparts. If you like watching your food while it cooks, you may refer to Aneder Carbon Steel Wok Pan for its heat and shatter-resistant glass lid. Plus, it’s pretty too!
Be sure to check out the prices for these amazing carbon steel woks, and start feasting on delicious home-cooked meals for you and your family. Good luck!