Over 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty, woks are believed to have first been invented in China.
Since then this cooking pan has been at the center of Asian Cuisine and used for cooking some of the tastiest and healthiest meals around!
From stainless-steel to cast-iron, there are varied types of woks available on the market. Still, when there is an option for buying only one, most people go for the carbon steel ones. Want to know why?
The best carbon steel wok spreads heat quickly and maintains that temperature while you cook. Unlike other ones, carbon steel woks don’t demand a ridiculous price while performing as good as them or even better sometimes!
Curious to know more about these woks? Good!
We want to answer EVERYTHING you want to ask about carbon steel wok in this article!
Quick Comparison of 3 Best Carbon Steel Woks
10 Best Carbon Steel Wok Reviews
1. Blue Carbon Steel Wok
One of the most popular woks for home chefs is “Blue carbon steel wok”.
You may wonder what’s with the color blue in particular, right?
Bluing is actually a surface hardening treatment to make steel more corrosion-resistant. This particular process makes the cookware able to reach high heat quickly and withstand that temperature for a very long time.
The Blue Carbon Steel Wok from made.in is an award-winning wok for being the best heavy-duty wok by Good Housekeeping. While most woks on the market have 1.25-1.50 millimeters of thickness, made.in wok features a whopping 2-millimeter of thickness! Designed to withstand high heat, the pan is oven-safe up to 1200-Degree Fahrenheit.
Do you prefer a flat-bottomed wok or a round one?
A flat-bottomed wok can actually sit in a more stable way than its round counterpart! With a diameter of 12.5 inches, the made.in wok is the best flat bottom wok that can be used on any stovetop.
- Being a flat-bottomed wok, it can sit on any stove.
- As the wok is thicker than most other pans, it can withstand more heat.
- You can hold the handle comfortably while working.
- Carbon steel material makes it season quicker than cast-iron.
Although this cookware seasons faster than average pans, it doesn’t arrive pre-seasoned. So, you will need to put in a little bit of work before cooking in it for the first time. After that, the wok will only get better with time!
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2. KYTD 12.5-Inch Carbon Steel Wok
Scrambled egg is a delicious breakfast to start your day.
But when the egg sticks to the pan like glue and starts browning instead, morning turns into a nightmare nobody wants to be in!
For times like this, KYTD Carbon Steel is a perfect solution. With a unique fish scale shape inside the pan, this cookware is ideal for scrambling eggs, stir-frying vegetables, making fajitas and many more delicious dishes.
A lot of Chinese recipes call for simmering and covering the dishes while cooking. With that in mind, KYTD wok comes with a glass lid that helps check your cooking status easily.
Have a ceramic stove and thinking about switching to induction recently?
The good news is, you can use this wok on Ceramic, Electric, Gas and Induction stoves as it’s compatible with them all! To make your cooking experience all the more interesting, KYTD gives you a free high-end wooden spatula to play with.
- You can store the pot with the help of its hang ring quite easily.
- Compatible with multiple stoves, it’s a purchase worth spending on.
- With a glass cover on top, you can see the progress of your cooking.
- Unique fish scale inside the skillet improves its smoothness.
KYTD wok gives you the benefit of heating the entire surface evenly. Therefore, medium- to low-heat should be enough to cook your food. Do not use high temperature unless there’s food or water in it as that might damage its nonstick property.
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3. Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok
Want to try traditional Chinese dishes at home?
What better way to do it than cooking on a handmade Chinese wok!
The Lawei carbon steel pow wok is hand made in a traditional way by professionals in Guangdong, China. Weighing 4.49-pound, this carbon steel skillet is 3mm thick and made of professional-quality materials. If you are looking for a skillet for stewing, steaming, boiling, and deep-frying purposes, this is the best Chinese wok you will get within an affordable price range.
One of the biggest disadvantages of cooking with high heat is the handle of the cookware gets too hot to touch.
To solve that issue, Lawei features a wooden handle that stays cold for a very long time. The 14-inch long handle comes with a hole on its lower part so that you can store the pans by hanging them in the dish-rack.
Want to maintain the pow wok in its best form?
For cleaning purposes, always use hot water and a kitchen brush instead of using detergent/abrasive.
- You will need less oil than cast-iron to cook in this skillet.
- With no chemical coating, it’s a safer option to cook for family members.
- You can use this pan for stewing, steaming, boiling and deep-frying.
- Heating the cookware to a high temperature will reveal the blue steel inside it.
If you season the pan well, it will not form rust in the future. However, if you forgot to do that initially, use an abrasive to remove the rust and then season it well before cooking.
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4. Joyce Chen 22-0040, Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok
A carbon steel wok can have varied ranges of thickness in its body.
For instance, having a 1.50-millimeter of thickness is good enough to do your household chores. But if you want something commercial-grade, then Joyce Chen’s professional carbon steel flat bottom wok will surprise you with 2-millimeter of thicknesses!
Apart from having a thick body, this 14-inch skillet features a stay-cool Phenolic handle that makes it easy to hold the pan comfortably. With an Excalibur-reinforced non-stick coating on top, the surface is tough enough to withstand metal tools uses as well.
Want to keep this cookware in pristine condition even after long-term use?
Make sure you don’t use the pan as a food container to avoid staining on its surface. For cleaning purposes, it’s strongly recommended not to use steel wools/abrasive cleaners. Use hot, soapy water and a dishcloth instead.
- Measuring 14-inch in diameter, the skillet is a standard size for regular cooking.
- With Excalibur-reinforced nonstick coating, the pan’s interior is heavy-duty.
- To provide you with a secure grip, there’s a long stay-cool phenolic handle.
- You can use metal tools with it.
- Joyce wok features 2-millimeter thickness, which is commercial-grade quality.
Most of the dirt from this pan comes off just by washing it in warm water and mild detergent. For severe cases, apply a paste of baking soda and bleach to remove hard stains.
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5. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok
You know things are quite serious when an Asian Culinary expert starts developing cooking accessories for home cooks!
Meet Helen, a cookbook author and developer of “Helen’s Asian Kitchen line”, who is determined to make things convenient for cooks all around the world. The Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok is another great invention of her kitchen line that’s made from 1.6-millimeter carbon steel material.
With a heat-resistant bamboo handle, this carbon steel wok with lid provides quick heat recovery for an optimum cooking experience. The cookware is heavy-duty, yet lightweight enough to carry easily. To help you store this cookware, the wok has a hanging ring at the end of its wooden handle.
Splattering while cooking is the biggest fear of a newbie cook.
With that in mind, Helen has designed this skillet with a high-domed lid to prevent splattering altogether!
The flat bottom of the pan makes it easy for it to sit on any stove. You can use this on gas, electric and induction stovetops.
- You get a 13-inch bamboo spatula and recipe booklet free with this cookware.
- With a flat-bottom structure, the skillet sits properly on any stovetop.
- The heat-resistant bamboo handle makes it easy to hold this pan while cooking.
- A high-domed lid prevents splattering and retains heat perfectly.
To enjoy a hassle-free searing and frying experience, the pan must be seasoned initially. With every use, the wok gets more nonstick, smooth and rust-resistant. Once seasoned, just clean the pan regularly and it will last for a long time without an issue.
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6. Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok For Electric
While watching YouTube recipes, ever wished you had that beautiful cookware to try out those dishes?
Souped Up Recipes, a YouTube channel that shares traditional Chinese recipes every week has read your mind and brought the best cooking wok for you guys! Measuring 12.5-inch in diameter, the carbon steel wok has a flat bottom that sits comfortably on any stove including induction, electric, gas range and other heat sources.
While cooking your favorite dish, can you resist the urge to check on it every few minutes to see how it’s playing out inside the pan?
However, one problem with lids is that they get pretty hot while sitting on top of the pan. Ergo, either I have to look for a mitt or take the risk of getting a mild burn on my fingers!
With that in mind, this flat-bottomed wok comes with a gorgeous wooden lid that stays cool even when you are cooking. Along with the lid, you get a metal spoon with the package to help you stir comfortably.
- Being compatible with all heat sources, you can use it for all stovetops.
- Along with the pan, you get a metal spatula and wooden lid for convenience.
- As it’s quite lightweight, the wok heats up pretty fast.
- Printed hammered texture on the surface makes it look unique.
The cookware doesn’t come seasoned. But don’t worry! Souped Up Recipes has included a link to its YouTube channel where you will find a user guide that tells you how to season and care for this cookware well.
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7. ZhenSanHuan HandHammered Iron Wok
Do you know what’s so special about a hand hammered carbon steel wok?
Compared to regular cookware, a hammered surface actually absorbs a lot less oil which gives you full control over your food ingredients!
The market might provide you with counterfeit products that don’t require this much effort, but ZhenSanHuan is as authentic as it gets. To make this particular model, an experienced artisan has to go through 12 different processes which require hammering around 36000 times. The hard work pays off by giving you a surface that’s physically nonstick without any painting/coating.
Did we just say it’s nonstick without any Teflon or other sort of coating?
You heard it right actually!
ZhenSanHuan wok gets more nonstick with regular use. The active iron inside the interior releases an oxide protection layer that protects itself and makes it nonstick at the same time!
More on the good news, this is a pre seasoned carbon steel wok that doesn’t require any special treatment/seasoning prior to cooking. The 2.5-millimeter pan is well suited to work on a flat surface or directly on stovetops.
- With no painting/coating on the surface, it’s a safer option to pick.
- Being a hand-hammered Chinese wok, it conducts heat quickly.
- Absorbing less oil, the cookware gives more control over your ingredients.
- As it comes pre-seasoned, you can start cooking once you clean it well.
Iron gets rusted if put in water. So. try to dry as quickly as possible. If you don’t plan on using it for a long time, wipe a thin layer of oil onto the surface and leave it like that.
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8. Norpro 10-Piece Wok Set
When you have everything you need in one package, why look for anywhere else?
Nopro 10-piece Wok set is designed with that mindset for people who wants to take their stir-frying game to another level! The 10-piece package includes a wok, reversible burner ring, lid, turner, ladle, tempura rack, 1 pair of cooking chopsticks, wire steaming rack, 10 pairs of chopsticks and a recipe book inlet.
Norpro performs excellently on gas stoves. It is also the best wok for electric stove if you use the burner ring to hold the wok in place properly. Measuring 14-inch in diameter, the steel-colored wok is round-bottomed and therefore, doesn’t warp as the heat gets distributed evenly on its surface.
Having second thoughts about carbon steel wok fearing they might be prone to rust?
To solve that issue for you, Norpro has given an industrial machine oil coating on top of its surface. Before your first use, you should scrub the surface well with steel wool and scratch away the oil coating. Then use oil (Peanut oil is a good option as it has a high smoking point) to season it again before start cooking.
- You can use this wok on both gas and electric stoves.
- With Norpro 10-piece package, you get everything needed for stir-frying.
- To help distribute heat evenly, there’s a burner ring to hold its round surface.
- An additional lid with the cookware keeps your food covered while cooking.
Before seasoning, soak the wok in hot, soapy water. Then, start the cookware on high heat over the stove and pour high smoke-point oil into it along with some chives and ginger. Drop the heat a bit and cook the whole mixture for around 15 minutes.
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9. Eastman Outdoors 37212 Wok Kit
Want to move the party outdoor?
For chefs who love cooking under the open sky, Eastman Outdoors presents a Carbon Steel Wok Kit that’s perfect for deep-frying, stir-frying, braising and broiling!
The kit includes a whopping 22-inch wok with a 65,000 BTU Big Kahuna burner that has adjustable legs. The legs can be rearranged to cope with a larger pot for boiling purposes as well as have an excellent wok experience whenever you want.
The burner of this particular model works with a 20-pound propane tank and speeds up your cooking time by a good margin. The high temperature from the burner allows you to cook authentic Asian dishes quite easily.
Worried about getting your food burnt on this setup?
Not when there’s an adjustable lever for the flame to help you out!
The burner features a 12-Inch AccuZone thermometer that helps maintain the proper temperature of the wok. It burns 75% cleaner than the industry standard and is more eco-friendly as it uses less propane while giving you an efficient cooking experience.
- With adjustable legs, it can accommodate wok as well as large pots.
- As it has a deep concave structure, the cookware is suitable for stir/deep frying.
- A stainless-steel wok spoon and spatula are included in this package.
- To maintain proper temperature, a 12-inch AccuZone thermometer is provided.
The handles of the wok get pretty hot while cooking. So, it’s recommended not to touch it with bare hands. Being a 22-inch wok, it’s not meant to be picked up and toss food around anyway! Use the spoon/spatula that’s provided with the cookware to stir food instead.
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10. Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok
Looking for the best work for a glass top stove?
Meet Mauviel M’Steel Black Steel Wok that’s compatible to work with all sorts of cooktops including glass top and induction!
The wok is made of extra-thick 1.2-3mm of black steel. This thick material allows the steel to withstand high heat and therefore, can be preheated to your desired temperature.
Don’t have the patience for the time it takes to season a wok?
No problem! Mauviel comes with beeswax on top of its surface that saves time and seasons it a lot quicker than you would expect!
First, use a paper towel to wipe off the surface. Then cover the bottom surface with flavorless oil and keep it on the stovetop for 5 minutes. Allow the pan to dry before discarding the oil. Repeat these steps for the second time and the pan will be ready to use!
- Made of extra-thick steel, the pan is heavy-duty and lasts for a long time.
- Seasoning the pan requires less time thanks to its beeswax coating.
- As it can withstand high temperatures, you can preheat it for searing purposes.
- You can use this pan on all cooktops including glass top and induction.
After seasoning, you will notice a black layer formed on the bottom of the pan. Do NOT try to remove that layer as it creates a nonstick surface on top. Instead of dishwashing soap, use a soft sponge and hot water for cleaning the cookware and dry thoroughly after every use.
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Benefits of Using Carbon Steel Wok with Lid
- Multi-Purpose Cookware
Carbon steel wok is a versatile cookware that can be used for various styles of cooking. As it spreads heat quickly and maintains that temperature constantly, you can handle most of the major cooking with this single wok. The most popular cooking methods include braising, searing, stir-frying, oven-broiling, baking etc.
- Healthier Option Than Teflon
As carbon steel cookware comes with a natural nonstick property, it’s a much safer option than a Teflon pan to use.
Once you season a wok to perfection, the cookware becomes more nonstick with every use. With no chemical coating on top, it can withstand high temperatures without peeling off.
- Durable And Heavy-Duty
Carbon steel is made of 99% iron, ergo, it’s a really strong material that’s even more durable than cast-iron. Even if you throw the wok from a high place, it might bend instead of getting broken completely! If taken care of properly, this cookware lasts forever.
- Easy To Handle
Cookware that’s used on a daily basis should be lightweight and easy to handle.
And that’s exactly how a carbon steel wok is!
People who can’t lift heavy objects/elderly family members prefer to use a carbon steel wok as it’s lightweight and heavy-duty at the same time. Weighing less than other materials, you can turn, lift or shake this cookware quite easily.
How to Choose the Best Wok?
There few factors that will point you to get the best quality carbon steel wok. Let’s see what they are.
Thickness is one of the most important factors while choosing a steel wok.
A thick pan will take a bit of time to heat up. However, once it’s heated up, it maintains that temperature. Too much thick pan, on the other hand, is difficult to balance. As a general rule of thumb, the best thickness for wok is around 1.5-2 millimeters.
The bigger, the better or small cookware should do the trick?
The answer actually depends on what purpose you want to use the wok for!
For a small to medium-sized family, a 12-inch wok should be suitable. If you are cooking for a larger group (6-12) people, a 14-inch wok is more ideal. If you want to purchase a wok for commercial use, a 16-inch wok is better suited for that purpose.
- Handle Options
Woks with a long handle allow you to work comfortably even in high temperatures. On other hand, shorter handles make it easy to lift/move the wok. The materials of the handle differ from one another as well. Among all options, wood, plastic and phenolic are a few of the choices that last for a long time.
While purchasing a wok, make sure the material is made of carbon steel. A lot of people get confused thinking stainless steel is the same thing and it performs as such, but that couldn’t be more wrong!
When it comes to the carbon steel vs stainless steel wok battle, carbon steel always wins as it heats up quickly and is way more durable than the latter. Stainless-steel woks without any additional coating on top, cause food to have hot spots and burn quickly.
How to Season A Carbon Steel Wok?
Seasoning a carbon steel wok for the first time is a lengthy process. But still worth the time and patients. Follow the steps to season your newly bought wok.
- Fill the sink with warm, soapy water.
- Take a scouring pad and scrub the pan properly.
- Run it under tap water and dry with a clean towel.
- Turn on your stove, set the temperature on medium-high and put the wok on top of it to evaporate the leftover water.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into it and set the heat on medium-high.
- Add onion, ginger and garlic to the wok.
- Let it cook for 20 minutes and then dump all the ingredients out.
- After the wok has cooled down, wash it with warm water and a sponge to remove all residue.
- Put the wok back on the stove to dry out all the water and store it in a dry place until your next use.
You can check this Video from Serious Eats on “How to Season A Wok”
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Use, Clean and Maintain Carbon Steel Wok
Carbon steel woks develop a natural nonstick property while using it on a regular basis. However, if you put it in the dishwasher, the seasoning might get removed. As they require some extra care while cleaning, it’s best to avoid dishwashers even for the ones that are labeled as dishwasher-friendly.
NEVER Use Abrasive
The seasoned surface should be handled carefully even when you are handwashing the wok. We recommend using warm, soapy water and a soft sponge for scrubbing off the hard food particles. However, using abrasive pads, soap, sanitizer or any kind of chemical is totally unnecessary.
Clean And Dry Regularly
Carbon steel wok requires a good cleanup after every use.
Once the wok has cooled off, wash it with clean water and let it dry completely. To speed up the drying process, you can put it on the stove on low heat and then use a paper towel to wipe off the rest.
Scrub The Rust Away
If you don’t use a carbon steel wok regularly, chances are, it’s going to form some rust. As soon as you notice it, use a steel scouring pad to remove it, dry the wok and re-season it before you decide to use it the next time.
Flat Bottom Vs Round Bottom Wok
There are 2 different types of structures available for woks: Flat-bottomed and Round-Bottomed.
A round-bottomed wok is good for people who own gas stoves. This type of wok is especially good for stir-frying fish/meat as it’s easy to dish out all the pieces from the inside.
However, as the bottom part is round, it can’t sit on top of modern stovetops. In that case, you will be needing an additional burner ring that can position the wok on top of the stove.
Flat-bottomed wok, on the other hand, is suitable for almost all ranges of cooktops including gas, electric and induction. However, it gets heated up pretty fast and can be challenging for the stir-frying process.
Tips to Follow While Using Carbon Steel Wok
- As carbon steel wok is a reactive material, it’s not suitable for cooking acidic food items such as tomato, lemon juice or vinegar.
- Most of the woks aren’t metal utensil friendly. Using metal spoons may scratch its seasoning. In that case, you will need to re-season it again.
- If the wok’s handle isn’t made of heat-resistant material, wear a mitt before holding the handle to protect yourself from high temperature.
- A newly seasoned wok should be used for deep-frying, cooking vegetables and shallow-frying to develop the desired patina on the surface.
- While cooking meat/starchy items heat up the pan ill smoking pan before adding oil so that the food doesn’t get a chance to stick on the wok’s surface.
How Much Does A Wok Cost?
The price range for wok may vary a lot.
You can get a wok for 15 dollars while some woks may end up costing hundreds of dollars as well!
If you analyze the carbon steel wok reviews in this article, you will notice that there are different types of brands, material, size and quality available on the market. The price range actually depends on these factors. However, average woks cost around 50-60 dollars each.
A good wok can take your cooking skill to another level. While regular fry pans take their sweet time to get heated up, woks get fired up pretty fast thanks to their sloped walls!
Ready to cook up a storm with the best carbon steel wok in your kitchen?
Be it Chinese cuisine or traditional scrambled eggs, our woks are always prepared to serve you delicious meals that will fill up your tummy!
Now that you have a better idea of the quality and pricing of woks, we hope you will be able to find a suitable one that meets your budget and requirement.