One of the most debatable topics amongst craftsmen is which alloy is best between cast iron or carbon steel for making cooking utensils especially Wok. Both of these materials have so many similarities like durability, heat conductivity, heat retention ability, and mostly natural non-stick coating. All of these similarities make it more difficult to say which one is best to buy. In this article, I’m going to share a real comparison between Cast Iron Vs Carbon Steel Wok. Let’s check the below post to know more.
Cast Iron Wok
Cast iron is a group of metal alloys of iron and carbon which can be easily cast in a mold. However, this metal alloy is hard and durable and a wok made of cast iron can last a lifetime if you can handle it properly. With proper seasoning, you can build a natural non-stick coating that will be safer and healthier as well. Using cast iron wok could be a great way to boost your iron level as it leaches a little amount of iron into your food.
Pros of Cast Iron Wok
- Well-seasoned cast iron wok is easier as well as simpler to clean.
- It distributes heat fast across the bottom which is important to cook food perfectly.
- This kind of Wok is affordable or low cost.
- Cast iron wok is versatile.
Cons of Cast Iron Wok
- Cast iron wok requires seasoning every so often.
- Unlike other metal like aluminum or stainless steel, a cast iron wok is heavier.
- You cannot prepare acidic foods like tomatoes with your cast iron wok or pan.
- Poor heat conductivity is another weakness of the cast iron wok.
Carbon Steel Wok
Carbon steel is one of the most popular traditional as well as widely used materials for making woks. It heats up evenly and fast; with proper care, it will last for a lifetime. Like cast iron wok, carbon steel wok also requires seasoning to build up a natural non-stick coating. With a carbon steel wok, you can toss and flip vegetables easily while cooking.
Pros of Carbon Steel Wok
- Compared to other metals, the prices of carbon steel woks are always lower.
- Cooking with carbon steel wok is completely safer and healthier as it doesn’t leach any harmful toxins to your food.
- Carbon steel wok is lightweight and easy to lift or move.
- The natural non-stick cooking surface helps to reduce using butter or oil while cooking.
- Can be used on Induction or Electric Stove.
Cons of Carbon Steel Wok
- Before using your carbon steel wok for the first time cooking, you’ll need to season it first.
- Your carbon steel wok may get scratched if you wash it with the dishwasher.
- Since carbon steel is a reactive metal, you should avoid cooking acidic ingredients with your carbon steel wok.
A Side by Side Comparison between Cast Iron Vs Carbon Steel Wok
Besides so many similarities, carbon steel vs cast iron wok has some significant differences also. Check these following points to know the differences between cast iron and carbon steel woks.
Both cast iron and carbon steel equal in their durability and heat conductivity which brings them in a similar position. And this round will be determined by comparing their ability to withstand most kinds of damages. Generally, carbon steel contains around 99 percent of iron to 1 percent of carbon. Cast iron, on the other hand, contains 2-3 percent carbon to 97-98 percent iron. A high amount of carbon makes the cast iron more brittle meaning carbon steel wok is more durable than cast iron ones.
Rust Resistance Ability
Woks made from carbon steel and cast iron are resistant to rust or corrosion. Carbon steel wok comes with chromium, anti-rust, and anti-corrosive material which prevents it from rusting. Moreover, chromium develops a chromium oxide coating which helps to stop reacting to oxygen that creates rust.
On the other side, cast iron is might be prone to rust but the process is related to the surrounding.
Cast iron takes a bit of time to warm up and cool down but it remains hot for a long compared to other metals. Carbon steel also retains heat well than some other metals but not as much as cast iron cookware items. However, carbon steel woks contact with heat more quickly than cast iron products. This amazing feature makes the carbon steel wok a great option for more delicate ingredients.
When it comes to weight, the cast iron wok is heavier than carbon steel. Cast iron wok comes with a much thicker and denser body structure which makes it difficult to lift the wok with foods. Carbon steel wok, contrariwise, is similar to aluminum or stainless steel in terms of weight.
Price and Availability
Carbon steel and cast iron wok, both of these products are relatively inexpensive. However, you’ll get a cast iron wok more easily at a cheaper price than carbon steel because of its lower production and manufacturing costs.
Appearance and Functionality
Cast iron woks come with steeper walls with a little rougher or uneven base. Steeper walls make the wok suitable to use in the oven and ensure that nothing spills out of the wok. Moreover, the brownish color of the cast iron might give the wok a traditional look.
On the other hand, carbon steel wok is versatile enough to prepare almost any type of delicious dishes. Its amazing design and elegant color will enhance both your cooking as well as the look of your kitchen.
In conclusion, both cast iron and carbon steel woks are excellent for everyday cooking and will last for years. So, when choosing a wok, you should consider all these I’ve listed above the post to make sure which one will be the best for you. Although cast iron wok works amazing and has some strong points, it lacked in some key areas where the carbon steel prospered.
- Searching for the Perfect Wok – Serious Eats
- Wok: Carbon steel or cast iron? – StackExchange