Best Cast Iron Woks

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
365 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cast iron woks

Last Updated November 2019

If you want to make traditional Chinese food, a quality wok is a kitchen must-have. And although cast iron is not the most traditional wok material, it’s a material that tends to give excellent results. As such, we highly recommend adding a cast iron wok to your cooking arsenal.

Cast iron is rugged and durable, and a wok made of cast iron can last a lifetime if you look after it properly. With seasoning, cast iron forms a nonstick coating that allows you to dodge controversial chemicals that can scratch or peel. What’s more, the iron from the wok leaches iron into your food, so it’s a great way of boosting your iron levels.

Should you buy a seasoned or unseasoned cast iron wok? What size do you require? And what about a lid; do you need one? This shopping guide will address your questions and lead you to the best cast iron wok for your kitchen.

Although round-bottom woks are traditional, the majority of cast iron models have flat bottoms, which sit nicely on all kinds of stoves and produce excellent results.

Considerations for selecting a cast iron wok

Seasoning

Seasoning a cast iron pan doesn't mean liberally sprinkling it with salt and pepper. Seasoning involves building a layer of oil that binds with the iron to form a nonstick coating. Many cast iron woks come pre-seasoned, but you can season your cast iron wok yourself, either in the oven or on the stovetop. Some people prefer to buy an unseasoned wok, as factory seasoning can be unreliable.

Size

Consider what size of cast iron wok you require. The majority of woks are 12, 14, or 16 inches in diameter, though you can find some larger and smaller options. Remember that the listed diameter is the largest part of the wok, so the capacity might be less than you'd expect. In general, 12-inch woks are the right size to cook meals for one to two people, or perhaps two adults and a child. Bigger households of three to five would need a 14-inch wok to make enough food to go around. If you regularly cook for groups of six or more, or if you like to have plenty of leftovers, opt for a 16-inch cast iron wok.

Shape

Of course, all cast iron woks are circular, but some are more flared than others. It's also worth considering the depth of the wok. Cast iron woks that are too deep won't have great heat transfer up the sides, but those that are shallow don't allow for adequate tossing, which is an important part of stir frying.

Handles

The majority of cast iron woks have two short handles, one on each side. While you might be used to seeing long-handled woks, it's traditional for Cantonese woks to feature two short loop handles. This handle type is best for cast iron woks, as they're very heavy, and you couldn't hold them in a stable manner using a long handle. The downside is that you may need to use oven mitts to move your cast iron wok, although that doesn't require much extra effort.

Lid

Some cast iron woks come with lids. You may or may not find it a useful addition, depending on what you intend to cook. For instance, you'd need a lid for steaming and braising, but if you only intend to stir fry or deep fry in your wok, a lid is unnecessary.

EXPERT TIP

When cooking with a wok, use an oil with a high smoke point, such as rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

The vast majority of cast iron woks are oven-safe, since they don't have wooden or plastic parts.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

You may need to use oven mitts to take your cast iron wok off the stove after cooking, as the short handles can get hot.


Staff  | BestReviews

Cast iron wok prices

Basic cast iron woks generally cost between $25 to $45. Although you can find a few decent models in this price range, they're few and far between.

For a better assurance of quality, consider stepping up to a mid-range cast iron wok. These cost roughly $50 to $100. In this price range, there are some excellent smoothly cast models that produce exceptional results. Most home cooks should look for a cast iron wok in this price range.

High-end cast iron woks cost in the vicinity of $100 to $200. These are high-quality models, usually favored by professional chefs and keen amateurs.

Smooth and seasoned

Lodge is a big name in the world of cast iron cookware, and its status is justified. What's great about the Lodge 14-Inch Cast Iron Wok is that it's pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil and no chemical additives. This pan has an exceptionally smooth finish, too, which helps prevent food from sticking and renders even results.

Tips

  • Consider the overall quality of the casting. A quality cast iron wok has a smooth surface. Keep in mind that imperfections can be magnified with years of seasoning.

  • Think about how often you'll use your cast iron wok. There's no point spending $100+ on a wok you'll only use every couple of months. On the other hand, it's wise to invest in quality cookware if you'll be using it frequently.

  • Pick a wok that's multifunctional if that’s what you need. How do you intend to use your wok? For example, if you'd like to be able to put in the oven and throw it on the grill, choose one that's suitable for these tasks — no wooden handles or rubber grips.

  • Check whether your chosen cast iron wok comes with any accessories. We've already discussed the fact that some woks come with lids, but there are other possible accessories as well, such as cooking utensils or a cool-touch cover for the handles.

  • Avoid adding food to your wok straight from the refrigerator or freezer. This lowers the overall temperature inside and negatively impacts the way your dish cooks.

  • Think about the wok’s weight and your hand strength before buying. Cast iron woks are heavy; there's no getting around that. Choose one that's light enough for you to handle, even when full.

Affordable quality

Don't let the extremely reasonable price tag fool you. The Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok is a decent, sturdy model that gives excellent results for all kinds of cooking. The narrow base creates a more authentic wok-cooking experience than some models with wider bases.

Other products we considered

The Utopia Kitchen Cast Iron Wok is a 12-inch wok suitable for smaller households. It comes factory seasoned with soybean oil, so it's ready to use straight out of the box.

Although the KamadoJoe KJ-Wok Heavy Duty Wok is designed for use on a KamadoJoe grill, it's also suitable for indoor use on all stove types. Its rugged construction and exceptional balance make it a pleasure to cook with.

Oven-safe up to 500°F, the AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok can go from burner to oven to table for a versatile cooking experience. The quality of the seasoning is debatable, though, so you may need to re-season this wok before use.

Cast iron retains heat exceptionally well and lets you achieve a pleasing charr on your food.

FAQ

Q. How do I clean my cast iron wok?
A.
You must take care when cleaning your cast iron wok. You can't use a heavy scourer lest it take off layers of hard-won seasoning, and you certainly can't stick it in the dishwasher. If it doesn't have any foodstuff stuck to it, simply wipe it with a clean cloth and store it. Otherwise, wash it by hand with a soft sponge or dishcloth, and dry it carefully.

Some people advise never to use dish soap on a cast iron wok, but we haven't found this to be problematic.

Q. Can I use my cast iron wok to cook foods beyond stir fry?
A.
Yes. You can use a cast iron wok to deep fry, shallow fry, steam, saute, braise, and roast. In fact, there are few dishes you can't cook in a wok.

Q. I want to learn about wok cooking. How can I find out more?
A.
You'll find a wide range of cookbooks dedicated to wok cooking, as well as plenty of free resources online.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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