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Best Woks

Updated June 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
TeChef Art Pan Wok with Teflon Select
TeChef
Art Pan Wok with Teflon Select
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Exceptional Quality
Bottom Line

Our cooking expert approves this reasonable upgrade from the typical thin wok. Thick nonstick coating is a major strength.

Pros

Well-made Korean pan designed to last given its extra-heavy gauge forged aluminum construction. Users became brand loyalists after trying this wok. Five layers of nonstick coating. Attractive purple hue makes it stand out in the kitchen.

Cons

Suitability on induction burners is questionable. Not designed for oven use. Lid is not included.

Best Bang for the Buck
Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok
Joyce Chen
Carbon Steel Wok
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Classic Design
Bottom Line

Designed for those who want an authentic wok experience, this pan requires more maintenance than many competitors, but it's our cooking expert's favorite.

Pros

Boasts a generous cooking surface. Works well on most stovetops. Conducive to authentic Asian cooking.

Cons

Can sustain the high heat of a butane burner, but durability may be compromised at this extreme temp.

T-fal Essentials Nonstick Jumbo Wok
T-fal
Essentials Nonstick Jumbo Wok
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

A versatile, high-quality wok for a low price. An excellent deal.

Pros

Signature quality from a trusted brand. Fast, even heat distribution. Light weight. Earns high marks from native Asian chefs. Can go in the oven up to 350°F. On the larger side, so it's ideal for family-size cooking.

Cons

Occasional durability issues are reported. May require a wok ring to aid stability.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Wok
Calphalon
Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Wok
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Best for Couples
Bottom Line

This mid-priced wok is ideal for stir-frying smaller meals for one or two people, but our cooking expert points out that it can be heavy and difficult to clean.

Pros

Good heat distribution. Safe for dishwasher and oven at moderate temps. Durable and dishwasher safe.

Cons

Some complaints about nonstick coating durability. Not for magnetic induction stovetops. Heavy.

Anolon Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Wok with Lid
Anolon
Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Wok with Lid
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Unique Design
Bottom Line

Design features dual handles and is appreciated by those with dexterity problems.

Pros

Nonstick coating makes this wok one of the easiest to clean. Oven-safe to 400°F. Handles are coated with Analon SureGrip for a secure grasp. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, and brand has a good reputation.

Cons

Advertised as metal utensil-safe, but cooks recommend sticking to silicone, wood, or plastic.

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 all opinions about the products are our own. About 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 all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
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.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

33
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
10
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best woks

Chinese food sometimes gets a bad rap for not being very healthy, but a tasty stir fry loaded with veggies is one meal you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying. When the craving for stir fry hits, a trip to your favorite Chinese restaurant isn’t always necessary. Stir frying is an ideal method for home cooking because it’s quick, easy, and can be very nutritious. But if you’re going to make delicious stir fry meals at home, you definitely need a good wok; you simply cannot get the same results with a frying pan.

Choosing the right wok means knowing what to look for. Woks are available in a variety of materials, sizes, and designs, so before you buy one, you should know which model is going to work best in your kitchen.

At BestReviews, we don’t accept products from manufacturers, so our recommendations are 100% unbiased. We also conduct field and expert research so that we can provide all the info you need to make a good shopping decision.

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Traditional Chinese woks have a rounded bottom. Flat-bottomed woks are more common in the U.S.

Who needs a wok?

If you enjoy stir frying, you definitely need a wok. Yes, you could do the job in a basic skillet, but you wouldn’t get the same results as you would with a classic wok.

Even if you don’t stir fry weekly, a wok can come in handy in your kitchen. It can double as a skillet, Dutch oven, and even a saucepan.

You can also use a wok with a bamboo steamer to steam your favorite veggies and dumplings.

Benefits of stir frying with a wok

  • Stir frying in a wok allows you to cook meals quickly and easily. Preparing the raw ingredients may require a little time, but it usually takes five minutes or less to actually cook the food in your wok.

  • Because foods are cooked quickly when stir fried, they aren’t overheated. That means they hang onto all of their heat-sensitive nutrients for a healthier meal.

  • Most stir fry dishes feature large amounts of vegetables paired with smaller amounts of meat. That allows you to prepare an inexpensive yet satisfying meal.

  • When you stir fry in a wok, the food isn’t exposed to excessive amounts of heat for a long period of time. As a result, the veggies retain their color, and your food looks more attractive when it hits the table.

  • If you’re having trouble getting your children to eat their vegetables, stir fry dishes are an ideal option. Kids often enjoy watching the cooking process and the food’s bright colors, so they’re more likely to eat the vegetables.

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Expert Tip
Preheat your wok before doing anything. This allows the heat to come up and distribute evenly throughout the bowl of the wok.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

What are woks made of?

Woks can be made of carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, anodized aluminum, and/or nonstick materials.

Carbon steel woks

  • Carbon steel conducts heat very well, so it heats quickly and evenly.

  • Carbon steel requires seasoning, but it offers a naturally nonstick surface.

  • Carbon steel is extremely durable, which means it can last for years.

Stainless steel woks

  • Stainless steel woks don’t require seasoning like cast iron or carbon steel woks do.

  • Food can stick to the stainless steel, so you may need to use more oil.

  • Stainless steel is extremely durable, which means you can clean it with steel wool if necessary.

"Use an oil with a high smoke point when stir frying. Make sure the oil is cold when you add it to the hot wok."
STAFF
BestReviews

Cast iron woks

  • Cast iron requires seasoning, but the surface of a cast iron wok is naturally nonstick.

  • Cast iron can take a long time to heat up and cool down.

  • Cast iron woks – and other cooking utensils made of cast iron, for that matter – can be heavy and difficult to maneuver.

Anodized aluminium woks

  • Anodized aluminum distributes heat well, but it can take a while to heat up.

  • Anodized aluminium woks are lightweight but fairly sturdy.

  • Anodized aluminum woks are usually treated with some type of nonstick coating to make the pan easy to use and clean.

Nonstick woks

  • Nonstick woks are treated with a nonstick coating that makes cleanup extremely easy.

  • The nonstick surface means you don’t need to use much oil. This is great for those interested in low-fat cooking.

  • Nonstick woks don’t get hot enough to sear and brown foods.

  • There may be some health risks associated with the chemicals in the coating of nonstick woks.

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Expert Tip
While prepping your ingredients, cut them uniformly for even cooking.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

How are woks made?

Woks are made several different ways. They may be hand-hammered, stamped, or spun. Each construction method impacts the final product in a different way.

Hand-hammered woks

Traditional woks are hand-hammered, which means they have slight indentations from the hammering that allow you to keep foods on the side of the pan without them slipping back down.

Most hand-hammered woks do not have a flat bottom or handle.

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Did you know?
In a pinch, a wok can double as a mixing bowl for baking.
STAFF
BestReviews

Stamped woks

Stamped woks are produced by taking a circular piece of metal and pressing it into a mold with a machine. They have an extremely smooth surface, which means food that you push to the side is likely to fall back down into the center of the wok. Stamped woks often develop hot and cold spots that can lead to uneven cooking.

Spun woks

Spun woks are made on a spinning machine, which gives them a pattern of concentric circles. The texture allows you to push food to the sides while frying without it falling back into the center of the wok. Spun woks usually have flat bottoms and handles.

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Expert Tip
Woks are best used on gas burners – over a flame. This provides much more accurate temperature control inside your pan.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

How big are woks?

Woks vary in size; the typical wok diameter is somewhere between 10 to 16 inches. As you shop around, however, you may encounter woks as large as 36 inches in diameter and as small as eight inches in diameter.

If you’re debating what size of wok to get, realize that larger woks can be difficult to handle, and smaller woks may not have enough room for ingredients if you have a larger family.

A 14-inch wok is usually a good choice for home cooking.

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For your safety
A wok ring can help stabilize the pan on the stovetop.
STAFF
BestReviews

Which wok features matter most?

In addition to size and the material and method with which the wok is made, here are a few other features to pay attention to when selecting a wok.

Flat vs. rounded bottom

  • Traditional woks have a rounded bottom that gives them a bowl shape. However, the rounded bottom doesn’t work well on modern stovetops, so it requires a wok ring to stabilize it.

  • A flat-bottomed wok can work on virtually all stovetops as is. Look for a wok with a flat bottom area of four to five inches and gently sloping sides that flare out.

"It’s important not to overcrowd the wok when you’re stir frying. For example, you shouldn’t add more than 12 ounces of protein to a 12-inch wok."
STAFF
BestReviews

Lid

It’s a good idea to look for a wok that comes with a lid, though you may encounter some models in your product search that do not have one. A wok lid allows you to cook meals with just a little oil and steam the food inside rather than frying it.

Handles

Woks usually have one or two handles.

  • If you opt for a heavier wok, we suggest you get one with two handles. Having two handles makes it easier to maneuver both the pan and the ingredients.

  • For the most functional wok, look for one with a long handle on one side and a shorter handle on the opposite side.

How much do woks cost?

Woks vary in price based on their material and size, but you can typically expect to spend between $25 and $85 on a good one.

  • For a nonstick wok, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $40.

  • For a cast iron wok, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $60.

  • For a carbon steel wok, you’ll usually pay between $30 and $50.

  • For a stainless steel wok, you’ll usually pay between $30 and $80.

  • For an anodized aluminum wok, you’ll usually pay between $50 and $85.

Wok tips

  • Woks made of cast iron or carbon steel must be seasoned before you use them for the first time. Scrub the pan with soapy water and dry it thoroughly before placing it on the stove over high heat. After the wok is completely heated, remove it from the stove. Rub down the entire surface of the wok with oil to season it.

  • After it has been seasoned, washing a wok with soap can ruin the seasoning. Instead, use very hot water and a soft sponge to gently clean the wok.

  • To get restaurant-quality stir fry at home, preheat your work. Place it on the stove over medium-high heat with nothing in it. Let it heat until water that you drop onto the surface immediately evaporates.

  • Use an oil with a high smoke point (like peanut oil) in your wok, and make sure that the oil is cold when you add it to the hot pan.

  • For a stir fry, it’s important to cut all the ingredients to a uniform size ahead of time. That way, they’ll cook evenly once you throw them into the wok.

  • For the perfect stir fry, cook your protein first. When it’s finished, remove the meat from the wok and add the veggies. Just before the veggies are done, toss the meat back in.

  • Your ingredients should always be dry when you add them to the wok. If they’re slightly damp, they’ll lower the wok’s temperature.

  • When you’re preparing stir fry in a wok, don’t push the food around the way you would in a skillet. Instead, lift the food with your spatula and allow it to tumble back down.

  • If you choose a wok with a lid, we recommend you get one with a clear glass lid. That way, you can check the progress of your food without removing the lid.

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Because foods cook quickly when fried in a wok, the ingredients aren’t overheated. That means they hang on to their heat-sensitive nutrients to create a healthier meal.

FAQ

Q. What type of wok is easiest to clean?

A. A nonstick wok is usually very easy to clean because you can simply wipe it down. However, seasoned cast iron and carbon steel pans are naturally nonstick and therefore fairly easy to clean as well.

Q. What else can you make in a wok besides stir fry?

A. You can make a variety of dishes besides stir fry in your wok. A wok is ideal for tossing a salad, scrambling eggs, preparing taco filling, warming tortillas, steaming seafood, and roasting coffee beans.

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