The Best Wok for Your Kitchen, According to Our Experts
Hunting for the best wok to buy? You're not alone! Woks are fabulous for stir-frying, sauteing vegetables and even steaming dumplings. Check out our favorite woks you need in your kitchen today.
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Searching for the Best Wok
Love stir-frys? Asian cuisine? Getting that just-right arc as you toss veggies in the pan? Then a wok is an absolute must-have in your kitchen. But do you know what’s the best wok to suit your cooking style?
There are lots of considerations when shopping for a wok. Before you click “add to cart” on any ol’ pan, check out our Test Kitchen’s recommendations for the best wok—then check out all the wok-ready recipes you can make once it’s delivered.
How We Tested Woks
At Taste of Home, we’re lucky enough to have a library full of incredible Asian recipes. For this test, our culinary team pulled out a few of their favorite wok-ready dishes (including this Ginger Pork Stir-Fry) and put multiple brands to the test.
Shannon Norris in our Test Kitchen headed up this experiment and judged each wok according to these categories:
- Material: Like any cookware, woks are constructed of various materials. Our Test Kitchen wants to find options that perform well and are designed to last—no matter what they’re made of.
- Size: You can find great woks in many sizes, however, our Test Kitchen did want to make note of the capacity of the pans they tried. No sense buying a wok fit for two when you have a family of six to feed!
- Ease of use: When you use a wok, you’re often lifting and shaking the pan. A good wok should have a comfortable grip and be easy to lift. When it’s time to clean up, our Test Kitchen is always looking for fuss-free options.
- Heat retention: Stir-frying requires high heat. The best wok options should get hot and stay hot. This will help you get the right cook on dishes like this Black Pepper Chicken Stir-Fry.
- Price: The performance of any product, woks included, should be reflected in the price. More expensive options are welcome, as long as they deliver top-notch results.
Plenty of batches of fried rice later, our Test Kitchen picked their favorite woks—woks that are now called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
Best Carbon Steel Wok
Cuisinart Carbon Steel Wok
When it comes to woks, a lightweight pan with some serious searing power is what you’re looking for. This Cuisinart Carbon Steel Wok fits the bill.
This large pan—big enough to fill with recipes for up to eight people—is surprisingly lightweight. Shannon says this wok is easy to lift and maneuver over the burner “but still feels very sturdy.” Beware if you have small hands; Shannon explains that the handle is a bit large.
Thanks to the carbon steel material, this Cuisinart wok heats up quickly. With the ability to conduct and retain heat, this wok sears ingredients with ease in no time at all.
Because carbon steel isn’t nonstick, it does require some extra oil to prevent your food from clinging to the pan. When properly oiled, though, Shannon explains that sticking isn’t an issue here. After a splash of oil, Shannon was able to make picture-perfect homemade fried rice in a flash.
While this pan does come pre-seasoned, it does require some maintenance. Carbon steel pans, much like cast-iron skillets, need regular upkeep. Make sure that your pan is seasoned regularly to maintain the right finish. When you’re done cooking, simply wipe out the pan; avoid soap and water as much as possible. Over time, Shannon says, “this pan develops a nice patina.”
- Heats quickly
- Great size for families
- Requires maintenance, similar to a cast-iron pan
- Handle is hard to grip for smaller hands
- Carbon steel
- 14-inch diameter
- Price: $45
Best Non-Stick Wok
Calphalon Signature Non-Stick Flat Bottom Wok with Lid
When it comes to high-heat cooking methods (like the sauteing we do with woks), nonstick pans aren’t normally ideal—unless the nonstick surface is hard-anodized aluminum like this Calphalon Signature Non-Stick Flat Bottom Wok.
This nonstick surface “worked like a charm,” according to Shannon. It’s the perfect vessel for making dishes like fried rice. Eggs, which are prone to sticking, slide out of the pan with ease.
Beyond its incredible nonstick capabilities, this hard-anodized wok also helps you achieve a good sear on proteins when making dishes like beef and broccoli or a crispy tofu stir-fry. The pan heats quickly to achieve that golden brown color you’re looking for when creating these dishes.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with this nonstick wok, according to Shannon. This wok is the right size for making recipes for four people—ideal for most homes. It’s also safe to use over high heat, a joy to use and incredibly easy to clean—yep, it’s dishwasher-safe!
- Easy to clean and care for
- Light enough to grip with one hand
- Includes lid
- Bottom of the pan scuffs easily
- Higher price tag
- Hard-anodized aluminum
- 12-inch diameter
- Price: $110
Best Professional-Grade Wok
Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok
If a wok is an essential part of your cooking routine and a tool you reach for multiple times a week, our Test Kitchen suggests getting a professional-grade wok. This Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok feels like something you’d find in a restaurant kitchen.
MadeIn’s wok heats up super fast so you don’t have to wait long to start stirring up that Pad Thai. With this superconductive surface, proteins sear easily and beautifully. The pan also stays hot even as you add more and more ingredients. Maintaining a high temperature is key for wok cooking.
Carbon steel, like cast iron, builds up a nonstick surface over time. Shannon noted that after making just one recipe, she found this nonstick layer building. “This wok cleaned up easily and formed a beautiful blue, grey, black patina even after the first use,” she explains.
Like the Cuisinart option, this wok also requires some special care. Carbon steel needs to be seasoned. Once seasoned, this wok will build up a nonstick-like patina over time. Avoid soap and water when you can; wipe it clean with a dishcloth.
- Incredibly durable
- Provides a great sear
- Heats quickly and stays hot
- On the heavier side (4.38 pounds to be precise)
- Grip isn’t very comfortable
- Carbon steel
- 12-inch diameter
- Price: $99
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Woks are just the tip of the testing iceberg! Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing kitchen gadgets, cleaning gear and delicious food, looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test-Kitchen Preferred.
If you’re looking to outfit your kitchen with a few new appliances, be sure to check out these tests:
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