15 Essential Chinese Cooking Tools
Whether you're tossing up a stir-fry or steaming up bao buns, here are the Chinese cooking tools you need to make your favorite dishes.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
One of the most iconic Chinese cooking tools, woks can be used for everything from stir-frying to steaming dumplings. We like this cast-iron wok for its heat retention and durability, but follow our wok buying guide to find the best size and material for your kitchen.
Whether you want to cook up fried rice or serve it as a side with sesame chicken, using a rice cooker makes a difference. This simple appliance provides consistent results, and it gives you more time to focus on other dishes. An Instant Pot also works really well. Here’s how to find the best rice cooker for you.
A pair of sturdy kitchen shears are a must, according to Maggie Zhu of the blog Omnivore’s Cookbook. She explains, “You can use it to cut up bone-in chicken. Or, use it to cut vegetables like green onions, when you just need a few pieces to top on a soup at the end of cooking.” Shears are on our list of essential kitchen utensils, too!
Here’s a cooking tool you can use for Chinese cooking and beyond (like in these recipes for garlic lovers). Maggie uses her garlic press on the daily. She mentions, “It is just so much faster and easier (to use).” Here’s a tip from her: “The pressed garlic will be a bit finer than minced garlic, so cook it with slightly lower heat or for a shorter time so it won’t burn.”
Thin Rolling Pin
The thick rolling pin you currently own won’t cut it for shaping and rolling small bites like Chinese scallion pancakes, dumpling wrappers and buns. Grab a thin rolling pin for easy maneuvering. Here are a few other reasons why you need a mini rolling pin.
If you like to indulge in hot pot dishes at your local Chinese restaurant, this Chinese cooking tool is calling your name. Made of stainless steel, this hot pot features a divider so you can simultaneously cook two different dishes at once.
Wok Spatula and Ladle
Make sure to snag speciality wok accessories that perfectly complement your pan. This spatula and ladle set is a great choice for maneuvering around a steaming hot wok. We love that it has wooden handles that will prevent you from burning your hands.
No wok? No worries. You can use a nonstick skillet for stir-fry dishes and fried rice. This kitchen staple provides plenty of room for evenly cooking your ingredients. And, as an added bonus, cleanup is a breeze!
Bamboo strainers are a traditional Chinese cooking tool. They’re used for straining liquid off of dishes like wontons and dumplings. You can also use a slotted spoon or a metal strainer, too.
Julienne peelers are an easy alternative to using a knife to cut veggies. Maggie likes using them for, “slicing carrots, zucchini, potatoes and more. It’s fast and much easier for cutting even pieces if you’re not confident in your knife skills.” She also explains that this tool can help you achieve those matchstick-like veggie slices that are used in a variety of Chinese cooking, like in this pork and vegetable spring roll recipe.
If you use a frying pan for pan-frying and grilling meat, you’ll want to pick up a splatter screen. Maggie explains that it’s the tool to reach for when, “you want the meat to brown without creating a mess on your kitchen counter. It keeps the steam out and oil splatter in.” Just set up this mesh screen on top of your pan for spill-free cooking.
A specialty bamboo wok brush and just a splash of water is all you need to give your wok a thorough clean. Do keep in mind that you want to avoid soap when scraping up food residue on your wok since it’ll remove the patina. Before you get scrubbing, here are more tips on how to clean a wok.