Whether you're making a tasty stir fry or fluffy scrambled eggs, the best carbon steel woks make for quick and even cooking. When selecting the best carbon steel wok for you, there are a few features to consider:
- Construction: A carbon steel wok can be constructed in three ways. The first is stamping, which creates a smooth surface but can cause food to crowd at the bottom of the wok. The other two methods are spinning and hammering. These methods are best, as the small ridges and indentations that result will help keep food spread out across the wok.
- Shape: Woks typically have a flat bottom or a round bottom. Round bottoms don’t transfer heat as effectively, so if you plan to cook at extremely high temperatures, you'll want a flat bottom.
- Handles: Traditional woks (aka Cantonese woks) feature two small handles that make it easy to lift the wok and flip your food. Northern-style woks have a longer handle that’s similar to that of a typical skillet. Both options are efficient and really just depend on preference.
When caring for your wok, the two essential factors are seasoning and washing. Most woks have to be seasoned before the first use, and though the process can be a little involved, you should only need to do it once. As far as washing your wok, do not use soap. The protective layer you built up after seasoning the wok will be destroyed. Just clean your wok using hot water and a sponge and dry it immediately.
Based on these qualifications, I’ve researched and chosen the three best carbon steel woks on Amazon. After reading, be sure to also check out the best electric woks if you don’t want to have to rely on a stove for that delicious stir fry.
1. The Overall Best Carbon Steel Wok
Available in three different sizes (12, 14, and 16 inches), this carbon steel wok is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a durable, easy-to-use, and highly-rated wok. It features a flat bottom that is easy to heat quickly and it can be used on either an electric stove or a grills. There’s both a wooden handle and a wooden side spool handle, so you can have a secure grip and optimal control without worrying about spilling anything or burning your hand. The wok is made from a heavy carbon steel that promotes rapid and even heating throughout the process, but remember that it will require you to season it once before use. One Amazon reviewer described this as “the Volvo of woks.”
2. The Best Round-Bottom Carbon Steel Wok
This 16-inch carbon steel wok from Craft Wok is the ideal choice if you’re looking for a wok with a round bottom. It's built like a traditional Cantonese wok, with one handle on each side, making it easy to lift and flip. In addition to preparing a stir fry, the shape of this wok also makes it perfect for making soups, using it as a steamer, or using it as smoker. This wok was constructed in Guangzhou, by Chinese professionals who used the hand-hammering style to create indentations that will keep food in place as it cooks. One reviewer called this a “fantastic and substantial wok,” while another wrote that it was “hands down the best wok I’ve ever used.” Just remember to properly season it before initial use.
3. The Most Budget-Friendly Carbon Steel Wok
This affordable carbon steel wok from Sur La Table is a great option for anyone who wants to be a little more gentle on their wallet. And even at a more budget-friendly price, this wok still has plenty of great features. The 14-inch diameter and the tough, carbon-steel construction provide quick and effective heat conduction. This wok has both a standard maple handle and a longer side handle for easy flipping and control, as well as a flat bottom that promotes fast and even heating on ceramic, induction, gas, and electric stovetops. One reviewer graded this wok with an “A+++++” and another praised it for being “a very well-built, sturdy wok.” As with the other two options, remember that seasoning is required before the first use.
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