The 8 Best Woks for Every Kitchen of 2022

The Mammafong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Pow Wok is our top pick because it quickly heats up and responds to temperature adjustments.

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Most often used for stir-fries, woks can transform ingredients into crisp, flavorful delicacies in a flash—but they’re also versatile enough to steam, sear, braise, deep fry, and more. They have a unique curved shape that allows them to retain heat more efficiently than other types of pans—and they’ve been around for more than 2,000 years since the Han Dynasty of China.

To find the best woks for a range of cooking needs, we spent hours researching the different types on the market. We considered factors like material, size, shape, and handle to narrow down our top picks. For expert tips on how to shop for woks, we consulted Grace Young, author of The Breath of the Wok and food historian specializing in Chinese cuisine.

“My favorite wok is a 14-inch flat-bottomed carbon steel wok with a long wood and short helper handle,” says Young. “The traditional wok is round-bottomed, but that requires a wok ring to stabilize it, and once the wok is on a stand, it’s too far from the heat source. The flat-bottomed wok sits directly on the burner enabling the pan to get hotter than a round-bottomed wok.”

Our top pick is the Mammafong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Pow Wok. It has a smooth, nonstick surface that comes pre-seasoned, and it's highly durable and lightweight.

Here are the best woks.

Best Overall Wok: Mammafong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Pow Wok

Mammafong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Pow Wok

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a well-made, carbon steel wok that doesn’t require an initial seasoning.

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to put a lot of effort into upkeep. 

Carbon steel is a top-tier wok material because it conducts heat efficiently and is lightweight, but it can take months to build up its seasoning and achieve a slippery surface. This hand-hammered wok from Mammafong comes pre-seasoned, which saves you from hours of wok preparation over a scalding stove. (Though you should still regularly season your wok.) The brand uses an intense heat process to seal in oils, lending itself to a smooth, nonstick surface right out of the box. 

This wok is 14 inches in diameter, so it’s big enough to make a stir-fry for six people. It has a helper handle so you can lift and swish your wok around with little effort. The main handle is covered in wood, which allows you to nimbly flip food in your wok without burning yourself. It also has a flat-bottom design, so it’s compatible with electric stovetops. 

The Mammafong carbon steel wok does require a bit of upkeep—after every use, it’s good practice to scrub away any excess food (without using soap), put it on a low burner to dry, and then oil it for your next use. However, this ensures that your wok will stay in tip-top shape for years to come and continue to provide you with delicious, flavorful meals. 

Price at time of publish: $86

Product Details:

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Size: 14 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: High
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric

Best Budget Wok: The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok with Metal Side Handle

The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle

Wok Shop

Who it’s for: People looking for an affordable (yet still high-quality) carbon steel wok. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a pre-seasoned wok.

The Wok Shop has been a mainstay of San Francisco’s Chinatown for over 40 years, so you can trust that its carbon steel wok won’t disappoint. It has a helper handle and an extra-long wooden handle, which make it easier to add in and toss your ingredients. It also comes in both round- and flat-bottom styles, and sizes ranging from 12 to 16 inches in diameter to fit the number of people in your household. If you opt for the round-bottom wok, The Wok Shop also sells wok rings so you can use it over a gas stove. 

This budget-friendly wok is made with lightweight carbon steel, which allows it to heat up quickly and instantly sear your protein and veggies. It’s also designed with high sides and a wider bottom, creating lots of surface area to push your ingredients around. 

While you do need to season this wok yourself before use, The Wok Shop sells flaxseed oil (one of the best oils for seasoning woks), as well as basically any other accessory you may need for this style of cooking. Given the quality, design, and versatility, we think this is an amazing addition to any kitchen looking for a wok that comes at an affordable price.  

Price at time of publish: From $35

Product Details:

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Size: 12, 14, or 16 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: High
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric for flat-bottomed, gas with wok ring for round-bottom

Best Splurge Wok: Smithey Ironware Co. Hand-Forged Carbon Steel Wok

Smithey Carbon Steel Wok

Smithey Ironware Co.

Who it’s for: People who want to add an artisan wok to their cookware collection.

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to use potholders or handle covers.

Smithey is known for its artisan cookware that's hand-forged by blacksmiths in South Carolina. This carbon steel wok is designed with a flat bottom, making it suitable for all stovetops. Food glides over the pre-seasoned surface with ease, and the helper handle and long hammered handle allow for convenient cooking. However, the handle conducts heat, so you should keep an extra towel or handle cover nearby so you don’t burn yourself. 

With a 13-inch diameter, this wok is on the smaller side, but it has a solid depth of 3.25 inches that lends itself to a variety of culinary applications, like steaming, frying, or boiling. It’s also pretty lightweight, especially when compared to a cast iron skillet since it weighs just over 3 pounds.

The main downside is that it’s expensive, but the price point reflects the level of care and craftsmanship that goes into each wok. Smithey also offers the option to get this wok engraved, which could make it a one-of-a-kind gift that your loved one will cherish for years.

Price at time of publish: $325

Product Details:

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Size: 13 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: High
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric

Best Aluminum Wok: Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 13-Inch Flat Wok

4.8
Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 13-Inch Flat Wok

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Who it’s for: People who want a low-maintenance wok that doesn’t require oiling. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a wok that can handle high heat.

Woks are typically only nonstick after proper seasoning, which can be a months-long process. This one from Calphalon has a hard-anodized aluminum exterior and a nonstick interior from the second you take it out of the box. No seasoning, scrubbing, or oiling is required for upkeep either: Just clean it with soap or water, or throw it in the dishwasher after use. 

This aluminum wok has a helper handle and a long, stainless steel handle that doesn’t conduct heat, so you won’t find yourself in any awkward positions while cooking. It’s also flat-bottomed, so it works on gas and electric stoves without needing a wok ring. 

One thing to note is that the nonstick coating makes this wok a little more delicate than its carbon steel counterparts. Make sure to keep it over medium heat, or else you’ll risk breaking down the nonstick coating (this will prevent you from getting the sear or taste that a traditional wok gives). However, unlike most other nonstick cookware, this wok can handle metal utensils.  While it’s a good choice for a beginner cook because it doesn’t need to be seasoned, those who want a crisp stir-fry may be better off with a carbon steel wok from our list instead. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Product Details:

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Size: 13 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: Medium
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric

Best Cast Iron Wok: Lodge 14-Inch Cast Iron Wok

4.6
Lodge 14-Inch Cast Iron Wok

Courtesy of Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a durable wok with impressive heat retention.

Who it isn’t for: People who need a lightweight wok.

This wok from Lodge is made from cast iron, another popular material for woks because it can retain a lot of heat, making it excellent at searing ingredients. However, cast iron can take a while to get to the right temperature for stir-frying, so it’s not ideal for cooks who like to whip up quick meals on a whim. But once it's nice and hot, cast iron will stay that way for the entirety of the cooking process, making it a good choice for dishes like fried rice. This wok comes pre-seasoned, but Lodge recommends seasoning it before use to ensure that your dinner won’t get stuck to it.  

Because it’s made from cast iron, this wok is pretty heavy at nearly 13 pounds—so it’s not ideal for anyone hoping for something lightweight that can be hand-tossed. Additionally, it comes with two helper handles, which may be awkward for some cooks who are used to having one long handle. 

That said, cast iron is quite durable, so this wok will be an essential part of your kitchen for a while since it’s virtually unbreakable. It can also be used over an open flame, which means you can use it at outdoor cookouts and camping trips for a delicious meal away from home. 

Price at time of publish: $75

Product Details:

  • Material: Cast iron
  • Size: 14 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: High
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric

Best Nonstick Wok: Joyce Chen Professional Series 14-Inch Carbon Steel Nonstick Wok Set

Joyce Chen Professional Series 14-Inch Carbon Steel Nonstick Wok Set

Amazon

Who it’s for: Beginners who are looking for a carbon steel wok that doesn’t require seasoning. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a dishwasher-safe wok.

This 10-piece set from Joyce Chen comes with a carbon steel wok that has a nonstick coating. This wok is lightweight and heat-responsive without requiring seasoning, which is great for beginner cooks. This wok has a longer handle and a helper handle, which helps maneuver it. Both handles have maple wood covers that are removable, so you can stick the wok in ovens up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you may find that the handle covers come loose as you're cooking, so you’ll want to make sure that they’re tightly secured when re-attaching them. 

The nonstick coating can hold up to metal utensils, but since this set comes with a bamboo spatula and tongs, you probably won’t need to use your metal cookware anyways. The set also includes a tempura rack, bamboo paddle, cooking chopsticks, and even a recipe booklet, which provides you with everything you need to get started on your wok cooking journey. 

The Joyce Chen Nonstick Wok is flat-bottomed and has a 14-inch diameter, which makes it a good fit for most households since it works on gas and electric stovetops and fits enough ingredients to feed four to six people. While it’s not dishwasher safe, this wok is easy to clean with some water and a little bit of elbow grease, and food will release quickly thanks to its nonstick coating. 

Price at time of publish: $83

Product Details:

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Size: 14 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: Medium
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas and electric

Best Large Wok: Craft Wok Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok

Craft Wok Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who need to feed a crowd with their wok, like anyone with a large family. 

Who it isn’t for: People new to cooking with woks and those who don’t have access to a gas stove.

With a robust diameter of 16 inches, this sleek and shiny wok is ideal for those who are cooking for a crowd. It’s hand-hammered in China and made with heavy-duty carbon steel. This is a round-bottom wok, which means that it conducts heat more efficiently than flat-bottomed woks. It also has large, sloping sides that allow for lots of surface contact with its contents. However, round-bottom woks are only compatible with gas stoves, and you’ll need to purchase a wok ring to use it. 

While this wok’s size means that it can cook a large amount of food, it also makes it pretty cumbersome to work with—and this could be challenging for beginners who aren’t used to heavy pans. However, it has a wooden handle and an accompanying steel helper handle that make it easier to lift and move while cooking. 

The wok doesn’t come pre-seasoned, so it requires a more intense seasoning process before you can start using it. Additionally, you will have to season it after every use to prevent rusting and keep its surface nonstick, but that’s par for the course when it comes to carbon steel woks. Overall, this heavy-duty option is a great choice for people who need a wok with plenty of room for a lot of delicious ingredients. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Product Details:

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Size: 16 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: High
  • Compatible Stovetops: Gas

Best Electric Wok: Breville Hot Wok 6-Qt. Stainless-Steel Electric Wok

Breville Hot Wok 6-Qt. Stainless-Steel Electric Wok

Amazon

Who it’s for: People with electric stovetops (or none at all!) that will unevenly heat a traditional wok.

Who it isn’t for: People with limited storage or countertop space.

An electric wok is a good option for people who live in apartments without stoves, as well as anyone with electric stovetops that unevenly heat dishes. Breville’s Hot Wok features an electric plate with a butterfly heating system, which mimics the temperature consistency achieved by a round-bottom wok on a gas stovetop—without upgrading any large appliances in your home. 

This is a pretty versatile gadget: It allows you to steam, stir-fry, and make stews thanks to a handy temperature control dial with 15 heat settings for all kinds of dishes. Plus, it comes with a vented lid that allows you to control how much moisture is in your dish. It can warm up to a toasty 425 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just the right temperature to get a charred stir-fry. While it does have two helper handles, keep in mind that you aren’t able to hand-toss this wok. And since it does take up a lot of counter space, this electric wok is not ideal for anyone with a tiny kitchen

When it comes to caring for this electric wok, Breville makes things pretty convenient: Just pop it off the hot plate with the push of a button, then give it a quick scrub or throw it in the dishwasher. Because it has a nonstick coating, food should come right off, so your wok will be ready for another round of stir-fry in no time.

Price at time of publish: $140

Product Details:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Size: 14 inches in diameter
  • Heat Capacity: Medium-high
  • Compatible Stovetops: None

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Mammafong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Pow Wok because it’s overall very well-made. It’s lightweight and easy to toss, and it heats up quickly and thoroughly. We also like that it comes pre-seasoned, which makes this wok nonstick and flavorful out of the box.

How to Shop for Woks Like a Pro

Material

Top-tier woks are typically made of either carbon steel or cast iron, and there’s a lot of debate as to which material is the best. Both cast iron and steel woks “develop a natural nonstick surface the more you cook with it,” Young says, but she prefers carbon steel “because it heats quickly, conducts heat evenly, and cools quickly.” 

Historically, woks were made using cast iron, but nowadays they are more commonly made with carbon steel. Both are known for their ability to impart wok hei, which is a Cantonese phrase that translates to “breath of the wok.” It’s that indescribable smoky, charred flavor you can only get from searing your ingredients on blazing heat in a properly seasoned pan. 

Some chefs prefer cast iron woks because they are more adept at heat retention and distribution, and they become nonstick with proper seasoning. However, Young cautions that “if you use cast iron, it must be the traditional Chinese-made cast iron, which is much thinner and lighter in weight than American-made cast iron.” 

A thicker cast iron wok “heats slower than carbon steel and retains heat long after it’s been removed from the burner, which means food can easily overcook,” says Young. Cast iron is also much heavier than carbon steel, which can be cumbersome to cook with. Though, if taken care of properly, a cast iron wok can last a long time. 

On the other hand, carbon steel woks are lightweight, allowing them to respond better to temperature adjustments and take less time to heat up. Carbon steel is high maintenance, though: You have to put more effort into seasoning it, oiling it, and properly washing it, so it may be a little intimidating for beginner chefs. However, it’s extremely durable and becomes nonstick with proper seasoning. 

There are also nonstick woks, which are most commonly made from ceramic or hard-anodized aluminum. They don’t need to be seasoned and are quick to clean, so they’re well-suited for casual home cooks. However, Young doesn’t recommend using these nonstick woks. “It does not sear nearly as well as an iron wok,” she says. “Stir-frying requires high heat and most nonstick woks are not meant to be used on high heat.” (As with most nonstick pans, using too high of a temperature can cause the nonstick coating to break down, which defeats the point of using a nonstick pan in the first place.)

Shape

Traditionally, woks are made with a round bottom that helps distribute heat evenly throughout the pan. Round-bottom woks were originally used over open flames, but since the majority of modern stove tops are flat, woks are now designed with flat bottoms to make them compatible. However, flat-bottom woks don’t have the same heat consistency as round-bottom options. If you have a gas stove, you can use a round-bottom wok as long as you have a wok ring, which is a metal circle that holds the wok in place above the burner. 

Woks also come in a variety of sizes as well, usually ranging from 12 to 16 inches in diameter, and Young says that the sweet spot is 14 inches. For reference, a 12-inch wok can comfortably feed four people, but if you’re looking to host a crowd (or just upgrade your meal prep game), opt for a 16-inch wok, which is big enough to fry up food for 12 people. 

Handle

Woks can come with different types of handles, so make sure you figure out what your cooking style is before you buy one. “The Westernized wok with the long wood and short helper handle is the most practical because it allows you to easily lift the wok with one hand or two if necessary and without potholders,” Young says. 

Cantonese woks have two small handles made out of cast iron or carbon steel, but Young finds them to be “much clumsier to use because you cannot lift the wok with one hand and it definitely requires potholders.” Cast iron woks tend to be constructed in this style.

There are also Northern-style woks, which have a long, hollow carbon steel handle that’s “designed to not get hot.” However, Young says that these woks “often require a potholder” anyways.

Questions You Might Ask

What can you cook in a wok?

“People often call the wok a stir-fry pan, but it’s the most versatile pan in the world,” Young says. Woks are most commonly associated with stir-frys, but you can make a lot of different dishes with them.

“I use my wok for frying bacon, steaming a whole fish, deep fat-frying spring rolls, smoking chicken, pan-frying pot stickers, boiling noodles, braising stews, cooking rice, roasting a spatchcocked chicken in the oven, scrambling eggs, even popping corn, and of course stir-frying everything from fried rice to vegetables,” says Young.

Is it better to use a wok on a gas or electric stove?

“I prefer using a wok on a gas burner,” Young says. There are quite a few advantages to cooking with a wok on a gas stove. Since gas stoves have a more dynamic heating range, they can get super hot and then cool back down on a dime, which is the kind of temperature control you want when you’re making a dish like stir-fry. Because they can get scorching in a matter of minutes, gas stoves can heat a wok faster and more thoroughly, especially if you’re using a round-bottom wok with a wok ring. 

That said, you shouldn’t let go of your wok-cooking dreams just because you have an electric stove. “Most of the time, a flat-bottomed carbon steel wok works on an electric burner but occasionally the bottom may warp ever so slightly from the heat,” says Young.

When using a flat-bottom wok on a ceramic glass top stove, you’ll need to be a bit more patient, as you have to wait for your wok to completely heat up before adding in your food. (Proteins and veggies should go in a single layer on the bottom of the wok to prevent overcrowding.) You’ll have to wait again for things to get charred, but it’s worth it to have a crispy stir-fry.

How should you care for a wok?

Nonstick woks are the easiest to care for. They don’t require any seasoning or prep before use—just place them on the stove and give them a wash with soap and water when you’re done. Carbon steel and cast iron woks require more work, but like your favorite cast iron pan, your wok’s flavor and performance will increase with increased use and proper seasoning

To clean your wok, Young says you can wash it just like you’d wash a cast iron pan. “I like to soak the wok in hot tap water for 10 to 15 minutes and then lightly scrub it with the soft side of a sponge without liquid detergent,” she says, adding that you can scrub with the rough side of a sponge to remove any stuck-on debris. After rinsing with water, Young says to “always dry on the stove on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until there are no longer any visible water droplets.” Ensuring the wok is thoroughly dried is essential to preventing it from rusting. 

Seasoning is also another important aspect of wok care, and it’s one that Young finds that most people get confused about. However, the process is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. For more tips, Young recommends watching her video called The Wok Therapist, which can help get rid of some worries that anyone new to cooking with woks may have.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Jen Woo, a freelance design, lifestyle, and culture writer and content strategist with over 10 years of experience. To write this article, she thoroughly researched woks and considered factors like material, shape, and handle style to make her final picks. For expert insight on how to choose the best compost bin for your needs, Jen spoke to Grace Young, author of The Breath of the Wok and food historian specializing in Chinese cuisine.

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