When stocking your kitchen, it’s tricky to decide which kitchen tools are worth it. This is true for all levels of home cooks. If you’re not careful, it can feel like your cabinets are overflowing with cooking equipment that you don’t use. However, a wok is always a worthy addition to your kitchen arsenal. And if you love stir-fry dishes, a wok is non-optional.
A staple in Chinese cooking, this pan is deeper and rounder than most other cooking pans. It’s often used to cook dishes at high temperatures and distributes heat very evenly across the surface. But cooks can also use it for simmering stews and steaming vegetables. The shape of the wok makes it super versatile, and you can easily mix an entire meal inside.
Keep in mind that there are several types of woks available. Woks with round bottoms are often best for gas stoves, while those with flatter bottoms sit well on electric. Consider which wok size and handle length would work best for you, as well a whether you want a wok with a lid.
As your search for the best wok heats up, here are some quality products to consider.
1. Willow & Everett Wok Pan With Lid
Willow & Everett’s 13-inch wok works well on both gas and electric stovetops. The stainless steel surface is resistant to stains and rust, and its aluminum core quickens heating times. This product also comes with a lid and ergonomic handle. Food will sometimes stick to the bottom of the pan, which can be frustrating when cooking stir-fries (and when cleaning afterward!).
Pros: This wok comes with a bonus bamboo-handle spatula. The stainless steel surface is free of chemicals.
Cons: Food and grease may stick to the surface, making the product tricky to clean.
2. Craft Wok Traditional Carbon Steel Wok
Craft Wok’s product has a round bottom and is made with 15 gauge carbon steel. This material does need to be seasoned with each use. The wok is hand-hammered and crafted to last. It includes a wooden handle and steel helper handle for comfortable use.
Pros: This product has a classic wok design and will last for years when cared for properly.
Cons: The wok does require seasoning, otherwise it can rust. It’s also 4.5 pounds, which may be too heavy for some users.
3. T-fal Specialty Nonstick Jumbo Wok
This 14-inch wok has a non-stick surface for easy cooking. Its surface heats your food evenly and quickly. The handle is both long and comfortable to hold, so you can safely move the wok around your stovetop. Because of the small surface area at the bottom, this wok is better suited for gas stoves than electric models.
Pros: This item is both oven and dishwasher safe. It’s easy to clean in the sink.
Cons: The product is large and weighs almost five pounds, so it might be too big if you’re cooking for one or two. Surface can scratch over time.
4. Lodge Cast Iron Wok
Lodge’s 14-inch cast iron wok has a flat bottom that’s ideal for gas and electric stoves and durable handles. The product retains heat and enhances flavor with every use. When seasoned and cared for properly, cast iron woks can last for decades.
Pros: You can use this wok on your stove, grill, or an open flame.
Cons: This 14-pound wok is too heavy to toss a stir fry by hand. The product doesn’t come with a lid.
5. Calphalon Contemporary Aluminum Wok
Calphalon’s product is a contemporary take on the traditional wok. It includes hard-anodized aluminum, which heats food evenly. The stylish stainless steel handle is comfortable to hold, and the nonstick surface is easy to clean. It’s compatible with gas and electric stoves, but you will get better heat distribution with a gas stove.
Pros: This wok is available in 10 and 13-inch sizes.
Cons: The 10-inch wok is slightly larger than listed, so a 10-inch pan lid will be too small. Like many woks, it’s better suited for gas than electric stoves.