7 Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle, Made USA 2021

Carbon Steel Wok

7 Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle, Made USA 2021

To create some great Chinese or Thai cuisine, a wok is a very important vessel. Actually, you can make food in any pan, but there is a lot of difference in the taste of the food.

The bowl-shaped work has various benefits and it is perfect for cooking Southeast Asian cuisine. You have cast iron wok, stainless steel wok, carbon steel wok and even woks made of aluminum.

Advantages of a wok – Since a wok is bowl-shaped, it distributes heat uniformly in the food. Due to this, the food cooks fast and turns crispy as well. This vessel can take very high temperatures needed for stir-fry. If deep-frying, then there is no need to add excess oil in a wok. You could easily toss the food. The high sides of a wok and the fact that it does not fall outside ensure it.

Different kinds of the wok – A cast iron wok is great for cooking but it is very heavy to handle. You have to season it else; the cast iron wok might rust. A stainless steel wok is lighter but it gets hot very quickly.
Moreover, food sticks to a stainless steel wok and it could burn at some places. Due to this, there is no uniform spreading of heat and it is cumbersome to clean it. The ideal wok is one made from carbon steel. Let us discuss the reasons I am saying so:

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The Carbon Steel Wok is Just Right For Your Cooking Needs

1) Inexpensive – Wok made out of carbon steel is not very expensive and at the same time it can take extremely high temperatures like the cast iron wok. It is rather reasonable and should be a part of every kitchen.

2) Light – Carbon steel wok is much lighter if you compare it with a cast iron wok. Therefore, it is easier to work on and you can handle it well. You could even transfer from one place to another without too much strain.

3) Even Cooking – Unlike the stainless steel wok that is unable to spread heat evenly, wok made out of carbon steel enables even distribution of heat, thereby making some delicious food.

4) No Rust -The cast iron wok can rust as it ages and it requires occasional seasoning. A Wok made of carbon steel does not have any such issues.

5) Food does not stick – Unlike the problem with a stainless steel wok; food made in a wok made of carbon steel does not stick to the walls. In fact, now there are even non-stick woks made from carbon steel.

Maintenance – Ideally, you must season the wok before you use it the first time. This will remove all the oils used by the maker to prevent rust. For this, you need to heat some oil in it a couple of times and wash it away very well.

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7 Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle, Made USA 2021

Then dry it off and it is fit for use. It is important to clean your wok after every use. Planning to buy a wok, go for a carbon steel wok, and then make some finger-licking Chinese food for your loved ones!

Best Woks at a Glance

  • Best Value Round Bottom Wok: The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle, Round Bottom, 14-inch
  • top Best Splurge Round Bottom Wok: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok, Round Bottom, 14-inch
  • Best Value Flat Bottom Wok: Taylor & Ng Starter Wok Set
  • Best Splurge Flat Bottom Wok: Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon Covered Wok Skillet

How We Tested Each Wok

We chose to focus on carbon steel woks for their durability, heat adaptability, and natural non-stick that comes from seasoning. To put these works to the test, Marianne looked at the ease of the seasoning process, weight and feel of each wok, and comfortability when stir-frying with each wok.

Here are a few important characteristics that Marianne looked for:

  • Overall Feel: Is the wok comfortable to use?
  • Durability: Is the wok made to last?
  • Ability: How evenly does the wok cook? Does food stick to it?
  • Overall Value: Is it worth the investment?

Marianne’s testing is finished, and we’ve reached a consensus on the best woks to buy in 2020. Read on for our picks. See one you like? Click the link below each image to get your very own.

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What to Consider When Buying a Wok

What Is the Best Material for Woks?

Aren’t all woks the same? Well, no. Turns out woks can vary on everything from size, shape, and even material. For the sake of our testing, we chose to focus on carbon steel woks, as this is the material that is traditionally used to make woks. But in order to find the right wok for you, it’s important to get acquainted with all the varieties on the market.

Carbon Steel: This is the most traditional material used for making woks, and it also tends to be the most recommended by wok enthusiasts. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, durable and most importantly, it heats up quickly and evenly. For these reasons, we decided to focus our testing on carbon steel woks. It does require seasoning and careful cleaning — more on that below.

Cast Iron: No surprise to anyone, cast iron woks are heavy. But they do retain heat very well and can withstand extremely high temperatures. A major downside of cast iron is it doesn’t adapt to changes in heat very quickly. And like carbon steel, it requires seasoning. Cast iron woks are the best option for outdoor use. Although our testing focused on carbon steel, Marianne did find this Lodge Cast Iron Wok to perform well, but a wok spatula is a must when using cast-iron because it’s too heavy to toss around.

Cooking with Cast Iron vs. Carbon Steel

Since there is such a difference in thickness and weight between cast iron and carbon steel, the two metals will cook food differently. Due to its thickness, cast iron may take longer to heat up; but it will distribute that heat much more evenly because it is so thick. In comparison, carbon steel woks heat up quickly, but they tend to retain most of the heat at the bottom, as it is closer to the burner.

As a general rule, dishes cooked in a wok are prepared quickly, which is why so many Chinese chefs use carbon steel. In a restaurant, waiting for a cast iron wok to heat up can take too long. If you plan to use your wok for foods that require longer cook times, a cast iron version is probably better as it will heat everything more evenly.

Another point to consider with these metals is that cast iron does not work well with acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. The reason for this is that the acid can break down the seasoning, forcing you to re-season your wok more often. So if you like to cook with these foods, carbon steel is a better option.

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7 Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle, Made USA 2021

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel woks are gaining traction for their even heat distribution and retention. And they require no seasoning, which is a serious upside, especially to those new to woks. However, because you cannot create a nonstick surface by seasoning, some foods may stick to the surface of a stainless steel wok. If you’re in the market for a stainless steel wok, Marianne found this Cooks’s Standard model performed well and maintained a high temperature throughout the cooking process.

Non-stick: For the beginner cook, non-stick is a great option because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t require seasoning. However, you’re not going to get the same sear on meats in veggies as you would with other woks, because the non-stick coatings cannot be heated as high. For these reasons, we didn’t include any non-stick woks in our testing.

Round Bottoms Woks vs. Flat Bottom Woks

Traditionally, woks are made with a round bottom, allowing them to get closer to the flame. Most of today’s stoves don’t accommodate the shape of a traditional round-bottom wok and require the use of a wok ring or a stove equipped with a wok top.

Many home cooks prefer to use flat bottom woks, as they don’t require any additional accessories. However, wok traditionalists argue that flat bottom woks limit the surface area and don’t allow you to toss food as you would in a round bottom wok.

We know it all comes down to preference. Whether you’re looking for the traditional feel of a round bottom wok or the convenience of a flat bottom wok, we’ve got picks for all of the above.

How to Season and Care for Your Wok

Both carbon steel and cast iron woks require seasoning before cooking to make sure food doesn’t stick. Think of this process as creating your own natural non-stick surface that can withstand high temperatures. Here are step-by-step instructions for seasoning your new wok:

  1. Clean your wok. Hand wash your wok using dish soap, warm water, and a sponge. This will help to remove any of the machine oil applied to prevent rusting during transit.
  2. Heat your wok. Fire up the stove and heat your wok on high heat for about 10 minutes. Rotate the wok to ensure all sides are evenly heated. The color may begin to change — this is normal!
  3. Oil your wok. While your wok is still hot, use a paper towel or rag to apply a small amount of high-smoke point oil, such as vegetable oil. Cover the entire surface area of the wok with the oil. Then use a rag or paper towel to wipe away as much of the oil as you can.

7 Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle, Made USA 2021

  1. Keep your wok hot. Allow the wok to sit on high heat for an additional five minutes. You’ll notice the color of the wok will begin to change once again, and this is a good sign. Go ahead and turn off the burner and let it cool. Your wok is seasoned and ready to use. To continue building the seasoning, repeat these steps as many times as you’d like.

To protect the coating you worked so hard to achieve, you should avoid cleaning your wok with any abrasive sponge or cleaning tool. After each use, use warm water and a non-abrasive sponge with a small amount of dish soap (don’t use any cleaning agent stronger than this) to hand wash it. Immediately dry your wok before storing it to avoid rusting.

Read More: How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan

Best Value Round Bottom Wok: The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle

For those looking to invest in a traditional round bottom wok, Marianne selected this classic carbon steel model from The Wok Shop as her favorite.

She says, “Comfortable handle, classic in shape and style, and easy to toss. I asked multiple people in the test kitchen to rate their favorite wok, strictly by feel, weight, and aesthetics, and this one was the overall winner. You’d never know this was the cheapest of the bunch.”

This carbon steel wok quickly reached the desired temperature, and easily adapted to heat changes. For the value, you can’t beat this American-made wok from The Wok Shop.

The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle


Buy It: The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle, Round Bottom, 14-inch, $35; The Wok Shop

Best Splurge Round Bottom Wok: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok

If you’re willing to splurge for a more artisan look and feel, this wok from Craft Wok was hand-hammered in China. Marianne says, “After seasoning, this changes color and really achieves a natural non-stick surface. It’s a gorgeous and affordable workhorse.”

Marianne found the wok to have a medium weight that was easy to toss with one hand. The wooden handle and carbon steel handle make for easy two-handed carrying, and the traditional round bottom quickly heats and adjusts to changes. You’ll get years of use out of this hand-crafted wok.

Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok


Buy It: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok, Round Bottom, 14-inch, $60; Amazon

Best Value Flat Bottom Wok: Taylor & Ng Starter Wok Set

If you prefer the ease and convenience of a flat bottom wok, this one from Taylor & Ng received high marks from Marianne for its lightness and comfortability during use. The flat bottom will sit nicely on any stove top, and the hole in the handle allows for easy hanging storage.

This starter set includes a dome wok cover to retain heat and a pair of bamboo cooking chopsticks. This is a great option for anyone new to woks or simply looking to update their existing wok.

Taylor and Ng Starter Wok Set


Buy It: Taylor & Ng Starter Wok Set, $45; Wayfair

Best Splurge Flat Bottom Wok: Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon Covered Wok Skillet

For a wok that’s truly the best of both worlds, this flat bottomed wok from Kuhn Rikon is well worth the splurge. “This wok heats impressively quickly and evenly,” says Marianne. “Its flat bottom allows for use without a wok ring, yet it has rounded edges on the bottom which made stir frying without the wok spatula easy.”

This set also includes a glass lid with a steamer hole, as well as an easy-to-grip, heat-proof handle. The light to medium weight of this wok allows for easy motions when tossing with one hand. It was also one of the fastest to preheat of all the woks Marianne tested.

Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon Covered Wok Skillet

Buy It: Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon Covered Wok Skillet, $80; Amazon

Others Woks We Tested

We can’t all be winners. Although these woks didn’t place top in their categories, some of them still performed well in Marianne’s testing. Read on if you’re curious about the competition.

Joyce Chen Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok Uncoated Carbon Steel

We had high hopes for this affordable wok, but it just didn’t shine above the others. Marianne also found the handle to be slightly uncomfortable.

Buy It: Joyce Chen Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok Uncoated Carbon Steel, $39; Amazon

Made In Cookware Blue Carbon Steel Wok

The flat bottom wok sits nicely on any stovetop. However, the uncomfortable, wide handle and the heavy weight of the wok made it awkward and difficult to use.

Buy It: Made In Cookware Blue Carbon Steel Wok, $99; Made In Cookware

Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Stainless-Steel 13-inch Wok with Dome Lid

While our testing focused on carbon steel woks, Marianne did find that this stainless steel variety maintained a high temperature. It’s a great option for someone who wants to avoid seasoning.

Buy It: Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Stainless-Steel 13-inch Wok with Dome Lid, $69; Amazon

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Wok

The weight and poor heat adaptability of cast iron woks kept them out of the running in our testing. However Marianne said this would be a great option for outdoor cooking.

Buy It: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Wok, $50; Amazon

Is it safe to use carbon steel wok?

Yes, carbon steel is very safe to use because it is made from carbon and iron which is a safe cooking material. Carbon steel cookware doesn’t contain toxic substances like other modern nonstick cookware

Is carbon steel wok good for cooking?

There is no substitute for a good carbon steel wok. Not only is it relatively inexpensive, but it conducts heat evenly. While there many other types of woks on the market today–aluminum, stainless steel, even copper–experienced Asian cooks swear by carbon steel

Carbon Steel Wok
Carbon Steel Wok

Is carbon steel wok the best?

If you simply don’t have the space for a wok, then you’ll want a very good frying pan at the very least. … And carbon steel is the preferred material, as that’s what woks are made of. At home, I prefer the dexterity of the 10-inch carbonsteel pan, which comfortably cooks for two.”

What is the best metal for a wok?

Carbon Steel: This is the most traditional material used for making woks, and it also tends to be the most recommended by wok enthusiasts. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, durable and most importantly, it heats up quickly and evenly. For these reasons, we decided to focus our testing on carbon steel woks

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