5 Best Carbon Steel Woks Review in 2021

If I had a nickel for every time I skipped a recipe after they listed wok as a requirement? I’d be retired, living in the Maldives.

I did try to beat the law of cooking and decided to use my other cooking pan in place of the wok, and that didn’t go well either.

So, eventually, I realized that if I ever had a chance of enjoying those mouth-watering Asian noodles, I had to invest in a carbon steel wok.

I’ve tried a lot of woks since my awakening. And some were a big miss and others were spectacular, and those are the ones I’ll be sharing with you.

Let’s dive right in

Table of Contents

I know claiming that of the best carbon steel woks reviews on google mine is the best, and asking you to, believe me, is a huuuge ask.

So, it’s only fair that I tell you exactly how I picked the woks on my list. Here you go.

I value quality, so I first choose the woks that generally cook well, and then narrowed my list further by choosing the woks that are comfortable to use in the kitchen.

Next, I chose the durable woks because I don’t want you to go shopping for another wok anytime soon.

I then checked the overall value of the wok and chose the ones that were fairly priced.

Lastly, I picked the woks with a great aesthetic appearance because I love something I can display on my kitchen counter.

Now that you know how I picked my best carbon steel wok let me show you what I have.

Let’s dive in.

Best Carbon Steel Woks: Our Top Picks

Product

Features

Prices

After several hours of dedicated usage, I’m please to provide you with my findings.

Expert Reviews of the Best Carbon Steel Woks

BEST OVERALL

I usually buy products from companies I’ve had a pleasant experience with, but I decided to give KYTD a chance since I have heard so many good things about them.

My first choice is a flat-bottomed steel wok because I feel it’s something that both intermediate and wok newbies can use.

It also comes with a wooden spatula, which cancels out the temptation of using steel spatulas that can scratch the coating of the steel wok.

The non-stick carbon steel wok also comes with a beautiful, tight glass lid with a tiny hole to let the steam out.

Another great thing about this wok is that it heats up very fast. Well, not as fast as the normal carbon steel pan, but once it gets hot, it retains the heat. This is because it is made of quality carbon steel.

It’s also worthwhile to note that you can remove the wooden handle in case you want to use the wok in your oven.

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Features We Love

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CONS

The wok measures 14.8 x 13.4 x 5.2 inches and has a diameter of 12.5 inches, and if you’re looking for a bigger wok, you can go for their 14-inch option.

It’s an excellent choice for someone who has been using regular pans and wants to try a wok.

Overall, the wok is fairly priced, given its durability and functionality

Premium Choice

This is one of the most popular carbon steel woks on Amazon; over 5800 people swear by it. Well, one reason it stands out from the rest is that it’s handmade.  And come on, we love technology, but I guess we are all starting to miss some human touch in a few things.

The wok was first designed in 2014, and over the years, it has proven to be very durable and reliable. It’s one of those traditional round-bottom woks that can be passed from one generation to another.

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Features We Love

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CONS

This wok looks like those traditional Asian woks. Its dimensions are 22.52 x 14.02 x 5.98 inches, so the diameter is 14 inches. The wok is stable on flat induction and flat electric stove.

It has a very appealing look, but it’s too big to display in your kitchen, however, you can hang it using the helper handle. That said, it’s best to avoid hanging the wok if you have a toddler or a counter surfer (hello dog owners🙃) since it’s 2.6 kg (4.6 pounds).

I recommend this wok for those looking for a traditional or durable wok. It may not have a lid, and the seasoning process can be daunting, but you’ll love the taste of the food it cooks

Editor’s Choice

This is almost similar to my KYTD suggestion, but the design is a little different. For one, the craft wok is deeper – it has a round surface and a flat bottom.

I received the Yosukata carbon steel wok as a birthday gift from one of my chef friends, and so far, I’ve got complaints.

I’ve used it at least three times to cook some noodles, steaming vegetables, and popcorn.

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CONS

The wok measures 22 x 13.5 x 5.5 inches, and it’s a bit lighter than other works of this site, which is good.

One of the deal-breakers of this wok is the pre-seasoning that many people don’t understand. When it starts peeling, many people freak out and think they’re eating some toxic substances.

I suggest using vegetable oil, grill cleaner, and dish detergent, and a no-scratch scrubber to clean the wok before using it. This helps in removing the ‘pre-seasoning’ and prevents it from peeling while you’re cooking. You can then coat the wok in vegetable oil and cook it a little on the gas as you swirl a paper towel inside using a tong to eliminate the pre-seasoning. I also fried some scallions and ginger in the wok to get rid of the metallic taste.

Honorable Mention

If you’re looking for a carbon steel wok that comes with some extras, you’ll love the souped-up recipe wok.

And before I tell you more, it’s important to mention that this wok can be used to prepare other recipes. I know that sounds obvious, but you have no idea how many times the question come up.

Read on to know about the wok.

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Features We Love

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CONS

The wok measures 21.7 x 12.5 x 3.74 inches, so it’s appropriate if you’re cooking for a small family.

Like any other wok, ensure you season, and clean it well to avoid the non-stick coatings from peelings on your food.

It’s also a great choice if you want a wok that allows you to transfer your soup conveniently without any spilling.

Honorable Mention

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Joyce Chen brand. After launching a Chinese restaurant in Massachusetts, none of the American cookware lived up to her standards. So she decided to start a cookware company.

Not only is the Joyce Chen flat bottomed wok convenient, but it also has a very beautiful and modern design.

Here is more about the wok

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Features We Love

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CONS

The measurements of the woks are 24 x 14 x 4 inches, so it’s a little bigger than our previous counterpart. This wok also has a flat bottom, which works well with multiple stoves.

The main handle also has a loop that you can use to hang the wok, and it requires regular seasoning for maintenance.

I highly recommend this wok for someone looking for a wok with a modern design.

Frequently Asked Questions on Carbon Steel Woks

Here are common questions asked regarding carbon steel wok.

Are carbon steel woks good?

Yes, the carbon steel woks are good because they cook fast at high temperatures without getting damaged.

Besides the durability of the woks, they’re also lightweight and have great design. Some of them also have handles and helper handles that make food transfer very easy and convenient. The handles also help you toss food when cooking, and some of them have a loop to hang the wok.

I also find food cooked in carbon steel woks very fresh and sweet.

Which is better, carbon steel or cast-iron wok?

Although both woks are great, there are a few differences. For example, the carbon steel wok heats up faster compared to the cast-iron wok. That said, the carbon steel woks cools faster, which is great when cooking delicate foods. On the other hand, the cast-iron retains heat for a longer period, which helps save power when cooking meals that take longer to cook.

I also prefer the carbon steel wok because, in most cases, they’re lightweight compared to the cast-iron, which can feel like a little workout when cooking in most cases.

Is carbon stainless steel wok safe?

I know there is fear of carbon steel woks emitting toxic substances or chemicals during cooking. But they’re completely safe, and they’re no health risks involved.

Will carbon steel wok rust?

This is probably the greatest setback of having a steel wok. If not well-taken care of, the carbon steel wok can rust very easily. To prevent this from happening, avoid soaking the wok in water for long periods and follow the maintenance care routine.

Can I use a metal spatula while frying in a carbon steel wok?

This is probably the greatest setback of having a steel wok. If not well-taken care of, the carbon steel wok can rust very easily. To prevent this from happening, avoid soaking the wok in water for long periods and follow the maintenance care routine.

It’s best to use a wooden or silicone spoon on your wok for longevity.

Benefits of Using a Wok

Steel Wok

Before you invest in one of these woks, it’s only fair I tell you the advantages of owning one and how it makes your kitchen life better.

Here you go.

It can hold large quantities of food.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I love a wok. Every time I tried cooking the Chinese chicken & rice veggies, it was so stressful. I had to cook two rounds for six people because it couldn’t fit in my normal pan.

And the spilling! Aaargh, that was the worst part. Having a clean kitchen without having to mop is a huge bonus for me.

The wok has a higher edge, so it can easily hold more food than a normal pan. It also reduces the spilling significantly.

Uniform Cooking

This may be the single secret why you find noodles in a Chinese restaurant incomparable to what you cook at home.

Woks have an excellent heat distribution that allows everything to cook well. For best results, always have food that takes longer to cook at the bottom of the pan, where the boiling oil is. Allow them to cook until they’re halfway done, and then add other ingredients that take less time, like tender vegetables or seafood.

This allows your harder ingredients to cook without overcooking the delicate ingredients, which means you get to enjoy all flavors.

Food Cooked in a Wok is Healthier

I know this may seem far-fetched. But remember, your health status isn’t determined by what you eat once, but what you consistently consume. One simple life change can make a big difference. For example, using a wok significantly reduces the amount of oil you need to cook, which is healthy for your heart.

Also, thanks to its high edges, you can squeeze your food on the side to drain any excess oil in the food before serving it.

Carbon Steel Wok Buying Guide

Wok

I gave you a list of best woks and gave you the pros & cons of each. However, it’s essential that I teach you how to select the best wok to fit your needs.

Here are the factors to consider when buying a wok.

Bottom Shape (round vs. flat bottom)

Carbon steel woks or any other woks come in two different designs; a round bottom or a flat bottom.

Traditional woks are round, and they’re very great when you’re cooking a variety of vegetables. Heat is concentrated on the bottom, and temperatures reduce as you move up. The only challenge is that the round bottom wok needs a gas stove or wok burner for stability. That said, you can always buy a wok ring if you really want a round-bottom wok.

If you don’t like the hustle, then that’s where the flat-bottomed carbon-steel wok comes in. It might not give you the same heat concentration at the center, but it fits all cooking surfaces.

Uniform Cooking

This may be the single secret why you find noodles in a Chinese restaurant incomparable to what you cook at home.

Woks have an excellent heat distribution that allows everything to cook well. For best results, always have food that takes longer to cook at the bottom of the pan, where the boiling oil is. Allow them to cook until they’re halfway done, and then add other ingredients that take less time, like tender vegetables or seafood.

This allows your harder ingredients to cook without overcooking the delicate ingredients, which means you get to enjoy all flavors.

Size

This may seem all nerdy, but I’ll simplify it for you. Don’t let the numbers intimidate you, stay with me.

The size of the wok is what dictates the amount of food you can cook. For example, if you’re looking to cook food for two people, an 8-inch diameter wok works just fine. But if you want a wok that can hold a large serving, then it’s best to go for a 14-inch diameter wok.

Another thing you need to consider is the wok’s thickness. Typically, the thickness varies between 1.0mm to 1.8mm. The thicker a wok is, the heavier it is, and the harder it will be to toss food. For instance, tossing a 16-inch, 1.8 mm wok will be way harder than tossing a 16-inch, 1.2mm wok.

I recommend buying woks between 1.0mm and 1.2mm thick because it allows your wok to warm faster, even at low temperatures. If you have to buy a wok that’s 1.8mm thick, consider investing in a wok burner.

Handle

I love woks with handles because they make my life a lot easier in the kitchen. Always go for woks with an ergometric handle that can cool off fast after being exposed to high heat. A handle allows you to toss your food easily, as well as transfer it.

For bigger woks, also ensure they have a helper handle as it makes transferring food easier.

Lid

I don’t think this is a big requirement, but getting a good wok with a lid is a bonus. They’re many dishes that require simmering that you’ll need to cover for a few minutes.

If you have an option to choose, always go for wooden lids instead of glass lids. The latter has a history of cracking too soon.

Spout

This is also not a mandatory requirement unless your sole reason for buying a wok is to prepare the soup.

The spout helps you transfer soup without spilling, which is very convenient.

Price

A highly-priced wok doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quality and the opposite is true. Well, many popular brands sell their woks at a high price, and you get what you pay for.

Am I saying you need to go for cheap woks? Absolutely not. I’m a sucker for the good stuff. However, give some upcoming brands a chance, read the reviews and evaluate them fairly based on the quality of their woks. And they may just surprise you.

Heat distribution

That would be weird.

However, you can take a minute to browse through the user reviews to see what they’re saying about heat distribution.

Warranty & Return Policy

It’s always a good idea to buy from a company with a warranty & return policy, especially when you’re making a significant investment. This way you can always return the wok if it’s nothing like what you expected.

How to Season Your Carbon Steel Wok

The best carbon steel wok is the one that is best seasoned! In order to make mouth-watering stir fry dishes, you need to ensure your carbon steel wok is seasoned thoroughly (pro-tip: never use heat resistant spray!) Whether you have one of the flat bottom woks or round bottom, it works the same. (ps – if you are interested, we wrote a similar guide on how to season carbon steel pans!)

Step 1: Make sure your carbon steel wok is unseasoned

Its likely that your carbon steel wok comes unseasoned, however there are some exceptions (such as a high quality carbon steel wok).

It’s very easy to tell if your carbon steel wok is seasoned or not. If it is seasoned, your carbon steel wok will be black. If its unseasoned, your carbon steel wok will be grey.

Step 2: Clean the carbon steel wok

A good carbon steel wok needs a thorough cleaning. Unlike your trusty frying pan, a carbon steel wok needs warm water and a small amount of soap to remove the coat in order to create that desired nonstick surface.

Step 3: Dry your carbon steel wok

While simple, you won’t believe how many people forget to take this part seriously and risk rusting their carbon steel wok. Just grab a paper towel and wick up all excess water.

Step 4: Heat up your carbon steel wok

You want to make sure your heat up your cooking surface (whether that’s an electric or induction cooktop or one of the top gas ranges) to a high heat, making sure you have an even heat distribution.

Step 5: Apply cooking oil to your carbon steel wok

Apply a little bit of oil inside and outside your wok. On the first seasoning, you want to make sure its as little as possible (remember, the wok is incredibly high heat – either hold by the wooden handle or use heat resistant oven mitts).

Once your carbon steel wok is completely coated, its time to dry it off until there is nothing left.

Step 6: Burn the Oiled Wok on High Heat

Once the carbon steel wok is completely coated, you need to burn a thin layer (an electric stove a is totally acceptable cooking surface, as long as it can retain heat and has a high heat setting).

You need to make sure the cooking surface has even heat distribution, so that the wok get hot (medium heat just won’t cut it).

This part will take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour.

How do you know once the process is complete?

The smoking will stop (yes there is smoke).

Ta-da! You know have a season carbon steel wok, ready for as much wok cooking and stir frying dishes as you want! Unfortunately, deep frying is off the table.

Pro-tips:

  • Heavy duty carbon steel or commercial grade carbon steel will need to repeat the process 2-3x
  • If you have a heavy duty carbon steel wok, medium heat will not create the desired smoke needed to season the wok
  • The best carbon steel woks ensure even heat distribution – no matter which cooking surface is used.
  • You can season both carbon steel and cast iron cookware using the same method

Carbon Steel Wok Cooking Styles

Whether you have a craft wok or flat bottom, stir frying and wok cooking are two of the most popular ways you can utilize your wok. While some dishes may call for the use of a frying pan or other various cast iron cookware, stir frying is best done on a carbon steel wok.

Stir Frying

Dating back as early as the Han Dynasty, the stir fry cooking method is embedded is the Asian culture and cuisine. Today, is one of the most popular cooking methods. People around the world love their woks because it allows them to cook with the stir fry method.

Once a trip to China three summers ago, I visited a traditional wok shop and bought a flat bottom cast iron wok. After talking with the owner of the shop, he suggested trading carbon steel wok for my cast iron wok -let me tell you, the wooden handle made all the difference.

 

 

Best Carbon Steel Wok (Final Words)

If you want to try those delicious Asian delicacies, the first thing you have to do is get a carbon steel wok.

As mentioned earlier, normal pans work, but they don’t give great results like the wok.

However, all woks are not the same in terms of material used, longevity, shape, and design.

If this is your first time trying a wok, try a carbon steel wok, and you may never have to shop for another one.

And always be keen with your seasoning and maintenance practices to ensure the wok doesn’t rust.

Back to you.

Do you have any experience using a carbon steel wok?

Colin Matthews

Colin is a passionate chef by trade and a kitchen nerd on the side. Growing up in the kitchen, Colin has always had a passion for learning the absolute best way to cook a dish. He quickly realized most kitchens have duplicate cookware and small appliances and had to decide which ones were going to be the “keepers” – causing him to take a closer look at all his products.

As it turns out, small differences make a big impact on the experience. Whether it’s how hard you have to press a microwave button, to how long a cast iron skillet stays warm after you turn off the heat, these little difference changed everything.