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The Best Carbon Steel Woks

best-carbon-steel-woks

Woks are one of the staple kitchen cooking equipment which have been around for more than a hundred years. Often involved in Asian cuisines, especially Chinese, they are used in a variety of cooking purposes which include deep-frying, stir-frying, steaming, and even baking.

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While they are often made of different materials, carbon steel woks have been known to be among the best choices due to their non-stick nature and even conduction. Apart from that, woks offer a number of advantages which are as follows:

  • They use less oil compared to other pans
  • They come with a larger space which would allow you to cook recipes in bulk
  • Ideal for deep frying, steaming, and sautéing
  • Perfect for preparing fried dishes, both veggies and non-veggies

If you’re not good at selecting the right product on the market or simply don’t have the knowledge on how to choose one, then you’re in luck! We have taken the liberty of doing market research and came up with our list of the 8 best carbon steel woks which we believe are the best on the market.


I. Top 8 Best Carbon Steel Woks

1. Our Pick – Mauviel Black Steel Wok

Mauviel-Made-In-France-M'Steel-Black-Steel-Wok

We consider the black steel Wok from Mauviel as our top pick, and it’s all for the right reasons. Owing to its extra-thick carbon steel construction, the Mauviel black steel wok is excellent at conducting heat, allowing you to sear food and brown veggies and meat with the utmost ease and perfection.

It also comes with a steel handle which is quite lengthy, though it can get really hot after a while. Over time, the wok tends to darken due to the buildup of its natural non-stick film. In such a case, you will have to season it first before using. Fortunately, its aftercare requires little to no soap while cleaning.

Weighing at just 6 pounds, the Mauviel wok is very lightweight, allowing you to flip and sear food with ease. It’s fairly huge at 20.9 x 11.8 x 3.8 inches and has a flat base which allows it to be used on just about any stove.

Things We Like:

  • Comes with a flat base perfect for all types of stoves
  • Excellent heat conduction due to its carbon steel construction
  • A thick body which allows for even longer heat retention

Things We Dislike:

  • A bit too expensive, but a great buy nonetheless
  • Doesn’t come pre-seasoned

2. Craft Wok Carbon Steel Pow with Wooden Handle

Craft-Wok-Traditional-Hand-Hammered-Carbon-Steel-Pow-Wok-

Compared to the previous product, this carbon steel wok from Craft Wok comes with a round bottom. Despite that, it won’t wobble as long as it’s placed properly. It’s made of 15-gauge carbon steel which makes it thick and strong enough to resist high heat and deformation.

One of its most notable features is its hand-hammered construction which makes it as close as possible to the traditional woks used by Chinese cooks. That and the fact that it doesn’t feature any bells and whistles which are common in most conventional units make it a popular option among professional Chinese chefs.

Like most woks on the market, this one requires to be seasoned before use. It also comes with a long handle along with a helper handle for added support and a more stable balance. However, the helper handle is made of steel, so you have to be careful while handling it.

Things We Like:

  • Hand-hammered construction which makes it quite close to a traditional unit
  • Includes a helper handle for added stability
  • A solid thickness for superior durability

Things We Dislike:

  • Not ideal for electric and glass stoves

3. Helen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok

Helen-Chen's-Asian-Kitchen-Flat-Bottom-Carbon-Steel-Wok,

Made of the traditional carbon steel, this flat bottom work from Helen’s Asian Kitchen has, as the name implies, a flat bottom design which allows it to be used on a variety of stoves such as electric, gas, or induction.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the wok features concentric carbon steel grooves which are perfect for providing quick and steady heating and cooling. Like most carbon steel woks, this one comes with two handles – a main stick and a helper handle – both of which are made of bamboo. As such, you don’t have to worry too much about them heating up, though extra precaution is still advised when cooking in very high temperatures.

Moreover, it has a domed metal lid which is perfect for covering your food when cooking. Measuring 14 inches in diameter, it is fairly large to accommodate a family size of around 4-6. Cleaning is fairly easy as well as you only need clean water and sponge to get rid of all the residues. Just like all woks, this one requires pre-seasoning as well.

Things We Like:

  • Comes with a heat-resistant bamboo handle and spatula
  • Excellent conductivity and even heat distribution
  • Features a flat bottom design for use on a variety of stoves
  • Cleaning is quick and easy

Things We Dislike:

  • A bit thinner compared to the other woks

4. Chef’s Medal Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok

Traditional-Hand-Hammered-Carbon-Steel-Pow-Wok-with-Bamboo-and-Steel-Helper-Handle

Another traditional and hand-hammered carbon steel wok, this one from Chef’s Medal is ideal for all your daily sauté, frying, or steaming needs. At 16 inches, this one is fairly huge, allowing you to cook a huge meal with ease. Moreover, it also features a bamboo handle, round bottom design, and a metal helper handle.

The wok’s inner surface can cook your food without sticking provided that it has undergone seasoning. Perhaps the best part about it is that its metal structure turns blue once heated, making it a wonderful piece of equipment in your kitchen.

Lastly, it’s been hand-hammered to provide it with the quality and appearance which are quite close to the traditional woks.

Things We Like:

  • Perfect for cooking food in bulk due to its large space
  • Features a heavy-duty bottom
  • Hand-hammered construction

Things We Dislike:

  • Comes with a bit of a sharp rim work

5. M.V. Trading Carbon Steel Wok

14-Inches-Carbon-Steel-Wok-with-Helper-Handle

Made of a heavy-gauge carbon steel wok, this carbon steel wok from MV Trading features a flat bottom and includes a wooden handle as well as a helper handle. Its design allows it to be used on a variety of stoves including grills and ceramics.

That aside, it’s also fairly lightweight at 6.5 pounds, making it perfect for stirring and tossing ingredients. It also has a dimension of 16.5 x 16.5 x 8.6 inches which is fairly large to accommodate a large amount of food. In fact, the manufacturer claims that it can hold enough food for feeding up to 12 people!

Things We Like:

  • Allows you to cook a large amount of food
  • Fairly lightweight and very easy to handle
  • Comes with wooden handles for easy control

Things We Dislike:

  • Not well-balanced

6. Joyce Chen 22-0060 Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok

Joyce-Chen-22-0060,-Pro-Chef-Flat-Bottom-Wok-Uncoated-Carbon-Steel

Perhaps the lightest carbon steel wok on this list, the 22-0060 flat bottom wok from Joyce Chen is a durable wok which measures 14 inches in diameter. It has black square phenolic handles which are ergonomic and stays cool for long, allowing you to handle it with ease when cooking.

Performance-wise, you will be able to try cooking anything on it. After all, it’s thick enough to retain heat while cooking. Just make sure you only use low to medium flame to prevent burning your food.

Owing to its flat bottom design, you can use it on any type of stove, whether gas or electric. Its 2mm thickness makes it tough and durable enough to last for the many years to come. However, it will require handwashing for maintenance, so make sure you don’t put it in your dishwasher to avoid issues.

Things We Like:

  • Comes with a phenolic and ergonomic handle
  • Allows more cooking versatility due to its flat bottom design
  • Made of heavy-gauge carbon steel

Things We Dislike:

  • The handles tend to wobble when the wok is overfilled

7. Joyce Chen 21-9978 Carbon Steel Wok

Joyce-Chen-21-9978,-Classic-Series-Carbon-Steel-Wok

Yet another quality carbon steel wok from Joyce Chen, the 21-9978 wok is part of the Classic series which includes products that feature only the basics, making them perfect for both amateurs and even professional chefs.

Like the other products on this list, this one is made of natural carbon steel. It has a 1.55m thickness which makes it durable and long-lasting. Moreover, you won’t even experience any risks of warping regardless of your style of cooking.

Compared to the other Joyce Chen wok, this one comes with a wooden handle made of birch wood. This makes it quite durable and solid. That aside, it also features a side handle which can stay cool for a long time and offers added support and balance.

Things We Like:

  • Comes with a flat bottom design
  • Offers extra stability thanks to its extra handle
  • Features a handle which is made of birch wood
  • Offers excellent heat distribution

Things We Dislike:

  • Doesn’t have a non-stick surface

8. Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok

Sur-La-Table-Professional-Carbon-Steel-Wok

Courtesy of Sur La Table, the 21-9969 carbon steel wok is a Taiwan-made product which is ideal for stir-frying and deep cooking a wide variety of food in large amounts.

It has a .8 mm thickness and features a handle made of maple wood. Due to its fairly thinner build, it can heat up pretty quickly, though you can expect its even heat distribution. This makes it really ideal for high heat cooking.

Thanks to its maple handle, you can stir and flip your food easily, thereby adding to the overall fun in cooking. That said, regardless of your cooking style and preference, you can surely achieve the results you need a lot faster.

Additionally, its design allows it to be used on a variety of stoves such as gas, ceramic, and electric variants.

Things We Like:

  • Designed for high heat cooking
  • Can be used on a variety of stovetops
  • Long and sturdy maple handle
  • Ideally used with metal utensils

Things We Dislike:

  • Can be prone to rust if not stored and seasoned properly

II. Tips for Choosing the Best Carbon Steel Wok

Tips-for-Choosing-the-Best-Carbon-Steel-Wok

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of carbon steel woks in the market. Therefore, if you want to come across the best woks, you need to know how to pick the right one.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into the factors you have to consider when looking for a carbon steel wok. They’re as follows:

  1. Size

Carbon steel woks come in a variety of sizes. Traditionally, Chinese woks tend to range from 10 to 16 inches. However, depending on your preference and cooking needs, you might want to go for a smaller or even larger wok.

In most cases, a 14-inch wok is enough to get all your cooking jobs done. This is the ideal size which is perfect if you’re just going to use it for home cooking. On the other hand, if you need a wok for your restaurant, then it would be ideal if you go for the largest variant at 16 inches. You also have to take note of your stove’s size and the available storage space in your kitchen.

  1. Construction Method

Carbon steel woks can be manufactured using a variety of procedures. Typically, they are made either through the use of spinning, hammering, and stamping.

Stamping normally involves bending a piece of metal which is then machine pressed. This results in a wok with smoother sides. Moreover, the process of stamping prevents the food from being moved around easily since it will just slide toward the middle.

The hammering offers some versatility since you can easily move the food around to make space for additional ingredients in the middle. The process involves the use of hammer blows which result in small indents on the wok’s insides.

Lastly, spinning is a method used for manufacturing woks that come with granular sides. Woks made through the spinning method come with concentric circles which allows you to place the food on their sides without sliding. This makes it easier to take full control of your cooking.

  1. Shape

Carbon steel woks could come in either flat or round bottoms. Typically, round bottoms are designed to cook food a lot faster, though flat bottom variants are also easy to handle on flat stoves.

Keep in mind that the shape of your carbon steel wok is an important consideration since not all shapes are compatible with your stove. A flat bottom design will work best on electric and induction stoves. On the other hand, round bottom woks are ideal for use on gas stoves.

Before you purchase, make sure you read the description of each product so you can have an idea of its preferred cooking surface. By choosing a pan which is compatible with a variety of stoves, you will be able to have the freedom of choosing the way you cook.

  1. Handles

Another important factor to consider when buying carbon steel woks is the handle. Typically, woks come in different handles made of different materials. Moreover, the way they are placed can vary as well. For example, you can find woks with small loop handles placed at opposite sides. You can also find woks with straight long handles coupled by a helper handle.

The way a wok’s handle is designed will help you determine your cooking experience. Ideally, you want to take a look at how a wok’s handle is designed. For example, a long handle makes it possible to toss your food without having to lose control of your pan. This tends to make cooking a lot faster and easier.

You should also take note of the material used for the handle. Most modern handles use natural wood, plastic, or phenolic since they have poor heat conductivity, allowing them to remain cool even when cooking on high heat temperature.

Phenolic handles are slightly beneficial compared to plastic and wood since they are slightly more resistant to high heat and solvent cleaners. However, if you want to enjoy a better cooking experience, it’s ideal to go for a heat-resistant one instead.

  1. Additional Accessories

Some carbon steel woks are available as a one-piece set, though you can find others which comes in a complete package. A wok with a lid included in the package is an important consideration, especially since there are some recipes that require simmering.

You’d also want to consider a recipe booklet which can be quite handy for learning new tips and even cooking recipes.


III. Conclusion

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, then you no longer have to worry as you can make one straight from your kitchen through the help of carbon steel woks. Compared to other types of cooking pans on the market, carbon steel woks tend to cook meals quickly, can provide you with healthier meals, and are energy-efficient to boot.

However, as mentioned earlier, not all pans are created the same. Therefore, if you want to come across the best carbon steel wok in the market, you have to consider the important buying factors particularly the pan’s design, quality, and performance. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to factor in your cooking preferences.

Hopefully, this buying guide will help you decide on the ideal carbon steel wok which can suit all of your cooking needs.

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