Top 6 Best Carbon Steel Woks in 2019

A wok is a unique, specialty piece of cookware that is used for a variety of dishes but is particularly useful for cooking East Asian cuisine. While a wok can be made from a few different materials, some of the absolute best ones are made from carbon steel.

Carbon steel cookware pieces can require a steep learning curve, but it’s well worth the time to learn about how to cook with these amazing cookware pieces! They’re highly efficient, and they leave your food looking and tasting delicious.

 Best Carbon Steel Woks

Top 6 Best Carbon Steel Woks 2019

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS

WokShop Wok

  • Size: 14″
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Joyce Chen

  • Size: 14″
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Keilen China Village

  • Size: 14″
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Sur la Table

  • Size: 14″
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Regent Traditional Oriental Chef

  • Size: 11.5″
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KEN HOM

  • Size: 14.5″
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1. WokShop Wok – Best Overall

WokShop Carbon Steel Wok

Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the best carbon steel woks comes from WokShop, a reliable and trustworthy cookware brand with beautiful pieces. This particular carbon steel wok is versatile and durable, a perfect combination for the active cook.

The size and design of the WokShop carbon steel wok allows it to work well either on a stovetop or a grill, allowing you the freedom to move between appliances with ease. But even still, the 14-inch diameter of the wok makes it easy to store under the counter when it’s not in use.

One convenient feature of the WokShop wok is it’s helper handle that goes with the regular long handle. This design makes the wok easy to move and handle no matter where you are in the kitchen, so cooking is now a breeze with this easy and helpful feature!

The flat bottom of this carbon steel wok makes it super stable on any surface. But don’t be fooled, the heat distribution and retention remain incredible; the WokShop 14-inch wok is made with heavier grade carbon steel to increase the cooking ability of the wok.

Pros

  • Excellent brand
  • Convenient helper handle
  • 6-inch diameter flat bottom; stable on any surface
  • Can be used on both stovetops and grills
  • Beautiful design
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Heats and cools quickly

Cons

  • Somewhat more expensive
  • Handle comes loose; must be tightened regularly

2. Joyce Chen – Best Value

Joyce Chen

The Joyce Chen Classic Carbon Steel Wok is a fantastic choice of cookware if you’re a fan of traditional Asian stir-frys and other similar Asian dishes. With a lightweight yet sturdy design, this wok is sure to get food good and hot and cook it perfectly beginning to end.

The 22-0060 wok has a flat bottom, and as such it works spectacularly with gas and electric stovetops. Because of its great heat conduction properties, it’s possible to save gas and electricity using this pot!

An ergonomically designed long handle along with a helper handle are carefully placed on the sides of the Joyce Chen wok. Both have a phenolic coating to make them heat resistant. Toss and maneuver with no stress and no risk of burns from the handles.

The Joyce Chen 22-0060 wok is made from heavy gauge carbon steel, so while it’s a tiny bit heavier than other woks, its ability to retain heat is far superior. The 2.0mm weight is professional grade, so you can be sure you’re getting the best of the best.

Pros

  • Flat bottom
  • Professional gauge carbon steel (2.0mm)
  • Ergonomically designed handle
  • Helper handle
  • Phenolic coating on both handles (heat resistant)
  • Hanging hook included
  • Easy to store
  • Lightweight
  • Durable design
  • Lid included

Cons

  • Somewhat more expensive
  • Factory coating is stubborn to remove

3. Keilen China Village – Best for Budget

Keilen China Village

The Keilen China Village Carbon Steel Wok is one of the most affordable woks on this list, but don’t let that fool you when it comes to quality. This carbon steel wok is by far one of the highest quality and sturdiest woks, and it’s perfect for the home cook who’s on a budget.

The efficient bowl shape combined with the flat bottom makes this wok stable on any surface. The engineering of the Keilen Wok makes it have excellent heat conduction and retention, making it perfect for searing and stir frying.

Although seasoning is still required with this carbon steel wok, after one seasoning the wok is ready to go. It can easily make all kinds of dishes with very little clean up required due to its nonstick nature after the seasoning.

The plastic handle and helper handle that are attached to this wok are secure and don’t come loose easily. They’re heat resistant, so the worry of burns is over! Move your wok confidently and with east. And, best of all, the long handle has an eye-hole for easy hanging.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to season and get cooking
  • Heat resistant plastic handles
  • Flat bottom; secure and stable
  • Superior heat conduction and retention
  • 14-inch size is good for large groups
  • Hanging ring on handle makes storage simple

Cons

  • Lesser known brand
  • Requires seasoning; doesn’t come pre-seasoned

4. Sur la Table – Best For High Heat

Sur la Table

When most people think of a wok, France and French food probably doesn’t come to mind right away. But, although the wok is traditionally an Asian cookware piece, its use in French food shouldn’t be underestimated. This French carbon steel wok stands out among the rest.

This particular wok is designed to handle high temperatures with ease. And, with its clever design, the Sur la Table 21-9969 wok can be used on almost all surfaces, including gas, induction, electric, and ceramic stovetops.

The solidly attached wooden handle, along with the helper handle and ultra-lightweight build, makes this carbon steel wok one of the easiest to move around the kitchen quickly and safely. Plus, the flat bottom ensures that no matter where you place it the wok will be stable.

Any use you can think of, the Sur la Table carbon steel wok can handle it. Whether you want to make an Asian stir fry, deep fry egg rolls, or steam Chinese buns, this wok is ready to go. With such a dynamic ability, it wasn’t difficult for this wok to make it onto this list.

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Quality French design
  • Can be used on all stovetops
  • Well-attached long handle
  • Helper handle included
  • Flat bottom
  • Can be used with metal utensils
  • Even heat distribution

Cons

  • Not as beautiful as other woks
  • Helper handle can interfere with process

5. Regent Traditional Oriental Chef – Well-Known Brand

Regent Traditional Oriental Chef

The Regent brand is known for its durability and longevity. The company has produced a beautiful and highly functional carbon steel wok with its Traditional Oriental Chef line of cookware. This wok deserves a place in the kitchen of any serious cook.

A wooden, heat resistant handle (along with a similarly designed helper handle) adorns the side of the pan. Unlike some other woks, this handle is securely fastened and is there to help you move your wok from place to place with no hassle whatsoever.

Amazingly, this non-stick wok is able to work with all cooktop surfaces! Now, owners of gas, ceramic, electric, and induction cooktops can have access to high quality cookware such as this Regent wok. Cook stir fries and steam to your heart’s content!

The flat bottom of this wok adds to the stability factor and makes cooking safer and simpler than ever before. And, best of all, the 13.3-inch diameter of the Regent carbon steel wok makes it just compact enough to store easily while still being big enough to cook for large groups!

Pros

  • Flat bottom; extra stable
  • Wooden, heat resistant handle with beautiful designs
  • Heat resistant helper handle
  • Works on all surfaces; induction, gas, ceramic, and electric
  • Compact
  • Good for medium or large groups
  • Excellent heat distribution
  • Aesthetically pleasing cookware piece
  • Durable and long lasting

Cons

  • Exterior coating is lacking
  • Not as accessible as other woks

6. KEN HOM – Best Nonstick Coating

KEN HOM

This carbon steel wok from KEN HOM is durable and highly effective when it comes to Asian cuisine. Super lightweight, conductive, and aesthetically pleasing, this carbon steel wok is a pleasure to work with for any cook in any kitchen.

One unique feature of the KEN HOM wok is that it’s dishwasher safe. Unlike other woks, which must be rinsed out and washed by hand, this wok can be stuck right in the dishwasher! Clean up with a non-stick, dishwasher safe pan makes cooking easier and faster.

This is the only carbon steel wok on this list that comes pre-seasoned/coated. With 3 layers of nonstick coating, this cookware piece from KEN HOM only needs the occasional bit of attention should the coating ever receive any scratches. Otherwise, it’s good to go!

The flat base and helper handle that are a part of the design of this carbon steel wok make it ultra-stable. Need to move the wok from the stovetop to another area of the kitchen on a countertop? Go for it! And, don’t worry about the handles; they’re heat resistant!

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Great heat retention and conduction
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 3 layers non-stick coating
  • No seasoning required
  • Flat bottom base
  • Helper handle included
  • Heat resistant handles
  • Heats up quickly

Cons

  • More pricey than other woks

When Do You Need a Carbon Steel Wok?

While a carbon steel wok can do some amazing things, some people may be in need of one more than other people are. So how do you know when you need a carbon steel wok? Here are some ways to know if you would benefit from having one of these cookware pieces.

When Do You Need a Carbon Steel Wok

First of all, if you’re a lover of Asian foods or other types of stir fries, a carbon steel wok is the cookware piece of choice. Because these woks become naturally non-stick over time the more that you use them with oil, it’s easy to clean up a carbon steel wok and also preserve flavor.

Non-stick pots and pans tend to be more expensive than their counterparts. But, if you’re looking for an affordable non-stick pan alternative, a carbon steel wok is a fantastic option! Stylish and smooth, you can get way more than your money’s worth with this piece!

Having trouble with the heat retention and distribution of regular pots and pans? Look no further than the carbon steel wok. Carbon steel has fantastic heat retention properties, and most carbon steel woks also distribute this heat evenly to allow for hassle free, perfectly cooked food.

Maybe you need a durable option that will stand up to some beatings. Most regular cookware pieces might wear out after hard use in the kitchen, but a carbon steel wok will keep going and amaze every time, no matter how often you use it!

If you’re a fan of cast iron cookware but you don’t like how heavy these cookware pieces can be, a carbon steel wok may be your best friend. These lightweight, durable woks are as tough as cast iron without having to carry around all the weight.

How to Season a Carbon Steel Wok

Caring for a carbon steel wok involves regular seasoning, especially at the beginning. Before you can even use your new wok, you need to make sure you season it properly! The seasoning process is absolutely vital for keeping your carbon steel wok in good shape for a long time.

First, because most new carbon steel woks come with a factory coating, you need to scrub the inside of the wok with a stainless steel scrubbing brush. Remember to use soap and hot water, and to rinse it thoroughly. Then, leave the wok to dry on the stove (which is set to low heat).

After washing, the wok is ready to season! Proper seasoning will create a patina, which is what makes a carbon steel wok non-stick. To start, heat the wok so that a water drop evaporates in the pan on contact. Then, pour 2tbsp of oil and some chopped ginger and scallions into the pan.

Stir fry the ginger and scallions with the oil, making sure to coat the pan well. Whereas the heat was on high before, turn it down to medium. Continue mixing around the oil, ginger, and scallions for 20 minutes to create the patina coating.

After creating the patina, remove the ginger and scallions, and then proceed to the sink to again wash the wok. This time use a regular soft sponge along with soap and hot water. Dry it over low heat. After your wok is seasoned, it may change color to be yellowish, bluish, or even black.

When you’re using a seasoned wok, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that this cookware piece must be washed differently than other cookware. To protect the wok, only use hot water and a soft sponge on it and soak the wok for 5 minutes to remove stuck-on food (don’t scrub!).

Conclusion

Buying a carbon steel wok is a process that takes careful thought and consideration. There are tons of brilliantly designed woks on the market, and with so many to choose from, it’s important to know exactly what you want!

Once you make your choice and purchase a carbon steel wok, you can get cooking! So many dishes are made with a wok, and once you have one, there are literally hundreds of recipes that become accessible to you and your kitchen.

 

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