Best Carbon Steel Wok Reviews 2023

Maybe you’ve seen it on food shows.

Maybe you saw one at a traditional Asian restaurant?

Professional chefs use those giant, bowl-shaped cooking pans, where they toss and mix food ingredients under overwhelming, high flames.

And you wondered:

“How come the food does not fall out?” 

Then the chef pours some wine, and the flame rages, leaving you very amazed with your mouth wide open.

That, my dear friend, is a wok— traditional cookware in the Asian culture!

The Top 5 Best Carbon Steel Wok for your Kitchen

With many brands and products available in the market today, looking for a quality carbon steel wok is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Allow me to narrow down your searches with my top 5 most recommended carbon steel wok:

#1: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok

Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok

What We Like

  • Very sturdy and durable
  • Hand hammered
  • Authentically made in China
  • Very affordable
  • Ideal for cooking medium sized meals
  • Comes with a 15-inch gauge

What We Don’t Like

  • Needs to be seasoned before use
  • It is not dishwasher safe

If you prefer a traditional hand-hammered wok, then this wok design from Craft Wok is the best option for you. Even though it is a little costlier than budget woks, you will be reassured because of its exceptional quality. And I should say that this carbon steel wok is authentically made in Guangzhou, China, making it a wok that closely resembles the original designs and styles of Asian cooking woks.

This carbon steel wok features a wooden steel handle which does cooking easy— tossing and flipping your stir-fries without the risk of burning your hand. Plus, it can withstand higher temperatures for worry-free cooking.

The Craft Wok has a thickness of around 1.8 mm and is made from 15 gauge carbon steel for faster heating and keep the entire wok at an optimal temperature. Everything about this carbon steel wok has been carefully designed to make cooking at home more accessible and more enjoyable.

#2: Helen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok

Helen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok

What We Like

  • It is durable
  • Has 2 attractive wooden handles
  • Made for use on electric burner or gas stove
  • Quick conduction
  • Comfortable weight
  • Comes with accessories

What We Don’t Like

  • It is not dishwasher safe
  • Carbon steel walls are bit thinner than others
  • A bit shallow than standard woks
  • Requires initial seasoning

Made out of 1.6 mm carbon steel, this kitchen wok was designed by Helen Chen, a known name in Asian cooking. With a size of 14″, it is the carbon steel wok in creating a delicious Asian dinner for the whole family. It features a flat bottom design which is suitable for any gas, induction, or electric stove.

The concentric grooves of the carbon steel are visible and provide constant and rapid heating and cooling of the wok. It features two attractive and heat-resistant wooden handles— one helper handle and one central “stick”. Plus, it has a loop on its handle for easy hanging storage.

This carbon steel wok from Helen Chen also features a domed metal lid that allows steaming and even accommodates bamboo steam baskets. This carbon steel wok is also perfect if you give it a present for an aspiring Asian food chef. This is because it comes very nicely packed and generous with accessories— a recipe book, spatula, and a lid.

#3: Joyce Chen Pro Chef Uncoated Carbon Steel Wok

Joyce Chen Pro Chef Uncoated Carbon Steel Wok

What We Like

  • Flat bottom design for stability
  • Easy to remove handles
  • Durable materials
  • Fast induction
  • Extra helper handle for easy transporting
  • Ergonomic phenolic handle

What We Don’t Like

  • Too hard to scrub inner factory coating
  • A bit heavy when compared to standard 14” woks
  • It is not dishwasher safe

Joyce Chen first opened her restaurant back in the year 1958. Her high standards in Asian cookware make her decide to produce her own. Now, Joyce Chen produces the best quality cookware from all over the Pacific Rim.

A standard family size wok, this carbon steel wok is one of her best sellers. It is 14″ in diameter, making it light and easy to lift. This wok is 2mm thick, which allows rapid and even heating. It also features a flat bottom design used in induction, electric, and gas stovetops.

With an ergonomic phenolic handle that fits well in your hands and stays cool despite high heat when cooking, you can toss and flip your food with complete control. Its additional handle helper provides stability to the pan and easy transport from the stove to the countertop. Moreover, this carbon steel wok offers easy storage, thanks to the loop on its handle.

#4: Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok

Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok

What We Like

  • Long Birchwood handle
  • Side helper handle for easy lifting and transporting
  • Made for induction, electric and gas burner
  • Even heating
  • It has enough room to cook a whole fish

What We Don’t Like

  • Slower heating
  • Initial seasoning required

Well, because of the popularity of Joyce Chen products, it is no wonder that another product of hers make it to this list. This 14″ carbon steel wok comes from her Classic Series, the perfect combination of size, function, and features.

It has a 1.5 mm gauge carbon steel body that makes it very durable and wear-resistant. It heats slower than other thinner woks. However, it heats very evenly, so it works well with anything that you will be cooking.

It has Birchwood handles that go a long way in keeping your hands safe from fire and cool while cooking. A side helper handle is also added for easy lifting and transporting of the wok. Moreover, its curved sides design extends the cooking surface, which helps with stirring and tossing.

#5: IEOKE Uncoated Carbon Steel Wok

IEOKE Uncoated Carbon Steel Wok

What We Like

  • Hand-hammered wok
  • FDA-approved
  • Even heating
  • Non-stick surface
  • Heat resistant wood handle
  • Convenient handle helper for hang storing and lifting of the wok

What We Don’t Like

  • It is not dishwasher safe

Here comes another top-quality carbon steel wok pan with FDA approval for safety. The IEOKE uncoated carbon steel wok is a Chinese hand-hammered wok that is made from high-quality wrought iron. Compared with other woks, this carbon steel wok is firm and has a uniform density without any air bubbles or hollows from the surface.

Adopting a premium quality iron with few impurities and a smooth surface without coating, this carbon steel wok gives a physical nonstick surface for a problem-free and healthy cooking experience. Its thin wall and thick bottom structure provide evenly heating.

Moreover, it provides excellent thermal conductivity for directly transferring heat to the food to ensure cooked food in no time and saving electricity or gas. It features a heat-resistant wood handle for safe cooking and a convenient handle for easy transferring and lifting.

The Best Carbon Steel Wok of All

Among the five-carbon steel wok I have listed, I highly recommend you the:

Helen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok!

It features unique, beautiful wooden handles and a high lid that can be used for steaming. Furthermore, it can cook meals enough for the entire family, guests, and friends who decide to stop by.

Moreover, among the five woks I have listed here, only this carbon steel wok is generous enough to give away other accessories which prove helpful in taking your cooking skills to the next level.

What Is A Wok?

The wok is a wire, bowl-shaped cooking utensil that allows the chef to cook vegetables and meat evenly. Traditionally, woks were made of cast iron or carbon steel. Nowadays, you can find wok made of stainless steel and aluminum, with or without a nonstick coating. (These types, I don’t recommend.)

Best Carbon Steel Wok Reviews 2021 1 #cookymom

The flared, tall edges of a wok serve the purpose of keeping the ingredients from falling or jumping out of the side of the pan when attempting to toss the contents and ensures that you do not find half of your dinner on the floor. Moreover, these tall edges provide more cooking space for searing ingredients.

For instance:

If you are browning meats, you can arrange it on a single layer to the edges of the wok, which gives you more surface area than in a standard sauté pan.

By tradition, woks were always rounded since they were meant to sit in coals of fire. Nowadays, the newer models are usually forged with a flat bottom to accommodate Westernized cooking surfaces. Flat bottoms ensure that the pan will not topple over even if you leave it unattended.

A Very Versatile Utensil: A Wok’s Different Cooking Techniques

Some kitchen items do not need any introduction since everybody knows just how useful and versatile they are. The humble wok, particularly the carbon steel type, is an exciting kitchen tool that will surely expand your horizons in terms of everyday cooking.

You can use a carbon steel wok for many cooking techniques like:

  • Stir-frying: Frying food in a small amount of oil on high heat and continuously stirring.
  • Braising: It is the most common use of a wok.
  • Pan Frying: Frying in a small amount of oil.
  • Deep Frying: Frying food in a lot of oil, typically in deeper woks.
  • Boiling: You can use it for cooking rice and soups.

Why Should I Get a Carbon Steel Wok Over Woks Made of Other Materials?

Ceramic cast iron, anodized aluminum, electric, stainless steel, and other nonstick surfaces are materials available for woks. With many options and materials to choose from for your new wok, you probably wonder why I suggest that you get a carbon steel wok over other options.

Here’s why:

1. It is safe

Almost all cooking methods and techniques need high temperatures. Some metals, such as aluminum, release toxins when heated, thus posing a health threat to you and your family. On the other hand, carbon steel does not release any toxins even when heated at very high temperatures. Thus it is safer to use in cooking.

2. Even Conduction

Carbon steel woks provide an even and rapid heat distribution, unlike stainless steel pans. It can transfer heat faster that can help you prepare food faster, resulting in more energy.

3. Affordable

Carbon steel woks are much cheaper than their cast iron and stainless counterparts. This allows you to prepare tasty and healthy meals without breaking the bank.

4. Lightweight

Compared to cast iron, carbon steel are quite similar— they are both made from carbon and iron, although in different proportions. Cast iron has 2-3% carbon, while carbon steel has only 1% carbon.

This may look insignificant. However, it is the world’s difference. Both materials behave similarly when heated. However, carbon steel is more pliable and lighter than cast iron which becomes heavier and more brittle. This gives you the freedom to toss and flip your food and transfer the wok without so much strain.

5. Better Control

Carbon steel woks heat very fast and provide even heating. Not only that, but it also allows even cooling. This should give you better control when cooking your favorite food that requires medium to low temperatures by regulating the temperatures when it goes pretty high.

6. Durable

Carbon steel woks are crack and chip resistant since it is made of a durable metal making it stand out from other wok materials.

However, without proper care, carbon steel wok might rust and affect its durability. Seasoning can help provide good mileage and allows healthy cooking.

Cleaning and Initial Seasoning: What You Need To Know

Carbon steel woks are very specific— you need to follow some rules if you wish to use them for generations to come.

The first is cleaning.

You need to know that every wok needs to be thoroughly cleaned before using it for the first time. This is to remove the factory protective coating before cooking. Just wash it with warm water and soap and scrub it thoroughly with a scrubbing pad. Rinse and wipe dry.

Also, most carbon steel woks are not dishwasher safe. Meaning, you need to make an effort to wash and scrub it with warm water and a sponge every after use.

Initial seasoning is an important step that you should never skip whenever you use your carbon steel wok to ensure that it will last for generations to come. Seasoning acts as nonstick seasoning and should prevent the sticking of food to the wok surface.

To do this, you need to rub cooking oil onto the wok’s interior before going on with your cooking.

Features You Need to Consider when Choosing the Best Carbon Steel Wok

A wok is an excellent addition to your cooking utensils and will provide outstanding service for your cooking needs. However, when it comes to shopping for one, people often struggle to find the right one.

Features You Need to Consider when Choosing the Best Carbon Steel Wok

Here are some features you need to look out for to help you buy only the best carbon steel wok on the market.

1. Round Bottom VS. Flat Bottom

Carbon steel wok comes in 2 different bottom shapes. You can use either a flat-bottomed or rounded bottom wok for gas stovetops. However, if you have an induction or electric range, it is best to go for a flat-bottom style since it will comfortably sit on top without wobbling.

2. Height and Size

The diameter and height of the wok should also be considered. And make sure to check its concave properties. If you buy a wok that is too deep, the heat will only be retained at the bottom, and heat transfer to the side will not be enough, thus uneven cooking. If it is too shallow, you might not be able to toss and mix the foods up to the sides.

Also, when looking for a good wok, you need to keep in mind the number of people you might cook for. When considering the wok size, it is good to know that:

  • A 12” wok for preparing a meal for 5 people
  • A 14” wok for preparing a meal for 6 to 12 people
  • A 16” wok for preparing a meal for more than 12 people

3. Quality

The easiest way to tell a good quality wok is by looking at its materials and how it was made. There are various styles of carbon steel woks, such as hand-forged woks, which are of better quality, and stamped wok, which is cheaper, yet not as durable.

4. Handles

Woks come in various handles: some come with two small loop handles opposite each other; some have a loop handle on one side and a long handle on the other side; while others have this one long handle. Know that all handles serve the very same purpose: to lift the wok. Choose your wok based on your cooking techniques and preference.

5. Construction Method

Woks are made with different methods: stamping, spinning, and hammering.

The stamping method involves the bending of a piece of metal. Woks made from this method have smooth sides. However, it is essential to know that woks with smooth sides are clumsy at holding food. Thus these are not the best out there.

The spinning method produces woks with granular sides. Woks made with this method have concentric circles down the pan, which allows you to place food on the side without it sliding. This gives total control over cooking different kinds of food.

Hammered woks are those with small divots or indentations produced by each hammer blow. This is not noticeable if you don’t look closely enough. The edges of a hammered wok are rough and serve well in holding your food in the place.

Both hammered and spun woks are cheaper and affordable and would be an excellent choice for your cooking needs.

6. Utensils and Accessories

There are woks individually sold. Some come in a set that consists of a spatula, burner, rings, steamer tray, spoon, lid, and more. Determine what you will use your wok for before purchasing. Other than stir-frying, there are other cooking techniques like deep frying, smoking, and steaming, and all these will need extra utensils for successful cooking.

Tossing It Up!

The wok is a kitchen item that has been used for centuries and will undoubtedly be used well into the future. So, it would help if you took the time to make a serious decision when investing in this one piece of cookware and make sure to get the best one to serve you for the many years to come.

I hope you find this buying guide helpful. If you have something on your mind, feel free to voice it out through the comment section below.

Until then, happy flippin’!

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