Choosing between woks for induction cooktops can be a daunting task thanks to the vast array of options available. After putting some woks to the test, we’ve arrived at a list of four suitable candidates. Follow our advice, and when it’s time to make your favorite Asian cuisine, your kitchen will want for nothing.
An Induction wok instantly enhances a kitchen, if only for the increased versatility it provides. Now, you’ll be able to make meals with a higher degree of authenticity; these dishes were made to fry in a wok, and your pan isn’t going to cut it any longer. One bite of the final result and you’ll be glad you made the upgrade.
Many labor under the delusion that woks come in handy only for Asian cuisine; actually, you’ll find that this peculiarly-shaped wonder affords all kinds of new possibilities. Don’t hesitate to turn to it for pasta, as certain ingredients stand to benefit from the high-heat cooking of a wok. Stay tuned ’til the end for a popcorn recipe that will blow your mind!
What is the Best Induction Wok Made of ?
A good induction compatible wok can come in many forms. Each type of material carries with it its own pros and cons, which we will break down in greater detail.
Most people know stainless steel, so let’s start there. Stainless steel equals good performance plus long-lasting durability. Woks made with it can get heavy, and they tend to take awhile to heat up and cool off, but the cooking efficiency more than makes up for it. Make sure you’ve got some oil or non-stick spray handy, though.
Cast iron boasts a few advantages which set it apart from stainless steel, and it just might be the wok for induction stove that you’re looking for. Stainless steel can have a problem with sticking unless used with oil or spray, whereas many love cast iron for its natural non-stick properties. With all the news about Teflon and other materials degrading and leaking harmful chemicals into your food, this makes cast iron an attractive option.
Where cast iron fails in the wok world is durability. Woks of cast iron must be made light and thin, as cooking with a wok involves a lot of motion, and cast iron is quite heavy. Additionally, cast iron retains heat extremely well – this can be a pro as well as a con, as you’ll get long-lasting high heat, but at the expense of burning yourself.
Carbon steel is a different story altogether.
Its ability to conduct heat quickly and evenly coupled with its durability and inexpensiveness make it an incredible choice of material for a non-stick induction wok. For those unfamiliar, you’ll want to look for a 14-gauge carbon steel wok.
The last prominent material is aluminum, which is lighter than the other materials and one of the most excellent conductors of heat around. Where it lacks is in durability and strength – but never fear, as many pieces of cookware tend to combine aluminum and stainless steel to combine their respective advantages.
Woks can also differ in structure, and these differences in structure go a long way in changing the experience and final result. Generally, your wok will be made in one of three ways.
First, there’s traditional woks, also called hand-hammered woks. Tradition survives for a reason. These woks feature slight divots all throughout the inside, left by the hammer’s pattern. These divots allow you to move food to the side of the pan while adding more ingredients in the center. It helps to not have everything sliding around together!
Stamped woks, on the other hand, get their name from the process of taking one big sheet of carbon steel and stamping it with a machine into the wok shape. The simplicity of this process leads to both a low price and low quality.
These woks are usually made with low-gauge steel, meaning they can develop hot and cold spots – an obvious disadvantage when even heating is needed. Likewise, the smooth interior lacks the benefits of the divots in a hand-hammered wok.
Made on a lathe, a spun wok bears a pattern of concentric circles. This pattern affords the same advantages as a hand-hammered wok, meaning you have a great deal of control over food placement while cooking. Spun woks are made with heavy gauges of steel, flat bottoms and handles that are good for flipping. These woks combine the benefits of hand-hammered woks with a lower price.
Another aspect of woks which you must consider is shape.
The main question is, should you get one with a bowl shape or a flat bottom? Traditional woks feature a deep bowl shape made to fit into a circular opening over a hearth or a custom-built gas stove. Since most of us don’t have either, a bowl shape is clearly not the way to go.
On an electric range, these simply will not work. On a gas range they are a challenge to use, even if you have a wok holder or ring. Get a wok that is too flat, though, and it will defeat the whole purpose. A good wok must allow you to maneuver food in and out of the high-heat area.
For a happy medium, you’re going to want a 4-5-inch flat bottom, with sides that slope gently and flare out about 12-14 inches. This provides a sizable high-heat area ideal for searing meat and veggies in addition to ample space when it’s time to flip.
Finally, when it comes to the handles, there are two options. You can opt for a Cantonese-style one, which has two small handles on each side of the wok, or you can get a Northern-style one, which you hold by one long handle.
Most people tend to go for the latter, and for good reason! It is simply easier, safer and more convenient to use. There’s even a small handle on the opposite side, making the wok as easy to lift up as a Cantonese-style wok anyway.
Now let’s dive into the list of woks. Any of them will do you just fine, but we’ve also listed the pros and cons of each to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
When many of us think about woks, we think of Asian foods, primarily. So what is this Italian-made wok doing here? Well, fret not on that account. This wok is amazing. Part of the Ravelli LINEA 85 Range, this wok is made of heavy-duty aluminum and has comfortable, ergonomic handles.
Right out of the box, this wok has the look of a sleek Calphalon pan and feels just as durable. Five layers of PFOA-free non-stick coating puts the user at ease and keeps oil usage few and far between. Great for healthy homes! Though this wok uses aluminum, which is weaker than steel, it has been souped up here and it won’t let you down.
Reviewers rave about the ease of scrubbing things off after cooking, so don’t worry about things sticking. To test this pan, we whipped up some spicy chicken lettuce wraps. Wouldn’t you believe it – though the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of canola oil, we didn’t use any, and it was like nothing ever even happened.
The food came out fantastic.
This fine piece of aluminum cookware controls easily because of its heat-resistant handles and comfortable flipping. An induction-ready bottom brings your kitchen into the modern era so you can finally join the ranks of induction stove users. Be sure not to use metal tools on this particular pan as that will void the warranty on it. All told, this is a sturdy aluminum pan that is also surprisingly lightweight, weighing in at only 3 lbs.
- Handles stay cool and are easy to grip.
- Non-stick surface virtually eliminates the need for oil or spray.
- The wok itself is very easy to clean.
- Users noted this pan did not heat up very quickly.
- Not a traditional wok.
- Smaller compared to other woks.
If you’re shopping for a certain color scheme, then this induction ready wok might be for you. It comes in a whole array of colors to choose from. We stuck with the standard black, but the fact that you could get a red or even teal one had our minds racing with all kinds of aesthetic possibilities for the kitchen.
Another thing we really loved about this wok was the cool silicone handle. It stays nice and cool when being used and looks wonderful, like wood. The handle is easy to grip and hold onto, even with a wet hand.
I didn’t even bother putting this one away after testing it, so lovely did it look. Not only do they include a lid, but also a spatula. How convenient! PTFE lines the interior, meaning you won’t need oil for cooking — unless you want it, of course!
We cooked coconut curry shrimp in this wok. The veggies as well as the shrimp came out tender, juicy and flavorful, and the coconut milk complemented the flavor. Sure, the food was good, but it was the wok that did all the work for me. On top of all this, cleaning up was a breeze; I wiped it down with some warm water and a dry sponge and the job was done.
For those of you that have induction stoves: this is arguably one of the best woks for induction cooking on the market today. The bottom conducts heat so evenly it was like a revelation. The manufacturer recommends cooking at medium heat at the most. That’s because, in this thing, medium heat is like high heat. Not only that, but this wok retains heat extremely well, keeping food warm even for the latecomers.
One thing I would like to note is that this wok is heavy. I felt like my arms were getting a workout. The pot weighs in at 5.6 lbs., which is pretty hefty for a pot. But the quality is real, and the durability shows. Beware if you foresee the weight posing an issue for you, though!
- Looks beautiful in addition to being very functional.
- Comes with the lid, no need to buy separately.
- Heats up fast and distributes said heat evenly.
- Steam blocks view of the food while it is cooking through the lid.
- Wok is very heavy.
- The high-quality aluminum makes it a bit more expensive.
The Koreans know how to make excellent food, and it’s no wonder that such a great pan comes from there. One thing that must be said about this one is the earthy look about it – what a beauty! As soon as I ran my finger over the interior, I knew that nothing would stick.
And I was right.
This wok prevents food from sticking with a whopping ten layers of PFOA-free coating. Such density affords a great deal of durability, as well. Not even the dishwasher stands a chance against it! This wok was tested against one million dish cycles to verify that it will not wear away when washed in the dishwasher.
The outside layer is just the same as the inside when it comes to this wok, so don’t worry about it wearing away. The walls of this wok are rather steep, and you can fit plenty of food inside with no worries. In this one, we made eggs, ham and pea soup. We even deep fried some veggies and were amazed at the capacity of the thing.
This Alpha pan weighs a bit less than the other ones, which you might want to consider. Note that the handle is plastic, and the manufacturer advises that you don’t use a metal spatula or high heat on this wok.
This wok is free of chemicals that pose health risks like PFOA, lead and cadmium. The wok distributes heat super evenly, as you might expect from such a high-end pan. Nothing sticks, either – great if you’re trying to use less oil. Heck, it almost isn’t even necessary; the peanut chicken stir-fry we made called for 2 tbsp of oil but came out fine when we only used one.
For those of you with induction ranges, this may not be the non-stick induction wok for you. We noted that users who had induction stovetops stated that the wok did not work very well. Another user found that it was perfectly suited to a gas stove, though, and the bottom didn’t even get scorched.
- Little to no oil needed.
- The wok is lightweight.
- Heat distributes evenly.
- Lid must be purchased separately.
- You must avoid using a metal spatula.
- Not ideal for induction stoves.
Another beauty whose in-person presentation surpassed the amazing picture on the website. We knew we were excited to try working with this one, but would it perform?
The wok measures in at 13 inches with a body of 18/10 stainless steel and an aluminum core. Though the handle was expected to conduct some of the heat, it surprised us by staying quite cool, all thanks to the air-flow technology that Cooks Standard utilized.
A thing that came up in our experience with this wok was that the lid had to be purchased separately. Though this may be off-putting to some, the lid does fit very securely and does a great job trapping in heat as well as the moisture. We found this out firsthand during our trial recipes.
The first test recipe we did was a conventional one: almond vegetable stir fry, perfect for vegans. It can be hard to think up a good vegan meal besides the simple veggie burger with a side of peas or what have you. Stir-fry never fails, though, and this wok brought us to an understanding of how stir-fry is really supposed to be made. The deep pan accommodated so many ingredients that the fridge still holds some of the leftovers from this session.
It’s great to not have to season a pan, either, and the stainless-steel makeup of this pan precluded the need for any kind of seasoning or other non-stick measures. The inside bottom of the pan has a superb angle that makes it easy for the heat to spread around evenly, allowing you to fill the pan with heaps of food without compromising on heat anywhere. All in all, this pan is pretty great, especially if want the non-stick properties of stainless steel.
- Handles are stainless steel but stay cool.
- Inner aluminum core between the two layers of steel ensures fast heating.
- Works well on induction stoves
- The lid must be purchased separately.
- Some users noted problems with stains burning onto their wok.
- This wok is very heavy.
How to Properly Care for Your Wok
Follow these instructions to get the most out of your wok for induction stove cooktop.
You might assume that woks are to be handled delicately. This is not so! After all, like great cast-iron cookware, a wok made of carbon steel will get better and better every time you use it. Most of these woks arrive at your home or local store with a protective, filmy oil that prevents them from tarnishing while sitting on the shelf. You should remove this layer and lightly scrub the wok with water before you use it for the first time.
To season, heat the wok first before adding cold or room-temperature oil. This is very important. To do this, first place the wok over high heat and turn it about so that each part becomes hot. Heat until you see smoke. Next, pour some oil into a paper towel and rub the paper towel over the whole inside of the wok. Grasp the paper towel in a pair of tongs to avoid hurting yourself.
It is now perfectly seasoned!
Once cooking is done, all the wok needs is a rinse and a light scrub with a clean sponge. Do not use anything stronger than dish soap; in fact, avoid dish soap if you can! More often than not, a rinse plus a quick scrub with a soft sponge will be all you need to keep it clean and sanitary. Some wok users avoid soap completely; they claim it gives them a seasoned and effective non-stick wok.
Once you are done rinsing the wok, dry it off with some paper towels or kitchen cloth, and then rub in some vegetable oil on the surface so as to give it a coating that will help prevent rust from occurring.
The more you use your wok, the oil you heat in it will break down into small molecules that fill in the tiny pores of the surface of the metal, and thus making it totally non-stick. As you go about breaking in the wok, the material will move slowly from being a silver, to a brown, and then finally to the darkest shade of black. This black is just what you want, so don’t fear it!
Great Foods to Make in A Wok
We know you are already planning the ultimate stir fry with your new wok, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But did you know there are plenty of other great foods you can make with your new pan? Get the movies ready, because you are going to need them when you make popcorn this good.
Start by adding 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter plus a few popcorn kernels to the seasoned wok. Heat over medium heat. Once the kernels pop, you can add in the whole ⅓ cup of kernels. Cover the wok with a lid that fits tight and then shake it up until the popping is no more. Take the freshly made popcorn off the heat and add butter, salt and whatever else you like on your popcorn. The sloped sides of the wok make it easy to stir the popcorn, too.
If you like mussels, just follow the recipe like you would when preparing them in a large pot. The mussels will be a cinch to stir thanks to the sloped sides of the wok.
Make soup with flavor to die for by making it in your wok. The soup will take on a brand-new taste called wok-hai – that’s the slightly smoky flavor you get in your stir fry. It will breathe new life into a soup you have had hundreds of times! Just follow the recipe as you would in a pot.
If you want to make meals the authentic way, or you are ready to embark on wholly new kitchen adventures, then it is time to get your hands on an induction wok. Even if you cook on an electric or gas range, you will be amazed at the stuff you can do when you get your hands on a wok.
The benefits are multiple. You can make meals healthier and use less oil. You can get your family to try out new and exciting foods to keep dinners interesting and fun. You even get the fun of flipping the food as you cook it. Take a bite to become a believer; the flavors will speak for themselves!