5 Alternative Ways to Use a Wok

published Sep 28, 2015
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I invested in a wok a few years ago, mainly to stir-fry and do high-heat cooking. I didn’t make the decision lightly, though, since a wok takes up a fair amount of room and needs care and maintenance to work at its best. I was worried it would only be able to do one thing well, but it’s actually a really versatile piece of cookware!

(Image credit: Kondor83)

5 Alternative Ways to Use a Wok

1. Deep-frying

I love deep-frying in my wok because its shape tapers down at the bottom, meaning you need less oil to fill it up but you’re still left with a wide surface area at the top. Woks also need to be seasoned, so filling it with oil is a great way to break in a new or young wok and start building a beautiful patina and natural nonstick surface.

2. Steaming

Steaming dumplings, whole fish, or vegetables is easy when you use a wok as the base. Get some inexpensive bamboo steamers (which can stack on top of each other to get a lot of food steaming at once), and you’ve got an easy way to do healthy cooking.

3. Warming tortillas

Warming up tortillas used to mean heating them up one by one on a burner or in a frying pan, which never held more than two small tortillas at once. Not anymore! Faith shared that she warms tortillas up in a wok. Just lay them up the sides, as many as you can fit, and you’ll have a stack of toasty tortillas in no time.

4. Smoking

Smoking food indoors doesn’t mean you need to buy a stovetop smoking box. With some foil, a cooling rack, and some wood chips, you can turn your wok into a makeshift smoker and smoke fish, nuts, or whatever your heart desires.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn in a wok? Yes, please! There’s plenty of room in a wok to do a big batch, and all that popping helps to evenly distribute oil and season the wok. Cookbook author Grace Young claims that it makes light, airy, and perfect popcorn — high praise for the humble wok.

  • Wokcorn: Does the Best Popcorn Come from a Wok?

What else do you do in your wok?