The Best Wok for Home Cooks, According to the Best Experts
Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, is only half joking when she says that the one thing she’d grab from her house in the event of a fire (aside from her husband and two small children, of course!) would be her wok. She loves that thing and firmly believes that every kitchen should have one.
Of course, lots of people opt to leave a wok out of their cookware lineup, thinking the pans are too specialized. If you get the right one, though — the best wok — Faith says it can be one of your most frequently used pieces of cookware.
Related: 5 Alternative Ways to Use a Wok
To help convert you to Faith’s side of this argument, we decided to take a look at what some of the top pros have to say (plus, the home cooks who shop on Amazon). These are the best woks (or wok alternatives!), according to the some of the best experts out there.
1. Tramontina Commercial Non-Stick 10-Inch Restaurant Fry Pan, $39 at Walmart
The Best Wok, According to Wirecutter
The best wok, according to Wirecutter, is no wok at all. Winnie Yang at Wirecutter says the biggest issue with having a wok at home is the fact that most of us don’t have stoves that get hot enough to properly stir-fry in a wok. (At the most, our burners put out 25,000 Btu, but commercial wok ranges hit five times that number). And round-bottom woks need a wok ring. Although flat-bottomed woks are fairly common in the American markets, Yang says the best tool for stir-frying is … this nonstick pan. Just know that because it’s smaller than a wok, you’ll have to stir-fry in batches.
Buy: Tramontina Commercial Non-Stick 10-Inch Restaurant Fry Pan, $39 at Walmart
2. Wok Shop 14-Inch Carbon Steel Wok with Metal Side Handle, $35
The Best Wok, According to Cook’s Illustrated
Cook’s Illustrated‘s top choice is currently out of stock, so we’re defaulting to the second pick. Testers said it was responsive to heat, loved the long handle, and the fact that it comes in a flat bottom option. Some testers noted difficulty maneuvering this wok, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Buy: Wok Shop 14-Inch Carbon Steel Wok with Metal Side Handle, $35 at The Wok Shop
3. Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok, $45
The Best Wok, According to Serious Eats
Gear pro J. Kenji López-Alt, over at Serious Eats, agrees that a wok can be a super versatile kitchen tool. He goes through the various materials (stay away from stainless steel woks!), talks about how they’re made, and what to look for. He picked this one because of its heavy-gauge carbon steel construction and riveted handles. It’s also currently out of stock, but Kenji doesn’t offer a backup.
Buy: Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok, $45
4. Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10-Inch Flat-Bottom Wok, $50
One of the Bestselling Woks on Amazon
Although Kenji says to stay away from nonstick woks (the coatings can’t handle the high heat that you’d use for a stir-fry), this is one of the bestselling woks on Amazon. It has 4.7 stars out of 5, which is pretty hard to get. It’s dishwasher-safe and doesn’t need to be seasoned, so it’s a great option for someone who doesn’t want to put the work in.
Buy: Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10-Inch Flat-Bottom Wok, $50
5. Carbon Steel Wok with Wood Side Handle, $35
The Best Wok, According to Kitchn
Faith has convinced Kitchn editors as a whole that woks are key pieces of cookware. From our experience — and talking to Grace Young, a passionate stir-fry evangelist — we have a short list of four things all good woks should have. First, it should be made of carbon steel, which is durable and inexpensive, heats quickly, and can become virtually nonstick (again, if you take the time to season it well!). It should have a flat bottom and a 14-inch diameter. And it should have wood handles on both sides. That brings us to this option from The Wok Shop. (It’s like the one that Cook’s Illustrated suggests, only it has a wooden helper handle, which doesn’t heat up as the metal one.) It’s the one Faith would grab in the event of a fire and the one we recommend to everyone.
Buy: Carbon Steel Wok with Wood Side Handle, $35 at The Wok Shop
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