The 10 Best Carbon Steel Woks
This wiki has been updated 8 times since it was first published in November of 2018. To cook authentic-tasting Asian cuisine at home, one of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal is a wok. And if you're only going to own one, carbon steel is the way to go. It heats up quickly and evenly, and with proper seasoning and care, it develops a natural nonstick coating with repeated use. Our list includes both traditional and modern options at prices to fit any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 04, 2020:
Whatever you do, don't forget that a carbon-steel wok, just like any carbon-steel tool, will rust if not treated right. All of these models will need proper seasoning before their first use, just like a carbon-steel skillet, and when you're done cooking with them, they need to be deglazed, dried, and lightly oiled.
To be clear, there are carbon-steel woks out there with modern nonstick coatings. However, there are so many great, untreated models to choose from, that we decided to stick to just the more traditional options. Of those, the Town Food Service Peking is the one you're most likely to see used in a restaurant, not only because it's made entirely from welded steel, but also because its short handle won't get in the way of a busy cook. The same company makes the Town Food Service Cantonese, which is about as a big of a wok as you'll need outside of a large-scale or dedicated operation.
The Craft Wok 731W88 and Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen 97005 are both in the pow style, which most people are somewhat familiar with. They have wooden handles with helper loops on the opposite side and are the most convenient for home users. The only difference between them is that the Craft Wok has the traditional round bottom, while the Helen Chen's is just flat enough to sit nicely on your home stove. The Souped Up Recipes Flat Bottom has a wooden handle just like those two, but it's set apart from them with notable dimples that enhance the cooking process. The Mecete 5th Generation also has somewhat pronounced hammer marks, and its handle is wrapped in silicone to keep it from burning your hands.
If you need to feed a large group, the King Kooker 18WK is the right choice, but you'll need an especially hot burner or you won't get very far with it. The M.V. Trading CSWK16RB can also accommodate a decent number of diners, and it's made with thick metal that retains a good amount of heat.
November 06, 2018:
Before buying a carbon steel wok, it's important to know that if it's uncoated, you'll need to season it by heating and oiling it several times in order for it to form a nonstick surface. It also must be dried thoroughly after washing and oiled after each use to prevent rusting. That's why we included a few pre-seasoned and nonstick options, like the Timoney Hand Hammered and the Typhoon Living 6-Piece, for folks who are looking for something that's not quite so high-maintenance. Also note that if you choose a round-bottomed model, you'll need a wok ring to use it on an electric stove.
Shira Forge Wok Part of a line of handmade pans, this heirloom-quality piece is very clearly made with care from high-quality metal. It's considerably more costly than your average, factory-manufactured wok, but after years of reliable use, it will probably turn out to be a good investment. shiraforge.com
Athena Skillets Wok All three sizes of Athena woks don't just function well, they also look excellent and are made of especially thick alloy. They're extremely pricey, but nice enough that they'll last a lifetime if you take care of them right. The same company also offers a range of additional handmade tools including a skillet and a carbon-steel wok ring. virginialivingstore.com