Judith is a fairy in the world of writing: she manages to turn any topic (far not only a kitchen-related) into an entertaining text that is so easy and educating to read. Fond of gardening, reading, and cooking, of course.
Emily has over 10 years of professional experience using, testing and comparing kitchen appliances. Her knowledge helps to easily and naturally solve everyday problems. She is also the owner of the lifestyle blog emilyreviews.com
Last updated: May 05, 2021
Carbon steel woks are essential to any kitchen, especially if you would love to stir-fry, smoke, deep fry or even bake. They not only add fun and flavor to your cooking but also help reduce the amount of oil you need. With that said, finding the best carbon steel wok is not a walk in the park. Luckily, we are here to help you find the perfect wok for your kitchen.
We spent months trying out 35 carbon steel woks so that you can easily find out the right one for you. The Timoney Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Pow Wok stood out because of the good quality wrought iron used, durability, and a smooth non-stick surface. It is perfect for stir-frying rice and can also sauté vegetables within minutes. We reviewed other great products too.
In our quest to find the perfect carbon steel wok, we considered several features in our review. These include the weight of the wok, diameter, warranty, thickness, surface type, and other accessories. To ensure you get the most out of this review, a comparison table is first included in the review that outlines the products we reviewed. This is then followed by detailed product reviews of each carbon steel wok. Lastly, there is a buying guide to help you find the ideal great carbon steel wok and a FAQ section to answer some of your questions. We also give our verdict on the top 3 carbon steel woks that we reviewed.
Do you want a traditional uncoated carbon steel wok that works perfectly for stir-fried recipes? This wok has a smooth surface that allows you to try out different stir-fry and sauté recipes. Cooking is made fun and easy with the red eucalyptus handle. You can cook at high temperatures without having to worry about your safety.
The Timoneylove Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Pow Wok is relatively lightweight although it is made from good quality wrought iron. It weighs about 4.25 pounds with dimensions of 22.8 x 14.02 x 5.98 inches. The material also makes it dense and durable since you can use it for long.
One of the first things that you notice about the Timoneylove Pow wok is its cool design. The wok is hand-hammered and comes with a long handle to make cooking easy. It also has a helper handle on the opposite side of the handle, which comes in handy when you need to carry heavy or hot foods. The average 14-inch diameter is large enough to cook for a couple of people but may not be the best for large crowds.
Cooking with the Timoneylove Pow may prove problematic at first but the wok’s performance gets better as you use it. For the best results, we recommend that you season it before you start using it. It also needs regular handwashing if you wish to keep it in the best form.
If you are a cooking enthusiast like we are then you’ve probably heard of the French company, Mauviel. It is popular for its copper cookware but the brand also offers other household and commercial-grade kitchenware. It also makes its products from other materials including aluminum, stainless steel and lastly, carbon steel.
The Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok is a thick pan made from commercial-grade carbon steel. This allows you to use it in high heat. With proper maintenance, you can rest assured that this wok pan will serve you a lifetime.
But what makes this a great carbon steel wok? Well, first the pan comes covered with beeswax to prevent any rust or corrosion that may be on the wok. While this may not seem like an impressive feature, many pros we talked to asserted that rust is a problem with some woks. You can easily wash off the beeswax with hot water before you season it with your preferred oil or condiment.
This is one of the well-designed and attractive woks that we reviewed. It has a refined shape with a long handle that’s about 9 inches. The wok also has a helper handle to improve handling.
The Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok has an 11.8-inch diameter, which is relatively small. It may not be enough to cook for the whole family at once. You can, however, make some batches of your favorite stir-fry recipe in minutes.
Craft wok is known to produce authentic and traditional woks that are great for making Chinese food. Their woks are designed in the traditional Cantonese style. This would be a great choice if you are looking for an authentic Asian kitchenware.
The first thing that impressed us immediately when we got this wok is how large the wok pan is. It has a 16-inch diameter and goes 4.5 inches deep allowing you to hold food for a relatively large number of people. This Canton wok would be a great choice for you if you regularly host feasts for your family or friends. The Craft Wok Canton Style wok heats up so fast allowing you to make stir-fried vegetables or meat in no time.
The Craft Wok Canton Style wok is made in the traditional Cantonese design, which means it has a round bottom and small handles on two sides. Its design makes it perfect for open fire cooking or using it with your gas. Since it doesn’t have the regular handle, you should be careful not to get burned when lifting the wok.
This wok is fully hand-hammered if you would love a handmade wok. It is not pre-seasoned but seasoning is easy with this carbon steel wok.
Being a pretty large wok, the Craft Wok Canton Style wok is also bulky. It weighs 5.4 pounds and you may have to get some extra help when the is full.
What makes it special?
Heats up fast to offer a fast and energy-efficient cooking experience
Stir frying is one of the healthiest cooking methods because it’s fast and this retains the nutritional content of your food. A good wok is essential if you want to cook asian food in your home and the Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan is the ideal choice. This is a 14” wok with a rounded bottom that is pre-seasoned up to 600ºF. The problem with seasoning a carbon steel wok is that it’s hard to reach those even temperatures to create even coverage. Although this wok still requires regular seasoning with oil like any other wok pan the pre-seasoning gives you an ideal starting point. The black carbon steel surface offers excellent heat retention that can lock in those flavors that you crave.
The Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan is made with heavy-duty carbon steel. Despite the construction this wok is easy to handle with a simple ergonomic grip made from treated beech. Although most people will purchase this wok for stir frying it can be used for other cooking techniques, including: braising, deep-frying and pan-frying. When you’re finished cooking you need to clean this wok when it’s cool enough to touch. A dirty wok will develop a surface that’s prone to corrosion and this must be avoided. Simply wash your cooled wok with a soft sponge and hot water. No detergent is required. When you’re done you can dry the wok on the heat and rub the surface with a piece of kitchen paper soaked with a little oil.
Looking for a hand-hammered wok that is crafted the old way by well-trained professionals in China? If you would want to try out an old school wok then this is your best bet.
One of the main things that we loved about the Craft Wok Traditional hand-hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is its ease of use. This wok will heat up in minutes but still maintain a steady temperature. Its lightweight design allows it to respond quickly to any temperature changes.
It is not only a well-crafted wok but it also has an elegant triple-riveted wooden handle. Unlike other woks, the handle on the Craft Wok Traditional Hand-Hammered wok is detachable. This comes in handy when you wish to place the woke in an oven for baking or when you wish to hang the wok after use.
With a 14-inch diameter, this wok is large enough to feed about 4 people. This is enough for a small family. The Craft Wok Traditional Hand-Hammered wok weighs 4.4 pounds with a 1.8 mm thickness. Its lightweight design means that you can finally enjoy cooking your favorite stir-fried vegetables or salads.
This wok has a round bottom meaning you can’t use it on flat stoves. You can only use it with a gas stove but getting a wok ring may allow you to use it on your electric stove.
The Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok is great if you would love a flat bottom non-stick wok pan. Made by the company Souped Up Recipes, this pan is designed to work on all types of stoves.
It does not have any coating but you may have already noticed a unique and attractive print texture. This wok pan is not pre-seasoned so you will have to season it before you use it. However, the package comes with an instruction manual plus a video link to help you do it properly. The company also offers various Chinese recipes on their website.
The Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok impressed us with how light it is. It measures 5.25 pounds and is 1.4 mm thick but we were surprised by how strong this pan is.
This strong wok pan is complimented by an elegant wooden handle. The handle has a dark tone and blends so well with the black pan. No helper handle is included in the wok pan. Other accessories that are included in the package are a steel spatula and a fir wood lid.
We enjoyed cooking using this wok pot. The seasoning instructions in the product were quite simple. You also get access to easy-to-follow yet delicious recipes from the manufacturing company.
Why is it special?
It has a hammered texture
Comes with various accessories
Comes with Chinese recipes for novices
It is a flat bottom wok
What are the flaws?
It has no helper handle
Things to Consider
There are hundreds if not thousands of Woks in the market. Every wok is different with some having extra features. With that said, you must review some crucial factors before making a purchase. Here is our buying guide.
Why carbon steel woks are great
Carbon steel woks offer several benefits that the conventional pan does not. These are some of the reasons why they are great.
Safety- Unlike other metals such as aluminum that release harmful toxins into your food when heated, carbon steel woks do not. They are non-stick and do not release any toxins even under high temperatures.
Even distribution of heat- Carbon steel woks heat up and distributes fast. This ensures that you cook faster while also saving energy.
Lightweight- Carbon is lighter than cast iron and other cooking materials. This allows you to cook and toss your food easily.
Durability- These woks are also reliable as carbon steel is crack-resistant.
Affordable- With all the benefits highlighted above, carbon steel woks are still affordable. This means you can prepare healthy and tasty meals even if you are on a budget.
Seasoning a carbon steel wok
You need to season your wok before you start using it. This makes your wok pan non-stick while also improving its looks. Here are a couple of tips to help you season your pan.
Scrub your wok using hot water and some little detergent. Use an abrasive cleaner to scrub off any oil or dirt but do not use the abrasive on the inside of your pan.
Rinse the wok and let it dry
After it dries, place it on high heat. Ensure that it gets the blue/yellow color then remove it from the heat.
Put about 2 teaspoons of oil on the pan and rub with a paper towel
Reduce the heat to medium-low and place the wok on the fire for 10 minutes
Wipe off any remaining oil and repeat the process until there is no black residue left
The following features will help you choose the best carbon steel wok
Before removing your credit card, you need to compare different products. Here are some factors to consider before getting a wok.
The size of the wok that you intend on getting should depend on your needs. Do you have a large family? Do you want a commercial-grade wok for your kitchen?
Both round and flat bottom woks present have their benefits and limitations. A round bottom wok such as the Timoneylove Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Pow Wok cooks faster due to easy heat distribution. They are also great for open fire cooking. However, you cannot use it on electric stoves.
Flat bottom woks such as the Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok are versatile as they can be used on all types of stoves. The flat bottom woks are, however, not as fast or energy efficient as round-bottom woks.
Weight is one of the essential factors that you should not overlook. Your cooking needs are likely to determine what weight is acceptable to you. Do you want a large carbon steel wok for you and your family? It is highly likely that you will get a heavier wok.
Pricing is perhaps one of the most important considerations for a lot of people. Everyone has a different budget but it is important to know how much you are willing to spend on a wok pan. It may not be advisable to get an affordable wok pan if you will use it once a month. However, you can splurge if you are a kitchen enthusiast like we are and love to make some stir-fried salads every now.
It goes without saying that a high-quality wok will have a higher price tag. That said, this does not mean that every expensive carbon steel wok is of good quality. The Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok is our budget pick as it is affordable but still cooks well.
Cooking surface type
We all enjoy using a non-stick wok pan. In our review, we found out that some companies are using chemicals to make non-stick surfaces while others are not. The use of chemicals may expose your food to harmful substances. The Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan is one of the best health non-stick pans.
All carbon steel woks have handles but the different designs in each handle impact your cooking experience. This is why you need to check the handle design of a wok before you purchase one. Some woks have long handles while others have short handles.
A long handle will allow you to toss food with much better control than a short handle would. If you love trying out stir-fried food then you should get a wok with a long handle such as the Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok. The Mauviel has a 9-inch handle that makes cooking a breeze. You also want a wok that has a helper handle to help you lift the food.
Aside from the length, you also need to consider the material of the handle. Some woks have phenolic handles while others use wooden handles such as the Craft Wok Traditional hand-hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok. You want a handle that is a poor conductor of heat to ensure it remains cool and safe to handle even when under high heat. Phenolic handles are better than wooden handles as they are heat resistant and easy to clean.
Manufacturers often give certain guarantees on their products to boost the confidence of the client. Although each guarantee and warranty terms will be different, you should aim to have the best or longest guarantee terms. The Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok stands out in this regard as it has a limited lifetime guarantee. A significant number of the woks that we reviewed did not have specific guarantees from their manufacturers. Some products have different guarantee terms. The manufacturer can guarantee that the product is FDA approved, which means you can rest assured that the woks do not endanger your health with toxins.
Accessories you might need
Like buying everything else, you want to get as many accessories as possible to maximize the use of your equipment. Woks can come with several accessories such as spatulas, recipes or lids. All the accessories will make cooking easy and fun. The Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok, for example, comes with a natural fir wood lid, online recipes, and a stainless-steel wok spatula. Other woks such as the Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan comes with a step-by-step instruction manual to help you season and maintain your pan.
Method of construction
Your cooking experience is also impacted by how the carbon steel wok was made. There are three ways in which woks are made. These include
Stamping- This is where metal is bent to form a wok pan. Woks made using this method have smooth sides, which are not best for holding food.
No. One of the best features of woks is that they use little oil to cook, which not only makes you healthier but saves money too.
While we enjoyed preparing different recipes with all the carbon steel woks, we still have to choose the top 3. In first place is the Timoneylove Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Pow Wok, our editor’s choice. We loved this carbon steel wok as it is pre-seasoned, very reliable and is excellently hand-made. It also comes with an elegant red eucalyptus handle and has no coating. Cooking with this wok this was a pleasure.
The Mauviel Made In France M’Steel Black Steel Wok comes in at second place. This compact but well-designed wok is a great choice for you if you would like a small pan. It has a flat bottom meaning it is compatible with almost all forms of cooking. We also loved the 9-inch handle and helper handle.
We also had to include our budget pick, the Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan among the best carbon steel woks. This pre-seasoned wok is easy to handle with a simple ergonomic grip made from treated beech.