Woks are incredibly versatile cooking vessels. While you may only associate them with stir-fries, woks can be successfully used to deep fry, sear proteins, boil vegetables, poach eggs, and make stews and soups.
There's a lot to consider if you're wok shopping, especially if it's the first time you've invested in such a cooking pan. Traditional woks have rounded bases, but modern flat-base options are available to be used on induction hobs.
General maintenance is also important to keep in mind. While the old school way to look after your wok is with regular seasoning, excellent non-stick versions are available to remove the need for such a process.
Whatever type and style of wok you decide suits you, we have found a selection of desirable pans that can help you reach your wokin' potential.
Craft Wok Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok
An absolute classic, Craft Wok's 14-incher is a perfect family-size pan hand-hammered in Guangzhou by Chinese professionals. The choice of many pro Chinese chefs, this is a traditional, gas stove-friendly round-bottom option made from heavy 15-gauge carbon steel.
Le Creuset of America Toughened Non-Stick Stir Fry Pan
This high-end choice from the prestigious French kitchenware brand, Le Creuset doesn't require seasoning, has a non-stick surface, is oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and can go in the dishwasher. The main handle and helper handle are made from premium stainless steel.
Klee Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok with Wooden Lid
A handsome all-metal cast iron option that can go in the oven, Klee's wok has a wooden lid that not only prevents your hot food from spitting, but keeps the temperature consistent for steaming, poaching, and simmering. The lid is also useful for keeping your food warm until it's served.
Mammafong Traditional Hand Hammered Wok
Another traditional option, this is a 100 percent hand-hammered pow wok made by master craftsmen in Guangdong, China. It has a machine-pressed flat base, which means it works with gas, electric, and induction cooking. It measures a generous 14 inches, is made of 16-gauge carbon steel, and has a wooden handle and helper handle.
Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok
From the well-respected brand, Lodge comes this seriously heavy-duty wok with a very sturdy base that can be exposed to any heat source, including BBQs and campfires. Pre-seasoned at the Lodge foundry, this wok's cast iron construction provides good heat distribution and retention.
Jim Beam Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok
From whiskey brand Jim Beam, this wok is ideal for your bourbon wings. Another cast-iron option, its incredible heavy-duty construction makes for superior heat retention and even cooking. Weighing in at just over five pounds, this wok has a 12-inch diameter and a height of around 3.5 inches.
MasterPan Ceramic Non-Stick Wok with Lid
This attractive copper-tone option from MasterPan is suitable for gas and electric stovetops, and can also go into the oven. With a 12-inch diameter, this wok has a generous 6-quart capacity, so it is an ideal choice for larger households. It boasts a ceramic, non-stick interior that is safe for even metal utensils.
Calphalon Flat Bottom Wok with Lid
With a non-stick interior that is designed to perform as effectively as stainless steel, this modern wok is crafted from heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum for durability. It's dishwasher-safe and can go in the oven with the included tempered glass lid. The stainless steel handle stays cool while you're cooking on the stovetop, and the flat bottom means it's induction compatible.
T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Wok
This 14-inch high-end option is described as a "true workhorse" in the kitchen. The titanium-reinforced, scratch-resistant, hard-anodized aluminum retains heat and has a stronger protective layer than the original metal. It makes this wok corrosion-resistant, which means that it won't react to acidic foods. This pan boasts T-fal's Thermospot tech with a spot that turns red when it's ready.
OXO Good Grips Wok
OXO Good Grip's unusual wok has a clever, bowl-shaped design that lets you toss and mix your food by pushing it against the inward-sloping higher side. It has a scratch-resistant, hard-anodized aluminum finish, which works on all stovetops apart from induction, and can go in the oven up to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Another nice touch is the handle wrapped in heat-resistant silicone.
Michelangelo Wok with Lid, Frying Basket and Steam Rack
This set represents great value with an 11-inch non-stick wok, a tempered lid, a deep frying basket, and a roasting steaming rack. The attractive orange interior is coated in an ultra non-stick ceramic material, and the durable three-layer base offers better heat distribution and warp resistance.
Out of respect for the wonderful traditions of Chinese cookery, we had to opt for a classic, carbon steel, and round-bottomed wok for our overall top choice. The Craft Wok Traditional Pow Wok is hand-hammered in China, offering you an authentic way of cooking Asian food in your own home.
If you want a wok that can do more than stir-fries, then the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok from the artisan American manufacturer is an investment but will last you for years and years. It can be used literally anywhere you can rustle up a heat source.
If anyone is on a budget, or unsure if wok-style cooking is going to be for them, the MasterPan Ceramic Non-stick Wok with Lid is an excellent starter pan. It's a more affordable option with a decent spec that comes recommended.