Top 5 Best China Woks in 2023:
- Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok
- School of Wok “Wok Star” Wok
- Scanpan Classic GTX Wok
- ExcelSteel Chinese Wok
- Cooks Standard NC-00233 Wok
Are you a fan of Chinese food? Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy it every day? Unfortunately, good Chinese food restaurants are usually not the cheapest, nor do they work 24/7.
It is, therefore, best to equip yourself with all the cooking tools and the ingredients you need for your favorite Chinese stir fry and learn how to prepare it at the comfort of your home. In this way, you will never crave your fav Chinese dish again!
So, what do you need to cook up a serious stir fry? You can improvise a lot, but you simply cannot do without a wok. A good-old china wok guarantees that your lunch or dinner will be fresh-made and delivered to your table in a matter of minutes.
How can you find the best china wok? In today’s marketplace, there are a lot of woks to choose from traditional-looking to those of a more contemporary nature that can complete your polished collection of cookware.
We will help with your decision process with our detailed buying guide and honest product reviews. Stay with us!
5 Best China Woks In 2023: Detailed Reviews
1. ExcelSteel Chinese Wok – Super lightweight 13” cast-iron wok
Even though ExcelSteel Chinese Wok is made from cast iron, it is not nearly as heavy as traditional cast iron woks. Namely, this wok is almost 50% lighter due to some innovative solutions and thus much easier to handle as well.
It features a stainless steel riveted stick handle and a practical helper handle. The long handle is heat-resistant and has a hanging hole allowing for vertical storage. The bottom is flat and measures 7” in diameter. You can use it with all stovetops, induction ones included, and it is oven safe as well.
The super-light ExcellSteel Chinese wok comes pre-seasoned and should thus be hand-washed only. If you cannot avoid using soap or detergents, at least try to avoid the harsh ones that could damage the natural patina. For best results and prolonged use, always dry the surface with a paper towel and lightly season it with oil while the wok is still warm from washing.
This wok not only heats up quickly and evenly but also retains the heat well. It performs superbly, but the textured interior surface is not a perfect choice for some traditional Chinese dishes.
- Lightweight cast iron wok
- Heat-resistant handle
- Suitable for use on all types of stovetops
- Textured interior surface
2. Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok – Heavy-duty 14” wok of outstanding performance
Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok is made by a well-known and reputable company right here in the USA. It is one of the best cast iron woks on the market due to its superior heating and heat retention properties, and a large surface area.
It comes pre-seasoned so that you can use it immediately and worry-free. There are no synthetic coatings or chemicals. Like any other cast iron wok, it should best be washed with hot water only and well-dried before storage. The dishwasher is not an option.
This one-piece construction cast iron wok does not have the long handle, but two loop handles instead. It makes the tossing a bit complicated but, on the brighter side, allows you to use the wok in your oven. The sturdy flat bottom can be used on all types of stovetops.
The flat bottom measures about 6″ in diameter and with the depth of approximately 4.5″ makes the construction ideal for your cooking endeavors. Cast iron gets blazing hot and holds the heat for excellent performance, but it also makes this wok too heavy for some users. A rough interior surface might not be ideal for some delicate dishes, either.
- Heavy-duty performance
- Ideal for all cooking surfaces, including induction
- Seasoned for a natural nonstick effect
- Excellent heat retention and distribution
- Made in the USA
- Too heavy
- Rough interior surface
3. Cooks Standard NC-00233 Wok – Multi-ply clad stainless-steel 13-inch wok with dome lid
The Cooks Standard NC-00233 wok is a 13″ pan made of premium 18/10 stainless steel with a multi-element alloy aluminum core. It measures 23 by 13-1/2 by 5 inches, which is more than enough to prepare a meal for an average family.
The aluminum-clad disk bottom provides fast and even heating for superb cooking results. Thanks to the air-flow technology, the solid stainless riveted V-shaped handles stay cool to touch, guaranteeing utmost convenience and safety.
This wok is the first on our list that comes with its own lid. A stainless dome lid features a practical loop handle and has a 5” bottom. The lid fits securely and traps all the heat and moisture inside the wok so that all the juiciness and flavors are locked in.
You can use this Cook Standard wok with all types of stovetops. It can be used in the oven to up to 500°F as well so that you can easily brown your cooked food. It is not broiler safe.
The good news is that this is the first wok on our list that can be washed in a dishwasher, but the bad news is that the interior stains rather quickly. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
- Secure-fitting dome lid
- Suitable for use on all stovetops
- Oven safe
- Sturdy construction
- Handles stay cool to touch
- Heats up rapidly and evenly
- The interior stains easily
4. School of Wok “Wok Star” Wok – Authentic 12″ carbon steel wok great for wok hei
School of Wok “Wok Star” 12” carbon steel wok is an authentic wok large enough to prepare a meal for a small family. It is a traditional wok great for wok hei. Being deep, this wok provides excellent heat circulation. Carbon steel heats up fast and evenly and thus guarantees economical cooking too.
It might feel a bit heavy for its size, but you’ll have no trouble handling it due to a comfortable, heat resistant bamboo handle. A slight indent in the middle of the handle allows for an ideal wok-toss.
The biggest problem you might face once you bring this wok into your home is the fact that you need to season it on your own. It can feel especially overwhelming for the newbies. Do not worry when it changes its color from silver to brown – it is a normal part of this process. This layer will continue to build up over time and add more flavor to your food.
When it comes to cleaning, this carbon steel wok is similar to cast iron woks. You should not use any soap or scrub the surface, nor are you allowed to wash it in your dishwasher. Dry it up and oil its surface before storing it away. If you honor these instructions, there will be no need to re-season it.
- Made of high-quality carbon steel
- Authentic design
- Excellent heat circulation
- Comfortable bamboo handle
- Heats up quickly and evenly
- You need to pre-season it before you use it
5. Scanpan Classic GTX Wok – Superior 12″ ceramic nonstick wok for easy cooking & cleaning
The Scanpan Classic wok is a modern wok suitable for busy homemakers that cannot find time to season their cookware. Due to titanium-ceramic nonstick technology, it is easy to clean too, and that will save you even more time. You can also throw the wok into your dishwasher and let it do the hard job for you.
The wok is made of recycled, heavy-duty, pressure-cast aluminum, which makes it environmentally friendly too. It is also both PFOA-free and sustainable. After all, this wok has been handcrafted in Denmark to meet the highest standards of quality.
Heating up is fast, and even so, there are no hot spots. The spring-lock handle stays cool to touch for your safety and convenience. The wok is oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is compatible with all types of stovetops, induction included.
The intensity of flavor might not match up to the authenticity of the carbon steel and cast iron pans, but the food is not bland either. Quite the opposite – you are sure to enjoy it. The price of this wok is rather high, but you will receive a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
- Low maintenance nonstick coating
- Doesn’t have to be seasoned
- Can’t withstand high temperatures that carbon steel can
- Made from 100% recycled aluminum
- Free of the chemical compound PFOA
- You can use any utensils
- Overheating isn’t covered by the warranty
- Handcrafted in Denmark
- Lifetime warranty
A Short History Of China Woks
The wok originates in China and is one of the most common cooking utensils used in East Asia and Southeast Asia. It has been invented around 2,000 years ago but has only recently become a very popular cooking tool around the world too.
Some historians debate if the idea was indeed born in China and claim that it was borrowed from India or Thailand. It doesn’t really matter, it has earned its place in kitchens all over the globe and is now a part of world heritage.
Nomads grew to like the wok because it was a versatile cooking pot that could be used to cook an entire meal and would not be easily damaged while transported. They introduced it to many other cultures as they traveled, and thus its popularity grew.
The word ‘wok’ translates to “cooking pot.” In the past days, a wok was most often made from either carbon steel or cast iron. Cast iron is a more traditional choice favored by many, but in recent years carbon steel has become increasingly popular as well. Modern versions are made with nonstick coatings (PFA or Teflon), or from aluminum too.
Why Are Woks So Popular Both Then and Now?
Probably because they enable you to cook an entire meal in a single pan, the simplicity and ease of cooking in a wok are genuinely unsurpassable.
Woks are so versatile that you might find it difficult to fully grasp just how much you can do with your wok. It is used for stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, poaching, boiling, braising, stewing, searing, smoking, roasting nuts, and you can even make soup in it.
Creating wok hei or richly blended, smoky taste by stir-frying food over high heat, is an elusive endeavor often used to measure the skills of Chinese chefs. Do not worry, though; even if you don’t have enough time or talent to develop your wok hei skills, you will still have satisfactory results with minimal effort.
What Should You Consider When Buying a China Wok
Here is the list of things you should think about before you spend your hard-earned money on any wok:
1. Material And Construction
As we have already mentioned, nowadays, woks are made of a wide variety of materials. Still, the traditional ones made of uncoated carbon steel remain the most popular option. Why?
Uncoated carbon steel heats up in a matter of minutes and distributes the heat quickly and evenly too. It forms its own nonstick coating and is affordable to produce and purchase.
Cast iron is also quite popular among buyers. It provides you with superior heat retention and conductivity and forms a nonstick surface as well. You just need to make sure to season it and maintain it properly. Extra Tip: Never wash your carbon steel or cast iron wok with soap and water or in your dishwasher. It is not recommended because it will remove the patina of seasoning and ruin the wok hei.
Stainless steel woks usually have a tri-ply construction or a disk bottom. The good news is that you can wash them after cooking. Of course, your dishes won’t have the same wok hei provided by the heritage materials. Still, your food will be delicious, and cleaning will not be an issue.
Woks with a nonstick surface are a practical modern solution. They are super-easy to maintain but can release toxic chemicals at very high heat needed to stir-fry your food. Besides, you may not be able to use metal utensils.
Ceramic coated cast iron is another modern solution that will prevent your food from sticking, but you need to be extra careful when you use such woks as they can chip or crack if not handled with care.
Anodized aluminum is a lightweight material often used in modern kitchens. It conducts heat well, but we still prefer more traditional choices.
2. Type Of Wok
Round-bottomed woks are best used on stoves that have a high-BTU wok burner that can accommodate them. Most Chinese and Asian stoves are equipped with such lamps, but you must consider what type of stove you use at home. A gas stovetop is compatible with this type of wok.
Flat-bottomed woks can be used on a gas stovetop too, but unlike round-bottomed stir fry pans, they will work with an electric or induction range also. The flat-bottomed style woks can be placed directly on the element, so there is no need for a ring stand.
Woks that are intended for home-use range in sizes from 10″ to 16″. The 14″ size is the most common and most adequate option to prepare any dish for an average family.
It is imperative to consider the shape of a china wok. This means that you should measure its diameter and height and determine its concave properties. If a wok is too deep, the heat will be trapped on the bottom, and will not transfer to the sides properly.
If, on the other hand, the wok is too shallow, you will not be able to toss and move the food you are preparing up the sides. So, what are the perfect measures? For example, a 14” flat-bottomed wok that is 5” in diameter should have a minimum 4” of depth.
5. Accessories & Utensils
Most woks are sold separately, but if you are in luck, you can find an affordable set and get some accessories or utensils for the same or approximate price. Woks are usually paired up with a burner ring, lid, spatula, a steamer tray, or a ladle, so you should determine what you could use best.
Final Words Of Wisdom
It is time to choose a wok for your kitchen and start testing your cooking skills. Practice will make your wok hei perfect, so start early! Can you choose the best china wok from our Top 5 list?
If you are still indecisive, we‚ll give you a push in the right direction. Cast iron and carbon steel will provide you with an authentic flavor, and it should thus be best for you to choose between the Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok and School of Wok “Wok Star” Wok. In fact, the former is your best and most authentic option, especially if you are strong enough not to mind its weight.
If you are searching for the most practical solution, opt for the Scanpan Classic GTX Wok. You might make a small compromise in terms of flavor, but it will save you time and effort and inspire you to cook more often.