cooking fried noodles in wok

Carbon steel woks are durable and versatile kitchen tools and can handle any stir-fry you throw in them. But which ones give you the real Asian flavors you desire while performing well in a modern kitchen?

Woks are among the oldest cooking utensils and have long tradition in Asia. (1) Some of the traditional wok brands are still making hand-hammered pieces while others have switched to newer manufacturing methods. Let's see which model offers the best bang (stir) for the money.

Carbon Steel Woks Reviewed

We have looked at dozens of carbon steel woks and have picked 10 of the best-rated ones across a range of price points.

*We select and review all products independently, based on our opinion and customer feedback. Some links on this page are affiliate links and if you make a purchase we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more info on our disclaimer page.

Best value overall

Mammafong Hand Hammered Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric coil, coal flame

Our Rating

9.2

#2

Joyce Chen Flat Bottom Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

8.0

Best high-end

Bite of China Hand Hammered Wok

- Base material: iron material
- Interior: nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction, coal flame

Our Rating

9.4

Best flat bottom

Sky Light Wok Pan

- Base material: iron material
- Interior: iron material
- Cooktops: gas, electric, ceramic, induction

Our Rating

9.0

#5

Pre-Seasoned Japanese Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon stel
- Cooktops: gas, coal stoves

Our Rating

8.7

#6

De Buyer Mineral B Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction, coal 

Our Rating

8.4

#7

Zhen Shan Huan Wok

- Base material: hammered iron
- Interior: hammered iron
- Cooktops: gas, coal stoves

Our Rating

9.3

#8

Joyce Chen Classic Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

8.2

#9

Mammafong Flat Bottom Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

9.2

#10

Timoney Carbon Steel Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, coal flames

Our Rating

8.1

Best value overall

Mammafong Hand Hammered Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric coil, coal flame

Our Rating

9.2

#2

Joyce Chen Flat Bottom Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

8.0

Best high-end

Bite of China Hand Hammered Wok

- Base material: iron material
- Interior: nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction, coal flame

Our Rating

9.4

Best flat bottom

Sky Light Wok Pan

- Base material: iron material
- Interior: iron material
- Cooktops: gas, electric, ceramic, induction

Our Rating

9.0

#5

Pre-Seasoned Japanese Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon stel
- Cooktops: gas, coal stoves

Our Rating

8.7

#6

De Buyer Mineral B Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction, coal 

Our Rating

8.4

#7

Zhen Shan Huan Wok

- Base material: hammered iron
- Interior: hammered iron
- Cooktops: gas, coal stoves

Our Rating

9.3

#8

Joyce Chen Classic Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

8.2

#9

Mammafong Flat Bottom Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, induction

Our Rating

9.2

#10

Timoney Carbon Steel Wok

- Base material: carbon steel
- Interior: carbon steel
- Cooktops: gas, coal flames

Our Rating

8.1

Mammafong Hand Hammered Wok

Design:

The Mammafong hand hammered wok measures 14 inches wide and comes with a straight wooden handle and a helper handle that is riveted on to the body. The wok has a silver hand hammered cooking surface that is dome shaped and weighing 3.3 pounds when packed.

Materials:

The pan is made of heavy gauge natural carbon steel material that cooks safe and healthy food since it has no artificial coating. The wooden handle is riveted on the wok's body using triple triangle rivets and reinforced by two screws on the handle for a sturdy and firm fix.

Usability:

We like this wok for its convenient size that allows users to cook both small and heavy meals. The cooking surface requires pre-seasoning before first time use and according to the manufacturer, continued cooking with proper care leads to the wok developing a natural non-stick cooking surface.

People who have experience using this wok love the cooking surface because it heats up quickly and evenly. However, the dome shape restricts usage of the wok on flat cooking tops since it can't hold steady by itself.

Care for the wok involves cleaning using warm water only. Soap and cleaning detergent should never be used on the cooking surface. Any stuck leftovers can be removed using a non-metallic scrubber. Remember to dry and cover the surface with a layer of cooking oil before storing the wok for next use.


Pros

  • Develops natural non-stick cooking surface after sometime
  • The body of the wok has high heat tolerance
  • Sturdy handle is firmly fitted by triple rivets and reinforced with two screws
  • Helper handle enables transporting the wok with contents

Cons

  • Requires seasoning before first time use
  • The surface can rust if care guidelines are not followed

Joyce Chen Flat Bottom Wok

Design:

This Joyce Chen Flat bottom wok has a cooking surface that measures 14 inches from end to end and sloped walls that meet at a flat bottom. The exterior and interior have a dark grey color while the two handles that are riveted opposite each other have a black color. The wok's body is thin at only 2 millimeters wide while the weight of the wok is 0.64 ounces.

Materials:

This wok has a body made of carbon steel that delivers tasty and healthy food. The ergonomic handle and helper handle are thick and covered with a thick synthetic phenolic material, which helps them remain cool even after the wok has been on the cooking stove for extended periods. The flat bottom makes this wok ideal for use over electric and gas ranges.

Usability:

You can use this large sized wok to prepare meals for a large family at a go, something that impressed our team. The wok is lightweight for such a huge size, which means that the body is thin and capable of rapidly transferring heat from the cooking stove to the contents.

The thick and sturdy handles enable easy flipping and tossing of contents while the placement of a helper handle directly opposite the ergonomic handle enables quick transfer of the wok together with food contents.

Users say that the wok comes with a protective cover from packing which can be removed by soaking the pan in warm water and scrubbing off with a scouring pad. Ensure that you immediately season the cooking surface with cooking oil to get it ready for use and prevent the surface from rusting.

The wok requires maintenance by cleaning it with only warm water and a scrapper. This is because soap and detergents could damage the surface if used when cleaning. A layer of oil should also be applied after cleaning the pan to prevent rusting to keep the pan ready for next use.


Pros

  • Has a large sized cooking surface
  • Heats up quickly and evenly
  • Sold with accompanying care and maintenance instructions
  • The body retains heat for a long time

Cons

  • The wok cannot be used right out of packaging
  • Forgetting to apply a protective layer of oil could cause the cooking surface to rust

Bite of China Hand Hammered Wok

Design:

This wok comes in varying sizes of 30, 32, 34, and 36 centimeters in diameter. The woks are hand hammered using ancient Chinese technology that achieves the perfect size of the woks. The ergonomic handle is forged from the wok's body while a helper handle is dual riveted on the opposite side.

Materials:

The iron material used to make this wok is hand hammered into a convenient dome shape that is super thin for rapid and uniform heating. The extended handle from the body of the wok is not held by rivets, which makes it sturdy and allows the cook gain maximum control of the wok when cooking. The iron material is suitable for use over all common stoves including induction heaters and coal flame.

Usability:

The ancient Chinese technology used when making this wok is evident in the perfect concave shaped dome that achieves the perfect balance between rapid heating and best shape for stir-frying. The additional helper handle enables safe transfer of contents with little chances of slipping or spills.

Users who have previously used this wok report that the cooking surface develops a natural non-stick surface after use for some time. The non-stick surface is reported to be better and safer to cook on since it is all-natural and has no artificial coating or chemical components.

The woks provided in black and navy-blue colors are pre-seasoned and ready for use right out of packaging. Silver woks require seasoning with cooking oil and medium heat before they are ready for use.


Pros

  • Heats up quickly and evenly
  • The wok retains the heat for a long time
  • Cooking surface becomes naturally non-stick after use
  • The wok is lightweight
  • Durable for a long time with proper care
  • Sold with a removable silicone cover for the handle

Cons

  • The silver wok requires seasoning before use
  • The woks are expensive
  • Counterfeit woks have flooded the market bearing the same name

Sky Light Wok Pan

Design:

The sky light wok pan is a 12.5-inch-wide wok that has a dark interior and exterior. The pan is sold with a detachable brown wooden handle that has a loop shaped hanging ring at the end. The interior cooking surface also has a honeycomb design and a flat bottom. The weight of the wok is 3.5 pounds when packed.

Materials:

The body of the wok is made of iron material and features no artificial coating. The wooden handle fits over the extended metal handle and easily comes off during cleaning. The flat base makes the wok suitable for use over flat induction, gas, ceramic, and electric cooking stoves.

Usability:

We appreciate the creative design that has gone into making this wok. It has a honeycomb patterned cooking surface that enables smooth cooking, does not deform or develop scratches, and maintains the beauty of the wok. The iron material forms an oxide layer with time that helps the cooking surface to release food quickly.

The flat bottom sits steady on any cooking stove while the iron body conducts heat rapidly and evenly. This combination makes cooking using this wok quick.

The detachable handle has also received praises from users of the wok. Cleaning the wok can be done easily without worrying about soaking up the wooden handle. The removable handle also offers great convenience when using the wok in the oven.


Pros

  • Removable handle enables easy placement in the oven
  • Safe for dishwasher cleaning
  • Its large size handles cooking for many people
  • Heats up quickly and uniformly
  • Compatible with all cooking tops including induction heaters

Cons

  • The wok develops stains when not dried well after cleaning
  • Cooking acidic foods on the pan can damage the cooking surface
  • Requires seasoning before first time use

Pre-Seasoned Japanese Wok

Design:

This Japanese Pre-seasoned wok comes in variables sizes of 11-inch, 13-inch, and 14-inch wide woks with a dark interior and exterior. The body of the woks is dome shaped with a deep curvature and round bottom. The wooden handle comes fitted on the body by welding and reinforced by two screws that hold it firmly in place. The opposite side of the straight handle also has a helper handle that is dual riveted close to the top edge.

Materials:

The body of the wok is made of heavy-duty carbon steel that provides safe and healthy cooking and is pre-seasoned from the factory. The wooden handle is thick and shaped to give it a non-slip grip, thus giving the user maximum control when cooking with the wok.

The opposite placed helper handle is convenient for carrying the wok together with the food contents being cooked with reduced chances of spilling. The round shape of the bottom restricts use of the wok on flat stoves to make it suitable for use only over gas and coal cooking stoves.

Usability:

The pre-seasoned Japanese wok comes ready to use directly out of packaging, which saves the buyer from the rigorous process of seasoning. Manufacturers enable the buyers of this pan to use the product longer as compared to other pans that degrade quickly when the owners mess up the initial pre-seasoning.

The welded fit of the wooden handle ensures that the handle moves with the wok every time the wok is tossed or turned, thereby giving the cook maximum control in the kitchen. The twin-screw setup provides additional support to the cladding holding the handle to prevent it from coming of even after a long time. The shape of the thick wooden handle prevents slips to give the cook a comfortable yet firm grip.

Users give pointers regarding use of the round shaped wok on a gas stove by using a ring stand that holds the wok and prevents it from tipping over.


Pros

  • Heats up quickly and evenly
  • The wooden handle is comfortable to hold and shaped for non-slip grip
  • The wok is pre-seasoned from factory and can be used right out of packaging
  • The handles are firmly fitted

Cons

  • Round bottom shape restricts use on electric, ceramic, and glass cooktops
  • The cooking surface is not non-stick when new
  • Requires care to prevent rusting

De Buyer Mineral B Wok

Design:

This wok from De Buyer has a uniform silver color on the interior as well as the exterior. The handle is straight and slightly sloped downwards to the body of the wok where it is held in place by three rivets that are arranged in an inverted triangular pattern. The wok is seven inches in diameter and has a narrow flat bottom. It weighs 3.8 pounds and has a holding capacity of up to a gallon.

Materials:

The body of the wok is made of carbon steel material that is safe and healthy for cooking. The straight and slightly tilted handle is firmly fitted on the body of the wok, thus enabling easy tossing and turning maneuvers when cooking. The narrow flat bottom makes this wok suitable for use over flat electric and induction cooking tops while the rounded walls make it suitable for use on gas and coal flames.

Usability:

The French design of the handle on this wok makes it suitable for cooks who like adding style and sophistication to their cooking. The slightly slanted handle comes firmly fitted on the body, thus ensuring that the user can control the wok with slight movements.

Another great thing about this pan is the carbon steel material that makes up the body. The carbon steel cooking surface is smooth and develops natural non-stick properties with continued use. The shape of the wok has received criticism from users because its narrow bottom is inconvenient to cook with, especially when preparing large meals.

The wok requires deglazing before use after which care involves cleaning and drying the wok after use with warm water only. The cooking surface should always be covered with a layer of oil before placing the wok in storage to prevent rust from forming on the cooking surface.


Pros

  • Heats up quickly
  • The wok supports use on all common cooking stoves including induction heaters
  • The cooking surface develops natural non-stick properties with continued use
  • Has a firmly fitted handle
  • Retains heat for a long time

Cons

  • Requires to be deglazed before first time use
  • Failing to oil the surface before storage will have the wok rusty in no time

Zhen Shan Huan Wok

Design:

This Zhen Shan Huan wok is available in sizes measuring 30, 32, and 34 centimeters at the top round edge. The woks have a hand hammered interior surface that is highly polished and a dull brown exterior. The body is dome shaped into a half-spherical shape with a cooking surface that is 14-inch deep. The handle is wooden and fitted in place using a metal clad that is riveted on the wok's body.

Materials:

The wok is made of hand hammered iron that is beat into shape using ancient Chinese sword forging techniques. Its handle is thick and features a circular loop at the end, which allows the wok to be hung on a kitchen shelf or rack. The rounded shape of the body, however, restricts the wok's usage over flat stove cooktops and only allows it to be used effectively on gas and coal stoves.

Usability:

We are impressed by the smooth cooking surface that has been precisely hand hammered to a mirror polished look. The cooking surface not only looks good but also performs impressively. The cooking surface, however, requires seasoning before first use.

The body on the wok is thin while the iron material absorbs heat quickly and distributes it to all parts of the cooking surface instantly to enable even cooking without creating hotspots. The wooden handle is thick enough to give the user a firm and comfortable non-slip grip in addition to remaining cold to the touch.

Users have cautioned against soaking the wooden handle in water when cleaning the pan revealing that it causes it to swell. The handle also restricts dishwasher cleaning and using the wok in the oven.


Pros

  • Heats up quickly and with no hotspots
  • Stay cool wooden handle
  • Develops natural non-stick cooking surface with time
  • Has a deep cooking surface

Cons

  • Requires seasoning before use
  • The handle restricts oven use and dishwasher cleaning
  • Round shape restricts use on flattop cooking stoves

Joyce Chen Classic Wok

Design:

This Joyce Chen Classic wok has a 14-inch wide round top and walls that are sloped towards the interior to meet at a narrow flat circular bottom that is seven inches wide. Two wooden handles are riveted on opposite sides of the body, one being a long ergonomic handle with a rounded loop at the end and the other being a short wooden helper handle.

Materials:

The wok is made of thick carbon steel that is hard pressed into a thin sheet measuring 1.5 millimeters thick for quick and even heating. Its wooden handles are thick and have a shape that narrows in the middle and widens towards the edges to provide a non-slip grip. The bottom flat allows the wok to be used on gas, electric stoves, as well as on induction heaters.

Usability:

We found the super slim body of this wok impressive because it enables quick heating and even distribution of heat. Users have reported that the wok retains heat once it heats up. Sometimes, it even requires the heat to be adjusted to lower levels to avoid overcooking food. The flat bottom and carbon steel body are compatible with flattop cookers without a need for cooking rings to keep the wok stable.

The Birch wood handles come in a shape that provides a comfortable and firm non-slip grip while the helper handle allows users to transfer the wok together with food contents easily.

The carbon steel surface requires cleaning with only water and care before storage. Ensure it is coated with a layer of oil to prevent rusting when not in use.


Pros

  • Quick and evenly distributed heating
  • Cleans easily
  • Non-stick surface gets better with more use
  • Has included helper handle
  • Handles allow you to have a non-slip grip

Cons

  • The pan can rust when stored without coating it with oil
  • Requires to be seasoned

Mammafong Flat Bottom Wok

Design:

The Mammafong flat bottom has a circular top edge, which measures 14 inches in diameter, and walls that are slanted towards the interior to meet a flat round base that measures 4.5 inches wide. The wok has a straight light brown wooden handle and a helper handle riveted to the body on the opposite side.

Materials:

The wok's body is made of carbon steel that is hand hammered into a smooth polished interior surface. The handle is held in place by a metal cladding that is riveted on the body and reinforced by two screws on the handle for a firm fit. The flat base allows the wok to be used on flat cooking stoves, such as gas, electric, induction, and ceramic stoves.

Usability:

The slim hand-hammered body that has a shiny finish impressed our team because it efficiently distributes heat uniformly and eliminates hotspots. The flat base also makes the wok stable when used on cooking stoves and eliminates the need for support accessories on a gas stove.

The carbon steel body, however, is delicate and rusts easily when exposed to moisture. Users recommend wiping the wok's surface dry after cleaning, which should be done using water only, and adding a thin layer of oil on it before storing the wok.

Users report that after following the guidelines issued by the manufacturer about seasoning, cleaning and maintenance, the cooking surface develops a natural non-stick ability that gets better with continued use.


Pros

  • The body heats up quickly and uniformly
  • Includes helper handle
  • The handles are thick and comfortable to hold
  • Develops natural non-stick that is free of toxins

Cons

  • Wooden handle could soak up water and swell
  • Has a difficult seasoning process

Timoney Carbon Steel Wok

Design:

This Timoney Carbon steel wok has a rounded top edge and a dome shaped body with a rounded bottom. The body is black in color and extends to meet an ergonomic wooden handle that is brown in color. A smaller helper handle is also welded on the opposite side of the wok's body.

Materials:

The wok is made of carbon steel material that has been hand hammered into a thin sheet measuring 1.8 millimeters wide for quick and even heating. The body is a solid single piece that has no attachments. Its wooden handle is made of imported red eucalyptus. The rounded shape, however, limits the wok's usage to gas and coal flames only.

Usability:

This Timoney wok delivers quick and evenly distributed heating thanks to its thin body that is made of carbon steel. Since the manufacturer ships the wok after pre-seasoning it at the factory, buyers can use it directly after unpacking, which saves them time and reduces chances of them messing up the initial seasoning.

Cleaning the wok requires you to use warm water only and drying it afterwards. A thin layer of cooking oil applied on the surface also helps to keep the wok from forming rust when in storage.

The manufacturer warns against using steel wool and steel balls to get rid of formed rust. We advise that you be proactive by preventing the rust from forming in the first place.


Pros

  • Comes pre-seasoned by the manufacturer
  • Develops natural nonstick cooking surface that gets better with more use
  • The wooden handle is firmly fitted and remains cool
  • Cleans easily

Cons

  • The rounded bottom causes the wok to wobble when used on flat cooktops
  • The handle restricts dishwasher cleaning and oven use
  • The wok is not sold with a covering lid

Why Should You Invest In a Carbon Steel Wok?

Carbon Steel woks are traditional Asian Cuisine cookware that have large holding capacity and shaped in such a way that it is easy to toss food when cooking.

The wok is a sound investment for any serious cook since it is lightweight and reasonably priced. The cooking surface on a carbon steel wok has natural non-stick properties that produce safe and healthy food free from toxins. Woks also have excellent heat distribution and are impressively durable when the cook takes care of them.

a fried noodles with tiger prawn in wok

It is imperative to note, however, that carbon steel woks require seasoning and careful maintenance to prevent their surface from rusting. They are also not safe for dishwasher cleaning and are not ideal for cooking of acidic food because it could damage the cooking surface.


Features to Consider When Buying A Carbon Wok

Size

The size of a wok's cooking surface limits the amount of food that can be prepared on it. Small sized woks cook quickly but only hold small amounts of food while large sized woks take up more time to heat up. You, however, can cook enough food for a large group with a big wok.

Shape

The shape of the wok determines how effectively the wok distributes heat. Deeper woks tend to concentrate heat at the bottom while shallow woks heat up evenly.

a chef is using wok to cook food

The rounded bottom woks wobble and cannot be used on flat cooktops while flat-bottomed woks are stable and can be used on any cooktop.

Handles

The handles on the wok are made of different designs and materials. Helper handles on some woks are great when you want to transfer the wok together with food contents. Handles should be comfortable to hold. They should also be firmly fitted on the wok to prevent them from coming off.

Thickness 

Typical wok thickness ranges from 1.5 millimeters to 1.8 millimeters. The thin body enables efficient heat distribution and makes the wok light.


Seasoning Carbon Steels Woks

Seasoning a carbon steel wok enables it to develop a non-stick cooking surface and make it durable. 

The steps to follow for seasoning are:

  • Clean the surface thoroughly with warm water and a cleaning pad. The cleaning pad should not be used on the interior.
  •  Rinse the wok and dry it
  •  Place the wok on the stove and tilt it repeatedly until the interior surface becomes dark
  •  Remove the wok from the stove
  • Pour a small amount of cooking oil on the surface and rub it in with a paper towel
  • Place the wok on the stove again and turn the heat to medium for about 10 minutes
  • Wipe the surface with a fresh paper towel. If the paper towel has black residue, repeat the process until wiping the surface leaves no black residue, which indicates that the wok is ready for use.

How to Care for a Carbon Steel Wok

Caring for a carbon steel wok involves cleaning the wok using warm water only. Never use soaps or detergents on the cooking surface. The wok should then be wiped dry and covering its surface with a light layer of oil before storing.


FAQ

Are carbon steel woks good?

Carbon steel woks can cook under extremely high temperature and provide safe food free from toxins because the surface has no artificial coating. The woks also last for a long time when seasoned correctly for the first time and cared for properly.

Which is better, carbon steel or cast iron wok?

Carbon steel woks heat up quicker than cast iron woks do, which makes them ideal for cooking. Cast iron woks take longer to heat up but retain heat for longer, which makes them better for roasting. Unlike carbon steel woks, a cast iron wok does not require seasoning.

Sean Bennett
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