The Best Electric Wok to Buy Right Now
The Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok is a convenient stainless steel wok, and it is our top recommended electric wok.
Best Wok Kit
If you want the convenience of an electric wok but still want the option of cooking over a regular range, we recommend combining a portable induction stovetop with the Klee Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok.
In this article, we will discuss the background of the wok, the best woks, and how to get the great results with your cookware.
Woks have a rich tradition in China and South East Asia where they have been used for thousands of years. They feature rounded sides and were traditionally used directly over hot coals in a fire pit.
Modern woks are designed with a slightly flattened bottom that makes them more compatible with Western stovetops. People love woks because of their versatility in preparing both Western and Eastern dishes.
Typical Foods Made in a Wok
There’s a reason there are so many wok cookbooks! You can honestly make all of your favorite recipes in a wok, including scrambled eggs, soups, and grilled meats. You can also make Asian-inspired dishes like stir fry and dim sum. This versatility is what makes woks ideal for busy families and those with small living spaces. When you can use one dish for almost all of your cooking, you free up a lot of time and space for other things!
Typically, restaurants will have access to stronger burners that can heat up larger woks. This, of course, enables chefs to make larger portion sizes and work with more than one wok at a time. Most use cast iron or carbon steel woks because they are durable and provide an even cook.
Some restaurants have visible cooking areas because it is impressive to watch a master wok chef work! He or she will usually be cooking over tall flames and turning the food by tossing it into the air.
Best Electric Wok
If you are looking to get an electric wok, your best bet is the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok. It is highly durable and fits on even a small countertop. Unlike most other electric woks, it does not have a chemical nonstick coating. While you will have to make sure you always use oil with this wok, you will get a superior taste and a product that will last for a much longer time!
Best Wok Kit
If you want an alternative way to take advantages of an electric wok, consider a wok kit consisting of a regular wok and a portable stovetop. The best combination is a portable induction stovetop with the Klee Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok. Cast iron woks are incredibly durable and can work in the oven in addition to the stovetop. This one comes pre-seasoned, so you can get started with it right away. Since induction is a safe and efficient way to cook that is compatible with cast iron, this wok kit is both versatile and user-friendly!
Different Types of Woks
Woks come in many different materials. We’ll go over the most common types here so you know which is best for you.
Electric woks work similarly to electric skillets. They start heating up when you plug them in.
People like electric woks because you can precisely control the heat and they do not take up space on your stovetop. They are also incredibly portable, so it is easy to use an electric wok while traveling.
Electric woks may be more expensive, but they usually have more features and come with several accessories.
Cast iron is great because it will last forever if you take care of it.
Cast iron woks heat up evenly and can be put in the oven. This makes them perfect for “one pot” dishes. Though many cooks are put off by cast iron because they think they are difficult to season and clean, they are just different from other pieces of cookware. Besides, most cast iron woks come pre-seasoned and include detailed cleaning instructions.
The only downside to cast iron is the weight. Carbon steel is well beloved by many cooks because it offers the same advantages as cast iron while being lighter. It also tends to be a little cheaper than cast iron.
Non-stick woks are generally made of aluminum or stainless steel that has been coated in a non-stick chemical. People like them because they think it will be easier to cook if they don’t have to worry about oiling the pan and having food stick to it.
But non-stick cookware of any kind is always a terrible idea!
Why? Because it is essentially meant to be disposable cookware! It is the red Solo cup of the crockery world. While it may look nice and many people are familiar with it, it is not meant to be used over and over. The non-stick coating will likely start to chip within just a few uses. These chips are breeding grounds for bacteria and cause your food to cook unevenly.
Sure, non-stick is cheaper than cast iron or carbon steel, but it will last you a few months at most. Within a year or two, you will have spent more on non-stick cookware than a good cast iron or carbon steel wok that would last decades or even generations.
Save yourself the trouble. Do not bother buying a non-stick wok.
Woks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each has its own advantage.
There are two common handle designs for woks.
In a traditional Cantonese style wok, there are two small handles. The cook will grab these and push the wok forwards and upwards to properly toss the food inside. This is perfect when cooking things like stir fry. These woks also take up less space and are easier to clean.
Some Western users are more comfortable with woks that have one large handle like a traditional skillet and one small handle. The wok toss can still be achieved on these woks, but it takes a little more practice. These woks are also larger. If you do opt for this style, choose one whose handle is made of the same material as the body of the wok. This will make it easier to clean and ensure it lasts longer.
Traditionally, woks had rounded bottoms that fit into outdoor fire pits. Since most people cook on gas, electric, or induction stovetops, most modern woks have a slightly flattened bottom that will sit more stably on these types of ranges.
Some companies do make woks with rounded bottoms, but keep in mind that you will need a special attachment for your stovetop to cook with it. It may also be more difficult to store.
If you want to boil or steam with your wok, you are going to need a lid. Many woks come with a lid, so always double check before you buy one separately.
These accessories will definitely make it easier to cook all of your favorite foods in your wok.
Since woks are rounded, a regular spatula may be too large to properly scoop and flip food at the bottom. A wok spatula, on the other hand, has a rounded, smaller top that is perfect for the task! We recommend using a silicone one so you do not scratch your wok.
Cooking chopsticks are long, which makes them perfect for cooking in a deep wok. It may take some practice to get used to them, but once you do, you will be able to cook your food evenly while impressing your guests.
Wok cooking tends to be oily business. If you want your noodles, veggies, and meats and don’t want a lake of oil, you will need a spider skimmer. It is like a slotted spoon, but wider and flatter so you can get more food in less time. Spider skimmers are also great for getting vegetables and dumplings out of boiling water.
Complete Wok Systems
A complete wok system is going to give you everything you need to cook with and take care of your wok so you can focus on enjoying fantastic meals.
In addition to the accessories discussed above, a complete wok system will also include to the following:
Silicone Handle Holders
If you don’t want to burn yourself on your wok handles, you will need to use specially designed silicone grips. These are easy to remove but stay in place while cooking.
Generally speaking, you will want to hand-wash your woks. We recommend using a scrubber that will not scratch the surface and silicone scrapers. Remember to dry your wok with a microfiber cloth after every use.
If you need ideas, consider investing in a wok cookbook. Many will teach you both how to make traditional Eastern dishes and adapt common Western favorites for your wok. Look for one that will also teach you how to take care of your wok and proper cooking techniques.
If you love dim sum and dumplings, you will need to get a bamboo steamer. They fit inside your wok and provide the perfect cook so that your dumplings do not end up being pot stickers!
Most ovens still use electric and gas burners, which is really a shame because induction is a much safer and more efficient method for cooking. Rather than applying heat to the bottom of the cookware, induction uses magnetism to make the cookware itself heat up. The induction plate stays cool all the while.
Many people swear by induction because they can easily control the temperature when cooking and get great results. Most cast iron and carbon steel woks are already compatible with induction.
Complete Wok Systems
A complete wok system includes everything you need to start making fantastic food with your wok. You can occasionally find pre-bundled wok systems, but usually you need to get the components separately. This essentially includes everything you need if you want to start a food truck, have a small kitchen, travel a lot, etc.
How to Cook with an Electric Wok
Cooking with an electric wok is similar to cooking with a cast iron or carbon steel wok. The main difference is that you will not be able to do the signature “wok toss.” A good wok cookbook can help you master the techniques, but in general, you should keep the following things in mind:
- Woks were meant for high-heat cooking, and you will get the best results with the higher temperature setting.
- Cook with an oil with a high smoke point. This is how woks were meant to be used and will prevent food from sticking. If you do not want oily dishes, you can drain some of the oil after cooking.
- Use the proper utensils.
- When frying food, don’t just push it around the pan. You want the food to tumble over itself so that it cooks evenly.
- Make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your wok after every use.
If you are ready to start cooking amazing food, you simply need to:
- Purchase a high-quality electric wok system.
- Select a recipe and prep your ingredients.
- Turn on your wok.
You’ll be eating the best food you have ever made in no time!
The Best Electric Wok and Wok Kit
If you are going with an electric wok, we recommend the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok as the best. If you would rather get a wok kit, the best combination is a portable induction stovetop with the Klee Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok. Either way, we are sure you will be happy with your results!