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The 2 Best Woks of 2023

Jul 21, 2023Jul 21, 2023

We’ve updated this guide with a new pick, the Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok, but it’s currently out of stock. A representative told us it will be available again at the end of September.

Woks are versatile and made to last, so shopping for one can be a once-in-a-lifetime task. To find the best options, we spoke with experts and then got to work sautéing, frying, and steaming. One clear winner stood out: the Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok. Thanks to its softly curved angles, it performs a lot like a professional, round-bottom wok. And its comfortable wooden handle and light weight make this wok easier to lift, toss, and pour from.

We tested unseasoned and pre-seasoned carbon-steel woks, plus one nonstick wok, noting what it took to get them ready for cooking.

Almost all of the woks we tested delivered tasty, char-kissed veggies and tender, seared chicken, but some were much easier to use.

Even our unseasoned woks, well-oiled from a few sautée rounds, released eggs well. But we found that the bowl shape really mattered.

Savory egg custard and crispy tofu cubes showed us the full range of what woks can do. We checked especially for the stability of the pan.

This wok flew through our cooking tasks and is a delight to use. It’s lightweight and stable on the stovetop yet still perfectly sloped for easy frying. This model requires seasoning, but the payoff is worth it.

May be out of stock

The Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok performed nearly identically to our previous top pick from The Wok Shop, which also means it outperformed every other wok we’ve tested. The bottom is flat enough to stay stable on a stovetop, but the sides slope out subtly so that a spatula glides easily when stir-frying.

The trickiest part in our tests was seasoning the wok—a necessary first step for any unseasoned carbon-steel pan and an ongoing process that’s achieved through cooking with the pan. But just as advertised, this wok became more evenly seasoned with each use. For cookware that could last you decades, this wok is also an excellent value.


This lovely pre-seasoned wok provides a shortcut to a slick surface, though it still requires some prep. It’s stable but heavy, so lifting it requires some strength (and likely both hands).

Some manufacturers offer woks that promise to take the seasoning step out of your hands. The Yosukata Flat Bottom 13.5-inch Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Wok is one of them—although it still requires some minimal seasoning and cleaning before use.

This wok has a hand-hammered bowl with a teal tint from the blue steel. We prefer the stability and slightly lighter weight of this flat-bottom wok, which runs a little smaller at 13.5 inches. (Yosukata also makes a 14-inch round-bottom wok, which is still quite flat on the bottom and can work on a gas range, if you don’t mind a minuscule wobble.)

However, this wok is 5 ounces heavier than our top pick, so we found it a little more difficult to lift with one hand. We recommend this wok for folks who are willing to spend more for style and convenience and for those who have the strength and mobility to maneuver a heavier wok.

This wok flew through our cooking tasks and is a delight to use. It’s lightweight and stable on the stovetop yet still perfectly sloped for easy frying. This model requires seasoning, but the payoff is worth it.

May be out of stock

This lovely pre-seasoned wok provides a shortcut to a slick surface, though it still requires some prep. It’s stable but heavy, so lifting it requires some strength (and likely both hands).

Writer Cathy Erway is a cookbook author and James Beard Award–winning food writer who’s covered Chinese food and home cooking extensively. Her cookbook, The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island, was one of the first English-language cookbooks on the cuisine of Taiwan, her mother’s homeland. Cathy is the co-author of Win Son Presents: A Taiwanese American Cookbook and host of the Asian American–storytelling podcast Self Evident.

Marilyn Ong is a supervising editor on Wirecutter’s kitchen team, and she has made countless batches of fried rice in her wok since she bought it 10 years ago. She’s also written and edited dozens of guides for Wirecutter, covering chopsticks, hot pot, skillets, and more. Before that, she reviewed restaurants in Beijing.

For this guide, Cathy interviewed wok-cooking experts, including cookbook authors Hsiao-Ching Chou and J. Kenji López-Alt; cooking-video star Jon Kung (video); Chung Sun Lau, Jenny Lau, and Randy Lau, the family behind Made With Lau; and Grace Young, author of the wok-cooking manifesto The Breath of a Wok.

A proper wok is a wonderful addition to any kitchen. This cooking vessel’s deep, wide bowl is ideal for everything from quickly sautéing vegetables with garlic to gently braising meats for this Three-Cup Chicken recipe.

A wok responds to heat quickly and chars ingredients beautifully, imbuing them with wok hei (a smoky essence, the je ne sais quoi of cooking with a wok). Use a wok to blister green beans or shishito peppers. Make delicious fried rice with little more than the leftovers in your fridge. And, of course, a wok is perfect for cooking a classic protein and vegetable stir-fry, such as beef with broccoli.

The wok’s graduated depth also makes it ideal for deep-frying, steaming, and boiling. You might find yourself pulling it out to make fried chicken, steamed veggies, or one-pot pasta meals. Trendy cookware pieces like the Always pan or the multipurpose chef’s pan aim for that everyday versatility too, but this is not a particularly new idea: Their shape and size are similar to that of a traditional wok.

Everyone could benefit from owning a good wok. But answering the question of who should get one really comes down to having realistic expectations about what a wok can accomplish and how much care is required. This guide is aimed at home cooks looking for ease and everyday utility without sacrificing function.

A classic round-bottom wok is the workhorse of Chinese restaurants, where stir-fries are rapidly tossed and kissed with flame over roaring industrial ranges. But a typical home kitchen’s gas range puts out about 2,000 Btu (British thermal units), compared with a professional restaurant’s range of 100,000 Btu or more.

Some might chase that restaurant-style heat with high-Btu backyard burner setups or by using a wok ring directly on their burners, but that’s not very practical for weeknight dinners. That’s why we tested mostly flat-bottom-style woks, which are likely to work well on most home kitchens’ gas, electric, or induction stovetops without too much tinkering.

We also recognize that learning to season a wok can present a barrier for some. Carbon steel (the classic wok material) has many advantages. But since it requires seasoning before use, we also considered alternatives in the form of pre-seasoned carbon steel or nonstick coatings so we could weigh the pros of those conveniences against any cons.

A wok may seem pretty standard—it’s a big, round pot with a handle attached. This feels especially true when you control for such standard elements as carbon steel and a flat-bottom shape. But as we researched and tested, we found that details like the weight of a wok or the angle of a handle can have a big impact on a wok’s user-friendliness. We narrowed down what to test and made our picks based on a few main criteria:

If you’re going to own one wok, all of the experts we spoke with recommended this as the ideal size. A smaller, 12-inch wok might be suitable for one- or two-person cooking or for someone with less hand or upper-body strength. But a 14-inch wok allows for larger portions and provides more room to stir-fry without losing ingredients.

Anything larger starts to become unwieldy. (Note that some woks, like our also-great pick, measure a half-inch to an inch smaller or larger than 14 inches, which is fine.)

Though we also looked at woks made of cast iron, tri-ply stainless steel, and other metals with nonstick coatings, it was clear after all of our research that most experienced wok owners prefer carbon steel. It conducts heat quickly and efficiently, is light and easy to maneuver, and over time acquires a patina of seasoning mimicking that of nonstick coatings (without the environmental and public health concerns). This seasoning only gets better and more nonstick-like as you continue to use the wok.

Nonstick coatings aren’t a great fit because woks are meant to be used at high temperatures: Often, the first step is to heat the wok until it smokes, which would break down a nonstick coating pretty quickly. Wok surfaces also tend to take a beating from the spatula. As cookbook author Hsiao-Ching Chou put it, “The whole point of stir-frying is you keep stirring it around, so you’re gonna scrape the heck out of it.” Still, we understand that some people are attached to nonstick surfaces. So we tested one—the popular Honey-Can-Do Joyce Chen Professional Series 14-Inch Carbon Steel Excalibur Nonstick Wok—based on a recommendation from cookbook author Andrea Nguyen. (You can read our notes on it in the competition.)

The Lodge 14 Inch Cast Iron Wok has a strong fanbase, but cast-iron woks tend to heat very slowly and are often too heavy to lift, making it hard to toss as you stir. As J. Kenji López-Alt explained, tossing is great when you’re cooking on a gas range, because the flame can reach ingredients at the edge of the wok or kiss aerosols that fly up, therefore imbuing your food with wok hei (that signature wok flavor).

Tri-ply stainless steel woks are also quite heavy. And the material is somewhat antithetical to stir-frying, wok-cooking video creator Jon Kung said, because of how grippy it is. Ingredients lock onto its surface and get a good sear but don’t release immediately.

We opted to test mostly flat-bottom woks—an elegant, decades-old modification to the traditionally rounded wok—since flat bottoms provide better stability on a home stovetop. But not all woks with flat bottoms are equal, and we found that those with smaller surfaces made stir-frying precarious. And though we prefer our also-great pick, the flat-bottom Yosukata wok, we also found that the 14-inch round-bottom version had such a wide and flat shape that it can work on a gas range without a wok ring.

Some might choose to use a wok ring, which can securely support a rounded bottom on top of a gas range. However, a wok ring is one more thing you have to store and take out when you cook, and in some cases using one may involve removing your burner grate. A wok-ring setup also doesn’t work with electric radiant or induction stovetops.

We tested all of our woks on a gas range and on a portable induction stovetop to gauge the stability and ease of use on both surfaces. We’ve also tested our picks on a full induction range, and we found that they’re stable and heat up well.

You can choose between different traditional wok styles, such as a pow wok with just a stick handle or a Canton-style wok with two small side handles. But we decided to test woks with both a stick handle, for tossing and maneuvering, and a helper handle, for lifting and pouring. This combination seemed to offer the best comfort and convenience for the modern home cook.

We didn’t see a huge difference in how well the pans developed seasoning (in our experience, the shape of the pan had a larger effect on ingredients sticking). But we liked that some of the woks we tested included cardboard sleeves with seasoning instructions or links to how-tos or videos on the company’s website. The seasoning methods ultimately didn’t differ significantly, but the quality of communication did.

We started by prepping and seasoning each wok. All of them—including the nonstick or pre-seasoned woks—called for a good wash and at least some treatment with oil.

To get a proper seasoning started, the unseasoned carbon-steel woks required a few more steps. Some manufacturers’ instructions were more clear than others, so we defaulted to Grace Young’s basic oil method from The Breath of a Wok, across all of the models we tested. Then we took our woks to task on a number of everyday cooking trials:

Sautéing: For our first test, we sautéed a clutch of baby bok choy with garlic. The woks all heated rapidly and lent char to the vegetables as we tossed. Though all of the woks turned out a similar result in the end—crisp-tender bok choy, lightly kissed with wok hei—I began to notice how small details could help or hinder cooking.

For instance, some handles were secured with large rivets on the inside of the wok bowl, and those rivets clanged noisily and interrupted my flow whenever I hit one with the metal spatula. Some woks (including our picks) didn’t have rivets. And some woks had much sharper angles where the flat bottom met the sides, which made them clunkier to stir-fry in when we were using the classic broad, rectangular wok spatula.

Stir-frying: The next task was stir-frying a classic combo: chicken with broccoli. We started by searing the marinated chicken (sliced breast meat, lean and prone to sticking), which was a challenge for fairly new woks. Again, they all performed similarly, except for the nonstick wok, which didn’t sear as well. (To be fair, we didn’t heat the nonstick wok as high as the others, partly due to conventional nonstick-pan wisdom and partly because I was detecting a strange plasticky smell.)

By this stage, it was becoming much more noticeable how the contours of the bottoms could change the cooking experience. One wok had a much smaller base, which made for precarious stir-frying. I didn’t want to let go of the handle for one second, for fear the wok would tip over. The woks with a larger-diameter base felt much more stable.

In the woks with a sharper angle between the sides and bottom, chicken tended to get stuck in those crevices and tear rather than release cleanly. Per our recipe, once the chicken was seared, we scooped it out into a dish and added broccoli to the wok next. In any woks where torn bits of chicken remained stuck in those crevices, we had to rinse them out before adding the broccoli so the leftover food wouldn’t burn. This was a pain, and it also made us lose out on layering the chicken flavor in the pan with the broccoli we were stir-frying next.

Fried eggs: When frying an egg in each model, I once again found that woks with sharp angles (where the flat bottom met the sides) were problematic. For one, they limited the number of eggs that could be fried at a time. And if the egg was not centered perfectly in the wok’s flat bottom, without touching those steep ridges around the sides, then its shape would be oddly molded to the circular rim (see the third photo below).

Deep-frying: We skipped the nonstick wok for this round because the standard temperature for deep-frying (375 °F) already surpassed the nonstick wok’s 350 °F oven-safe limit. We also skipped testing the wok with the too-small base, since a large, wobbly pan full of bubbling oil seemed like a bad idea.

Carbon-steel cookware is terrific for deep-frying because it responds to changes in heat much more quickly than, say, cast-iron cookware. When we dropped cold tofu cubes into the hot oil, we looked for the oil to come back up to its original temperature in good time.

The bowl-like shape of a wok also lets you use less oil to fry up a smaller batch of ingredients; this makes deep-frying on a weeknight more approachable and efficient than if you had to heat gallons of oil in a large pot. So we also observed how the shape of each wok’s bowl allowed for a spectrum of cooking volumes.

Steaming: For our last experiment, we steamed a bowl of egg custard, testing the fit and efficacy of a lid with each wok. Since most woks don’t come with a lid, you’ll likely have to buy one separately. We purchased a simple aluminum domed wok lid designed to fit 14-inch woks. (Unlike the lids of straight-sided pots and pans, which require an exact fit to function well, a wok lid can rest inside the pan’s edges and still work perfectly fine. A tall, domed lid provides adequate head space for whatever you’re steaming inside.) Each of the final woks worked well with the lid while steaming the egg custard.

Steaming with these fairly new carbon-steel woks also gave us a chance to observe how their burgeoning patinas held up to boiling liquids (this typically causes seasoning to lift off the pan’s surface). Naturally, most of the woks’ patinas began to slough off in spots. (I put them to use soon after with an oily sautéed dish, just to reinforce the seasoning on those areas.) However, the pre-seasoned wok withstood the boiling test better than the others, since its patina had been baked on by the manufacturer.

This wok flew through our cooking tasks and is a delight to use. It’s lightweight and stable on the stovetop yet still perfectly sloped for easy frying. This model requires seasoning, but the payoff is worth it.

May be out of stock

The Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok stood out from other models for many reasons. This classic wok has a stable yet rounded shape that’s ideal for stir-frying. It feels sturdy and solidly built, yet at 4 pounds, it was one of the lightest we tested. Its light weight and thinner stick handle made it comfortable to lift.

The flat, 5.75-inch-wide bottom provides stability on all types of cooktops. And, importantly, it has smooth, rounded edges circling that flat bottom. So when you swirl a metal spatula around the whole surface, it doesn’t get stuck in any crevices; rather, food releases easily from every part of the wok. And it doesn’t have any rivets to interfere with the spatula.

The wooden handle is slim and comfortable, with a loop at the end for hanging. In comparison, many of the other woks we tested (including our also-great pick, the Yosukata wok) have thick wooden handles that can be difficult for small hands to grip.

The other side of the wok bowl has a contoured wooden helper handle that makes lifting and pouring easier when you have two hands available.

The care and seasoning instructions are clear and helpful. Everything you need to know is written on the wok’s cardboard packaging. Many other companies had us searching online for videos or instructions. (The actual development of seasoning was about the same across all of the non-seasoned carbon-steel woks we tested.)

It takes a while for the seasoning and patina to really work its magic. That’s not a flaw of this wok in particular but of any carbon-steel wok without a manufacturer-applied pre-seasoning. The images of the Sur La Table wok in this guide were taken after it had been used in our series of tests, showing a patina that is very much a work in progress; the original model out of the box is a smooth silver.

Owning, seasoning, and maintaining the seasoning on any carbon-steel wok is a long game, but people have been doing it in their homes for centuries. Though it may seem like an intimidating process at first, once you get the hang of it, it’s really not so hard.

The wooden helper handle is easily scorched. Marilyn Ong, Wirecutter kitchen editor and one of this guide’s contributors, has been using the Sur La Table wok at home for nearly 10 years, and it’s served her family well. But her wok’s helper handle has blackened over the years, with some small pieces becoming so brittle that they’ve broken off.

It doesn’t affect the wok’s functionality, and she finds it gives her wok plenty of character. But if that’s not the kind of character you like in your cookware, you need to take care not to position the helper handle too close to the flames.

This lovely pre-seasoned wok provides a shortcut to a slick surface, though it still requires some prep. It’s stable but heavy, so lifting it requires some strength (and likely both hands).

If you’re looking to jump the turnstile on the seasoning process, the Yosukata 13.5-inch Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Wok comes with a ready-made patina. Yosukata doesn’t make it entirely clear how the wok has been pre-seasoned (the website describes it as having been “pre-seasoned at high temperatures using special techniques”). But the outcome is a slicker, more nonstick surface right off the bat.

Its nonstick seasoning is slicker to start with and resists flaking. During our steaming tests, other woks’ seasonings sloughed off in spots, but we saw less of that in the Yosukata wok.

This wok is also beautiful. The hand-hammered bowl has a dark teal hue, achieved through a “bluing” process that makes its carbon steel more resistant to rust and corrosion.

The shape is stable and smooth for easy stir-frying. Its flat circular base is even wider than that of the Sur La Table wok, measuring 6.75 inches across; neither wok budges on a gas or glass-top range. Like our top pick, the Yosukata wok also curves subtly up the sides, so a spatula can run along its interior nearly as smoothly as with a round-bottom wok.

But the wide basin requires more oil when deep-frying. This is less ideal if you’re frying in small batches, but the upside is you also have room to fry more items at once. And because the bowl is hand-hammered, oil can pool a bit in areas along the wok’s base. In use, this didn’t bother us much, though.

This wok is also 5 ounces heavier than our pick. But it’s still significantly lighter than Yosukata’s round-bottom version, and it was in the middle of the pack compared with the weights of the other models we tested.

Its thick handle is harder to grip, too. Plus, the wooden handle is wrapped with metal for a couple of inches at the base. If you need to choke up on the handle to lift the wok while the wok is hot (which we found we had to do), you need to cover that metal with a thick towel. (At least the metal has a distinct band where it meets the wooden handle, so you know that it’s there. Other woks had wooden handles that transitioned almost seamlessly to wood, making it easier to slide your hand into a painful burn.)

Before it’s ready to use, an unseasoned carbon-steel wok requires a few steps of preparation. (The ones you see in this guide have begun developing a patina after a few rounds of seasoning and cooking, but any unseasoned wok you order should arrive looking silver and shiny.) First you need to wash the wok thoroughly, to remove the oily finish manufacturers apply to protect the cookware from rusting before it reaches your door. Then you need to season the wok by following one of many methods.

Though a simple oil seasoning takes only about 15 minutes, the process can be stressful for the uninitiated, as can the idea of building and maintaining a wok’s patina. In reality, the seasoning process is not so much a one-and-done step as it is a gradual process achieved simply by using the wok over time. Chung Sun Lau told us, “If you’re using [your wok] a lot, like every day, then you don’t have to do as much seasoning.” And as Grace Young writes in The Breath of a Wok, the evolution of a carbon-steel wok is slow and graceful: “Years may pass before the patina ultimately develops a color ranging from a deep rich brown to ebony.” This may be nonintuitive, but the older a wok is, the better the food tastes, Young said.

However, to break in a new wok, it’s essential to start it off with an initial seasoning. And each of the woks that we purchased came with instructions on how to do so—although some were easier to follow than others.

We relied on the basic oil method of seasoning in Young’s The Breath of a Wok to season all of the woks we tested. This involves using paper towels to rub a thin coat of oil onto the washed and scrubbed wok; then you slowly rotate the pan over the flame of a gas stove until the carbon steel turns bluish then brownish all over. You should repeat the process at least twice.

Steer clear of cooking acidic foods, such as sweet and sour sauces, or boiling with your new wok for the first few uses; this can strip the patina and set the process back. A metal spatula may also scrape some of the developing patina off a newer wok; this is completely fine, and the gaps will fill in.

No, your wok will not be uniformly colored after the first or second heating—or even the eighth or ninth time you’ve used it to stir-fry food. It may take years for that to happen. “Every wok ages differently, just like people do, and it’s beautiful to see how the imperfections work out,” Young said. Your wok is a living, evolving instrument.

We’ve tested these woks on the Duxtop 9600LS (the top pick in our guide to portable induction cooktops) and a full induction cooktop. With the completely flat, slippery-smooth surface of an induction burner, it was even more important that our picks felt stable. A smaller-diameter flat bottom would prove tricky—and potentially dangerous. Besides being wobbly, it would barely make contact with the induction coils. So it wouldn’t allow much heat to distribute throughout the wok—if it even activated the induction coil in the first place.

If you already own an induction cooktop, you might want to shop for a wok whose base matches up well with at least one the electromagnetic coils on your burner, usually outlined with a circle on the cooktop’s surface. This helps maximize your wok’s contact with the heat source.

Practically speaking, we observed little difference between using induction and gas when it came to simple cooking tasks like frying eggs or tofu or stir-frying bok choy. The induction burners heated the woks quickly and got them hot and smoky on the highest heat setting.

However, we also compared induction and gas ranges by coating the insides of our wok picks with a dusting of flour and applying medium heat to see which areas browned. The induction burner browned a much smaller section of the woks than the gas burner did. This lack of distributed heat might be a bummer if you’re cooking, say, a large batch of fried rice, or if you need the sides of the wok to help sear your food in a big, fast-moving stir-fry.

Another drawback to using an induction versus a gas stove is the absence of fire; when tossing a wok on a gas burner, the flames can lick the ingredients and aerosols from your wok, imparting that unmistakable smoky aroma. This doesn’t happen with induction. But then again, not everyone who’s using a wok over a gas flame is necessarily tossing their food.

If you don’t already have a home induction range but want to cook in a wok using induction, you might also consider the NuWave Mosaic Precision Induction Wok. Chef Jon Kung recommends this set; it includes a curved induction burner and a wok that nestles perfectly inside. The burner goes up to 575 °F, and since the wok fits into the burner snugly, you don’t have to worry about any wobbling. Plus, the wok’s bowl achieves full contact with the heat source. (We did not perform any hands-on testing of the NuWave set for this guide, but we hope to in the future.)

If you like supporting small businesses or want a handle with better leverage for tossing: The Wok Shop Carbon Steel Wok With Metal Side Handle was our former top pick, and it performed beautifully in pretty much every test. Its flat-bottomed bowl is identical in size and shape to that of our current Sur La Table pick, so it’s similarly stable but perfectly curved for stir-frying. And it’s one ounce lighter.

Another factor differentiating this wok from our pick is its handle. It’s attached to the bowl at an angle via a unique, L-shaped metal piece, which gives you more leverage when lifting the wok or tossing its contents. And the wooden handle is removable, which is useful if you want to season or use your wok in the oven.

We love that The Wok Shop is a historic mom-and-pop shop that’s been serving San Francisco’s Chinatown for over 40 years. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers about significantly delayed delivery times. If you’re located in the Bay Area and want to shop in person, or you are committed to ordering from independent businesses and don’t mind the potential shipping delay—or you just really want that extra leverage so you can toss your stir-fries with ease—this wok is an excellent option.

If you want the smoothness of a round-bottom wok without needing a wok ring: Yosukata’s round-bottom 14-inch Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Wok is so wide and nearly flat that it’s mostly stable on the stovetop and requires no wok ring. It’s a true marriage of a flat-bottom and a round-bottom wok.

Due to its hand-hammered bowl, though, it had just the slightest wobble on the gas and induction range in our test kitchen. It’s so flat that flipping over or spilling wasn’t a risk, but we know that some folks have low tolerance for any movement over a fire. And at nearly 5 pounds—7 ounces heavier than the flat-bottom version we recommend—we found the Yosukata round-bottom wok difficult to lift.

We’d recommend this wok only if our other pre-seasoned wok isn’t available or if you really want a wok that can be a chameleon between round and flat setups.

The Babish Carbon Steel Flat Bottom Wok and Stir Fry Pan, 14-inch is nice-looking, with a dark-stained wood handle and a handy hook on the end for hanging. It has a fairly deep bowl compared with others we tested, so it’s easy to fit a lid on top and get excellent clearance. However, we wish that it didn’t have such large rivets inside the bowl and that its flat bottom were more rounded where it meets the sides. The bottom and the sides form a sharp angle that interferes with the motions of stir-frying.

The Mamma Fong Pre-Seasoned Blue Carbon Steel Hand Hammered Flat Bottom Pow Wok was one of the more beautiful woks we looked at, thanks to its hammered sides. Its pre-seasoned surface was a breeze to stir-fry on without as much sticking, and we loved how the wok’s shape was smoothly rounded. But the diameter of the flat bottom was comparably smaller, making the wok feel unstable on a flat stovetop.

The Craft Wok 14 inch Carbon Steel Craft Wok with Wooden and Steel Helper Handle (Round Bottom) is a great, classic carbon-steel wok option. However, this was one of the heaviest woks we tested, and we found it difficult to lift. Also, the flat bottom and the sides of the wok create a very sharp angle; this interfered with the motions of stir-frying and created crevices where food would get stuck and burnt.

The Honey-Can-Do Joyce Chen Professional Series 14-Inch Carbon Steel Excalibur Nonstick Wok is an impressive nonstick pan. Its Excalibur nonstick coating has an interesting grainy texture that seared ingredients well; it was grippy, rather than expelling ingredients immediately, as with some nonstick surfaces. But the black plastic handle and helper handle seem like a poor material choice to be near a hot gas flame. We smelled burning plastic at times when cooking. According to the manufacturer, this wok is oven-safe up to only 350 °F, making it a poor fit for the super-high temperatures needed when stir-frying or deep-frying (two very common wok-cooking techniques).

We didn’t test the Newquist Forge Hand Hammered Classic Wok, but this wok-maker comes recommended by Grace Young. Each wok is a one-of-a-kind piece of craftsmanship made to order. Their woks (which only come in round-bottom options) are usually sold out, and you have to preorder them.

For a fully portable wok and induction-burner setup or an addition to your home stovetop, Jon Kung recommended the NuWave Mosaic Precision Induction Wok. The wok nestles into an included, portable induction stove that is curved to fit it snugly. We didn’t test this set yet, because it didn’t seem like the best bet for those seeking a wok to use on their stovetop at home. But we hope to try it out for future updates.

We looked at the Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok, but we decided not to test it for two main reasons: It comes only in a 12-inch size, and it lacks a helper handle. It also seems quite heavy—especially for a small wok—with a listed weight of over 4 pounds 6 ounces. All of this suggests that this wok is significantly less comfortable to use than our top pick, and it’s nearly three times the price.

This article was edited by Marilyn Ong and Marguerite Preston.

Hsiao-Hsing Chou, author of “Chinese Soul Food” and “Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food”, phone interview, May 3, 2022

J. Kenji López-Alt, author of “The Food Lab” and “The Wok”, phone interview, May 4, 2022

Chung Sun Lau, Jenny Lau, and Randy Lau, creators of the blog and video series Made With Lau, phone interview, May 19, 2022

Jon Kung, cooking content creator and chef of Kung Food, phone interview, May 19, 2022

Grace Young, cookbook author and self-proclaimed wok therapist, phone interview, November 20, 2022

Cathy Erway

Cathy Erway is a James Beard Award–winning freelance food writer. She is the author of the cookbooks The Food of Taiwan and Sheet Pan Chicken, as well as the memoir The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. She hosts the podcast Self Evident, which explores the Asian American experience.

Marilyn Ong

Marilyn Ong is a supervising editor for Wirecutter’s kitchen team, covering everything from ice cream makers and Instant Pots to toasters and trash cans. Prior to this, she was an arts and then restaurants editor in Beijing, and she also took time away from blinking cursors to be a caretaker for her three young kids. Cooking for her family gave her a healthy obsession with finding the best affordable tools for the kitchen—but when she’s cooking for herself, all she needs is instant ramen and an egg.

by Winnie Yang

If you’ve been thinking of getting a wok out of necessity, you may not actually need one. A nonstick pan should fit most of your stir-fry needs at home.

by Marilyn Ong

Hot pot, a meal cooked communally at the table, is an enticing way to eat in colder months. Here are our tips for making the meal easy to pull off at home.

by Wirecutter Staff

Everything you’ll need to host a memorable barbecue this summer, from our favorite grilling gear to bug-battling essentials.

by Brittney Ho

From hacking through bones and crushing spices to mashing pastes and making thin, precise cuts, the Chinese cleaver is the ultimate do-it-all tool.

Sautéing:Stir-frying:Fried eggs:Deep-frying:Steaming:The flat, 5.75-inch-wide bottom provides stability on all types of cooktops.The wooden handle is slim and comfortable, with a loop at the end for hanging.The care and seasoning instructions are clear and helpful.It takes a while for the seasoning and patina to really work its magicThe wooden helper handle is easily scorched.Its nonstick seasoning is slicker to start with and resists flaking.This wok is also beautiful.The shape is stable and smooth for easy stir-frying.But the wide basin requires more oil when deep-frying.This wok is also 5 ounces heavier than our pick.Its thick handle is harder to grip, too.If you like supporting small businesses or want a handle with better leverage for tossing:If you want the smoothness of a round-bottom wok without needing a wok ring: