Every home needs a wok, whether for stir-frying, deep-frying, searing, steaming, boiling, braising or smoking. Big woks can withstand high temperatures, yet they are fairly easy to use and maintain. While the traditional Chinese woks tend to have a round bottom, most wok options in the US and Europe have flat bottoms. The flat bottom design allows the wok to be used on any stovetop.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared this guide to help you with the decision process. We’ll look at the five best big wok options on the market based on customer reviews, expert input, and overall value. But before that, read on to learn what you need to consider before buying a big wok.
What to Look For In the Best Big Wok
Woks are not created equal, and choosing the right big wok can be a distressing experience. If you need to buy the best big wok, we are here to help you. Pay attention to the following factors.
Shape of the Wok
There are two types of woks – flat bottom and round bottom. Every type has its advantages and disadvantages. With that in mind, it is important to choose the right shape based on the type of your cooktop. Round bottom woks have been used since time immemorial to make stir-fries. They are normally used over an open fire and are not ideal for ceramic, induction, and electric stovetops. If you must use it on these cooking surfaces, you’ll have to invest in a wok ring.
Flat-bottomed woks are more common in the western world than in Asia. They are designed to be used over modern stovetops. Since they have flat bottoms, they can sit firmly over ceramic, electric, and induction cooktops. They don’t need extra accessories like wok rings.
The most important aspect of paying attention to when choosing a big wok is the material the wok is constructed from. Woks, like any other cookware, come in a wide variety of materials. So you need to figure out which material suits you.
- Stainless steel
Stainless steel is not only inexpensive, but it is also versatile. It is beautiful, sleek, and boasts excellent durability. When it comes to cleanliness, stainless steel is one of the easiest metals to clean. It doesn’t allow the growth of pathogens. Also, it can resist rust, corrosion, and water stains.
With that in mind, stainless steel isn’t as cheap as other materials like aluminum. It’s also a poor conductor of heat, hence not ideal for woks and cooking techniques that require high heat.
- Cast Iron
Cast iron is known for its superior heat retention and durability. Once it is heated to the maximum, it will keep that heat longer than stainless steel and other materials. It also can develop a natural nonstick coating known as patina. The more you use, the more nonstick it becomes.
Additionally, iron woks transfer small amounts of iron to your food. Iron is an essential mineral required by your body to produce hemoglobin. However, cast iron, unlike stainless steel, is highly reactive. Cast iron is prone to rust and corrosion. You’ll need to take good care of it if you want to pass it down to your kids.
- Carbon steel
Carbon steel is somehow similar to cast iron in terms of heat retention and durability. It is made of 1% carbon and 99% iron steel. Carbon strengthens and hardens the material. It also makes the material more malleable and durable. Even if you make the walls thinner and lighter, they will still maintain their strength. Carbon steel woks are normally found in restaurants. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your home kitchen.
Carbon steel woks are used in various cooking techniques, including braising, baking, searing, broiling, boiling, sautéing, and browning. However, this material requires regular seasoning to protect it against rust, wear and tear. That means it requires you to put more work into maintaining it compared to stainless steel and nonstick cookware.
Pay Attention to Handles
Different woks come with different types of handles. Traditional round bottom woks usually feature a handle on each side. Most modern woks have a long handle on one side and a helper handle on the opposite side.
Size of the Wok
Size is the most important thing to consider when buying a new wok. The size of your wok will determine if you will be able to cook the amount of food you want to at once. It will also determine whether you’ll be able to store your wok where you want to store it. A big wok can boast a diameter of up to 20 inches. Also, check the size of your stovetop. You don’t want to end with a wok that won’t fit your cooktop.
Does It Have Lid?
A lid isn’t quite important because woks have been used for centuries without lids. However, if you want to turn your wok into versatile cookware, you may want to choose one with a lid. This is especially important if you want to use it for steaming and boiling.
Nonstick woks are fantastic and are the most popular cookware we use daily. They are easy to use. Cleanup is also a breeze. The types of nonstick surfaces available in the market are vast.
Before you buy one, it’s important to understand the type of coating used to make the appliance nonstick. The most popular nonstick coatings used in pans and woks are Teflon (PTFE), Superhydrophobic, silicon coatings, and ceramic coatings. Other coatings include seasoned cast iron and anodized aluminum coating.
PTFE has received lots of negative news, and people have been trying to avoid it. However, this is a misconception. PTFE isn’t as dangerous as people think. While it is nontoxic, you do not want to heat it at temperatures above 260°C. It may break down and start emitting fumes that can be deadly to humans and animals. PTFE’s melting point is around 315°C.
Silicone coating doesn’t release fumes when heated. FDA considers silicone to be nonreactive to acidic ingredients and also nonstick. However, it is not completely nonstick, and you will need to season it with oil or fat before cooking.
How Durable It Is
The durability of the wok is another significant fact you don’t want to overlook. When shopping for a new wok, consider how big or how small it is. The material used should be high-quality enough to withstand high heat and frequent use. This is especially important if you want to use the wok in restaurants.
Woks can come with defects. It is, therefore, important to make sure the one you want to buy comes with a warranty. This way, you can have peace of mind with your purchase, knowing that you can always return it to the seller. The retailer or company may repair or replace the product as per their terms and conditions.
Price and Quality
Note that the price of the wok doesn’t necessarily reflect its overall quality. But as the adage goes, the cheaper a product is, the less quality it is. So it’s always important to pay extra for overall quality, durability and reliability.
Our Top Pick
Our top choice for the best big wok is the affordable Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok. This wok is made of high-quality carbon steel and comes pre-seasoned. We also like the fact that it’s lightweight and easy to transport. Additionally, it’s versatile and can be used for stir-frying, braising, and deep-frying.
In detail Review of 5 Best Big Wok
Without delay, let’s dive into our list of the best big wok available on the market at press time.
1. Big 16 Inch Heavy Canton Style Wok
- Brand: Craft Wok
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Dimensions: 16.54 x 16.54 x 9.84 inches
- Weight: 5.35 Pounds
First on our list of the best big wok options is this 16-inch wok from Craft Wok. It features high-quality alloy steel.
The wok has a beautiful traditional round bottom shape. The shape allows it to distribute heat more evenly from the bottom to the sides – upwards.
Unlike other steel woks available on the market, this wok isn’t machine-made. It is 100% hand-hammered by real humans in China.
It has two metal handles on both sides. So it’s easy to place it on fire and toss food. Additionally, the 16-inch diameter allows you to prepare adequate food for five to eight people.
Since it’s made from alloy steel, you should expect it to last for many years. But having a round bottom means you’ll need to purchase a wok ring to use on induction or electric cooktop.
Overall, this steel wok is an excellent performer, easy to maintain, and comes at a great price.
- Easy to season and use
- High-quality steel material
- Excellent heat retention
Heavy and comes with short handles
2. Heavy Duty Big Wok
- Brand: Craft Wok
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Dimensions: 25.59 x 16.54 x 9.84 inches
- Weight: 5.4 Pounds
Second on our list is this heavy-duty, super affordable wok from Craft Wok. It measures 25.59 x 16.54 x 9.84 inches and features a diameter of 16 inches. You can use this for various cooking methods, including deep-frying and stir-frying. The curved bottom makes it easy to transfer heat up the sides as you cook.
Similar to other woks from Craft Wok, this model is hand-hammered in China. The wooden handle is comfortable to hold in the hands. It stays cool even if you leave the wok over the open fire for an extended period. Additionally, the cookware comes with a helper handle. This gives you the ability to transfer the wok from the stovetop to the counter – even if it’s full.
Be sure to clean and season this work regularly to prevent corrosion and rust.
Overall, if you are looking for inexpensive big work for your Asian cooking methods, this could be the best option for you. It’s steel cookware. So it won’t disappoint when it comes to durability.
- Easy to season and durable
- Heats up quickly and evenly
- Amazing heat retention
- Super affordable compared to other woks in its category
- Vulnerable to rust
3. King Kooker Steel Wok
- Brand: King Kooker
- Material: Carbon Steel
- Color: Multicolor
- Dimensions: 17.72 x 6.3 x 17.72 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
It will be smarter to consider this mammoth wok from King Kooker if you fall short of budget.
This wok is 17 inches in diameter, which is a little bigger than the two woks we reviewed above. Weighing 5 pounds, it’s the heaviest option we’ve reviewed in this article. The wok features a carbon steel construction and is not fragile by any means, and can withstand repeated abuse in the kitchen.
It boasts two small handles that are riveted to the body. Since the handles are too small, they can easily get unbearably hot during an extended cooking session. In terms of shape, it is a round bottom wok and is compatible with most kitchen stovetops.
Overall, this is an excellent big wok that gives value for money. It heats up pretty quickly and retains heat brilliantly. Just be sure your wok is well seasoned before use to build a natural nonstick layer. It comes equipped with clear instructions for seasoning.
- Big size for a big crew
- Heats up really fast
- Excellent heat retention
- Comes pre-seasoned
- Vulnerable to rust and stains
4. Big Chinese Wok
- Brand: Yosukata
- Material: Carbon Steel
- Diameter: 14 inches
- Weight: 3.92 pounds
- Color: Color
We consider this as the best big wok on this list thanks to its toughness, durability and excellent performance.
This high-quality wok comes from the brand YOSUKATA, a reputable brand known to churn out premium cookware. The wok has a diameter of 14 inches and is constructed with black carbon steel.
Do everything and anything you want, including deep-frying, braising, pan-frying, and so forth.
The thick carbon steel material ensures this cookware heats up fast and distributes heat evenly. It has a long wooden handle that is ergonomically designed for an easy and comfortable grip. There is also a rivet-free helper handle.
The wok comes pre-seasoned to make it more resistant to rust and corrosion. It doesn’t have any artificial coating, so it is free from PTFE and PFOA. Even so, you need to frequently clean and season this cookware.
It is a round-bottomed wok and compatible with open fire and gas stoves. You may not be able to use it on induction, electric and ceramic stovetops.
- Ergonomic wooden handle
- Comes pre-seasoned
- Heavy-duty carbon steel construction
- Removable handle for oven
- Not compatible with ceramic, electric and induction cooktops
5. Large Steel Wok
- Brand: Town Food Service
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Dimensions: 19 x 18 x 5.5 inches
- Diameter: 18 inches
- Weight: 4 pounds
This large wok is constructed from alloy steel and is one of the most affordable big woks on this list. It comes with two welded handles that are designed to be ergonomic and withstand anything. The absence of wooden handles also means the wok is oven safe.
The best thing about this steel wok is that it heats up quickly and evenly. You won’t have to deal with hot spots.
Similar to other woks we’ve reviewed above, this is a round bottom wok. It is, therefore, ideal for stir-fries. You can use it on open fire and gas stoves. If you want to use it on electric, ceramic and induction heat sources, you may have to invest in a wok ring (sold separately).
Overall, users have found it to be effective and satisfactory.
- Arrives pre-seasoned with food-grade oil
- Large and sturdy
- The handles are welded for durability
- Doesn’t have hot spots
- Requires regular seasoning because it’s prone to rust
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have questions about big woks? Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions about woks in general.
Are Carbon Steel Woks Better Than Iron Woks?
Carbon steel woks are regarded as superior to their cast-iron counterparts. Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron, allowing you to toss food effortlessly. Lifting a cast-iron wok can also be a nightmare, especially if it’s full. Even so, both materials retain heat well but are vulnerable to rust. So seasoning is a must.
Is A Round Bottom Wok Better Than A Flat Bottom Wok?
As aforesaid, traditional woks have round bottoms with two small handles – one on one side and the other on the other side. We recommend flat bottom ones if you have an induction, ceramic or electric stovetop.
Is Carbon Steel Wok Safer Than Teflon?
Yes, carbon steel woks don’t have artificial nonstick coatings. They develop a natural protective layer over time with use. This also means you will need to season it regularly.
We’ve looked at the best big wok reviews. All our six options boast outstanding durability, unmatched heat retention, and even heat distribution. We hope you’ve had an in-depth knowledge to allow you to pick the right big wok for your cooking needs