The Best Wok for Home Cooks, According to the Best Experts

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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, only half jokes when she says that the one thing she’d grab from her house in the event of a fire (aside from her husband and two small children, of course!) would be her wok. She loves that thing and firmly believes that every kitchen should have one.

However, not everyone agrees with her. Some other trusted pros in the food world say they’re too cumbersome, demanding (you have to season them!), and just not versatile enough. If you get the right one, though, Faith says it can be one of your most frequently used pieces of cookware.

To settle this debate once and for all, we decided to take a look at what some of the top pros have to say (plus, the home cooks who shop on Amazon). These are the best woks (or wok alternatives!), according to the some of the best experts out there.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4 of the Best Woks for Home Cooks

Tramontina Commercial Non-Stick 10-Inch Restaurant Fry Pan
Walmart
Tramontina Commercial Non-Stick 10-Inch Restaurant Fry Pan
$25

The Best Wok, According to Wirecutter

Tramontina Commercial Non-Stick 10-Inch Restaurant Fry Pan, $25 at Walmart

The best wok, according to Wirecutter, is no wok at all. Winnie Yang at Wirecutter says the biggest issue with having a wok at home is the fact that most of us don’t have stoves that get hot enough to properly stir-fry in a wok. (At the most, our burners put out 25,000 Btu, but commercial wok ranges hit five times that number). And round-bottom woks need a wok ring. Although flat-bottomed woks are fairly common in the American markets, Yang says the best tool for stir-frying is … this nonstick pan. Just know that because it’s smaller than a wok, you’ll have to stir-fry in batches.

Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok
Amazon
Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok
$45

The Best Wok, According to Cook’s Illustrated

Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok, $45

Cook’s Illustrated also thinks that a large nonstick skillet is best — especially compared to traditional round-bottom woks. Of the flat-bottomed options, the CI pros picked this option, which heats up quickly, cleans up easily, and gets a good sear on meat.

Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok
Amazon
Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok
$45

The Best Wok, According to Serious Eats

Joyce Chen 14-Inch Pro Chef Flat Bottom Wok, $45

Gear pro J. Kenji López-Alt, over at Serious Eats, is less quick to hate on the wok, agreeing with Faith that a wok can be a super versatile kitchen tool. He goes through the various materials (stay away from stainless steel woks!), talks about how they’re made, and what to look for. He picks the same wok that Cook’s Illustrated picked because of its heavy-gauge carbon steel construction and riveted handles.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10-Inch Flat-Bottom Wok
Amazon
Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10-Inch Flat-Bottom Wok
$40

One of the Bestselling Woks on Amazon

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10-Inch Flat-Bottom Wok, $40

Although Kenji says to stay away from nonstick woks (the coatings can’t handle the high heat that you’d use for a stir-fry), this is one of the bestselling woks on Amazon. It has 4.5 stars out of 5 and more than 3,600 reviews. It’s dishwasher-safe and doesn’t need to be seasoned, so it’s a great option for someone who doesn’t want to put the work in.

Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle
The Wok Shop
Carbon Steel Wok With Wood Side Handle
$25

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Woks

Faith has convinced Kitchn editors as a whole that woks are key pieces of cookware. From our experience — and talking to Grace Young, a passionate stir-fry evangelist — we have a short list of four things all good woks should have. First, it should be made of carbon steel, which is durable and inexpensive, heats quickly and evenly, and can become virtually nonstick (again, if you take the time to season it well!). It should have a flat bottom and a 14-inch diameter. And it should have wood handles on both sides. That brings us to this option from Wok Shop. It’s the one Faith would grab in the event of a fire and the one we recommend to everyone.

More on Woks

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