|1|| Joyce Chen Pro Chef 14-Inch
Uncoated Carbon Steel Wok
|View On Amazon|
|2||Joyce Chen 21-9972 Classic
Carbon Steel Wok
|View On Amazon|
|3|| Joyce Chen 21-9978, Classic Series
14 Inch Carbon Steel Wok
|View On Amazon|
|4|| Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast
|View On Amazon|
|5|| Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom
Wok, Carbon Steel with Lid
|View On Amazon|
Do you have a budding chef on your shopping list this year?
Have they been experimenting with Asian cuisine lately and been complaining about how their cast iron skillet isn’t quite cutting it anymore?
It’s time to get them the best carbon steel wok you can find that meets their cooking requirements.
But which one do you get?
The kitchen section has a wide variety of woks for sale and it can be confusing on what criteria make for the best stir-fry pan in the business.
We’ve collected 5 of the best carbon steel wok and done some homework for you.
Read on to find out features what you should be looking for and some of the best buys for your holiday shopping dollar.
The Most Recommended Carbon Steel Wok: 5 Best Reviewed
What Makes It the Best Carbon Steel Wok?
Following are some facts that you should consider while choosing a Carbon Steel Wok for your kitchen:
Carbon Steel – Not Stainless or Non-stick
The best carbon steel woks are crafted out of high carbon steel that is at least 14-gauge thick. The sides should not bend when you press them. Carbon steel allows the pan to heat and cool off quickly.
With proper care, it provides a virtual non-stick surface when cooking over high heat-which is what a wok is designed to do. Stainless steel does not heat as quickly or as evenly and simply doesn’t handle the high temperatures as well as the carbon steel, although it is prettier.
A serious cook won’t mind a great wok with a well-loved patina on it. Non-stick surfaces sound nice but will actually melt away at the temperatures you expect to be using.
Flat Bottom with High Curved Sides
The shape of carbon steel woks is a precise result of a thousand years cooking with them. You want five or six inches across the flat bottom to the pan, with gently curving high sides that bell out to about 14 inches across.
The small, flat center heats up quickly and provides a good surface to sear proteins while more delicate ingredients are pushed up the sides to cook at a different rate. The 14-inch pan will be able to prepare a meal for two with no problem.
Long Handle with Helper Handle
Some carbon steel woks come with two small handles on either side of the pan. This works when lifting the pan off the heat. However, the best carbon steel woks feature a long handle riveted to the pan on one side with a smaller helper handle on the other.
The chef is able to use the long handle to flip and swirl the meal about the pan, while the short one is there for even lifting.
Cast Iron Works for Some
There are some excellent cast iron woks on the market. But be careful when shopping for them. Durable cast iron tends to be fairly hefty and can be difficult to swing around while flipping your stir-fry.
In order to create a light enough pan to serve as a wok, the cast iron is hammered until it is thin, but also brittle. It heats and cools evenly, but takes a bit longer to get up to temperature vs. carbon steel.
Like its carbon cousin, the cast iron must be vigorously maintained and should not be washed in the dishwasher for best performance.
Hand Hammered or Spun
The inside sides of the best carbon steel woks should be hand-hammered or spun. Hand-hammered looks like little dents are all over the place. Spun has concentric ridges running up the side.
These surfaces are crafted to grab hold of food that has been pushed up the sides to cook more slowly while others are seared at the bottom of the pan over high heat. A completely smooth surface will fail to produce a proper stir-fry meal.
The Most Recommended Carbon Steel Woks: 5 Best Carbon Steel Wok Reviews By Sujana Marie
1. Best overall: Joyce Chen Pro Chef Carbon Steel Wok
This carbon steel wok provides the 14-inch size that you are looking for along with a long handle and a shorter helper handle. Crafted out of heavy 2mm gauge carbon steel, it is considered professional weight and with proper maintenance should be able to stand up to a lot of abuse in the kitchen.
The handle is rated to withstand heat up to 350 degrees, so you can pop it in the oven with care. The handle stays cool to the touch for improved grasp and confidence when moving food about the pan. There is a loop for easy hanging.
- Made of heavy 2mm gauge carbon steel
- Stay cool handle
- 14-inch size
- No lid
- Only rated up to 350 degrees
- Difficult to season at first
2.Runner-up, Best overall: Joyce Chen Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon Steel Wok
Developed for the casual home cook, the Joyce Chen 21-9972 is crafted out of 1.5mm gauge carbon steel. It has a slightly smaller bottom, at just 5 1/2 inches across, but the carbon steel wok is capable of performing up to your expectations once a week or so.
The owner must pay close attention to instructions regarding proper seasoning and follow cleaning procedures assiduously to prevent rusting.
There is a non-stick lid included for steaming, along with a wooden spatula and recipe booklet t get you started. The hobbyist chef should be happy with this purchase.
- Lightweight carbon steel construction
- Non-stick dome lid included
- Long and short handles
- Tends to rust
- Lighter steel can dent
- Pay same price for professional grade pan
3.Best Budget: Joyce Chen Classic Series 14 Inch Carbon Steel Wok
This is the pan found in many kitchens across the country. The no-fuss wok is made out of quality carbon steel but is priced below the professional line of pans.
Wood handles with loops will stand up to all your stir-fry adventures while staying cool to the touch. Hang it up using the handy loop at the end of the handle.
Has a nice wide 7-inch flat bottom, providing plenty of room and the spun steel offers grooves to place food on the sides while cooking.
As with all carbon steel, it must be seasoned upon arrival. Proper oiling between uses will result in a black surface able to withstand high temperatures.
- Lower price
- Good quality carbon steel
- Spun detail on sides for precise cooking
- No lid
- Will rust if not seasoned properly
- Cheap packaging gets easily damaged
4. Best Overall: Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok
For your cast iron enthusiast, check out the best-cast iron wok on the market. This pan comes pre-seasoned, so you are ready to go right out of the package.
It is rather hefty, weighing in at 14 pounds, so if you intend on flipping your noodles around, you are going to need some serious guns!
It heats evenly across the flat bottom, is very stable and can be used on any stovetop surface or even your portable propane wok burner while tailgating.
Fans of cast iron will be proud to add this one to their collection and their familiarity in using a cast iron will help them make the most out of the pan.
It has small loop handles on either side instead of the long single handle. The cook must season it between uses to maintain its non-stick qualities.
One drawback is that it costs a bit more than the professional grade carbon steel woks, but it is virtually indestructible.
- Solid construction can stand up to anything
- Stable base
- Heats evenly and holds heat for a long time
- Most expensive wok
- Very heavy
- No long flipping handle
5. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok, Carbon Steel with Lid
This carbon steel wok set is everything the newbie stir-fry enthusiast is looking for. The 14-inch carbon steel wok has a nice 6-inch flat bottom for use on gas and electric stoves.
The handles are crafted out of bamboo for a modern appearance and heat-resistant performance. The set arrives with a dome lid, wood spatula, and recipe booklet to help you get started enjoying your own Asian inspired cuisine.
Thet rivets that attach the handles to the pan are not steel, but aluminum, and heat at a different rate than the wok, resulting in loose handles after a few uses.
The handles must be oiled as well as the pan, as the bamboo tends to dry out over the hot stove.
It features spun sides and 1.6 mm gauge carbon steel construction.
- Good 14-inch size
- Bamboo handles look nice
- Comes with lid, spatula, recipe booklet
- Rivets warp after several uses
- Bamboo dries out and cracks
- Set costs as much as a professional pan
Which Is The Best Carbon Steel Wok For You?
If you’re looking for a carbon steel wok that will satisfy your finicky foodie friend, the Joyce Chen 22-0060 Pro Chef wok provides fast heating, good even heat retention in a sturdy heave gauge, quality carbon steel pan.
For a newbie, you can save a few dollars and select the Joyce Chen 21-9978, Classic Series wok which is a durable pan without any extras like spatulas that simply raise the price, without adding real value.
And for your friend who lovingly cares for their selection of cast iron pans, they will be thrilled with the Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok, which will stand up to decades of use. Now you know which wok will work for all your friends who love to explore new food adventures.
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