A wok can be a liberating piece of kitchen cookware, allowing you to create delicious dishes that just aren’t possible to prepare with regular pans. But finding the best wok for an electric stove, or one that’s even compatible with a flat top stove for that matter, can be challenging.
Traditionally, woks are constructed with curved bottoms, which of course aren’t so great on flat stoves where contact between the heating element and the pan should be uniform and consistent. But thankfully, there are also plenty of flat-bottomed woks on the market that are on par with – if not superior to – more traditional designs. Here are the five best woks for electric stoves currently on the market.
Sometimes it’s best to just state the facts right up front; this 11.8 inch wok by Mauviel is the absolute best wok for a flat topped stove on the market. It may be expensive, but in my opinion, it’s more than worth the extra cost. Let me explain why.
First, the Mauviel wok is made from 1.2 – 3 millimeter thick carbon steel, which matches the construction and material of most traditional woks. Carbon steel is the best material for woks, as it’s an excellent conductor of heat, and it distributes radiant heat surprisingly evenly.
But most importantly, carbon steel also heats and cools quickly, which is super important to correct wok cooking technique. Controlling the temperature of your wok is vital to a proper stir fry, and this wok makes that easy.
While this wok isn’t coated with a nonstick layer, the carbon steel actually develops a natural nonstick property through daily use, similar to the natural slickness that develops on a nicely seasoned cast iron pan. Be prepared though, as your wok develops that natural nonstick layer, it will also darken.
I actually love watching this transformation; it indicates an appreciated, appropriately used pan.
Just handling his wok for a short while, you can tell it’s tough. It may be a bit heavy – about five pounds – but that doesn’t make it unmanageable.
In fact, the extra long handle and helper handle assist quite well with control. And those handles are also triple and double riveted, respectively, so there should be no concerns about this pan’s ability to take a beating.
The only downside to this pan is the cost, and unfortunately, there’s just no getting around that. But, this is what you pay for quality French craftsmanship. Yes, it’s made in France, rather than China, and that certainly contributes to the higher price.
That said, this carbon steel Mauviel will last a lifetime, and for that reason, I have absolutely no problem spending a few extra bucks. It’s worth it.
This Anolon 10.75 inch wok is beautiful, sleek and minimalist. And really, that’s what you should be looking for in a wok.
This elegant yet durable wok features a triple ply design, constructed from two layers of 18/0 stainless steel sandwiching an aluminum core. The 18/0 refers to the chromium/nickel composition, which in this case indicates that the stainless steel alloy is approximately 18% chromium, and 0% nickel. This ratio alloy is usually a bit cheaper, but also produces a really nice shine.
The wok is nevertheless tough, and able to sustain incredibly hot oven temperatures, up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. That durability – and lack of a nonstick coating – means this pan is a go-ahead for the dishwasher as well.
The stay-cool handle is made from stainless steel, and double riveted for strength. Given the size and weight – this thing is rather heavy – I would have hoped for a helper handle, but that said, if you’re going to use the wok traditionally, the helper handle becomes somewhat superfluous anyway.
In the interests of transparency though, since we’re talking about traditional wok technique, I should mention that while all of the woks on this list have flat exteriors (able to rest comfortably on flat, electric stove tops) they almost all have curved interiors.
That is unfortunately not the case for this wok, which instead has a flat bottom. This will limit your ability to flip food and circulate heat, and something to to be aware of.
At the end of the day, although there are a few design features that diverge from traditional wok cookware, nothing about this wok is deficient in and of itself. What I mean is, the quality is great, the price is phenomenal, and everything is backed by a lifetime warranty.
If you’re looking for the most traditional wok out there, this isn’t it; but if you’re looking for a fantastic and affordable option, look no further.
Calphalon is an instant and obvious contender on any “best of” cookware list because, to put it simply, they make amazing pans. This 12 inch Signature Series wok is no different. Let’s take a closer look.
First, this wok is solidly constructed. It’s made from a heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum, which acts as an excellent conductor and is incredibly efficient with respect to heat distribution. Indeed, this degree of efficiency is something we’ve come to expect from both Calphalon’s Signature and Classic Series cookware.
Although the wok is constructed around an aluminum core, a material that typically helps to limit heft, this thing is still quite heavy. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a heavy pan, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case with woks.
Since traditional wok cooking requires nearly constant movement, heavy woks can be burdensome, and difficult to use correctly.
That said, this wok has a PFOA free nonstick coating, which certainly facilitates things, and it can even resist temperatures upwards of 500 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. And although this wok is technically dishwasher safe, I would still advise hand washing only.
Another feature that I particularly like is the tempered glass lid, as well as the steam vent, which seems to be conspicuously absent on a lot of comparable models. Glass lids are great for watching your food as it cooks, but you’ll definitely want to be careful as you rock your wok back and forth to circulate food.
The long, stay-cool handle, helper handle and lid handles are all super solid, made from brushed stainless steel and double and triple riveted for strength. Even though this wok is a bit heavy, it gets big points in the durability department.
Alright, you’ll notice that the design of this Anolon 14 inch wok is quite different from other woks on this list, so let’s get right into that. The most obvious difference? Rather than using a single, long handle, this pan has two handles on opposite sides of the wok.
So is this a good thing? A bad thing? Really, this is going to depend on your cooking method. Woks are traditionally used over extremely high heat, slid forward and flipped back quickly to circulate food (and heat) in the pan. To do that, you really need a long handle.
That said, if you aren’t going to be using that fast, high heat method – or alternatively plan to use utensils to quickly circulate your food – then these side by side handles are a perfectly fine alternative.
And in fact, the side by side handles make it easier to lift heavy woks with greater control.
The Anolon is made from triple layered hard anodized aluminum, covered with a layer of PFOA free nonstick coating. This distributes heat pretty well, and more importantly, uses less oil to prevent sticking. Again, this isn’t in keeping with traditional wok cooking methods, but we’ve already said goodbye to those techniques thanks to these handles anyway.
So let’s talk about the handles. They are “Sure Grip,” stay cool handles made from 18/10 stainless steel, coated in silicone rubber. The silicone is heat resistant also, which means that the whole thing can go in the oven, up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The lid is another nice feature, made from break resistant tempered glass. Glass lids are nice in that they allow you to see your food while it cooks, though I wish this one had a steam vent.
While there are a few things about this pan that diverge from traditional wok design, I actually quite like this piece. The design choices have their own benefits, and on top of that, everything comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
This Cooks Standard 13 inch stainless steel wok is a really substantial product that hits the sweet spot in that Venn diagram where quality and affordability overlap.
The wok is very solidly built, constructed from 18/10 gauge stainless steel, wrapped around an aluminum core. The aluminum core keeps things light – imperative to cooking in a wok using proper technique – and also helps to distribute heat quickly and evenly. That said, this pan is still a little on the heavy side, at least as far as woks go.
Although it is not without its drawbacks, I’ve personally always been drawn to pans made entirely from stainless steel. There is just something about the aesthetic and practicality that I find really desirable.
I love that this wok can go straight into the oven, and that I don’t need to worry about silicone or plastic handles melting.
So, as an entirely stainless steel product, this Cooks Standard wok is completely oven safe, up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and is even good to go in the dishwasher. The lid is also made entirely from stainless steel, and has a mirrored luster that matches the pan itself.
I wish the lid had a steam vent, but this is easily remedied by displacing the lid slightly to disrupt the seal.
The handles – all three that is, the long handle, the helper handle, and the lid handle – are hollow, which helps cut down on weight while keeping everything nice and cool, thanks to the airflow.
Of course, by now you’ll notice that there are a few things about this pan that diverge from the classic wok design. Beyond being made from stainless, rather than carbon steel, the pan also has a flat bottom, rather than a completely curved interior.
Really, most traditional woks have curved bottoms, but Western style woks flatten that underside to better accommodate gas, induction and ceramic top stoves. The flat bottom in this Cooks Standard won’t prevent you from using a proper wok flipping technique, but it will limit (ever so slightly) air circulation as you cook. Just something to keep in mind.
Given the wide variety of woks on this list, there are clearly a few things to consider before making your final decision on the best wok for you. Whenever making a new cookware purchase, I like to divide my options into basic categories according to a few important factors.
The first factor that I think about is material, or specifically, type. Am I looking for a nonstick pan? Stainless steel? Carbon steel or even cast iron? Each of these materials can be wonderful in their own right, and each has their advantages as well as limitations.
For example, nonstick pans are great for preparing delicate foods like eggs, but limited when it comes to high heat cooking and searing. Likewise, heavier pans made from cast iron are great for heat retention, but a bit too heavy for dynamic cooking.
So, when it comes to the right materials for wok cooking, you’ll really need to consider how traditional you want to go. What I mean is, are you going to use your wok like a wok?
Traditional woks are made from a relatively thin carbon steel that forms its own nonstick coating through use – think, a nicely seasoned cast iron pan. Moreover, wok cooking is hot and fast, with lots of tossing and flipping to promote air circulation and prevent overcooking.
For the most traditional wok, you’ll definitely want to go with the Mauviel. It’s made from carbon steel, has the right size handle and appropriate shape, and will form that perfect natural nonstick coating with use. That said, it’s expensive and a bit heavy, so going with a lighter option, like the Cooks Standard, is also a decent choice.
If you don’t plan on using your wok at the absolute hottest setting though, you open yourself up to some alternative, more practical options, like the nonstick wok by Calphalon, or even the dual handled wok by Anolon. These are also fantastic woks, but be forewarned, they are less traditional and just can’t be used the same way as carbon steel.
After I figure out what type of cookware I want – stainless steel or nonstick, carbon steel or cast iron – I further narrow my options by price. When it comes to nonstick, I don’t actually spend much – though I can’t resist a good Calphalon – since nonstick will generally get replaced every 3 to 5 years anyway.
But when it comes to a pan that will last a lifetime, like that beautiful Mauviel, then I’m willing to drop top dollar, and I suggest you do too.