Chinese Woks & Stir Fry Pans | Stainless Steel & Cast Iron

woksIn ancient Chinese history, nomads traveling across the Far East shaped pots and pans to accommodate their rationing needs for the long, arduous journey. One such invention was the wok, basically a cross between a bowl and a skillet. With a small, flat bottom and deep sides, less precious fuel was needed for a heat source. A small amount of direct heat was all that was required to heat the bottom of the pan.

Today, the wok has retained its ancient Chinese design. Some variations are more traditional, and others make good use of modern technologies. But the one part that remains the same is the small, flat bottom surrounded by deep sides. In the current push for saving energy, many are considering woks as viable “green” purchases, especially for gas cooktops. Cooks can achieve an adequate surface temperature on a wok by using a low gas flame setting, since the bottom surface of the wok is so small.

Most cooks use a wok for making stir fry dishes, but the cookware can be used for a lot of other kitchen tasks as well such as deep frying, boiling, braising, steaming, and stewing. For an authentic stir fry consistency, though, a wok is essential. There’s even a term for it:  wok hei. This is defined by the flavors and aromas that only a stir fry cooked in a wok in extremely high heat can produce by charring, searing, and caramelizing the food; it’s essential for many Chinese dishes like beef chow fun.

Types Of Woks

For a traditional wok that’s as authentic as they get, take a look at this Chinese Cast Iron Wok Set. It is made in China and comes with a bamboo & stainless steel utensil set, dual loop handles, aluminum lid cover, and a cleaning whisk. The cast iron requires very little oil for cooking as long as it’s an oil that works well with high heat, such as peanut oil.

Modern steel approaches include the Cuisinart Classic Wok and Joyce Chen’s Wok Set. The Cuisinart wok is built very similarly to most stainless steel cookware items with an aluminum base that heats quickly. It’s safe for the stove, oven, broiler, and even the freezer — a recommended wok for simple, no-fuss use without the worries of non-stick coating. If you’re up to the task, the Joyce Chen Wok Set will produce a more authentic cooked result because of its carbon steel pan. While the pan does need to be seasoned and maintained properly, it heats up extremely fast with both gas and electric cooktop burners — and the freebies are nice, too. It comes with a domed lid, bamboo utensils, and a recipe booklet.

Non-stick woks are a good consideration for their easy cleanup and no-fuss cooking. Try the Circulon Hard Anodized Wok for a handheld model, or the Breville Electric Gourmet Wok for an electric appliance version that requires no cooktop. The latter is pretty cool, actually. Its adjustable dial has 14 different heat settings including a “high sear” option, so an authentic stir fry taste isn’t sacrificed.

Read all of our Wok & Stir Fry Pan reviews below:


Green Gourmet Wok by Cuisinart

GreenGourmet Ceramic Nonstick Eco Friendly Recycled Cookware

Green Gourmet Wok by Cuisinart | GreenGourmet Ceramic Nonstick Eco Friendly Recycled Cookware

The GreenGourmet line from Cuisinart is a really great idea conceptually. Both product and packaging are made from materials that are recycled, better for the environment, and healthier for your body. This wok is just one of many GreenGourmet options to choose from, and it holds up like the ...





Swiss Diamond Wok, Nonstick

Dishwasher Safe Cast Aluminum w/ Lid & Rack

Swiss Diamond Wok, Nonstick | Dishwasher Safe Cast Aluminum w/ Lid & Rack

To me, this Swiss Diamond Wok is a stand-out product for two reasons: the cooking surface and the added features. Both are things that don't normally come with every wok purchase. Time to take a closer look.

First, the cooking surface is unlike any other on the market. It's made from ...





Joyce Chen Pro Chef Wok

Unseasoned Carbon Steel 14 Inch

Joyce Chen Pro Chef Wok | Unseasoned Carbon Steel 14 Inch

You can pair the benefits of fast food with home cooking if you know how to use a wok effectively. The actual cooking time is very brief, and wonderful meals with balanced nutrition and exceptional flavor are possible. This is an excellent way to spice up day to day cooking ...





Joyce Chen Classic 4 Piece Wok Set

Carbon Steel 14 Inch w/ Maple Handles

Joyce Chen Classic 4 Piece Wok Set | Carbon Steel 14 Inch w/ Maple Handles

The Classic Set includes a wok with maple wood handles, dome lid, bamboo spatula, and a recipe booklet. The pan has a 1.8mm carbon steel body made for rapid heating and a great fit with gas or electric burners. Carbon steel is THE material people who want to ...





Traditional Cast Iron Wok Set

Stir Fry Pan w/ Aluminum Lid and Spatula

Traditional Cast Iron Wok Set | Stir Fry Pan w/ Aluminum Lid and Spatula

This five piece traditional cast iron wok set is made in China. The two handles make it possible to manipulate the wok with greater control. The set includes the wok, cooking ring, stainless steel spatula, aluminum lid, and bamboo cleaning whisk. Special attention should be paid to the directions for cleaning ...





Mauviel Cuprinox Pour La Table Wok

Copper Stainless Bronze Handles

Mauviel Cuprinox Pour La Table Wok | Copper Stainless Bronze Handles

Mauviel has manufactured a highly efficient version of the traditional wok. Wok cooking requires high temperatures to stir fry, deep fry, braise, steam, simmer or roast items. Both intensity of heat and control over the degree of that heat are essential.

Mauviel's Cuprinox Pour La Table Wok provides exactly the ...





Calphalon One Everyday Pan

Hard Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10 Inch

Calphalon One Everyday Pan | Hard Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 10 Inch

The hard anodized interior and exterior of this pan have been infused with a nonstick polymer. The aluminum provides great distribution of heat and helps to cook without burning or hot spots. The nonstick allows speedy cleanup and provides easy release of food. Cook with less oil and finish with a ...





All-Clad Stainless Fry Pan

Kitchen Deep Skillet Aluminum 12 Inch

All-Clad Stainless Fry Pan | Kitchen Deep Skillet Aluminum 12 Inch

Many folks shopping for cookware balk at the high prices commanded by the All-Clad line. Chefs and cooking professionals don't, because we understand the value of a top quality tool. For me, a fry pan that won't let me down is worth its weight in gold. Otherwise known as a skillet, ...





Lodge Pro Logic Wok

Cast Iron Stir Fry Pan | 14 Inch w/ Loop Handles

Lodge Pro Logic Wok | Cast Iron Stir Fry Pan | 14 Inch w/ Loop Handles

Pro Logic items, including this cast-iron wok, are pre-seasoned with a proprietary "electrostatic" vegetable oil spray system. This readies the wok for cooking right out of the box, saving you time by pre-seasoning the wok for you. The oil spray system also creates a nonstick finish that helps preserve ...





Cuisinart Classic Stir Fry Wok Pan

Kitchen Stainless Aluminum 14 Inch w/ Lid

Cuisinart Classic Stir Fry Wok Pan | Kitchen Stainless Aluminum 14 Inch w/ Lid

Cuisinart's Classic Stainless 14-inch Stir Fry is part of its new variety of specialty pieces offered in their Chef's Classic Stainless Cookware series. These specialty pieces make everyday cooking tasks a pleasure.

You may wonder how a stir-fry pan is different from a skillet. First of all, the gently ...





Circulon Stir Fry Wok

Kitchen Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 14 Inch

Circulon Stir Fry Wok | Kitchen Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick 14 Inch

Stir-fry pans are similar in shape to a salad bowl allowing for easy tossing of vegetables. For example, Circulon's 14-inch Stir-Fry pan has rounded, sloped sides which make it possible to quickly rotate or stir vegetables or other stir fry ingredients while they cook. This way of cooking is ...





Breville Electric Gourmet Wok

Non Stick 14 Inch EW30XL

Breville Electric Gourmet Wok | Non Stick 14 Inch EW30XL

The chef in Nicole Mones' The Last Chinese Chef would not approve of Breville's Electric Gourmet Wok. Of course, she was going for authenticity and not convenience. So, unless you're competing in a fictional Olympics of Chinese culture, you're probably safe with Breville's electric wok. And you won't ...





All-Clad Nonstick Skillet, 12 Inch

Aluminum & Stainless Steel Pan Master Chef 2

All-Clad Nonstick Skillet, 12 Inch | Aluminum & Stainless Steel Pan Master Chef 2

Subtle redesign and substantial re-engineering are behind the second generation of the Master Chef line by All-Clad. This fry pan is made to be light weight but with fantastic performance.

Brushed aluminum combined with stainless steel accents yields a contemporary look. Three ply bonded construction of aluminum- a thick interior core ...





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