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How Do I Choose the Best Nonstick Wok?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

When choosing a wok, most chefs recommend using either a cast iron or a carbon steel pan. Since these types of woks are not originally nonstick, they will need to be seasoned before use; a properly seasoned wok will help prevent most food from sticking to the surface. If you prefer not to season a wok, you can purchase a nonstick wok that is already covered with a special coating. These types of woks, however, are usually not recommended, since the coating can become damaged and may not hold up to the type of heat that is usually necessary for wok cooking. If you do choose a wok with a nonstick coating, it's important to pick one that is made of high quality materials.

Traditional woks are often made from cast iron. This pan can be used over very high heat, and heats up evenly and quickly. Cast iron is a very porous metal, however, and if you want it to be a nonstick wok, you must season it before you use it. Seasoning a wok is typically done by rubbing the inside surface with oil or fat, and heating it over high heat for several minutes.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Enamel covered cast iron woks do not need to be seasoned. These pans are covered with a smooth non-porous glaze, and they have all of the same positive attributes of traditional woks. This type of nonstick wok, however, will usually cost much more than a traditional cast iron wok.

Many modern woks are made from carbon steel. Like a cast iron wok, a carbon steel wok is able to stand up to very high temperatures, and it also heats evenly as well. To make a carbon steel wok into a non-stick wok, however, it must also be seasoned on a regular basis.

If you would rather not have to season your wok regularly, you may want to purchase a wok that already has a nonstick coating on the surface. The coating can help prevent food from burning, and it can make cleaning the pan much easier. When choosing a wok with a nonstick coating, you'll want to make sure that the quality of the pan and the coating is very high; inexpensive pans may not have the same durability, and the coating may be more easily damaged.

A nonstick wok of this sort is not without its disadvantages, however, and most culinary experts advise against using one. The coating on most nonstick cookware can be very easy to scratch, you will not usually be able to use metal utensils in a nonstick wok. Some nonstick coatings are also not able to stand up to very high heat, which makes it very difficult to brown food properly. Also, when nonstick surfaces are overheated, they may release toxic fumes that can be very dangerous, especially for small children and animals.

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