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What Is a Copper Wok?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 17, 2024
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A copper wok is a wok made out of copper, or one that has a copper component. A wok is a special kind of cooking or frying pan that is popular for making some kinds of Asian cuisine. The large, bowl-shaped wok is useful in cooking stir-fries or similar dishes where ingredients have to be heated evenly. Woks can be made from copper or other kinds of metals, or from complex combinations of these metals.

Some cooks prefer to have a copper wok, or one partially made out of copper, since copper is known to be an effective conductor of temperature. Copper woks can heat contents more evenly than some other types of metals. Commonly, the copper wok will be formed with an alloy of metals, where copper is only one of several elements. There are also lined copper woks where the interior copper is covered with a less corrosive metal veneer.

While copper woks can be effective, some cooks are against using unlined copper products. Part of this is the fear that copper is a reactive metal and produces toxins in some situations. There’s also the issue that copper is a softer metal that can be easily scratched or otherwise damaged, which is why many of these cooking tools are lined with a stronger metal. One other characteristic of the copper wok is its weight, where woks made with this material may be heavier than others. This can be either a benefit or a disadvantage, according to the cook’s preferences.

Most copper woks and other alloy products take quite a bit of work to maintain. Cooks may need to season these pans by coating them with olive oil after use. They can be that hard to clean, where other nonstick surfaces may be easier to cook with on a regular basis.

The copper wok is just one example of the commodity value of copper as a metal. In recent times, those who are interested in investing in metals have taken a broader view that includes the functional values of metals like copper, which may not be classified as “precious metals” in the same way as traditional investment vehicles like gold. While gold and silver have high values per ounce, more investors are considering how the price of copper may rise over time based on its actual utility, not just for building, but for other kinds of consumer products. The use of copper as a specific element in a wok or pan is a good example of this; future values for this metal may be more based on effective utility than on artificial worth.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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