The Best Electric Wok
While the wok is a great tool to have, using it on an electric cooker or a cooker that has small burners can be extremely difficult. This is where the idea of a best electric wok comes in to play. It helps to cater to the challenge of dealing with a small source of heat that is not able to heat the wok evenly.
Like with any other product, there are many electric woks in the market. The size, variety and material can be dizzying. Nonetheless, buying the best electric wok that gives you good value for your money is essential and there is no doubting that there are quite a number of options that you have to consider.
Lucky for you, I went out, grabbed a number of electric woks and took them through quite a number of rigorous tests just to see which one would be the best electric wok. Here are some of the ones I found to be quite impressive.
Breville – Best Stainless Steel Electric Wok
Not only did I find the design of the product to be carefully thought I also found that the materials used were quite convenient as well.
The base is made from stainless steel which is great for durability while the wok itself is made from aluminum die-cast with a quantanium non-stick finish.
If you’re always worried about having to clean the wok after use, then this will take care of that.
It features a 1500W butterfly heating element. This one I loved most. It has the capacity of heating up to crisp 4250Fand the special part is it comes with 15 precision heat settings and a removable temperature control probe.
The Breville BEW600XL is perfect for the average family and offers plenty of lucrative features that will stand out and make your experience more manageable when using the wok.
Aroma Housewares – Best Electric Wok to Buy
Initially, picking the AEW-305 wok was about its design but once I put it to use, I realized that it had a lot more to offer than pretty face.
The wok features a large 7 quart capacity with a high domed lid which gives it even more space. It is perfect for family use.
I had full control of the wok with the full range temperature control and the rapid heat up element saved me time. I didn’t have to sit around and wait for the wok to heat appropriately.
I was also blown away by how well it retained heat which is important because you don’t want the content to burn too soon before they are ready.
I would have loved for the lid to be a glass lid. It would have saved me from the trouble of constantly peeking to check if there was enough moisture or if the food was well cooked.
Other than the functionality of the wok, I also loved the cool touch base and handles. The last thing you want is to have burning food and running around looking for a cloth to take the wok off the heating element.
With the cool-touch handles, you never have to worry about getting burnt. It was a thoughtful addition by the design team.
Presto – Best for the Money
Unlike most woks that are made from aluminum, this one is made from stainless steel. Not only does this make it easier to maintain the wok but it is also extremely durable.
Before I go any further, I have to mention that it comes with a wooden spatula. I found this to be a great incentive for any buyer.
I mean, you could always use an extra wooden spoon in your kitchen or at least I needed one.
The benefit of having an aluminum base is that it is lightweight, heats quickly and also very evenly which means better and more evenly cooked meals from your wok.
The handles for this wok are side-looped which gives it an attractive design but are not coo-touch. It also comes with a tempered glass cover with a stainless steel rim. If you have noted, I prefer the glass covers.
Oster – Best Price-to-Value Electric Wok
Luckily, it is not all about the looks. It also packs a good punch with regards to performance and functionality and also features a good dose of features that you might find very useful when looking for the perfectly cooked Asian meal.
To start with, the wok is extremely large and has a 4.5 liter capacity. It is built from a unique and innovative dura-ceramic non-stick coating. This feature comes with a great deal of benefit.
The dura-ceramic finish is four times more durable than other non-stick finishes. Additionally, it is also able to cook 20% faster than other normal surface.
To test the ease of cleaning, I intentionally burnt cheese on this one and cleaning it was a breeze. It came right off. My only concern is with the temperature knob.
Its positioning is a little awkward and it is tucked away so it is hard to what temperature it is on and if you are not careful, you might also end up burning yourself adjusting the knob.
Norpro – Best Cheap Electric Wok
You get plenty of add-ons with the wok including a recipe and instruction book to help you get started with your Asian meals.
With the wok, you will also get a reversible burner ring, tempura rack, a pair of cooking chopsticks, wire steaming racks, turner, ladle, and 10 pairs of chopsticks.
The Wok itself is made from carbon steel which is quite durable and presents a wide array of benefits. It can be a great addition for a first time buyer that is looking to score with the different added features.
Best Electric Wok – Buyer’s Guide
If you have decided to buy an electric wok, it is going to be an integral part of your cooking and getting the right one is going to be very important. Just like meals, there are different features that you would need to consider that would be different from one user to the next. To help you make the right decisions here is a step by step guide of what to look for when buying an electric work.
The first and perhaps the simplest feature that you’re going to consider is the size. Ideally, this should be determined by the size of your family or the amount of food that you intend to be cooking. Woks come in all sizes and it is up to you to choose one that works best for you.
Flat or Round
Considering the concave shape of a wok, this should not be hard but you should know that it is a feature that could greatly affect the results of your cooking.
If you opt for a wok that is round shaped and it is too deep, that will mean that the heat settles at the bottom and sides of the wok are not hot enough for the perfect sear.
Unlike the first two features, this one is going to be quite a handful. When it comes to the material, woks come in different varieties which include carbon steel, ceramic and even copper. Each of the materials has its own benefits.
- Stainless steel – if possible you should avoid electric woks made out of stainless at all costs. They may be more affordable but they come with some serious downside. Compared to other materials, they are heavy and extremely difficult to work with. While they are extremely durable, they take longer to heat up and cool down and they have a tendency of being sticky.
- Cast iron – cast iron offers a better non-stick surface. However, it does take considerably longer to heat up even though it is a better option compared to steel. When choosing a wok made out of cast iron, you need to be very careful. If the material is too thin, it becomes very fragile. If it is too thick using it becomes cumbersome. The thickness has to be just right.
- Carbon steel – if you have to pick a wok based on the material, carbon steel is the best option. It reacts perfectly to the heating element is very durable and inexpensive. If you care for it properly and season it well, it will end up with a nice nonstick surface.
When making a purchase, you need to consider durability, ease of cleaning and how well it spreads the heat. While some materials might excel in some of the aspects, they might not be able to stand too well in some of the areas.
When choosing a material, it is important to consider what is most critical to you. However, you should also make sure that the material is sturdy and durable.
In this case, the question should not be whether or not you should but an electric wok with a non-stick coating but what material the coat should be made of. Having a non-stick coat makes the wok easier to clean.
While it is important to make sure that the coating is of good quality, it is also upon you to take good care of your wok by making sure that you use utensils that will not scratch or dent the coat.
An electric wok has a base that is usually fitted with the heating element. There are a couple of reasons why you need to pay particular attention to the base. First, you need to consider the material that is used for the base.
The material has to be a good conductor of heat and one that will quickly spread the heat to the wok.
The base should also be sizable. If it is too small, the heat from the heating element will only be centralized to the bottom of the wok which will make it inefficient.
The base has to be sizable enough to allow the heat to be transferred to the sides of the wok for better cooking results.
The Heating Element
The biggest difference with an electric wok is the heating element that it comes with. The element has to have a high wattage which allows is to get hot quickly.
It is important for the heating element to get hot enough for the wok to be at the right temperature.
Better thought out design will also come with a temperature knob that allows you to adjust the temperature which is a great addition that allows you to have more control of the cooking.
Needless to mention, other than having a wok that is effective in cooking, it is also important that the wok is safe. There are a couple of features that you can look into.
The wok should have side handles and preferably ones that are cool-to-touch. It is also a good addition to have see-through lid. It makes it easier to use the wok without your food jumping out.
Easy to Clean
After a tedious time in the kitchen, the last thing you want is to have to struggle getting the wok clean. There are plenty of models that are dish-washer safe which takes the stress out of cleaning. Those with non-stick coats are also relatively easy to clean even when you accidentally burn the food.
This should not be a determining factor when choosing the best electric wok. However, if it comes down to the wire, it can be a good way to tell which of the two woks are best suited for your kitchen. Some woks come with extra utensils like cooking spoons and others might come with a lot more.
It can be a great way to get more value for your money and in the process stock up your kitchen with some much needed utensils. However, as stated earlier, this should not be a determining factor when choosing the right wok.
How to Season Your Wok
After buying the best electric wok, before you can put it to work, it needs to be seasoned. A seasoned wok works better and provides better results. Seasoning also helps to keep your food from sticking. There are different processes that you can use for seasoning.
- Clean It Thoroughly – the first step to your seasoning ritual should be cleaning the wok thoroughly. Most manufacturers add a coat to prevent the wok from damage as it waits to be purchased on the shelf. Using dish washing soap and sponge, you should scrub the surface of the wok both inside and out then rinse is properly with warm water. You can then dry it with a towel.
- Oiling – Once your wok is properly dried, the next step is pouring some oil into the electric wok for coating. For this, you can use a high smoke point-oil or a high heat cooking oil. Swirl the oil around to make sure the interior is evenly coated.
- Cold Oil/hot pan – turn on the heating element to heat up the wok. Once the pan is hot enough add oil and let it sit there until smoke starts coming off the oil.
- In the final step, after you have turned off the heating element, let the wok with the oil sit outside for some time until the heat is bearable. Pour out the oil and use some paper towel to wipe out the excess oil.
With these simple steps you can prepare your wok for success and it is also an easier way of preventing food from sticking while you are using the wok. Season is also important in helping to break the pan and preventing it from rust.
If your wok has a non-stick coat, you don’t need to season it. You can however clean it just to be sure that there are no coatings.
How to Care for Your Wok
After the coating has been done, you will need to constantly care for your work to make sure that you get the best results and also, to allow you enjoy the best possible results in the long-term.
The first and perhaps the easiest care and maintenance process for your wok is cleaning it. Once you finish cooking you should make it a point to clean the work with only plain hot water. If you use any other cleaning product, you will be destroying the seasoning.
It is for this same reason that you need to clean the wok immediately after so the food doesn’t stick and you have to use a cleaning product to get it off.
Alternatively, you can also use a non-metallic scrubber. Once you lift off the stick pieces, rinse the wok once more and let it dry naturally. Don’t wipe it dry.
It is good practice to apply another thin layer of oil after using and cleaning the wok then you can store it in a dry and well ventilated place before you can use it again. It will take time and regular use before the wok develops a patina and becomes non-stick.
If you are considering using a wok, it is important that you get everything you will need in one go. The last thing you want is to find out you’re lacking something while your food is already in the wok.
There are a number of accessories that will come in handy while you use the wok. These will feature at different times but are just as essential.
- Wok Lid – some woks will come with a lid. Others will not. Regardless of whether yours comes with a lid or not, it is an accessory you will need for safer cooking and it also helps to retain temperature better.
- Wok Bamboo Brush – if you intend to use your wok constantly and frequently, you will need a bamboo brush to keep it healthy and retain the seasoning finish. The bamboo brush is an inexpensive tool that is used in cleaning the wok. It is common in Chinese restaurant kitchens since it is the preferred cleaning tool.
- Wok Spatula– when stir-frying, you need a long handled utensil that allows you to sift the food without burning yourself. This is why you need a Wok spatula. It is long and has a wide but slightly curved metal blade that protects the coating of the wok from scratching. If you don’t have the wok spatula, you can also use a spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Wok Steaming Basket – this is a tool that will be perfect for people that are really serious about their cooking and are seriously considering cooking Asian food often. The wok steaming baskets come in two varieties. There are those that are made from bamboo and there are those made from metal. They also come in different size and with their own lids. They come in handy when you are steaming Chinese food and can also be used as serving trays.
- Wok Ladle – it is not compulsory for you to have the ladle but, it is still a useful addition. It is a tool commonly used to add water, seasonings or stock while the food is still cooking. You can substitute this but, if you’re looking for the complete authentic Chinese experience, you might want to consider it.
The variety of electrics woks in the market can be dizzying. From the different sizes, to the different types of metals, manufacturing processes and even the finishing each variation brings to the fold a new reason for concern to the buyer.
It is important to make sure you remember and are aware of the benefits and pitfalls of each of the materials. It is where most people make a mistake.
For instance, if you go for stainless steel, you will have a durable wok but one that is extremely heavy and does not respond well to the heat applied. It is essential that you consider what really matter most to you and choose a wok made out of a material that promotes that.
Remember to always look at the handles. You will need to use them when stir frying and the last thing you want is to go looking for kitchen gloves. Cool-touch handles are a great addition since you don’t have to worry about getting burnt.
Last but not least, remember to treat your electric wok with plenty of love and care. If it doesn’t have a non-stick coat, make sure you season it and follow the care and maintenance procedure to the latter for the best possible results.