When recreating your favorite dish from your local Chinese or Thai restaurant, it’s essential to have a wok. These versatile kitchen tools are found in every Asian kitchen and can braise, deep fry, make a stir fry and more.
When it comes to electric woks, our favorite is the Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok, thanks to its powerful 1,500-watt element and even heat distribution. However, if you consider other models and want to learn about their various features and what to look for when buying one, we’ve got you covered in this handy guide.
Why buy an electric wok
The most critical reasons everyone should have an electric wok are necessity and convenience. When cooking in a wok, high heat is vital. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to get a traditional wok up to the right temperature on an electric range. So, if you don’t have a gas stove and you want to make authentic Asian food, you’ll either need to turn to an electric wok or buy a portable propane outdoor burner.
Even those who do have a gas stove may want the convenience of portability. With an electric wok, you can cook food at the table, which is a great way to impress guests. You can also use one on your kitchen island, so you can interact with friends and family members while cooking instead of staring at the backsplash behind your stove.
What to consider when buying an electric wok
While you can easily find giant traditional woks up to 28 inches or more in diameter, electric woks tend to come in more manageable sizes. Most will range from 13-15 inches in diameter and 4-7 quarts in capacity. You should consider both the overall size as well as the shape. Woks are supposed to have a deep bowl with curved sides that allow you to move some ingredients away from the heat source as you cook others.
The more control an electric wok gives you over its heat, the better. Models with a variable dial for heat adjustment allow for more precision than woks that click into specific numerical or temperature settings. As mentioned previously, high heat is essential when cooking in a wok, so you should avoid buying any model that cannot reach at least 400 degrees.
Most electric woks feature a nonstick coating. However, if you are worried about potential health issues from Teflon and similar coatings, there are stainless steel models as well.
Most electric woks will come with a lid, but you should opt for one with a tempered glass lid if possible. These allow you to keep an eye on your food without lifting the cover, which releases the heat and steam and interferes with the cooking process.
As with lids, every electric wok should have handles. Ideally, these should be large enough that you can easily lift the wok while keeping your hands safely away from the hot pan. They should have an ergonomic shape for a secure and comfortable grip.
Ease of cleaning
Choosing a wok that detaches from the base will be the easiest to clean because you don’t have to worry about getting any of the electronics wet when washing. If it is dishwasher safe, that is a bonus. Models with a nonstick coating are also usually easier to clean, as they require less scrubbing.
How much you can expect to spend on an electric wok
You can find small electric woks for as little as $25, though the durability and longevity are questionable. A more reasonable starting price for a quality electric wok is $40, with premium models costing as much as $150.
Electric wok FAQ
What can I cook in an electric wok?
A. You may know woks are for stir-frying, but they also steam, braise, boil and deep fry foods. What you can cook in an electric wok is indeed only limited by your creativity.
What kind of cooking oil should I use in an electric wok?
A. You can use any oil or fat that has a high smoke point in an electric wok. This means avoiding olive oil and butter and reaching for peanut oil, canola oil or even avocado oil instead.
What is the best electric wok to buy?
Top electric wok
What you need to know: With the ability to reach up to 425 degrees and offering 15 heat settings, you should have no trouble getting the proper sear on your foods with the Breville Hot Wok.
What you’ll love: Its high-quality construction allows it to last long-term, and the 6-quart capacity is more than adequate for most families.
What you should consider: It can be cumbersome to move due to its heavyweight.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top electric wok for the money
What you need to know: Those looking to avoid nonstick coatings will like this fast-heating stainless steel model.
What you’ll love: Both the base and sides have large handles, and the entire thing is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
What you should consider: The heating zone is small.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With a wide flat bottom, the AEW-305 is a good choice for simmering stews and similar dishes, though it has some notable flaws.
What you’ll love: Despite coming for a budget-friendly price, it offers a quality build and has a large 7-quart capacity.
What you should consider: The lid is not transparent unless you opt for the more expensive pro version, and the heat adjustment dial is poorly placed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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