If the first thing that comes to mind when cooking on a wok is those scenes on TV where professional chefs flip ingredients intensely, you might not be too far off.
You might not necessarily need to flambé your ingredients, but a wok can be handy for making stir-frys at home.
Because of their deep concave shape, others also find them useful for boiling or deep-frying.
So if you have a newfound appreciation for cooking with a wok but have an induction, your first concern would be:
Can you cook with a wok on an induction cooktop?
Since their shape can be challenging to work with on a flat surface, this article will guide you on how to use a wok on an induction stove.
What is a wok?
A wok is a type of cookware that typically has a round bottom with high edges. It’s available in a variety of sizes and materials, but it’s often made of cast iron or carbon steel.
You’ll also be able to choose between a single stick or double loop handles, where a single stick can make lifting and flipping ingredients more convenient.
Since it has traditional Chinese roots, it’s usually used for making stir-fry because its build allows it to absorb heat evenly. So you’ll be able to cook your ingredients equally in a short amount of time.
But even if you still haven’t mastered the art of making an excellent stir-fry, you’ll still be able to use a wok for steaming, braising, or stewing.
Can you stir fry on induction?
One trick to making a good stir fry is to start with high heat, which can be tricky if you’re trying to cook it on an induction cooktop.
Although it doesn’t have the same British thermal unit (BTU) as Chinese restaurant stoves, it’s still known to heat your cookware faster than other types of stoves. It might also not give you the ‘wok hei’ or smokey flavor that authentic stir-frys have, but induction can still give decent results.
Also, if you’re new to cooking on an induction cooktop, you might tend to under or overcook your stir fry the first few tries.
So if this is a major concern, you can pre-fry or pre-blanch your ingredients before stir-frying to make sure they’re fully cooked.
Another thing to watch out for when stir-frying on an induction stove is the tendency to shake the wok since this can cause scratches on your stove’s surface.
To prevent leaving any marks, keep the wok on top of your cooktop’s surface and use a ladle to mix your ingredients instead.
You can also place a paper towel under the wok if you want to add a layer of protection.
Can you use a wok on induction?
If wok cooking is a staple in your daily or weekly routine, using a round-bottom wok on induction may be tricky since you typically need a flat-bottom pan to ensure even heat absorption.
Another factor you’ll have to consider is the material of the wok since you’ll need it to have a magnetic base to make it functional on an induction stovetop.
There are induction-ready woks available in the market, but if you want to stick to your regular wok, you might want to get a separate wok induction cooktop.
Instead of having a flat top, it has a built-in rounded surface so you can easily fit a round-bottom wok. You just have to make sure your wok has a magnetic base and the correct size to fit onto the stove.
How do you cook on a wok on an induction stove?
As mentioned above, a wok induction stove can be handy for making your favorite stir-fry dishes. Plus, they’re easy to carry around so you can cook anywhere you need.
But if having a separate induction stove will take up too much counter space from your kitchen, an alternative method for cooking with a round bottom wok is to use an induction wok ring.
It’s a tool that holds your wok upright so you can cook comfortably on an induction cooktop, as long as you use an induction-compatible wok.
But because the wok will be a few inches off the induction’s surface, it won’t be as responsive to heat as cooking on a gas stove. So you might need to adjust your cooking technique a bit to get your dishes cooked perfectly.
How do I know if my wok is induction compatible?
As you know, induction burners use electromagnetic energy to directly heat your cookware. Similar to other pots and pans, you’ll also need to ensure the wok you’ll be using is induction compatible.
But is there an induction wok?
If you’d like to stick to a round bottom wok, cast iron and carbon steel are naturally magnetic, so you’ll only need to use an induction wok ring to make it functional.
Certain cookware brands also have flat-bottom woks with magnetic bases, so you can easily use them on an induction burner without any accessories.
Aside from cast iron and carbon steel, they’re also available as stainless steel, aluminum, or ceramic non-stick – so you have an array of options to choose from.
But if you’re unsure if the wok available at home is induction-ready, you can stick a fridge magnet on the bottom of your pan. If the magnet sticks, it means it has a magnetic base, so it’s good to use on an induction stove.
Can you use a flat bottom wok for an induction cooktop?
Since an induction cooktop typically has a flat cooking surface, it would also be ideal to use a flat bottom wok.
But is a flat bottom wok better than a rounded wok?
Although it would be more convenient to use a flat bottom wok on an induction burner, it won’t necessarily give better results than a regular wok.
Most users find them more difficult to work with since the heat usually focuses on the bottom of the pan while the edges stay cool when cooking. So you won’t be able to get consistent heat, which will help cook your ingredients evenly.
But you can still remedy this issue by using a ladle to stir your ingredients instead of manually flipping the wok, so you won’t lose any heat when you lift it off the burner.
Best induction wok
When choosing a wok, it’s always best to stick to one with a natural surface like carbon steel and aluminum since they can last longer than woks with non-stick coating.
So if you’re looking for the best wok for your cooktop, here are a few options you can consider:
1. Demeyere Stainless Steel Flat Bottom Wok
The Demeyere Stainless Steel Wok is often mentioned when it comes to choosing the best wok for induction cooktops.
It comes with 5-ply stainless steel construction with a thick aluminum core, so you can ensure you’ll get consistent heat absorption when cooking.
It also has a wide flat bottom so you can fit a decent amount of ingredients without crowding the wok. Its high sides also make it easy to stir-fry or deep-fry, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen.
But if you worry about food sticking on its stainless steel surface, the trick is to pre-heat the wok well prior to adding any oil or ingredients.
2. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Wok
The Le Creuset Wok is another great option to look into since it has excellent heat absorption and retention that’s convenient for searing and stir-frying.
What’s great about this Le Creuset piece is it has a flat base on the outside, but the interior remains rounded, so it can mimic the performance of a round-bottom wok.
Although its cast iron material makes it heavier than other woks, it makes up for its durability. Its enameled cast iron exterior protects it from corrosion, and you won’t have to season it to maintain it.
Plus, it has a couple of color options to choose from, so you can have the freedom to pick one that best fits your kitchen.
3. Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok
The Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok is the most affordable option on this list, so if you’re not ready to dole out a serious amount of cash, this could be the perfect piece for you.
But don’t let its price fool you. Since it’s made of carbon steel, it behaves similarly to a cast iron wok. So it also retains heat well, making it ideal for stir-frying.
It’s also lighter than cast iron, so you can easily lift it with less hassle. Plus, it has a smoother surface, so you won’t have to worry about leaving any scratches on your induction stove.
Just make sure you keep it well-seasoned so you won’t have to deal with food sticking on its surface when cooking.
4. Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok
You probably won’t expect to see the Sur La Table Professional Carbon Steel Wok on this list, but its carbon steel material makes it ideal for cooking on an induction burner.
Similar to the Joyce Chen wok, its sides are thin enough for the heat to travel up so your food can cook evenly and efficiently. So instead of having to stir-fry for 10 minutes, you can have your meal ready in as fast as 2 minutes.
The Sur La Table wok is also one of the most affordable woks on this list. So if you’re looking for a durable addition to your kitchen, this might be the best wok for you.
Cooking with a wok on an induction stove may not give you the same results as when you cook it on a commercial wok range, but with the right cookware, you can still get a decent result.
So if you want to stick with a round-bottom wok, you can purchase either an induction wok ring or a wok induction cooktop to get the benefits of cooking on induction.
But if you’re willing to invest in getting a new flat-bottom wok for your cooktop, you can look at a few options from our list above.
Keep in mind that uncoated surfaces like carbon steel and stainless steel will always work better for high-heat cooking since the temperature will make non-stick coating degrade faster.