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Can you use a carbon-steel wok effectively on an electric stove?

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    Can you use a carbon-steel wok effectively on an electric stove?

    So I've been looking at getting a 14" carbon-steel wok. However, as I watch YouTube videos on how to season and care for it, I notice that all of them are using gas stoves.

    This makes sense as with a gas flame, the flame/heat goes around and envelopes the wok; on an electric range, the heat is just on the bottom of the (flat bottomed, of course for electric) wok.

    Several videos highlight that, to them at least, it is critical to heat the entirety of the wok with the gas flame, especially on the initial seasoning.

    Before I spend money on this.....can one use/season/care for a carbon steel wok with just an electric stove?

    I do it all the time although we now use a ceramic top stove. I would prefer gas, but that's not gonna happen. One thing though - high heat can warp the flat bottom of a wok making it slightly unstable. It still works, but can spin or wobble a bit.

    I may try cooking over an upside down chimney of hot coals. I just reseasoned my wok today using this technique and managed to get the wok to over 600°. That's probably a bit too hot so I will try with less charcoal if I decide to use a chimney...

    I've never really had success getting a wok to be anywhere close to non-stick. I think I cook at too high a temp to keep a good seasoning on it...


      Yes but...

      1) get a flat bottom wok - you can use the rings but... it's a thing to lose or misplace and you can't really use a curved bottom wok without it on an electric stovetop.

      2) No electric stove will get you the BTUs of a good gas stove and good gas stoves won't come close to a restaurant fast stove.

      So, think about why you'd want it over a regular pan, etc.

      On Ron's point of warping - that's a risk with CS period, wok or not. It's caused by heating too fast or cooling too fast. Not the amount of heat, but the rapidity of change. Don't toss cold water in a hot pan when you're done (just move off the burner) and consider pre-heating a pan in 2 stages (zero to medium high, then to high if you need high). Thinner gauges will be at a bit more risk.

      PS: Other options are to cook over a charcoal chimney or a kettle with vortex, but that presumes you're ok with cooking outside when you want to do the meal.

      PPS: For seasoning, do it in the oven. Repeated cycles at 400F with very thin oil.
      Last edited by rickgregory; October 30, 2021, 04:53 PM.


        So far I've done my stir-fries in my 10" cast iron skillet and they seem to come out fine. If I can't easily get the benefits of a wok on an electric range, I might be better served just getting as 12" cast iron skillet. (Ignoring the wok on charcoal chimney idea, for the moment.)


          Originally posted by Michael_in_TX View Post
          So far I've done my stir-fries in my 10" cast iron skillet and they seem to come out fine. If I can't easily get the benefits of a wok on an electric range, I might be better served just getting as 12" cast iron skillet. (Ignoring the wok on charcoal chimney idea, for the moment.)
          I'd get a 12" carbon steel pan vs cast iron. The advantage being swifter response time to temp changes (which might mean lifting it off the burner etc on electric). https://debuyer-usa.com/collections/carbon-steel or https://matferbourgeatusa.com/produc...ack-steel-pan/ or, if you have a restaurant supply place near you, they'll likely have something.

          The main advantage of a wok on electric will be the ability to push things up the side off the direct heat, then add other ingredients. Think fried rice where you fry some rice and veggies, then push that out of the way, scramble some egg, then recombine it all.


            If ya get a 12" pan, look for something with high sides. Wokking motions can get messy...


              My carbon steel wok is somewhat usable on my current electric cooktop. I can't wait, though, until my new induction cooktop is installed. I'm betting the wok will be awesome then.


                Of course you can use a CS wok on an electric stove. I’ve been using one for approaching 20 years. Don’t mess with any size other than 14”, period, it is the standard. A 12 is to small & anything larger is for restaurant fare. Learn it, it is an amazing tool.
                Last edited by FireMan; October 30, 2021, 08:55 PM.


                • mcook2201
                  mcook2201 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Agree. We have a round bottom wok with a ring we use on electric flattop. Not 'as-good' as gas burner but still works great.

                  I use a gas burner at the patio kitchen with great results as well. Stir fry hog maw tonight for dinner:
                  Last edited by mcook2201; October 31, 2021, 07:07 AM.

                • FireMan
                  FireMan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  mcook2201 try a flat bottom on that lectric range, it’ll work fine.
                  Last edited by FireMan; October 31, 2021, 12:22 PM.


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