Woks have been around for centuries and are at the heart of the Asian kitchen. There isn’t much you can’t do with a wok, even though most of us in the Western world are oblivious to this fact.
Finding a wok that works well in a modern Western kitchen can be a bit of a challenge at times!
Our kitchens are different than kitchens on the other side of the world. And we’re different cooks.
We tend to have large kitchens, with numerous appliances to cook up the things we like to eat. Eastern kitchens are more minimalistic, centered on an open flame and the do-everything wok.
How can the seemingly simple wok fit into our often overly complicated lives? Is it really something you’re going to use, or is it just another gadget to gather dust?
It could become your most used kitchen appliance, if you just give it a chance.
Table of Contents
- In a Hurry? Here's Our Quick List of Top Picks
- Why the Wok?
- Electric Woks Make It Easy
- Wok This Way
- Get Your Wok On, Anywhere
- 5 Top Picks for Electric Woks
- Top Choice for the Best Electric Wok
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks
- Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok
- Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok
- VonShef 7.4Qt Electric Wok with Lid
- Aroma Housewares AEW-306 5-Quart Electric Wok
- NUWAVE MOSAIC 14-inch Carbon Steel Induction Wok
Why the Wok?
A traditional Carbon Steel wok is a heavy, bulky vessel. They are made to heat to high temperatures over an open flame, allowing the entire surface to get hot for quick searing, steaming, boiling, and frying. There is an art to perfecting wok cooking, and it takes practice.
Traditional round bottom woks don’t pair well with electric ranges and are an even worse fit with a glass top range. Neither of these style ranges give the high heat and flames necessary to make a wok work most effectively.
Gas ranges are just about the only ranges which pair well with a regular wok because you can adjust the flame up high to heat the wok thoroughly and evenly.
Flat bottom woks are more suited to our Western-style ranges, but they tend to not heat as evenly, leading to cold spots, sticking, and lack-luster results. You don’t get the same movement in a flatbottomed wok, and you might be left disappointed.
So, what’s a foodie to do? Your best bet is to get your hands on an electric wok. This fancy contraption pairs the best of the ancient traditions with the innovation of the modern world to bring the joy of Asian cuisine wherever you may be.
Electric Woks Make It Easy
One thing has always enticed me about woks; the drama and flair involved in cooking with them. There’s so much pomp and circumstance that goes into the fanciful flipping and flame tossing. It’s a feast for the eyes.
Electric woks won’t give you the frolicking flames, but they will give you the same result. The secret to a great meal cooked in a wok is the high heat and even cooking.
Electric woks make cooking simple and intuitive. There is very minimal learning curve when using an electric wok.
Electric woks really make wok cooking accessible to everyone, everywhere.
As long as you have electricity, of course. You don’t have to worry about the type of range you have, or stress over the right way to handle the heat. The electric wok has got you covered.
Wok This Way
Like with any traditional wok, there are rules of engagement. You want to make sure you’ve got at least a bit of a grasp on this style of cooking before you attempt it.
Electric woks make this easier, as there is no need for flipping food into the air to get it to move around the surface.
The wok stays on the cooking stand, and you manipulate the food using various tools. The best tools for the wok are traditional ones, made from bamboo (or silicone if you must scrape).
There are also specialized ladles, spatulas, and baskets which can be purchased to make your wok experience go even further.
You may find yourself trying out all your favorite recipes in the wok, and why not? It’s an efficient way to prepare your favorite foods with less oil and less time slaving over a hot…wok.
Meals come together in minutes thanks to the high heat and even cooking surface. Plus, the area you cook on is huge! You can prepare entire meals in the bowl of the wok in minutes. No need for multiple pots and pans. The wok can handle it all.
Get Your Wok On, Anywhere
The electric wok can be used anywhere you have electricity, so get creative!
I found it was the perfect addition to my family’s RV repertoire, making memorable meals without heating us out of our home. It set up simply on the picnic table and also found a comfy home on the countertop.
I didn’t expect to use it as often as I did, but it was such a delight to cook with, and super easy to clean, it was a no-brainer.
We’ve been trying to cook with less (or no) oil lately, and the non-stick surface of the electric wok made our goal easy to achieve.
So which electric wok makes us swoon? Read on for our top picks of this underrated but extremely versatile appliance!
5 Top Picks for Electric Woks
We searched high and low for a wok which made the grade.
We wanted something that wouldn’t break the bank yet would still deliver high quality cooking.
And of course, we love getting the biggest bang for our buck. Money doesn’t grow on trees and all electric woks aren’t created equal, so let’s go!
Aroma Housewares AEW-305 Electric Wok
The first electric wok on our list is the AEW-305 from Aroma Housewares. This is a budget friendly electric wok, and although it’s pretty basic, it’s a good starter. This wok is sturdy and functional, without a bunch of bells and whistles.
It features a 7-quart flat-ish bottom wok cooking surface, cool touch handles, and 10 temperature settings on an easy-to-read dial. It also has a non-stick coated domed lid, which is perfect for sealing in flavor while steaming.
This wok can hold a lot of food, and still gives you plenty of room to move everything around for even circulation of heat and thorough cooking. If you’re wanting to wok on the wild side, but don’t want to invest too much, this wok is for you.
Find out more in this video.
What We Like
- Budget Friendly without sacrificing quality
- Dome shaped lid fits tightly for perfect steaming
- Not too heavy to be portable, easy to move around
What We Don’t Like
- Non-stick surface can flake off over time
- Bottom isn’t fully round, even though it appears to be in the photos
- Heating element rests at bump in bottom, causing food to get stuck and burn
Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok
The next wok on our list is the Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok. This wok is on the higher end of the budget, but not out of reach for a versatile and useful kitchen appliance.
You may find yourself reaching for this wok over your usual stovetop pans for all your cooking desires.
The die-cast aluminum wok with Quantanium non-stick surface has a fully rounded bottom and unique butterfly heating element for even heating and no hot spots.
Quantanium is a non-stick coating made from Titanium particles which has been shown to resist scratching, abrasion, and wear often associated with ordinary non-stick surfaces.
The Hot Wok features a 6-quart fully rounded wok, “cook and look” tempered glass lid, stainless steel base, and 15 temperature settings for cooking up to 425 degrees.
There are some key points to using and maintaining this wok, which are covered in the user manual and this video:
What We Like
- Fully rounded bottom for authentic experience
- Butterfly heating element for even heating
- Very easy to clean
What We Don’t Like
- Non-stick surface can scratch and wear, though not as easily as with Teflon
- Relatively low heat, unable to achieve true high heat temps for some authentic dishes
VonShef 7.4Qt Electric Wok with Lid
The next wok we’re featuring is the ceramic coated aluminum 7.4-quart electric wok from VonShef.
This wok features a deep bowl, which is well suited for soups and large portions. However, it is flat bottomed and almost overly deep, making it a bit difficult to use as a traditional wok for stir-fries, etc.
This wok heats up quickly and evenly, making it perfect for Japanese Hot Pots and other soups, broths, and noodle dishes.
Its ceramic coating alleviates the concern about other non-stick coatings. The exterior is attractively speckled, reminding us of our fun and funky ceramic coated camp kitchen accessories.
This wok is lightweight and portable and works great in smaller spaces. It’s easy to clean and maintain and intuitive to use. The temperature dial features four simple settings, warm, low, medium, and hot, up to 446 degrees.
Here’s a video to find out more.
What We Like
- Large bowl perfect for family sized meals
- Ceramic coated non-stick surface
- Budget friendly price
What We Don’t Like
- Flat bottom cooking surface, very deep sides make it hard to move food around
- Temperature settings aren’t precise
Aroma Housewares AEW-306 5-Quart Electric Wok
Next up is another wok by Aroma Housewares.
This one is a bit smaller, but features more precise temperature controls, a higher heat index, and useful accessories for more versatility. Aroma Housewares is a budget-friendly brand, offering good quality at a fraction of the price.
Steaming veggies is a snap with the included steam rack and tempered glass lid with steam vent to control and adjust the moisture level.
The tempura rack is ideal for resting your fried foods to help them drain, or for setting aside veggies while steaming up your rice. The extra long chopsticks make great stirring and serving utensils and will help maintain the non-stick surface.
Like the other Aroma model we featured in this article, this wok has a flat-ish bottom. It’s not as flat as some woks, but it’s not completely round either.
It’s hard to tell in the photos, and isn’t described as such in the literature, which was a bit of a disappointment.
All told, for a budget system, this one is complete, durable, and versatile.
Find out more by watching this video.
What We Like
- Varied temperature controls for more precise heating
- Included accessories are useful and well-made
- Locking mechanism on temperature probe for added safety
What We Don’t Like
- Flattened bottom disrupts the cooking experience
- Shallow bowl is more suitable for smaller meals (not family friendly)
NUWAVE MOSAIC 14-inch Carbon Steel Induction Wok
The last wok on the list is the most unique and closest we’ve found to get a truly authentic wok experience in a countertop appliance. It’s also the most expensive. However, the NuWave Mosaic Induction Wok is worth every penny, especially if you are looking to amp up your health with low-oil cooking. Plus, look at all the amazing accessories included!
What makes this appliance unique is the induction cooking surface and the separate Carbon Steel wok.
The two pieces work together to create a high heat cooking experience without the risk of burns from intense flames. Since the base only heats the wok when they are in contact, the result is a safer and more efficient high heat cooking vessel.
The Mosaic features a true authentic styled wok, made from Carbon Steel and seasoned over time. The more you use it, the better it gets.
It also has precision dialed temperature controls which allow you to increase and decrease the temperature by 5 degree increments up to 575 degrees. No guessing needed here.
Here’s a video to know more about this product.
What We Like
- Two-piece design with tons of bonus accessories.
- Induction heating for precise temperature and efficient heating
- Carbon Steel wok gets naturally seasoned over time. No toxic non-stick fears
What We Don’t Like
- Pricey appliance for beginners
- Since it is very close to a traditional wok, there is a learning curve for use
Top Choice for the Best Electric Wok
The electric wok is a versatile appliance which fits into just about every kitchen, even if you don’t cook much Asian style food.
It’s a nice change from hovering over a hot stovetop and can be more energy efficient than an electric range. If you haven’t tried one, we highly suggest seeking out one of the budget models or borrowing one from a friend.
It was interesting to see all the different features of the electric woks, when it seems like they would all be about the same.
The biggest difference in all the models is the temperature control and its range of precision. Most of the analog dials performed roughly the same, boiling down to high and low heat settings and very little in between.
Turns out, temperature is a huge deal when it comes to wok cooking, as is the ability to move the food around in the vessel itself, and those are the primary reasons we chose the NuWave Mosaic Induction Wok as our winner.
We were enamored with its unique two-piece design, which gave us the most authentic feel of wok cooking, and the best part, it gave the most authentic TASTE of wok cooking.
None of the other woks featured had truly high heat cooking you could actually control, which leads to the best tasting dishes, hands down.
We also loved that the removable wok was easy to transport from cook surface to table, it included so many additional accessories, and it is so easy to clean and maintain.
So, even though the overall price point is higher, you are truly getting much more bang for your buck with this set.