Are Cast Iron Woks Good? (SO Many Pros, SO Few Cons!)
You’ve seen all the crazy things chefs can do with it. You were intrigued about the different types of meals you can cook for your family. You can almost taste the flavors you’ve seen made directly on this cookware.
You’re ready to get in on the action!
So why haven’t you bought a cast-iron wok yet?
In this article, we’re going to talk about the good and the bad and everything in between.
Are cast iron woks good?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a cast iron wok. On the plus side, cast iron woks are excellent for cooking and are very durable.
They also distribute heat well, making them a good choice for cooking a variety of dishes.
On the downside, cast iron woks can be quite heavy, making them difficult to move around. They can also be quite expensive.
So, what is the verdict? Are cast iron woks good or bad?
Ultimately, it depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a durable and versatile cooking tool, then a cast iron wok is definitely worth considering.
However, if you are on a budget or simply don’t want to deal with the extra weight, then you may want to look elsewhere.
Did we forget to mention that if you take care of your cast iron wok, it could last forever?
What are the benefits of using a cast iron wok?
Great for deep frying
These are great for deep frying food. If you want to avoid having a ton of different pots and pans and just want one that can do it all, a cast iron wok is a great option.
They have very deep sides so you can put a ton of oil in them, they heat up evenly and retain heat well which is ideal for deep frying.
Makes stir frying really easy
They are so easy to stir-fry as well. With stir-frying, a cast iron wok is great and is going to make it easy to stir fry with the high sides.
The higher sides make it simple to stir fry the foods and avoid food from falling out. The high sides also help with retaining heat and making sure that the food is going to cook quickly and evenly.
Non-stick surfaces with seasoning
Cast iron can be non-stick if you season it properly.
If you season the cast iron, it will not stick to food which means that you are going to be able to cook food without having to worry about the food sticking to the pan.
Seasoning is easy, you just need to heat the pan up, put a thin layer of oil on it, then heat the pan up again and then wipe it down after it has cooled off.
It’s easy to maintain and clean
Cast iron is very easy to maintain and does not take a ton of work to keep it looking great and working well.
You just need to clean the cast iron or wipe it down after every use, make sure you are storing it in a dry place, and make sure that you are re-seasoning as needed.
It stores and retains a lot of heat
These pans are great for heating up and retaining heat as well.
This means you are going to be able to get your cast iron heated up and ready to go, and it will retain that heat and keep the food at the same temp while you cook it.
This is going to help you get your food cooked quickly and help you ensure that you are not dealing with cold spots in the pan.
Extremely durable and heat-resistant
Cast iron is very durable and can last for decades.
This means you are going to be able to keep using the pan over and over and should not need to get a new one unless there is major damage to the pan at some point.
You can use a cast iron pan for years and if you clean them properly and make sure to keep them seasoned, they are going to keep being a great pan that is going to work for you and for nearly any other thing that you might need.
Can last forever
These pans, with proper care, can last forever.
Unlike pans that have a coating, they are not going to have a coating that gets damaged or that wears out, they are not going to break if you are making sure not to drop them, and they can be re-seasoned over and over for years.
These pans are super durable and can be used for nearly any food that you are cooking and can be a great option for just about anything.
What are the disadvantages of using a cast iron wok?
They are bulkier and heavier
The first disadvantage is that cast iron is heavy and woks are large.
This means that a cast iron wok is going to be large and heavy and can be so bulky. If you do not have a cabinet where you can store it, you might have trouble keeping it.
Not good for switching to different temperatures
Another issue is that these woks are not going to be something you can switch the heat on very easily.
You can get them to heat up and hold the heat, but they are not going to be able to cool down quickly if you need them to, they are also not going to heat up super quickly.
If you need to raise and lower the temp of the food you are cooking quickly, this is not going to be the best option.
Cast iron woks are going to need to be seasoned to help prevent food from sticking. This process does not take a ton of time or effort, but it is an extra step that you might not want to take.
These woks can also be very expensive. Unlike an aluminum wok, they are going to be a couple of hundred dollars to get a great wok that is going to be long lasting and that is going to be a good investment.
Do you need to season a cast iron wok?
If you’re using a cast iron wok, it’s important to season it regularly.
Seasoning helps to keep the wok in good condition and prevents build-up and corrosion.
When seasoning a cast iron wok, you’ll need to heat the wok until it’s smoking hot, then coat it with oil.
Allow the oil to cool and repeat this process several times.
How do you clean a cast iron wok?
Cleaning a cast iron wok is simple, but it does require care. To clean your cast iron wok, simply use warm water and a small amount of soap. If you have any stuck-on food on the pan, you can use a scrub brush to remove it.
After cleaning, rinse your wok with hot water then dry it with a towel or paper towel. Be sure not to leave any water in the pan as this will cause rusting and damage to the pan!
It’s important to know that you should never use harsh abrasives or metal scouring pads on your cast iron wok. These can scratch and damage the surface of your pan, which will cause rusting and corrosion over time.
How do you prevent a cast iron wok from rusting?
The good news is that it’s not difficult to prevent rust in your cast iron wok.
There are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your wok so that you can use it for years to come:
- Clean your wok after every use. If there are any leftover bits of food stuck on the side, they’ll start to rust if you leave them there. So give it a quick rinse before putting it away.
- Always make sure you dry your wok immediately after washing. I can’t stress this enough. Rust cannot form without the presence of water. That’s why you always see water pipes made of iron rusted. When certain types of metals such as iron are exposed to oxygen and moisture, it results in rust.
- Be careful when washing with soap or water that’s too hot—soap scum can leave an oily residue on the surface of your wok, which will cause rusting over time as well! Wash it with warm water. If you need to clean off any stubborn bits of food, scrub gently with salt, vinegar, or baking soda instead of using soap! Make sure you rinse it off really well!
- If you have a rusty spot on the bottom of your cast iron wok, don’t worry! You can get rid of this with a few simple tricks. First, heat up your pan. When hot, bring it down to low and pour about 2 tablespoons of salt into your wok, and then add about 2 cups of vinegar. Bring this mixture to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You can also add baking soda to the mix. Then wash the wok with dish soap and warm water—and voila! Your wok should look brand new again!
- Finally, season your wok!
Are cast iron woks non-stick?
Cast iron woks can be non-stick if you take the time to season them properly. You need to make sure that you are seasoning it with the right oil, that you heat it up long enough, and that you keep it clean and ready to use.
You can also buy yourself an enamel-coated cast iron wok which comes as non-stick without the need for seasoning.
The type of stove you have makes a difference
When deciding on buying a wok consider whether you have a gas or electric stove. You might need a flat bottom wok if you have an electric stove at home.
Most woks have rounded bottoms. If you have an electric stove, chances are your stove surface does not lie flat, which will cause your wok to wobble and not absorb the heat as well.
Cast iron woks vs. other woks
Non-stick or Teflon-coated woks
Another option for your wok is one that has been coated with Teflon or another non-stick material so that foods won’t stick as easily when cooking with them.
This type of coating isn’t as durable as cast iron, but it does make cleaning up after cooking much easier!
Stainless steel woks
Stainless steel has some advantages over cast iron.
It’s lighter and easier to clean, and it can be used on a ceramic stovetop without the risk of scratching.
But it also has some disadvantages.
It doesn’t hold heat as well as cast iron, which can mean your food will cool down faster. It’s a little more expensive than cast iron and it’s difficult to season properly because of its smooth surface (the seasoning process relies heavily on oil).
However, you don’t have to season your stainless steel since it’s naturally non-stick.
Carbon steel woks
A carbon steel wok is a type of wok that is made from carbon steel.
Carbon steel is a type of steel that contains carbon, which makes it more durable and less likely to rust than other types of steel.
Carbon steel woks are lighter and easier to move around than other types of woks (especially compared to cast iron), making them good for repetitive frying motions.
They are also effective for meals that require quick frying with repetitive movements.
Aluminum woks have many advantages. They heat up evenly, which can be a significant advantage over cast iron woks.
Aluminum woks also take longer to heat up, which can affect the quality of your food. However, it heats up faster than cast iron.
However, aluminum woks have some disadvantages. They are not as durable as cast iron woks and can be more difficult to clean.
Additionally, aluminum woks may not be suitable for all types of cooking.
What you should not cook in a cast iron wok?
These can react with the iron in the wok, causing off-flavors and potentially damaging the wok.
Foods that need to be cooked quickly
Cast iron retains heat well but it takes a long time to get to the right temperature, so if you’re cooking something that needs to be cooked quickly, it’s best to use a different type of pan.
Foods that need to be turned or stirred frequently
The weight of the cast iron wok makes it difficult to lift and turn, so it’s not ideal for stir-frying or other recipes that require frequent stirring.
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