Putting a wok in the oven - familyguidecentral.com

Can Woks Go in the Oven? (Which Woks are Oven-Safe and Which are Not)

Hey, you know what’s better than a wok? an oven-safe wok.

Yeah, we know that sounds like a pretty obvious statement, but there are actually some people out there who don’t know what kinds of skillets are safe for use in the oven.

Can woks go in the oven?

Woks can certainly go in the oven. Most woks these days are built out of materials that can withstand up to 500°F. 500°F is well beyond the limits of what a traditional oven can do. Nonetheless, if the wok is made with wooden, rubber, or plastic components, then an oven may not be a good idea for a wok.

What is a wok made of?

There is a common divide between which material is best to use when choosing between woks of different makes.

The most common types of walks you will find in the market today are:

  • Carbon steel
  • Cast iron
  • Non-stick Teflon
  • Aluminum

There has been a struggle over which cookware is better, and the two most popular woks today are carbon steel and cast iron.

Why is it safe to put a wok in the oven?

Woks have been so popularized today that you can basically find them everywhere at an Asian grocery store.

This is because they are so well versatile. You can use them to deep fry, steam, and even smoke food.

However, all types of woks can be made out of different materials, and these different materials can handle different ranges of temperatures.

The question you might be asking is: “Is it safe to put a wok in the oven?”

Unfortunately, it depends on the type of wok that you own. Most of the time, the metal body of a wok can withstand temperatures in the oven that are very high, even up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the wok is layered with a nonstick film or the handlebar is not made of a heat-resistant material, then you will not be able to cook with it in the oven. That extra material may burn and potentially cause a fire, or at the very least ruin your meal.

The materials you need to watch out for on your wok are wood, plastic, and rubber. These materials may be used on your handlebars. These materials are not heat-resistant and should not be placed in the oven to cook. Plastic and rubber will either melt, and wood will burn.

Wok on fire
Wok on fire

To play it safe, see if you can remove any of these materials. Generally speaking, if you can remove the plastic, rubber, or wooden handle, you’ll see a metal handle underneath.

Set it aside, away from the oven, and you should be able to put your Wok in the oven.

If you can’t remove these things, don’t use your wok in the oven.

Woks can be made of various materials, but if you find yourself owning either a wok made of carbon steel or cast iron, then you are generally safe.

These materials are very strong and can handle temperatures of more than 500°F without any trouble. If used and maintained properly, there shouldn’t be any damage to the wok, any fires that may erupt, nor will it release any toxic substances.

I would also recommend that you buy a wok from a reputable company. Don’t just find one for cheap; you might regret it in the long run. Cheaper woks can be built with poorer materials and even be less durable to heat.

Let’s talk about these materials and more in detail below.

What types of woks CAN go in the oven?

Below is a table based on the four different materials we are going to look at. It lists the specifications of the materials, including their durability and melting point.

MateralMelting PointPerks
Carbon Steel1425°C (2597°F)Most popular, durable, strong
Cast Iron1204°C (2200°F)Reduced from iron ore, durable, strong
Stainless Steel1375°C (2500°F)Avoids corrosion, rust, and staining
Ceramic2000°C (3632°F)Non-stick
A table comparing between carbon steel, cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramic woks

Carbon steel Woks

Unsurprisingly enough, carbon steel is the most common material used in today’s woks.

Carbon steel is a special type of steel that has a very high concentration of carbon. The use of carbon makes the steel stronger by design.

While it isn’t unbreakable, it is less likely to crack or break under any stress compared to other types of steel.

The fun fact is that carbon steel was used by Japanese bladesmiths to produce blades many centuries ago.

Today, you can see carbon steel in many materials used for intense work like construction tools, cars, and more.

Carbon steel will melt at an incredible 1425°C, which certifies very well as heat-resistant.

Cast Iron woks

Cast iron woks are also one of the most durable materials in the world. They are able to withstand incredibly high temperatures and hold them back from damage really well.

What’s funny about cast iron, is that it can conduct heat and store it for a much longer period of time than any normal material. Once cast iron is hot, it stays hot, making it a great choice for keeping food warm for long periods of time.

Iron is produced by reducing iron ore on a blast surface. it is made out of an alloy of iron that contains very few carbon chains. Is composed of a variety of metals such as manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, dl, and more.

Cast iron melts at 1204°C (2200°F).

Stainless steel woks

Stainless steel kitchenware is usually quite durable.

It is considered one of the most hygienic materials available and it does not support the growth of bacteria or other pathogens. It’s also very easy to clean.

One of the biggest things that stands out about this metal is that it is corrosion, rust, and stain-resistant.

Stainless steel begins to melt at 1375°C (2500°F).

Ceramic woks

Ceramic cookware is a metal pot with a ceramic coating. The ceramic coating is naturally slick so that your food does not stick to the surface.

The coating also helps distribute heat evenly across the surface of the wok.

This type of material does have some disadvantages. One of them being that heat is usually not held onto as long as the other woks mentioned. It is also a bit less durable.

Ask for safety concerns, ceramic kitchenware popularity grew once headline news started talking about the toxicity of PFOA-rich Teflon. People begin to lean towards ceramic kitchenware once they heard the news of this.

So the answer is still in the air. But soul gel cookware has stated that ceramic is

“Safe under high heat and even when damaged. The coating applies to ceramic non-stick pans provides a simple, non-toxic solution to chemical coatings.”

Ceramic melts at 3632 degrees Fahrenheit).

What types of woks CANNOT go in the oven?

Non-stick woks

Non-stick Woks usually have a coating on the outside known as Teflon. It is a very popular material used everywhere and it is easy to clean up.

The issue with Teflon is that, compared to all the other materials mentioned, Teflon is not made for extremely high heat. It has a melting point of 620 degrees Fahrenheit, which is at the borderline of the limit recommended to be placed inside an oven.

It is our recommendation that you do not use these nonstick woks inside your oven. If temperatures were to reach close to this level, then it could be dangerous. Teflon can get into your food.

As stated before, Teflon has been linked with PFOA in causing cancer.

Plastic handle woks

This should go without saying. Plastic easily melts in high heat. Inside an oven with the temperature drawn up, there should be more than enough heat to melt the plastic from the handlebars or anywhere else it might be located on the wok.

There are a variety of different types of plastic, ultimately they all melt at a certain temperature that is much lower than any of the materials listed above.

Rubber handle woks

The same issue goes with rubber. It doesn’t take much heat to melt rubber. thus this deems rubber unsafe to place in the oven.

Similar to plastic, rubber easily melts when placed inside a cooking oven.

Wooden handle woks

Wooden handles may not melt, but they do burn. Avoid smoke and fire by not placing any wok with a wooden handle on it.

Like all flames on wood, the wood would end up burning and turning into ashes if left in for long enough.

How do I clean a wok after using it in an oven?

  1. Let the wok cool down to room temperature before cleaning it.
  2. If there is any excess oil or food residue, use a paper towel or a soft-bristled brush to gently remove it. Be careful not to scratch off the seasoning.
  3. Rinse the wok with hot water to remove any remaining debris.
  4. If necessary, use a mild detergent or dish soap and a soft sponge or brush to clean the wok thoroughly. Be gentle and avoid using abrasive materials or steel wool, as they can scratch off the seasoning.
  5. Rinse the wok with hot water to remove the soap residue.
  6. Dry the wok with a clean towel or paper towel.
  7. To prevent rusting, apply a thin layer of oil to the inside and outside of the wok before storing it. If the wok is already seasoned, you can skip this step.

Note that if the wok has a non-stick coating, you should avoid using abrasive materials or steel wool, as they can scratch or damage the coating.

Instead, use a soft sponge or brush and mild detergent or dish soap to clean it.

Also, avoid using metal utensils in a non-stick wok, as they can scratch and damage the coating.

Are all skillets safe to use in an oven?

No, not all skillets are safe to use in an oven. Some works may not be made of materials that can withstand high oven temperatures and may warp, crack, or even shatter when exposed to the high heat of an oven.

Also, when heated to high temperatures in the oven, non-stick coatings on woks may give off chemicals that are bad for you.

What temperature can I bake woks in?

The temperature at which you can bake a wok depends on the type of material it is made of. Here are the maximum safe temperatures for some common wok materials:

  1. Cast iron: Cast iron woks are very durable and can withstand high oven temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Carbon steel: Carbon steel woks are also very durable and can handle high oven temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Stainless steel: Stainless steel woks can handle oven temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Non-stick coated: Non-stick coated woks should not be exposed to temperatures higher than 450 degrees Fahrenheit as the coating can release harmful chemicals.

What is the lid’s material?

The material of the lid for a wok can vary depending on the type of wok and the manufacturer. Lids for woks are commonly made from tempered glass, stainless steel, or aluminum.

Some woks may come with a lid made from the same material as the wok itself, such as cast iron or carbon steel.

In general, glass and metal lids made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum are oven-safe and can withstand high temperatures.

What are the risks of using a wok in an oven?

  • Warping or cracking: Some woks may not be made of materials that can withstand high oven temperatures and may warp, crack, or even shatter when exposed to the high heat of an oven.
  • Burn or fire hazards: If the wok is left unattended in the oven or if it’s overheated, it can cause a fire or burn hazard.
  • Release of harmful chemicals: Woks with non-stick coatings may release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures in the oven.
  • Damage to oven racks: The weight of a heavy wok can cause damage to the oven racks or cause them to collapse, which can be dangerous.

What should you consider when buying a wok for use in the oven?

  • Material: Look for a wok made of oven-safe materials such as cast iron or carbon steel. These materials can handle high temperatures without warping or cracking.
  • Size: Consider the size of the wok and ensure it can fit in your oven. Measure the width and depth of your oven before making a purchase.
  • Shape: Look for a wok with a flat bottom that can sit securely on your oven rack. Round-bottomed woks are not suitable for use in the oven.
  • Handles: Check that the wok has handles that are oven-safe and can withstand high temperatures. Some woks have removable handles that make them more versatile.
  • Coating: Avoid woks with non-stick coatings as these can release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures in the oven.
  • Brand: Choose a reputable brand that specializes in woks and has good customer reviews. This ensures that you are buying a quality product that will last for a long time.
  • Lid: Consider if you want a wok with a lid for oven use. Some woks come with a lid, while others may have a lid sold separately. It’s important to ensure that the lid is oven-safe and fits securely on the wok.

Can you season a wok in the oven?

Yes, you can season a wok in the oven. Seasoning a wok is the process of creating a non-stick coating on the surface of the wok, which helps prevent food from sticking and improves its cooking performance.

Keep in mind that seasoning a wok in the oven may make smoke, so make sure your kitchen has enough air flow by opening windows or turning on the range hood.

Also, be careful when handling the hot wok and oven racks. Once the wok is seasoned, it should be hand-washed with hot water and dried thoroughly after each use to maintain the non-stick coating.

How should I season my wok before using it in an oven?

  1. Wash the wok with warm water and soap to remove any factory coatings or impurities. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it with a clean cloth.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Coat the inside of the wok with a thin layer of oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, using a paper towel. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the wok, including the sides and bottom.
  4. Place the oiled wok upside down on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drips.
  5. Bake the wok for one hour. After one hour, turn off the oven and let the wok cool down in the oven.
  6. Repeat the process of oiling and baking the wok two to three more times until the surface becomes dark and shiny. This helps to create a non-stick surface on the wok and prevent rusting.
  7. Once the wok is seasoned, it’s ready to use in the oven. Before each use, rinse the wok with hot water and dry it thoroughly. To maintain the non-stick surface, avoid using soap or harsh detergents, and always dry the wok immediately after washing.

My takeaways

It is important that we know what material the wok is made of. Knowing this, we can make better decisions on whether it can be used inside an oven.

The type of material we found best for woks in the oven is carbon steel and cast iron. While not the only two heat-resistant materials on the list, they are the most physically durable.

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