Updated February 14, 2020 – The wok is one of the most versatile cooking pans you can buy. It’s great for stir fry, but it can cook up a wide variety of other delicious dishes as well. Woks allow you to char meat perfectly, maintain the freshness and flavor of vegetables while crisping them up, you can even steam vegetables.
Short version: I like the Helen Chen Wok.
If you plan on using your wok over an electric stove, your options may be limited. Read on to find out the most important considerations to keep in mind as you’re looking for the best wok if you have an electric stove or an induction range.
Shape is one of the most important things to keep in mind while shopping for a wok for an electric stove. Many woks are made with a completely round bottom. This can be great for mixing, but also may hinder the heat from reaching all parts of the wok. In other words, the heat may be limited to the bottom portion of the well.
On the other hand, if your wok is too shallow or flat-bottomed, you may lose the mixing and tossing element that is so central to wok style cooking.
Flatter is better
For electric woks, flat-bottomed pans are definitely best. The flat bottomed version of the wok is a western version, but it is better for electric stoves simply because it will make proper contact with the electric heating element better.
A completely round wok wouldn’t be stable on this surface. You can buy what’s called a ring stand to remedy this issue, but it is easier to just buy a flat bottomed model to begin with and spare the extra expense.
Think about how many people you’ll be cooking for and how often you’ll be using your wok generally when considering what kind of wok to buy for your electric stove. Woks usually range from 10” to 14.” As a rule of thumb, the more cookspace, the better for even heat distribution and cooking.
When considering shape and size, look for a flat bottomed wok with a minimum of 5” on the bottom to fit most electric or induction heating elements.
Woks come in all kinds of material including cast iron and carbon steel, but carbon steel is definitely the better option for electric stoves. The carbon steel conducts heat from electric heating elements much better and faster than cast iron. However, it may require more than one seasoning treatment for durable, continuous use.
Here are some of the best woks for electric stoves:
Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen
A helper handle made on the opposite side of the wok from the handle helps you move and shake your wok when it’s loaded down with ingredients. You also get an aluminum lid for steaming dishes. This pan will require seasoning when you first get it, but that’s easy to do. Follow my instructions here to make seasoning anything easy.
You might also like the handy vertical storage option with a ring attached to the long handle.
M.V. Trading Standard Carbon Steel 16″ Flat Bottom
M.V. Trading electric stove-safe wok is 16” wide, which means it has a large cooking space. It is made out of conductive carbon steel material and has the ideal flat bottom shape. The helper handles made out of blond wood help give this one a near-perfect shape for mixing, stirring, and tossing.
Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set
Here’s another option from Joyce Chen. This wok also checks all of the boxes. Made from heavy-gauge carbon steel the flat bottom works with electric and induction stovetops. Plus heat-safe birchwood handles (both a regular handle and a helper handle). It also comes with a lid, a bamboo spatula and a recipe book. You’ll be set up in an instant!
Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick Wok
The Calphalon wok is actually made from hard-anodized aluminum, another great heat conductor from an electric stove. You get the requisite flat bottom along with stay-cool stainless handles.
At 12 inches it is a slightly smaller wok than the other options, but if you’re not cooking for a ton of people, this may work. The big difference here is that the wok is treated with a non-stick coating. This means no seasoning required. It’s also rated as dishwasher safe. Though, as always, I recommend hand-washing your pots and pans. And that includes woks.
Just because you have an electric stove doesn’t mean you can’t make all those amazing wok recipes. With the right pan, you can stir-fry, saute and fry to your heart’s content. All of these are good contenders for the best. The Calphon non-stick is nice, but for durability and classic wok cooking feel, I recommend the Helen Chen wok.