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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How To Use An Electric Wok



fried rice in wok
Think an electric wok is just for fried rice? Think again! But keep thinking about fried rice too because it’s delicious.

Electric woks are handy cooking tools for making delicious dishes outside the kitchen (or inside). Although woks originated in Asia and people typically associate them with Asian dishes, there are many other ways you can use an electric wok.

You can make all kinds of dishes, from stir fry to breakfast, and woks are suited for all types of cooking as well. Here are some of the basics of using a wok, as well as some of the little-known dishes you can make with it.

The Basics

Electric woks are portable electric cooking devices, with up to a 14-inch rounded pan for a cook space. It comes with a pan and an electric heating device that goes underneath. Always be sure to read all the instructions that come with your electric wok thoroughly.

The portability of the electric wok is its biggest asset. You can cook pretty much anywhere, from the table to the counter, to the outdoors and more. With most models, you can also control the temperature. It heats up fairly quickly and it can reach up to 500°F. Most also have a Teflon coating inside the pan.

Use wood utensils and high-heat oil

When cooking with your electric wok, you’ll want to use wooden utensils (Amazon) so that you don’t scratch up the teflon coating. You’ll also want to find a cooking oil that can withstand the up to 500°F temperatures without burning or smoking. Peanut oil and coconut oil are good choices. Avocado oil (Amazon) is gaining in popularity and has a very high smoke point: 520ºF!

Also make sure to wear an oven glove to hold the pan, since the handles often aren’t heat-proof.

Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric Wok

This Presto electric wok from Amazon has fantastic reviews.

View on Amazon

Work fast!

When working with high heat, you’ll want to move fast to avoid burning your ingredients. With wok cooking, a good idea is to pre-prepare (slice, dice, measure, chop) all of your ingredients before you turn on the heat. This will make adding the next ingredient fast and efficient.

Anchor Hocking 6-Ounce Custard Cups with Lids, Set of 4

These glass ramekins from Amazon are perfect for prepping ingredients. Feel like you’re on a cooking show!

View on Amazon

Now that you know all the basics of cooking with an electric wok, here are a few ways to use it for all kinds of dishes (besides stir fry and fried rice).


For each of these dishes, you’ll start by turning the wok on and let it heat up on a high setting. Once it’s warm, pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into the hot wok to start. Using your oven glove, pick up the wok and rotate it until the oil evenly coats the entire pan.

Now, you can make all kinds of meats in your wok. For a whole roasted chicken, rub the chicken with cooking oil and salt and pepper. Brown the outsides of the bird on either side (5-7 minutes each) and then reduce the heat to medium. Cover the wok and close the vent, and let the chicken roast for about 45 minutes. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. (Remember 165ºF and above is safe to eat.)

You can also make pot roast this way. Brown your red meat, then add potatoes and any chopped vegetables you’d like to add. Cover the wok, but leave the vent open. Leave roasting until the vegetables are cooked all the way through.


Trademark Innovations 3 Piece Bamboo Steamer, Standard, Tan

We like this Trademark Innovations steaming basket from Amazon.

View on Amazon

Have you ever thought to use your electric wok to steam vegetables? If you have a bamboo steaming basket handy, as they’re the least likely to catch fire, pour some water or chicken broth into the wok and fill the basket with veggies. Place the basket inside the wok over the hot water or broth, and keep the heat setting on high to generate steam and thoroughly cook the vegetables.

French toast in a wok? Yes you can!
French toast in a wok? Yes, you can!

Breakfast and More!

You can even use your electric wok to cook a delicious breakfast! It’s perfect for whipping up some eggs. The generous size of the wok’s cooking surface are great for making perfectly browned and flavorful French toast. Fry up hash browns or potatoes! You can think of your electric wok as a regular pan, only portable and with a slightly different shape. It’s good for use with all types of dishes.


Another perk of the electric wok is how easy they can be to clean and maintain. All you need to do is wipe it clean with a cotton dish cloth while it’s still hot. If it’s stained or there are extra food parts, use a little water to dampen the cloth. The temperature of the wok will sterilize it from there.

If you want to thoroughly clean your teflon wok in the sink, be sure to read the instructions or manual that came with your wok before submerging anything in water. With the electrical element of the cooking device, some parts of it are not safe for submersion in water. Also, make sure to thoroughly dry all parts of the wok before plugging back in. Air drying overnight after regular towel drying will give you the best, safest results.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, you’ve got some new ideas on how to use your electric wok. Remember it’s not only for stir-fries (though it’s great for that). The only limit is your imagination… and the nearest electrical outlet.

Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Alexis DeAnda

Alexis DeAnda is a food fanatic, library card user, and cast iron hunter, in that order. She has been cooking for anyone that will taste it ever since her mom let her make doughnuts on Saturday mornings at the age of 7.

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