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Best wok 2022: Transform your stir-fry recipes with the best woks from £16

Woks aren't just for stir-fries — they're an immensely versatile tool in the kitchen

You might only think of a wok as being the go-to for stir-fries but some of the best woks can often be used for many other types of cooking – smoking, searing, boiling and conventional frying. Add a bamboo basket and lid and it’ll even steam vegetables, dumplings and seafood. This means that if you’re short on space in your kitchen, a hard-working wok can feasibly do the job of several other pans, making it great for a quick declutter.

A wok’s bowl-shaped design spreads heat evenly for consistent cooking, plus if you love crispy dishes, you can cook them in a wok with less oil than a deep-fat fryer.

A good wok will heat up quickly, be stable on the hob without being unwieldy and have a comfortable handle. Opt for a traditional type and it’ll also give your stir-fries what’s known as wok hei: the complex, smoky flavour built up from fast, high heat cooking.

Not sure what type of wok is best for you? Take a read through our helpful buying guide below, and then scroll on to discover our pick of the best woks you can buy.

How to choose the best wok for you

What kind of wok should I buy?

If looked after properly, a good wok can last for many years. no matter what the material. Traditional woks are made from carbon steel – it’s often inexpensive and has excellent heat conductivity. It’ll need seasoning (coating with oil) to prevent rust forming and shouldn’t be cleaned in a dishwasher, but is perfect for creating a smoky wok hei taste.

More modern incarnations can be made from stainless steel, aluminium and cast iron, though be aware that the latter is very heavy. Most will be non-stick, which means you won’t get the same flavour from browning but they’re generally lower maintenance and easier to clean. While it’s tempting to choose a round-bottomed wok for its traditional appeal, a flat bottom is more practical and will work on heat sources other than gas, with most being induction compatible.

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How much should I spend?

Most cookware yields better features the more you spend but the same isn’t always true for woks. A basic carbon steel wok can be picked up for as little as £10 and while it won’t come with accessories, it can serve you as well as a more expensive design. Shop at the premium end of the market though, and you can pay more than £100 for eye-catching colours and favourite brands.

What features should I look for?

A long, sturdy handle with a good grip is a must, preferably insulated or far enough from the heat source to prevent it overheating. You may also find a ‘helper’ handle on the opposite side to assist with lifting the pan, or some come with a pair of loop handles that make it easier to move if it’s full of soup or curry. A lid will give your wok greater versatility, enabling simmering, covering food while it’s cooking and steaming.

What capacity do I need?

Mini woks, up to about 18cm, are great when cooking for one, but they won’t have enough space for all your ingredients when cooking larger meals, causing them to stew when you want them to sizzle. Most woks are between 20cm and 30cm, which is an ideal size for couples and families, and anything over 36cm swiftly becomes too cumbersome for everyday cooking.

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Best woks: At a glance

The best woks to buy in 2022

1. Kitchen Craft Orient Uncoated Wok: The best budget traditional wok

Price: £17 | Buy now from Amazon

It might need a bit more care than the average pan but this wok delivers an authentic wok hei experience twinned with affordability. Compatible with all heat sources, including induction, its flat base, lightweight structure and deep, sloped sides deliver the ability to flip, toss and sauté food like a pro. Unlike most non-stick woks, you can also use metal utensils and give it a gentle scouring if required.

It’ll need seasoning every time you use it to keep the interior in good condition but other than that it’s a great-value buy. If you like to keep your cookware in shining, pristine condition, this one isn’t for you, as carbon steel will discolour over time, but for those who love oriental dishes, it’s ideal.

Key specs – Material: Carbon steel; Size: 30cm(dia); Weight: 1.2kg; Accessories: None

2. Tefal Comfort 28cm wok: Best non-stick wok for stir fries

Price: £34| Buy now from Amazon

Wok cooking can demand high temperatures but it can be tricky to know when your pan is ready to start cooking. For those who need a helping hand, Tefal’s popular Thermospot features on this smart wok, turning to a solid red when it’s hot enough, preventing damage from overheating or hot oil splatters.

As well as being light enough to flip a stir-fry, it lends itself especially well to other cooking, with deep sides that can easily accommodate sauces and soups. Even better, its durable non-stick coating can withstand metal utensils, except for whisks and knives. It’s also suitable for all heat sources, including induction.

Key specs – Material: Stainless steel; Size: 28cm(dia); Weight: 1.7kg; Accessories: None

3. Tower Freedom wok: Best cheap multipurpose wok

Price: £16 | Buy now from Amazon

This multipurpose, induction-friendly wok from Tower isn’t exactly traditional, but it’s huge and suitable for a multitude of dishes. It’s fairly thin, heats up quickly and means you can reach high temperatures in no time – making it ideal for quick meals. The Freedom wok is part of a wider, space-saving set of cookware and because of this, you’ll need to buy the handle separately (£10). This is a little odd and does bring the price up if you don’t already own a removable handle, but don’t let that put you off, it’s still a great wok for the money.

In testing, it performed well across a variety of tasks from classic stir fries to risottos and egg poaching and the non-stick held up well, even when cooking sticky, sugary foods. Minus the handle, this wok is also oven-safe up to 260 degrees, so you can even finish off meals under the grill. It’s also dishwasher safe but we’d always recommend cleaning by hand with a soft cloth, as it’ll protect the non-stick coating for longer.

Key specsMaterial: Forged aluminium; Size: 28cm(dia); Weight: Not stated; Accessories: detachable handle (sold separately)

4. School of Wok 14in Non-Stick Wok: Best dual-handle wok

Price: £33 | Buy now from Amazon

For those of us who love the fast heat-up of carbon steel but don’t fancy cleaning up afterwards, this large non-stick pan is ideal. As well as being low-maintenance, it’s roomy enough to cater for a family and lends itself well to deep-frying as well as stir-fries.

It owes much of its ingenuity to chef Jeremy Pang of Covent Garden’s School of Wok cookery school, who’s brought his expertise in the art of modern Chinese cooking to the range he’s created with Dexam. A comfy bamboo handle and a flat bottom ensure it works all hob types, making this wok the perfect blend of pro-style cooking and fuss-free use every day.

Key specs – Material: Carbon steel; Size: 36cm(dia); Weight: 1.71kg; Accessories: None

5. Kuhn Rikon Easy Induction: Best modern wok

Price: £50 | Buy now from Kuhn Rikon

Thin woks are great for fast, high heat but they tend to lose that heat just as quickly. If you’re less of a traditionalist, then a thicker, non-stick wok is the way to go. This forged aluminum offering from Kuhn Rikon takes a while to heat up, but retains it like a champion, so you can still achieve that hot, wok-style cooking with the benefits of a modern non-stick coating.

It’s induction-friendly, has a solid build and a comfortable handle. Sadly, it doesn’t come with a lid but it’s a standard size, so you may be able to find a lid that fits from another pan (as we did). In testing, the wok produced great results whether lightly sauteing or fiercely frying and heat distribution appeared to be even. Overall, this is a fantastic pan for a multitude of purposes – not just wok frying. So if you’re looking for a long-term investment, this one ticks a lot of boxes.

Key specsMaterial: Forged aluminium; Size: 28cm(dia); Weight: Not stated; Accessories: None

6. Salter Marble Collection Forged Aluminium Non-Stick Wok 28cm: Best wok for healthy eating

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

Whether you’re on a diet or just trying to trim a little extra fat from everyday dinners, stir-fries are a great choice. Make them even healthier with this clever forged-aluminium wok. It has an ultra non-stick marble-effect coating that means you can use no, or little, oil to sizzle your way to stir-fried perfection.

Scratch-resistant, dishwasher-safe and suitable for all hob types, it’s smart and stylish too, with Bakelite silicone-coated handles and a smart grey colour. Another bonus is its tempered glass lid with a steam vent and generous depth, enabling you to use it for stews, curries and more. Plus, it comes with a 10-year guarantee.

Key specs – Material: Aluminium; Size: 28cm(dia); Weight: 1.5kg; Accessories: Glass lid

7. Ninja Foodi Zerostick Aluminium Wok: Best lidded wok

Price: £60 | Buy now from Ninja

It’s not often that you find a modern-style wok that ticks all the boxes. But this non-stick, oven-safe and scratch-resistant pan from Ninja just about does it all.

We were hugely impressed by the look, feel and build of the wok. It has a heavy bottom but the handle is comfortable to hold, even for prolonged periods of time. In testing, it lived up to its Zerostick name, as everything we cooked slid out of the pan with ease. What’s more, the metal handle stayed mostly cool during stovetop cooking, making it easy to move from hob to table.

The wok (excluding the lid) is oven-safe up to 260ºC and it’s easy to clean too. Simply wash with a soft, soapy dishcloth or pop in the dishwasher. It’s on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a great all-rounder with a durable lid, the Zerostick wok is an excellent investment.

Key specs – Material: Hard-Anodised Aluminium; Size: 28cm(dia); Weight: 1.94 kg; Accessories: Heat-tempered glass lid

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