What is the Best Electric Wok to Buy [2020]?

If you’re a fan of Mongolian grills and Asian stir fries, there’s nothing better than perfecting this style of cooking at home. The one tool that you absolutely must have is a wok because no other utensil will give you that charred crispiness that’s so vital to a good stir fry. While a stovetop wok is the most popular option, it’s not for those who don’t like the maintenance needed to take care of one. That’s where an electric alternate comes in. So what is the best electric wok to buy? There are a few options and they each differ a bit in design and price, so we’ll help you pick the best one for your needs.

Before we do our best electric wok reviews, it’s important to know that the best stir fries are done in small quantities so that the entire surface area of the wok is used to push and slide all the ingredients along while they cook. If it gets too crowded, everything will start to steam instead of fry and crisp up. You don’t want a soggy and oily mess!

While the most useful function of an electric wok is to stir fry at high heat, it can also be used for sautéing, braising, boiling, deep frying, steaming and roasting.

The ideal size of wok is around 12″-15″ in diameter because this is easy to handle when lifting it off the heat source and it’s not too big to store. This size is ideal when you’re cooking for 2-4 people at a time. Any more, and you’re better off cooking in batches unless you’re an expert in partitioning cooked ingredients from newly added ingredients in an extra large wok. You also won’t need to use more oil than necessary when you’re cooking small quantities or just for one.

 

What is the Best Electric Wok to Buy?

Best Non Stick Electric Wok on the Market

Breville the Hot Wok and Hot Wok Pro

Breville the Hot WokFor the absolute closest in performance to a carbon steel wok, you can’t go wrong with the Breville Hot Wok. This best rated electric wok even scores most points for versatility in cooking.

The Breville BEW600XL Hot Wok comes with a 14″ diameter, 6 quart capacity aluminum die cast wok bowl with a Quantanium non-stick coating. The bowl is round bottomed. It is set on a stainless steel base that houses a 1500W butterfly heating element and provides a socket for a removable temperature probe that heats the wok upto a maximum of 425ºF but can be controlled with 15 precision heat settings for all types of cooking like steaming, braising and shallow frying.

The non-stick coating is very durable and won’t peel even at the searing high heat you’ll use for stir fries.

The wok comes with a tempered glass lid with a vent that you can choose to keep open or closed.

The lid and wok bowl are dishwasher safe, although it’s best to wash them by hand to ensure that they last through the years. The non-stick coating means cleaning by hand is really easy. In fact, it may be easier to hand wash because in order to detach the bowl from the base, you have to turn the whole unit upside down then push and turn the dial to unlock the bowl from the base. This should only be done once the wok cools down and you have to completely empty and wipe the inside of the bowl so as not to cause a mess.

The issue of inconvenient release of the wok bowl from the base is solved in the newer model Breville Hot Wok Pro. Instead of having to turn the whole thing upside down to separate them, there’s a quick release lever on the base so that you can instead release and lift the bowl off easily.

The Breville BEW800XL Hot Wok Pro also differs from the BEW600XL model in capacity, as it is larger at 15″ in diameter and has an 8 quart capacity. It is also slightly more powerful at 1800 watts to be able to heat up the larger bowl. The non-stick coating here is a newer Eternal PFOA-free surface.

You can also buy the BEW600XL and the BEW800XL directly from Breville.

 

Best Budget Electric Wok

Aroma Housewares AEW-306 5-Quart Electric Wok

Aroma Housewares AEW-306 5-Quart Electric WokIf you want a similar wok to the Breville Pro model above but don’t want to spend as much, then the Aroma Housewares AEW-306 5-Quart Electric Wok is the one for you. The features are very similar and the wok bowl is also non-stick. This 1400 watt wok can also be used for stir frying, braising, steaming and deep frying.

The cast aluminum construction of the wok bowl allows for quick and even heating and the non-stick coating lets you use less oil. The bottom is flat. There is also a large domed glass lid with an adjustable steam vent for cooking that requires the wok to be covered.

The base comes with a removable temperature probe and both these can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. The probe clicks securely into place and a lever has to be pushed to release it. It comes with 10 temperature settings to be adjusted via a dial.

When you’re done cooking, there’s a quick release trigger to lift the wok off the base for easy cleaning in the dishwasher or by hand. The lid is also dishwasher safe.

Other provided accessories are a steam rack, tempura rack and a pair of chopsticks. The steam rack can be placed on the bottom of the wok so that foods can sit nicely above the water that is filled just below. The tempura rack sits on one half of the rim of the wok so that you can lift out pieces of food that are done deep frying and need to drain with excess oil dripping back down into the wok.

One thing to note with this Aroma wok is that it is a little tricky to reattach the bowl to the base after cleaning so the it may take a few tries in the beginning but gets easier once you know how to do it.

While this AEW-306 professional model has a 5 quart capacity, the AEW-305 basic model has a 7 quart capacity and differs slightly. The AEW-305 comes with a 1500 watt rating, it has a black opaque lid, does not come with the two racks and chopsticks, and its temperature probe is not removeable but fixed to the base and comes with a control dial going from low to high.

 

Best Stainless Steel Electric Wok

Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric Wok

Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric WokIf you’re avoiding any non-stick coated cookware then the Presto 5900 1500-Watt Stainless-Steel Electric Wok should fit your needs and it is one of the best electric woks.

The durable all stainless steel body with aluminum clad base for faster heating means you can use metal cooking utensils if you want. The 1500W heating element is completely sealed inside the base, so you only have to detach the temperature probe before putting the whole unit in the dishwasher or sink.

With preheating it first and then adding the right oil, food will not stick to the insides of this wok.

The handles are also made of stainless steel and there’s a tempered glass lid as well. The diameter of the bowl is 14″.

The adjustable dial on the temperature probe has 5 settings that go from 200F to 400F plus a “warm” setting. The bottom is flat and only that part gets that hot, so stir fries will come out well, but the sides of the wok doesn’t get as hot. Although the temperature dial can be set to 400F, deep frying may not turn out very well for the same reason. All other types of cooking, like steaming and braising is just as good as in any other wok but you will need to have your own steamer rack as the only accessory provided is a long handled wooden spatula.

Since this is not a non-stick wok, cleaning is not as easy, but the best way to go about it is to soak it in warm water to remove any stuck on bits before putting it in the dishwasher.

 

VonShef 7.4Qt Electric Wok with Lid

VonShef 7.4Qt Electric Wok with LidThe VonShef 7.4Qt Electric Wok is large, with a rim diameter of 14″ and made of aluminum with non-stick coating. It comes with a vented lid and cool-touch silicon handles.

There are 4 temperature settings on the removable probe – warm, low, medium and high. The high setting goes up to 446F and the power rating is 1500 watts.

This wok is not as true in form to most woks, as the flat bottom is fairly large and the high sides rise steeply. In fact, some users say that it is like an electric skillet, except that it has high walls so the splatter is minimal. However, the searing high heat that this wok can go up to travels up these sides nicely and stir fries can be done well if you limit the amount of servings you cook at a time to 2. This design is especially useful for the other methods of cooking since the wide bottom accommodates a larger steam rack better. Soups are also good to make.

This appliance is not dishwasher safe but it is very easy to clean by hand because it is non-stick.

 

Best Small Electric Wok

Continental Electric Chef Electric Wok 4.5 Quart

Continental Electric Chef Electric WokIf you’re only cooking for 1 or 2 people at a time, the 4.5 quart Continental Electric Chef Electric Wok will be more than enough to turn out great stir fries with out feeling like it’s too unwieldy. The diameter is still 14 inches but the depth is shallow with gently sloping sides.

The body is made of durable stainless steel and the coating is non-stick. It is recommended to only wash it by hand.

There is a vented glass lid and cool touch handles. The detachable probe and temperature dial is situated just below one handle, which is awkward because the dial is blocked from view. The power cord is also rather short.

This wok is rated at 900 watts. It reaches high temperatures quickly for stir fries but temperature regulation isn’t the best.

Electric Wok Vs Stove Top Wok

If you haven’t yet decided on whether a stove top or electric wok is what you should buy, let’s help you decide:

Stovetop Wok Pros

A proper wok comes in carbon steel or iron so that the stove heat is absorbed quickly and is maintained at a high temperature throughout the cooking process. You also won’t get any heat spots using a traditional round-bottomed wok. This means even and quick cooking of all ingredients.

It’s easy to control cooking, as you can move it away from the heat source momentarily and bring it back to continue. Most modern woks also come with a long wooden handle on one side so you can easily toss your food while stir frying.

Because stovetop woks are used at very high temperatures, non-stick coating or Teflon cant be used and the carbon steel material is very safe even under the highest heat.

Carbon steel woks are a bit cheaper than electric woks because there are no electronic components involved.

Stovetop Wok Cons

If you have an electric stove, you’ll need a flat bottomed wok to sit safely on the heating pad. There’s also the option of buying a stove ring that fits around the heating pad and provides a stand for the wok. This isn’t ideal, as the heat source is farther away from the bottom of the wok.

Maintaining a carbon steel wok requires tempering the surface by heating it on low with a little bit of oil and then wiping the entire inner surface to create a patina. This prevents food from sticking to the surface. Whenever you wash the wok, you have to temper it all over again before using.

Electric Wok Pros

Electric woks are easy to use for beginners and you can use it anywhere there’s a power source point.

These are made of stainless steel, aluminum or non-stick, so are more versatile for other forms of cooking, like sautéing and steaming, where such high heat or a lot of oil is not needed. Most electric woks come with a lid as well to facilitate these kinds of cooking.

It won’t take up space on the stove if you’re cooking other dishes simultaneously. Woks are large in diameter so while one burner is used for a wok, the other burners night not be usable.

The wok is removable from its heat source so it can be washed with soap and water without worrying about removing its patina. There is no need for seasoning.

It comes with its own stand so you can move it to the dinner or picnic table without needing to empty the contents out into another dish for serving.

It retains heat a bit longer, so you can leave it out for the family to serve themselves at the dinner table.

Electric Wok Cons

The biggest issue with an electric wok is its inability to reach as high a temperature as a stovetop wok, so food can start to steam in it instead of frying if you try to cook too much at a time. To avoid this as much as possible, a high power wok is best. Electric woks are also not very good for deep frying for this same reason.

 

How to Cook Stir Fry in an Electric Wok

  • Use an oil with a high smoke point: Since you’ll be cooking at very high heat throughout, the oil you use should not smoke and burn. Good oils for this purpose are peanut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Olive oil is not a good one for this type of cooking.
  • Prep all your ingredients beforehand: Since stir fries have to be cooked fast so as to avoid burning portions at the high searing temperatures, every single ingredient should be sliced and diced before you even turn your wok on. Even better if you keep each one on separate plates or bowls so that you can pick up each at the right time to add to the wok.
  • Work in small batches: If you want your meat and veggies to get a nice char on the outside with have a nice smokey flavor, you have to prevent them from stewing in their own liquids. This tends to happen if there’s too much food that it becomes overcrowded. If you’re cooking for more than 2-3 people at a time, cook the dish in batches.
  • Use a wooden spatula: Since most electric woks have a non-stick coating, you should always use a wooden spatula or chopsticks to stir and flips the ingredients. These won’t scratch the surface and will keep your wok in great condition for many years.
  • Use the highest temperature setting: Turn on the wok and set the temperature dial to its highest setting. Let the wok reach a nice high temperature before adding oil by drizzling round the top of the sides so as to allow the oil to coat the entire inner surface properly.
  • Work fast and efficiently: You add each ingredient in order of cooking time and let them cook while quickly moving them around. Once the ingredient is partially cooked, move it aside and add the next ingredient to the center. Let that get a sear before stir frying both together. Continue adding ingredients this way until the end where everything is given a last char.

FAQs

Can you Deep Fry in an Electric Wok?

Yes you can, as electric woks come with a temperature probe and control dial to regulate the oil temperature. The convex shape of the wok means you don’t need a ton of oil to deep fry food.

Why is a Wok Better Than a Pan?

A pan has shallow walls so you can’t move food around too much without causing a mess and oil splatter, which is a lot at high temperature cooking.

An electric wok can also be used as a steamer because it comes with a lid and high enough walls to place a steamer basket or rack inside.

What Can You Cook in an Electric Wok?

Besides stir-fry, you can deep fry, braise or brown meat, boil eggs, make popcorn, and make soup. You can also steam foods on a small steamer rack placed inside.

Featured image: Breville USA / CC BY
 

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