Traditional woks weren't designed for electric stoves—but does that mean the two are incompatible? If you've put off buying a wok because you're afraid it won't work on your electric stove, you'd better read this post. Below, we'll answer all your burning questions about wok cooking on electric stoves.
Good news: you can use a wok for cooking stir-fry on an electric stovetop. Most people who cook with electric stoves prefer flat-bottom woks because they have better heat conductivity. However, you could also use a round-bottomed wok with a wok ring.
Want to learn more about using a wok on an electric stove? In the rest of this post, we'll detail the best ways to get a satisfying stir-fry without a roaring flame.
Cooking With A Wok On An Electric Stove
You can use a wok on an electric stove, but that doesn't mean all woks are created equal. In this first section, we'll share a few tips related to wok cooking on electric stoves.
Can You Use A Wok On A Glass Top Electric Stove?
You can use woks on a glass top electric stove. What style wok you use is up to you, but most chefs argue you should only use a flat-bottomed wok. The reason flat-bottomed woks are favored has to do with heat conductivity. Since round-bottomed woks need to sit on wok rings, they take longer to heat compared with flat-bottomed models.
If you are using a flat-bottomed wok on a glass top electric stove, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning to avoid staining your stovetop. Also, please don't move your flat-bottomed wok too much because this could cause scratches.
Can I Cook With A Wok On An Electric Coil Stove?
Like with glass top electric stoves, flat-bottom woks are the best option on electric coil heating elements. Chefs will enjoy superior stability and rapid heat transfer when using these convenient flat models.
Although it might be possible to use wok rings, they tend to shake a lot over electric coils. Be sure to figure out the exact dimensions of your stovetop and test how well your round-bottomed wok feels put before cooking.
What Kind Of Wok Is Best For An Electric Stove?
Chefs who cook on electric stoves tend to favor flat-bottomed woks over round woks. Since flat-bottomed woks come in direct contact with the heating element, you'll enjoy faster smoking and higher heat conductivity.
In terms of the best wok materials, carbon steel is always the most popular choice. Expert chefs love the smoky flavors that well-seasoned carbon steel woks give to their stir-fry dishes.
Although carbon steel is the top choice among wok enthusiasts, many chefs like light cast iron or stainless steel when working on electric stoves, both of these materials conduct heat well, are incredibly sturdy and aren't prone to warping. Plus, light cast iron and stainless steel are easy to maneuver when compared with heavy-duty cast iron woks.
Since electric heating elements take a long time to cool, you need to move your wok off the heat immediately to avoid overcooking. For this reason, you should ensure your wok feels comfortable to move around. Find out how much your wok weighs and whether it has safe easy-to-grip handles. Both of these features will save you a lot of aggravation as you're preparing your stir-fry dishes.
If you're most interested in the standard cast iron wok, then take a peek at this product:
People who are looking for a stainless steel wok should check out this Cooks Standard model:
Lastly, if you want a light carbon steel wok, here's a model designed to handle all stove types:
For more details on different styles of woks, we encourage you to read through KitchenSeer's ultimate Pots & Pans Guide.
Can You Use A Wok Ring On An Electric Stove?
If you have a round-bottomed wok, then you could use a wok ring on your electric stove. You need a sturdy ring holder to keep your wok stable while cooking.
Just remember to schedule extra time if you're using a wok ring. Since round-bottomed woks don't come in direct contact with a heating element, it will take longer for this pot to heat up.
Here's a well-reviewed steel wok rack you could use on electric stoves:
Are There Wok Alternatives For An Electric Stove?
Even though woks are excellent for cooking an authentic stir-fry, there are alternatives that chefs could use on an electric stove. In this final section, we'll share a few "faux woks" that will still give you a sizzling stir-fry. We'll also reveal the top advantages woks have when compared with frying pans.
How Else Can You Stir-Fry On An Electric Stove?
Flat-bottomed woks will always be the best way to whip-up an authentic stir-fry on an electric stove. However, if you don't have a wok, you could use a wide-edged sauté pan as a substitute. It's also possible to get decent results with stainless steel or cast iron frying pans.
Just keep in mind that most stir-fry recipes assume you could work with the curved edges of a wok. You might have a difficult time fitting all of the recipe's ingredients into one sauté pan.
To address this issue, some home chefs use two sauté pans: one for veggies and another for proteins. Please experiment in your home kitchen to see what works best for you.
Here's a standard stainless steel sauté pan that could work as a wok alternative:
Why Use A Wok Instead Of A Frying Pan?
People who already have frying pans often wonder why they'd want to invest in a high-quality wok. After all, don't both of these items do the same thing?
Interestingly, woks have many unique advantages when compared with frying pans. For starters, well-seasoned woks don't require as much cooking oil. You could also easily strain excess oil before plating your food thanks to the wok's rounded edges.
Another advantage of the wok's rounded design is that it can distribute heat more efficiently than frying pans. It's also easier for chefs to control their cooking temperatures by moving food in or away from the wok's hot center.
To find out more about how woks compare with frying pans, click this previous KitchenSeer post.
Enjoy Savory Stir-Fry On Your Electric Stove
Sure, electric stoves aren't "traditional" in Chinese cuisine, but that shouldn't stop you from purchasing a wok. Anyone who loves Asian food and has an electric stove could enjoy cooking delicious dishes with a high-quality wok.