Cooking with a wok requires a roaring fire. As the flames lick up the side of the wok, the ingredients in the pan turn crunchy, smokey, and delicious.
But how do you cook with a wok if you don’t have a gas stove? Many new apartments only have electric stoves, as it is safer. So, can you use a wok on an electric stove?
There are ways to cook with a wok on an electric stove. You may have to change the type of wok, as flat bottom pans work best. A stir-fry pan might even be better, depending on the type of metal.
The flat bottom will evenly transfer the heat to the wok’s metal.
You should also buy a wok ring, which will stabilize a round wok and allow the cook to use the round bottomed wok on the electric stove.
How Do You Use a Wok on An Electric Stove?
Although it may be more fun to flick delicious ingredients like mushrooms, shrimps, rice, green onions, and delicious drops of soy sauce in a wok that is cooking on a gas and flame stove, you can make equally delicious meals cooking on a coil top or an electric stove.
Adjust your techniques a bit, but it shouldn’t be that different. First, you will need a different type of wok. A wok with a flat bottom is best.
If you already have a round wok, then buy a wok ring and place the wok ring on top of the burner.
If you’re working on a glass top stove, you may not want to flick the food into the air as often as you would a coil or a gas and flame stove. Glass stoves are not made with a wok in mind.
Which Wok Is Suited for Electric Stoves?
Cooking with a flat wok is better for an electric stove because the heat from the stove will transfer faster to the wok’s metal than a rounded wok stabilized by a metal wok ring.
A smaller wok would also heat better on an electric burner, as the heat from the burner may not reach the top of the wok’s rim.
Can You Use a Stir-Fry Pan on an Electric Stove?
Yes, you can use a stir-fry pan on an electric stove.
Just like a regular wok, it will need to either have a flat bottom or it will need to be on a wok ring to stabilize it.
Some stir fry pans do not need to be tempered or seasoned. Stir-fry pans tend to not be as professionally made as traditional woks.
You may purchase your stir-fry pan and then cook with it immediately when you arrive home.
If the stir-fry pan needs tempering or seasoning, the pan will come with a small instructions manual or it will direct you to instructions posted online.
If you cannot buy a wok, a stir-fry pan will do just fine. In fact, cooking with a stir-fry pan would be better for people with an electric stove.
The stir-fry pan has a much flatter bottom than a flat bottom wok. Think of a stir-fry pan as a regular metal pan with higher rounded sides. It has the siding of a wok but the flatness of a metal pan.
Can a Wok Be Seasoned on an Electric Stove?
Although you might have to adapt your typical wok seasoning techniques a bit, you can season a wok on an electric stove.
When you season a wok, be prepared to work with a lot of heat. You’ll need to work in a well-ventilated area or the smoke can build up.
- Open any doors and windows you have in your kitchen. If your kitchen does not have windows or a hood range, open the doors and windows around the house and place a fan in the kitchen and aim it at the stove.
- You will also need to wear heavy duty oven mitts. The wok will get extremely hot, so regular oven mitts may not protect you well.
- Place the flat bottom wok on the electric stove burner. If you have a round wok, then you will need a wok ring to stabilize the wok. Turn the electric burner onto the highest setting.
- As the wok heats, you will see the bottom of the metal pan change colors. First you will see brown colors and as the wok gets hotter, the color will turn black. Then the black color will fade away and the metal will turn dark gray or a darker version of the wok’s color.
- The entire bottom of the pan should turn brown, then black and then dark gray. If the wok turns brown and then dark gray, then that is fine. As the dark gray at the bottom of the pan spreads, the black circle will reduce.
- In order to evenly and correctly prepare a wok for seasoning, there shouldn’t be any black left on the wok. The entire wok needs to be dark gray.
- Once the black coloring fades from the bottom of the wok and only dark gray is left, then place the wok on its side and repeat this process repeatedly. You will need to heat every side of the wok.
- This process is much faster on the gas and flame stove. But it is just as possible on an electric hot coil or a glass stove with an electric top.
- Once you have heated every side of the wok, turn off the burner and pour one cup of water into the wok and step back quickly. The water will pull out the impurities from the wok. You may see a few bits floating in the water that were not there before when you were heating the wok.
- Scrape off the impurities and wash the wok.
- Dry the wok and then put it back on the burner and turn it on. After heating for 1 to 2 minutes again, place a few tablespoons of oil into the middle of the wok and use a spatula to coat the entire pan.
- Turn off the burner again and gently rub off the oil with a paper towel. You can use tongs if the pan is too hot.
Once the wok cools again, wash it in the sink, dry it, and place it back on the burner again. Now heat it and rub it with oil.
Rub the oil off with a paper towel, wash the pan, dry the pan, and reheat it and add some oil again.
Heating and seasoning the wok for the first time will take a long time, so eat before you start.
During the initial heating process, do not allow any liquids to come into contact with the wok. The temperature of the wok will be dangerously high.
If liquid comes in contact with the metal, it can spurt and splatter and burn anyone near the stove. Also, any vapor from the liquid can also burn you.
What Type of Wok Should You Buy?
If you can find a flat bottom carbon steel stir-fry pan or wok, then you should pick it out, put it in your cart, and immediately press the buy button.
There’s no other greater standard in the wok world than the carbon steel wok.
The most important reason chefs of all skill levels love the carbon steel wok is the smokey flavor it imparts on any food that is cooked on it.
Conclusion to Using Woks on an Electric Stove
While seasoning and heating a wok for the first time, allow nothing to touch the metal. It will be extremely hot and you can burn yourself.
A stir-fry pan would be better to cook with on the electric stove than a flat-bottomed wok. If you normally cook with a rounded wok, purchase a wok ring so you can place the wok down onto the electric burner.
Be sure not to slam the wok down on the glass top stove as it can break the glass.