Woks are a valuable addition to any kitchen as you can use them to prepare stir-fries, fried rice, and other Asian recipes. You can also use them for charring food, steaming, searing, and much more. However, traditional woks have a round base. So, it may not be suitable for stovetops that require flat-base kitchenware for proper cooking. That is why if you have an electric stove, you may wonder if you could use a wok on it. So, do woks work on electric stoves?
Yes, woks work on electric stoves. However, to use a round-bottom wok on an electric stovetop, you must use a wok ring as an interface. Woks with flat bottoms will work better as they establish proper contact with the heat source. A carbon steel wok is better than a cast iron wok on an electric hob.
Let us now look at the various factors to consider when choosing a wok for an electric stove.
What Kind Of Wok Is Best For An Electric Stove?
Electric stovetops are of two types – ceramic glass top or coil type.
Ceramic glass top stoves have delicate and shiny surfaces that are prone to cracks and scratches. The coil type stove is more rugged. So, you can directly place a pan on the surface.
Both types of stoves work best with flat-bottom cookware. The flat base ensures proper contact with the source. It helps the vessel to heat evenly and cook food properly.
Traditional woks used in authentic Asian cooking have round bases. However, the main purpose of a wok is to cook at high temperatures. Since a round-base wok will not be evenly heated on an electric stovetop, your recipes may not turn out as expected.
Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this problem, which we shall explore in detail.
1. Choose A Wok With A Flat Bottom
Plenty of woks with flat bases are available in the market. They are specially designed to work on electric and induction hobs that require direct contact for properly cooking the food.
A wok with a flat base will sit properly on the rings of an electric hob. It will evenly disperse heat from the source throughout the pan and cook the food properly.
Flat-bottom woks are the ideal choice for coil-type electric stoves. These pans will sit flat on the coil and heat up evenly.
Related Further Reading:
2. Choose The Right Type Of Wok
Apart from the shape, the material used to construct a wok will also affect its efficiency. Traditional woks were always made of cast iron or carbon steel.
A carbon steel wok is better than a cast iron wok for cooking on an electric stove. Unlike gas stoves, electric stoves take time to achieve high temperatures and cool down slowly when switched off. Continuous exposure to this high temperature can cause warping of cast iron. It can damage your wok. Carbon steel handles temperature fluctuations better than iron. So, it is a better choice for an electric stove.
3. Use A Wok Ring
Now, if you already have a round wok, you cannot directly use it on an electric stove. When you place it on a gas stove, the flames will evenly heat the wok from all sides. However, this does not happen in the case of an electric stovetop.
The main problem is that the wok will not make proper contact with the stove. So, you will need an interface between the wok and the stovetop.
A wok ring is specially designed for this purpose. This ring is made of 1/2 to 1-inch thick metal. You can place the ring on the cooktop and the wok on it. The wok ring will hold the wok in place and prevent it from shifting. It also reduces the chances of the wok scratching the surface.
The only downside to using a wok ring is that it can take longer for the wok to heat up. It may not reach the high temperatures needed for certain Asian recipes. In this case, the following step may help.
Related Further Reading:
- Can Cast Iron Skillets Be Used On Glass Cooktops? Yes, Here’s How
- Can Skillets Go In The Dishwasher? (Which Can And Which Cannot)
- Can You Use Pans On Induction Hobs? (Making Pans Induction-Safe)
- Can Pans Go In The Fridge? (How Pans In Fridge Affect Food)
4. Preheat The Wok In An Oven Before Cooking
It is difficult to achieve the high temperatures needed by a wok with an electric stove. However, you can compensate for this slow buildup of heat by preheating your wok before placing it on the electric stove.
Place the wok in a hot oven for a few minutes. Keep all the ingredients for cooking ready. Start cooking as soon as you place the heated wok on the electric stove. This will help to retain the high temperature, and it will speed up the overall cooking process.
Do Woks Work On Glass Top Stoves?
Glass stoves have a delicate make and finish. Their smooth and polished surface is vulnerable to scratches. Rough handling may even cause the surface to crack. So, these stoves need more care than regular electric or gas stovetops.
Cooking with a wok often involves dragging it on the stovetop. Not only does it help to distribute heat evenly, but it also makes it easy to mix the ingredients together. However, you cannot drag a wok on a glass stovetop. The delicate glass surface cannot handle rigorous movements and can become damaged. If the wok accidentally slips and hits the stovetop, it may dent or crack it.
Nonetheless, you can use a wok on a glass stovetop if you handle it with care. For woks with round bases, you can continue to use them on a glass stovetop with the help of a wok ring. The wok ring will establish proper contact with the stove surface and ensure even heat distribution and proper cooking.
Glass top stoves work best with flat-bottom cookware. So, try to choose flat-base woks if you have a glass top stove.
We recommend carbon steel woks instead of cast iron for cooking on glass stovetops. They are generally light and easy to handle. You can also consider stainless steel, aluminum, or copper woks for use on glass stovetops.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Do Woks Rust? (Which Woks Rust And Which Don’t?)
- Do Woks Have Teflon? (Which Types Of Wok Are The Best?)
- Can Woks Go In The Oven? (Which Woks Are Oven-Safe?)
- Can You Use Pans On A Griddle? [Is It Time-Consuming?]
Do Woks Work On Induction Stoves?
Like electric stoves, cooking with a wok on an induction stove also presents certain challenges. Induction stoves have a magnetic coil as the heat source. However, this coil will induce magnetic current only in cookware with magnetic properties.
Cast iron and carbon steel, which are commonly used for making woks, are magnetic materials. Hence, you can use them for induction cooking. Stainless steel woks also have magnetic properties. So, you can use woks made of stainless steel on induction stoves.
Woks made from aluminum or copper are non-magnetic. Hence, they are unsuitable for induction cooking. Non-stick woks can work on induction stovetops if they have a magnetic metal base.
Apart from the material of the wok, there is one more factor to consider for induction cooking. Induction cooking requires cookware with a flat base to ensure proper contact with the cooking surface. A flat base wok will distribute heat evenly throughout the vessel and speed up cooking.
So, a traditional cast iron or carbon steel wok with a round base is not suitable for induction cooking. The absence of a flat base will prevent proper contact with the magnetic element. Hence, it will not produce enough heat to cook the contents properly.