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Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel Wok

You could use a wok with a nonstick surface, but if you’re after the traditional dim sum flavor in your home cooking, carbon steel is the way to go. The only downside is that it will require more frequent seasoning and upkeep than stainless steel. Aside from this minor inconvenience, there’s really not much difference between these two types of woks.

The simplest way to pick out a wok would be to decide what type of cooking surface you want on it: stainless steel or carbon steel.

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel Wok


Carbon Steel is superior to stainless steel for cooking. Carbon steel is not affected by high heat, acids or salt, and is very durable. It will not react to food particles on the wok surface and will not scratch or peel like nonstick woks.

Stainless steel woks are cheaper than carbon steel woks, but they can break if they are dropped onto a tiled floor as stainless is more brittle than carbon steel. A small dent will be visible and it may cause uneven heating of the pan.


Carbon steel requires more seasoning than stainless steel. The seasoning process gives the surface an ultra-smooth, ultra-nonstick surface, which is the best way to ensure that your stir-fries stay intact and don’t stick to the wok surface.

The seasoning process for carbon steel woks involves heating the wok until it’s almost smoking from heat and then washing it with hot water and scrubbing it with a brush. It’s then dried and immediately put onto a high heat flame for 5 minutes.

Care and Handling:

Stainless steel wok is easier to care for because it is more resistant to scratching and peeling. It won’t rust, chip, or peel off and it’s easier to clean. Also, it does not need the frequent seasoning needed for carbon steel woks, which can result in uneven heating. whereas Carbon steel is harder to maintain.


Carbon wok adds a better flavor to stir-fries because they get infused with the residual heat during cooking, which gives a greater depth of the flavor.

The best way to season a carbon steel wok is to heat the wok up until it’s smoking, and then add one tablespoon of water. Let it sizzle for a minute, and then wash it in hot water. The next thing you need to do is scrub it with a scouring pad or steel wool. Then you can dry off your wok and oil it.


Carbon steel is much stronger than stainless steel. In the same way, stainless steel is much more resistant to rust than carbon steel.

Carbon Steel will not scratch or peel like a nonstick surface and will not react to food particles on the wok surface. The most commonly used type of wok in households is carbon steel.

Carbon Steel can only be used for stir-fry and pan-fried food as opposed to steaming and deep-frying.


Carbon Steel requires much more work to be done during the preparation process than stainless steel woks.


The Carbon Steel Wok is easier to clean off the scorch marks and is tougher and more resistant to scratches. The excess food particles form a base for your next dish, so it would be more convenient to cook in the same wok.
Are carbon steel woks better than stainless for cooking?
Carbon steel woks are a lot better at retaining the heat so that the food is kept cooked, and more evenly heated than stainless.

They are also better at retaining heat than cast iron woks which means they are very efficient and you won’t have to wait long for the food to cook.

If you want a strong wok or one which lasts a lifetime then you should go with carbon steel as it lasts forever.

Final Thoughts

Carbon wok is far superior to stainless steel woks, as it takes a lot of effort to season it and they must be seasoned regularly in order to maintain their non-stick properties.

Carbon steel lasts for a very long time if properly cared for, making it the best choice if you are looking for a cast iron wok alternative.

I hope this Carbon Steel Vs Stainless Steel Wok article is giving you a clear idea of which one suits you better.

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