Can a wok be used for deep frying? If you’re cooking a small batch of food, then using a wok to deep fry would be easier and more efficient.
Using a wok for deep frying might not be so appealing to those who are used to the electric deep fryer with its high sides and lid. However, the wok does have its advantages.
Before buying your wok to deep fry, think of the type of food and the type of stovetop or hob you cook on.
A round bottomed wok works best on the gas hob. The flat bottomed wok is better suited for the ceramic, induction or electric hob.
If you do a lot of steaming, boiling and stewing, then the stainless steel wok is a good option. The cast iron or carbon steel wok needs seasoning and with the steaming, boiling and stewing method of cooking, you’ll need to redo the seasoning quite often as hot liquids tend to break down the seasoning.
Advantages Of Deep Frying With A Wok
Table Of Contents
- 1 Advantages Of Deep Frying With A Wok
- 2 Disadvantages Of Using A Wok To Deep Fry
- 3 Best Woks For Deep Frying At Home
- 4 Cast Iron Wok For Deep Frying
- 5 Carbon Steel Wok For Deep Frying
- 6 Stainless Steel Wok For Deep Frying
The wok has a unique concave shape with sloping sides, a shallow depth and a wide diameter.
The wider diameter means a wider oil surface area to work with. Foods which are light in weight such as fried fish balls, doughnuts etc will float to the surface when cooked.
There’s more room to move the food around or to flip them for more even frying.
You can cook more at the same time compared to using a smaller diameter pot with the same depth as the wok.
Besides, due to the shallow depth, it’s easier to retrieve the food using tongs or skimmer.
The shallow depth means less oil needed compared to the same amount of food deep fried in the deeper straight walled pot. You’ll need less oil to get sufficient depth to immerse your food for deep fat frying.
You can cook more food using less oil. You get to save on oil.
The highly versatile wok can also be used for stir frying, steaming, searing, stewing, boiling. The deep fryer is mostly used for deep frying purposes with some suitable for boiling big food items such as crabs etc. You’ll get more uses out of your multi purpose wok.
Disadvantages Of Using A Wok To Deep Fry
Compared to an electric deep fryer with its automatic thermostat control, there is no easy temperature control button to press. A deep frying thermometer or clip on candy thermometer helps in checking temperature of oil.
The danger of overheating the oil is real. There is no auto shut down when oil temperature exceeds the danger mark. You need to keep an eye on the hot oil all the time.
Best Woks For Deep Frying At Home
If using a round bottom wok, then you’ll need a wok ring for it to sit steady on top of the gas flame or induction hob. A flat bottom wok doesn’t need a wok ring as it already has a sturdy base.
Remember to filter your used oil before storing for future use.
Hanging a tempura rack on the rim of the wok helps in draining the oil from your fried food.
Traditional woks are made of cast iron and carbon steel materials.
Modern woks such as the 3 or even 5ply stainless steel woks come with an aluminum core that stretches all along the bottom right up the sides. This results in fast, even heat distribution. Handles are riveted and air flow technology enables the handles to stay cool to the touch longer compared to hot-to-the-touch handles of traditional woks.
Cast Iron Wok For Deep Frying
Lodge Pro-Logic P14W3 Cast Iron Wok, Black, 14-inch
This 14″ made-in-USA wok comes preseasoned and can be used on electric, gas or induction hob. It can even be used in the oven.
It has a heavy flat bottom exterior and the inside of the wok is concave, just like a normal traditional Chinese wok.
The flat bottom part measures approximately 3/8″ thick and 5 5/8″ in diameter.
The 2 large loop handles at the sides make for easy handling and a secure grip.
It is about 4.25″ deep and weighs about 14 pounds.
This 14″ wok can easily feed a family of 4 members.
You’ll need to buy the dome lid wok cover separately. The lid comes in useful if you’re steaming or stewing food. Using the wok cover when stir-frying helps keep in the aroma and flavor as well as quickens cooking time.
The stainless steel chainmail is great for cleaning cast iron cookware.
- Cast iron wok has great heat retention and distribution
- Sturdy base equals a steady wok, minimizes risk of toppling
- Seasoned in factory – Can be used immediately, you do not need to season it yourself before using
- Suitable for use on any type of stovetop including in the oven
- Not expensive
- Heavy wok – You’ll have to scoop out the food using a wok turner or ladle instead of lifting the wok to pour out the food
- Cast iron wok takes a while to heat up but retains heat well
- Handles get hot – use pot holders
Carbon Steel Wok For Deep Frying
This heavy 14 gauge carbon steel wok is made in USA.
It comes with one wooden side long helper handle and one wooden side spool handle.
Being flat bottom, it sits nicely on your electric stove.
It has a depth of about 4″ and a 6″ flat bottom.
The wok does not come preseasoned. You’ll have to do it yourself. It does come with instructions on how to season it.
You’ll have to buy the lid separately.
There is also a round bottom model of this same made-in-USA carbon steel wok. You’ll need one if using gas stove.
- Flat bottom wok sits securely on gas or electric hob. It is stable when used for deep frying
- Carbon steel wok is tough and durable
- Carbon steel has fast heat conduction (heats up fast and transfer heat well) properties – important for successful stir frying
- Can handle high heat well
- Need to season the wok regularly to build up a protective natural non-stick coating or patina
- Can rust easily if not seasoned properly or if not used frequently
Stainless Steel Wok For Deep Frying
The stainless steel wok doesn’t need seasoning like the cast iron or carbon steel wok.
Good quality 3-ply construction wok consists of an aluminum layer sandwiched between two 18/10 stainless steel layers.
3-ply stainless steel wok works well on high heat. Heat is evenly distributed with no hot spots burning your food.
It is easy to clean. Stains will come off easily with a good scrub using Bar Keepers Friend.
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Stainless-Steel 13-Inch Wok with Dome Lid
This 13″ wok is made of 18/10 stainless steel with a multi element alloy aluminum core. This 3 layer construction results in fast heating and even distribution of the heat, essential features for successful stir-frying.
The brushed stainless steel base resists scratches well. You can even use a scourer/steel wire to clean the exterior bottom of the wok.
The bottom part is fully clad and not disc-bottomed, meaning that the 3-ply stretches from bottom to the side walls. This is great for even heat distribution, with no hot spots.
Air flow technology ensures that its solid stainless steel riveted handles stay cool to the touch. (Pot holders are still recommended)
It comes with a secure-fitting stainless-steel dome lid and this is great for trapping in the heat and moisture.
It can withstand oven temperature up to 500ºF. You can transfer straight from stove to oven. This makes it very versatile in its functions including deep frying. However, it is not meant to be use in the broiler.
It can be used on all stove top surfaces including the induction hob.
Being dishwasher-safe, you do not have to wash manually.
It measures 23 by 13-1/2 by 5 inches and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
This flat bottom wok measures about 9″ in height with the dome lid on, 5″ deep without the lid. The base is about 8″ in diameter.
- Sturdy and durable construction – can last a long time
- Can be used on all stove surfaces : gas, electric, induction
- Heavy wok that sits securely on the hob – doesn’t wobble
- Heats up fast, distribute heat well
- Oven safe up to 500ºF – great if cooking a dish that needs further cooking in the oven
- Seasoning is not required – food doesn’t stick
- Stainless steel dome lid is included – very useful when sauteing, boiling, steaming or stewing food
- Difficult to lift the wok to toss the food when stir frying