When buying a wok, choosing the right cooking oil is imperative. There are wide varieties, and oil with a high smoke point is a good choice. This oil will allow you to cook foods at a high heat without sacrificing flavour. Coconut and avocado oils are both good choices, and they are both light in flavour and can handle high heat.
Olive oil is the most traditional for wok cooking, but most Asian chefs discourage its use. You can use extra virgin olive oil, but the smoke point is low. You can also use extra light olive oil, which has a higher smoke point. And you can even purchase specialty wok oils. These are not essential, but they are flavoured, so you might want to try them if you can afford them. This oil is also the least expensive, but it is not the healthiest choice for wok cooking.
The Best Oil for Wok Cooking
The type of oil you use can make or break the flavour of your dishes. If you want a truly authentic Asian flavour, you should use Avocado oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil. These oils have a high smoking point, making them excellent for stir-frying. You can also use sesame oil, which is widely available internationally. Sesame oil is neutral in taste and is often used in stir-fried dishes. Once you’ve chosen your work, it is time to season the oil. You can choose vegetable or sunflower oil, depending on your work type.
To avoid burning the oil, make sure to heat the wok to a smoking temperature before adding it to your food, and this will ensure the most flavorful dishes come out of it. If you are worried about oil residue, use a kitchen towel to absorb it. Coconut, sesame, vegetable, avocado, and grapeseed oils are the best oils in a wok. When cooking in a wok, using an oil with a high smoke point is important. Choose flavours that are neutral or that go well with your dish.
1. Viva Naturals Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Viva Naturals has one of the best brands of coconut oil. It costs more than regular vegetable oil, but you know you’re getting a good product. It’s good for stir-frying at a medium temperature in a wok because it doesn’t burn easily, and the light coconut flavour makes it a tasty addition to your recipe.
- The best oil to saute with
- Smoke point: 350F/177C
- Extra-virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined organic coconut oil
2. BetterBody Foods Avocado Oil, Refined
Refined avocado oil has the highest smoke point of any cooking oil, so you can use it to fry things at high temperatures in your wok quickly. It has a mild taste so that it won’t mess up your delicate seasonings, and you can use it for almost any cooking or food preparation.
- Best cooking oil for high heat
- Smoke point: 500F/260C
- Naturally refined with no additives, GMOs, and certified gluten-free
3. Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil
Because it naturally has a high smoke point, grapeseed oil has been used for cooking over high heat for a long time. It also has the benefit of having a neutral flavour, so it won’t change or ruin the taste of your recipe. It can be used in both baking and wok cooking.
- Healthiest oil for stir fry
- Smoke point: 470F/240C
- Rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin E, and omega fatty acids
4. La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
Asian food is known for the flavour of toasted sesame oil, and this expeller-pressed artisanal oil has a strong, deep flavour that goes well with all your favourite Chinese dishes. The smoke point is perfect for medium-heat stir-frying or sautéing in a wok.
- Best oil for Chinese cooking
- Smoke point: 350F/177C
- Signature flavour best for fried rice, noodle dishes, and stir fry marinades
5. Happy Belly Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is cheap and doesn’t burn easily, making it a great choice for frying. Because it’s cheap, this is a great oil to use if you want to deep fry something in your wok. You can use much of it without breaking the bank, and it can handle the heat.
- Best oil for deep frying in a wok
- Smoke point: 450F/230C
- Single-ingredient listed: soybean oil
How to Prepare a Wok for Cooking?
When professional chefs use woks, they often use open flames, a lot of tossing, and a lot of flair in the kitchen. Woks are also very useful in the more relaxed setting of a home kitchen. Because a wok has steep sides, you don’t have to stir the food all the time when you toss it inside. Also, the material is usually made to transfer heat up the sides, which cooks your food faster. Because of this, the temperature is usually very high, and the food cooks quickly.
- Use hot water and dish soap to clean the wok. To get rid of the factory coating, scrub it with a rough sponge or steel wool. (Note: Works that haven’t been used before are coated with a certain oil to keep them safe until they are sold. It would help if you got rid of all of this coating.)
- Dry the wok well.
- Rub cooking oil all over the inside of the wok with a paper towel or dish towel.
- Put the wok on a very hot burner. Heat the wok by slowly turning it and tipping it so that the heat can reach every part of the outside. (The oil might make a little smoke.)
- Remove wok from heat and allow it to cool completely.
- Wipe the inside of the wok clean to remove any residue.
- Before putting the wok away, put about a teaspoon of fresh oil and rub it all over the inside. It’s all set to go!
Wok Cooking Temperature
When using a wok for cooking, it helps to know that cooking requires different temperatures.
Most pan-frying is done over low to medium heat for a long time. This method isn’t good for cooking in a wok, so it’s called “pan-frying.” Both sautéing and stir-frying are very similar, but sautéing is usually done in a regular pan or skillet, while stir-frying is the most common way to use a wok.
Both are done at very high temperatures to quickly cook the thinly sliced meat, vegetables, or noodles. Deep frying is another way to cook with high heat that can be done in a wok because it has deep sides that are good at transferring heat. Because of the sides of a wok slope, less oil is used to deep fry. In short, most wok cooking is done at very high temperatures, so you need an oil with a high smoke point for the best results.
What are the Wok Cooking Tools?
Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok – My top pick for cooking in a wok (and the wok I have in my kitchen). It fits all of the above criteria and has been used 3–4 times a week for almost five years with no problems (and counting).
Wok Spatula – This inexpensive tool is the right shape for moving ingredients around the base and rounded sides of a wok. Once you’ve used this type of spatula to cook something in a wok, you’ll never use a regular spatula, a wooden spoon, or any other tool you may have tried.
Splatter Screen – A wok is made so that food can be cooked quickly and over high heat. When ingredients are added to hot oil in a wok, they often spit and pop. This screen is great for keeping oil splatters in the wok and limiting the mess on your stovetop.
How to Season a Wok?
The more you use a well-seasoned wok, the less likely it will stick. To keep a wok’s seasoning, which makes it naturally nonstick, keep the surface very dry and lightly oiled between uses. After cooking, wash and dry the wok right away. Pour a small amount of oil into the wok and rub the oil all over the carbon steel surface with a paper towel or dish towel.
Over time, a wok made of carbon steel will go from a shiny silver colour to a light brown colour to a beautiful matte black colour. A wok that has been used for a long time will have a dark black surface.
Note: Like with cast iron, many people will tell you not to use soap to clean your wok and keep it away from water as much as possible. I don’t pay attention to it. I clean my wok the same way I clean any other pan, and I use a rough sponge to scrub it and water and dish soap to clean it. My work works great and has a naturally nonstick surface even after this. It’s much more important to dry it well right after washing it and put a thin layer of oil on it.
How to Choose a Wok?
Carbon Steel -This material is great for making a wok for home use, and it’s light and evenly distributes heat. After being used and seasoned, it forms a natural surface that doesn’t stick. (Don’t let the word “seasoning” scare you.
Flat-Bottomed: Use a wok with a flat bottom and angled sides. The flat surface will allow the most ingredients to fit on the hottest part of the pan and sear. (You may have seen round woks in restaurant kitchens or on the streets of Thailand, where they are used to cook food, but home stoves don’t get nearly hot enough to use them.
12 to 14 Inches: This size seems right for cooking at home. The widest part of a 12- or 14-inch wok is big enough to cook a meal for about four people but not so big that it’s hard to move around.
Two Handles -You should buy a wok with two handles. Some have short handles on each side that match (Cantonese-style). Some have one short handle and one that is long. The short handle makes the pan easy to pick up, and the long handle makes it easy to shake and move the pan while food is cooking (while keeping your hands away from the heat). I think that works with one short handle and one long handle are the most useful for cooking at home.
Note: When you buy a carbon steel wok for the first time, it will be shiny and silver, and the wok will get a black sheen after being used. That is the natural way to make sure your work doesn’t stick and keeps cooking beautifully for a long time.
The best oil for wok cooking depends on your soil type. Generally speaking, coconut oil or sesame oil is the best choice for stir-frying. Grapeseed oil also has a high smoking point and does not burn, and it has a neutral flavour and is an excellent choice for salad dressings. You can use avocado oil, but it is best used for stir-frying. You can also use olive oil when making stir-fried dishes.