A well-seasoned wok is a key to delicious, authentic Asian cuisine. But many people aren’t sure how to season a wok properly. In this blog post, we’ll show you the steps you can take to season your wok using just a few simple ingredients. So get ready to enjoy some delicious home-cooked Asian food!
What Is the Purpose of Seasoning A Wok?
Seasoning a wok adds oil to the wok’s exterior to prevent it from rusting and to keep food from sticking to it. Your wok will become more flavorful the more you use it.
The wok’s color will darken and the seasoning, also known as “patina”, will eventually make the surface naturally nonstick.
This patina will add subtle, but amazing flavors to every dish you stir-fry.
How To Season A Wok – The Steps You Need To Take
What Materials Are Needed?
To season your wok, you will need:
- A rag or paper towels for cleaning
- Vegetable oil or lard
- Salt (optional but recommended)
- Dish soap (optional but recommended)
- Stovetop burner (or electric stove)
The Best Way To Season Your Wok
Before seasoning your wok, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Then dry completely.
If you skipped the salt step below, now is the time for it; spread salt around inside of wok (we recommend using coarse sea salt) and swirl it around to cover all surfaces thinly.
Next, heat your burner to high until oil starts smoking (10-15 minutes). Remove from stovetop and place on an oven mitt or folded rag.
Using a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil or lard, rub the entire cooking surface of your iron wok with an “X” pattern. Be sure to coat every surface thoroughly including edges!
Continue heating the wok on high until the smoke stops coming off of it completely (another 10-15 minutes). Turn off the burner and allow the wok to sit for 15 minutes. Finally, using a paper towel or rag dipped in clean vegetable oil (or lard), coat the outside of your wok with an “X” formation.
You can watch the video to understand more details:
Additional Tips While Seasoning
Be sure to keep the wind at your back so that smoke can disperse away from you. Also, since hot oil is being used, it might be helpful to perform this step near an open window– just in case!
Once all surfaces have been thoroughly coated with oil/lard, remove excess by wiping metal with a dry cloth or paper towel. If you are done cooking for the day but not quite finished seasoning yet, place the wok on the stovetop until ready for use again to prevent rusting.
How Often Will I Have To Season My Wok?
Woks that are used regularly need less frequent attention to seasoning. Every time you cook in your iron wok, it should develop a natural, blackened patina that helps prevent rusting and makes for an excellent cooking surface for many years.
Eventually, however, even this coating will wear off and require re-seasoning to continue working properly– usually after around 5 years of consistent use. At that time, your wok may be able to be re-seasoned over the oven or stovetop just like a new one would be seasoned.
Tips for Maintaining Your Seasoned Wok Over Time
A well-seasoned wok is a safe, nonstick vessel that you can cook your food in without using oil or butter. However, if your wok is not properly taken care of, the seasoning could be compromised and it might even rust. Here are some tips for maintaining your wok over time:
Don’t put the wok away while it’s still wet.
Leaving water on a hot seasoned wok will cause condensation which will then lead to rusting and eventually ruining the seasoning. Even after rinsing off excess water and allowing it to dry on its own (which usually takes around ten minutes) make sure you place it on a burner set on high heat for one minute before using it again to ensure that any remaining moisture is removed.
Use the wok often.
The more you use your wok, the better it will be maintained over time. If not used at all for an extended period of time, rusting can occur.
Rinse with hot water before each use.
By rinsing the inside of your wok with hot water before cooking in it, you remove any excess food particles which might otherwise burn during cooking and cause damage to the seasoning. Not to mention, this also helps reduce smoke in your kitchen when you first start up the stove.
Do NOT let water sit on or penetrate into handle areas or wooden utensils put prolonged pressure on them and do not place the wok in a dishwasher.
The metal on your wok is sensitive to both moisture and high temperatures. Leaving the water on for too long or washing the dishes in it can cause rusting which can eventually lead to pitting, flaking, peeling of the seasoning, not to mention warping in handle areas.
Also, do not use any non-metal utensil in your wok as this will scratch its surface and damage the already delicate seasoning. Lastly, the wood itself is very absorbent so avoid placing wooden utensils on it for extended periods of time so that pressure is not applied during cooking.
If you are using wooden implements frequently with your wok (as they are great for cooking certain types of food), you should consider buying a wood-heatproof wok spatula.
Use cooking oil to coat the inside of the wok.
While it might be tempting to try and maintain your seasoning by avoiding adding oil after each use, this will not guarantee its healthiness over the long term. Instead, make sure you wipe down the inside of the wok with a paper towel that has been evenly coated in vegetable or peanut oil before storing it away.
This way, when you go to use your seasoned wok again, the surface is ready for cooking. Even if there isn’t anything stuck on it during storage, any bits of rust will have been neutralized by now so don’t worry about scratching off any excess residue! The oil coating allows for a layer of protection that keeps the seasoning from drying out and makes it last longer.
Do not leave acidic foods in the wok for too long.
Certain types of food (such as vinegar or tomatoes) can leech away at your seasoning over time, leading to pitting and loss of stability while cooking. If you’re using your wok often enough, this should not be an issue though. Just make sure you clean it thoroughly after removing any acidic residue.
FAQs About Seasoning A Wok
1. What kind of oil should I use to season my wok?
Different types of oils have different flavors, so you might want to alternate between cooking with peanut oil, sunflower seed oil, or grapeseed oil one week and the next week using coconut oil or olive oil instead. You can also mix two different oils together if you’d like.
2. What do I need to look out for during the seasoning process?
The first time you heat up an empty wok it will smoke a lot, so make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated or that you can open a window. The second time there won’t be as much smoke because the inside of the wok is already coated with a layer of oil. If you keep the wok on the heat for too long, or if you put too much oil in it during seasoning, it will start to smoke a lot more than usual so be careful not to overcook your food!
3. Will my wok rust?
No. Even though iron can react to water or air that contains oxygen, once it’s seasoned there won’t be any more moisture inside the wok and no more air either because the oils are forming a barrier against both of these things.
4) What happens if you don’t season a wok?
A wok that has never been seasoned properly will not only cook your food poorly but rust much faster. After each use, a wok should be cleaned and dried thoroughly to prevent rusting.
Seasoning a wok is an important step in maintaining the quality of your cookware. There are many reasons to season a wok, from preventing food from sticking and making it easier for you to get all that delicious flavor off the pan to add years onto its life span by protecting it against rust.
We hope this article has answered any questions you had about how to season a wok or if not, feel free to reach out! If you want help with getting started with seasoning your own woks, we’ve got some great tips here too! Happy cooking!