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Apr 2, 2010 07:21 AM

Induction friendly wok?

I've been using my old flat bottom steel wok on my new induction range. The wok has a 5" flat bottom, and that's the only part gets heated. Since very little heat travel up the thin edges, my wok effectively has 5" coking surface. I need a new wok that will carry heat up the edges while using on an induction burner.

After some research, the "Lodge Pro-Logic 14-Inch Cast-Iron" wok seems like a good fit. Cast iron should distribute heat better. The Lodge only has a 5 1/2" flat bottom. I worry it may not generate enough heat on an induction burner. Any one has experience with this wok on induction cooktops?

Any suggestions on wok cooking with induction are welcome.

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  1. Use woks made from magnetic materials, e.g. cast iron or stainless steel (aluminum woks will not work on induction). Unless you have a specialized wok induction burner (like the picture below), which has a shallow basin instead of a flat top, you will need to use a flat-bottom wok to cook. Also, the traditional flip and toss will not work on induction burners and woks.

    Induction cooking and woks are like oil and water ... you can try to mix them, but just not very well.

    1. I don't have real experience using a wok on an indution cooktop, but what you said is common. Induction cooktop does not match well with woks in general.

      I don't think the heavy Lodge cast iron is a good fit. First, that is a very thick and heavy cast iron wok, you will have difficulty lifting it using one hand, so you will not able to toss your food in that wok. The heat will probably travel up higher in this Lodge cast iron wok, but that is not because cast iron is a much better heat conductor. Rather it is because the Lodge cast iron is very thicker. Keep in mind, a thick cookware take longer to heat up and cool down as well.

      I have to agree with ipsedixit. If you have to use a induction and a wok, then you may want to think about a concave induction cook top. Even then, it has the issue of shutting itself off too often when you toss the foods.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Would you please elaborate on the " ..issue of shutting itself off too often when you toss the foods. Which induction cook top has this concave burner? All of them?

        1. re: jabes


          "Which induction cook top has this concave burner? All of them?"

          No, most of them do not have this concave burner design. It is unique.

          Ipsedixit showed a good picture of a concave induction wok burner (see above). The one ipsedixit showed is made by Kuppersbusch marketed at ~$3500

          Cooktek offers a few portable models ranging from $1100 to $4000:

          You can find more. Just google and type "induction wok cooktop"

      2. You might be interested in a stainless steel "wok" made of multiple layers metals. I have an All-clad chef's pan and I can't find any faults, yet. I actually like cooking with this pan on my induction top better than at my relatives house with a generic stainless steel pan on a gas burner.

        This is an older version of their stainless steel line. William-Sonoma is actually trying to get rid of them to make room for the new D5 line.

        You may also want to consider their Copper-core line. The new CC pieces are now induction compatible, which was not the case a few years ago. I asked All-clad about the difference between D5 and CC, they said CC remains to be their "most heat efficient cookware because of the copper interior. The reason for the price difference is because of the metals used in making Copper-Core sand the process is goes through to be manufactured." (Whatever you can make out of what the last line means).

        You must understand that induction heats up your cookware by generating a magnetic circuit that goes from the stove to your cookware. You will break the circuit when you lift the pan away from the stove to do your air-tossing magic until you ground the pan again. I can't lift the heavy pan with one hand hence I never tossed food myself, and I'm in no place to tell you how this will affect your stir-fry. There have been arguments about this on this forum before. IMHO, what it comes down to is how you feel about your pan being separated from heat for 2 seconds whenever you decide to toss. If you find it totally unacceptable, I grieve for your choice of the induction range.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cutipie721

          cutiepie721: "You must understand that induction heats up your cookware by generating a magnetic circuit that goes from the stove to your cookware. You will break the circuit when ..."

          Please do not take this as a criticism, c721, but allow me to be pedantic. The magnetic field generated in an induction cooktop propagates very well through the air, so there is no circuit-breaking involved. Regardless of the mechanism, however, the essence of your point is valid: the strength of the magnetic field drops off as a function of the square of the distance of the pan from the magnetic coil of the cooktop. In other words, the farther away from the coil, the weaker the magnetism, and the field drops off very rapidly with distance. So when a pot is lifted just a few inches or centimeters above the cooktop, the strength of the magnetic field that induces the ferrous metal of the pan to heat up is much much weaker than when the pan is on or very close to the surface of the cooktop.

          The same is true with gas and (resistive) electric heat sources, of course: the intensity of the heat drops off rapidly with the distance of the pan from the heat source.

          1. re: Politeness

            No I think you're right! That's why the magnetic disc works through the glass.

            But then... that comes down to how the unit is being programmed. Some of them are able to sense when the pan is being taken away.

            1. re: Politeness

              For a dipole magnet it is inverse cube NOT square for the distance. Therefore, pulling the pan away from the stove top effectively decouples the induction heating. This is a fact demonstrated with my Gaggenau when it alerts "no pan present" when I lift my cookware 1" above the glass.

            2. re: cutipie721

              I have a KitchenAid induction range. I don't know if this is an uncommon feature, but my range allows me to lift the skillet off the range without it turning off. There's a time limit…I think it's 30 seconds. It beeps, which is a little annoying, but still, I don't hesitate to flip.

            3. Even if the burner could evenly heat, how much energy can the burner put out? Most gas home burners are very underpowered compared to what you'd truly want to truly stir-fry using a wok. I use an outdoor propane burner with the wok when I really want to generate some thermal energy.

              1. Some will probably consider this sacrilege, but might a good electric wok be a workaround?