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Feb 17, 2011 09:21 AM

Using a wok on an electric stove -- is this truly doable?

I'd like to pass some information along to my son, who doesn't do ANY wok cooking because he cooks with electric. For years I, myself, had pretty much assumed that woks and electric cooking surfaces were incompatible. A few years ago I got a gas cook top, and I've been wokking happily ever since I mean, I feel like my old kitchen has taken on a new life because of my ability to use my wok.

But my son really does love to cook, and I'm afraid, rightly or wrongly, I've passed my wok-related beliefs on to him. So now I'd like the REAL truth: Is it possible to successfully use a wok on an electric stove? And if the answer is "yes," what does he need to know? What equipment does he need to have? Is there one type of wok that's better than another? Are there any special techniques that need to be used, particularly where heat control is concerned? I guess what I'm asking for is a primer on wokking with electric. Can anyone provide some insight? Thanks!

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  1. I've never had much success using a wok on an electric stove. It never got hot enough. And it took a long time to warm up.

    Having said that, I think a flat-bottom wok would be better because it would be closer to the range element. As I mentioned, it never got hot enough for me. But if the need arises, just lift the wok off stove to cool it down while you turn down the controls of the heating element. Because the wok is so thin, it will cool off quickly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: raytamsgv

      I have a flat bottomed wok that works perfectly well on my electric stove.

      1. re: raytamsgv

        A flat bottomed wok will work, but it never gets quite hot enough. I cook with mine on the highest setting.

        One day I will have a house with gas dang it!

      2. I manage to wok quite happily on electric - but then I've never cooked on anything else, so have no comparision.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harters

          I also have a &**^%$^%$!!! electric stove and the wok works very well considering that it's a $$#@$%$%@!!!!##$$ electric stove!

        2. I find it works better on gas but is completely doable on electric which is what I used for ages.

          1. Flat bottom wok on an electric stove is doable.
            A better alternative is a cast iron pan because it will retain the high heat better when stir frying. That's what my Chinese mother uses, she never owned a wok.

            1 Reply
            1. re: monku

              Agree. Use a cast iron skillet.

            2. You didn't say what type of electric cook top you are using. An induction cooker response faster, and a lot of them generate a higher heat than a residental gas cooker. Your gas cooker at home isn't the same as the ones in a commercial chinese kitchen.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lilham

                Does anyone know if carbon steel woks (the kind Grace Young recommends) work on an induction burner? I too have a &**^%$^%$!!! electric stove and I have been tempted to purchase one of those stand alone single induction burners when I want hotter heat than my &**^%$^%$!!! electric stove can produce.

                1. re: soccermom13

                  If it is a carbon steel wok then it should work fine.

                2. re: lilham

                  He's got traditional, coil-type electric burners.