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Jan 4, 2014 05:09 PM

Domed lids for stir fry: why?

I'm looking at buying a wok, and I see so many have domed lids, which I never would have thought of in connection with a wok, but now I'm wondering. Can anyone share why you'd need/want one? Thanks!

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  1. In addition to stir fry, woks can be used for steaming

    Welcome to. Chow hound, how did you find this site?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      So you seem to be saying that a domed lid would help in steaming, versus just stir fry; but if so, how? Thanks.

      Every time I Google a cooking question, Chowhound comes up, is how I found the site. :)

    2. Alan is correct. When you are using the wok for stir frying, you don't need the lid. However, it is better to have a domed lid for steaming food.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        And for deep frying something like chicken, perhaps?

        1. re: Becca Porter

          Good point too, Becca.


          Many woks are not as deep they may seem, so a domed lid allows additional space. You put sufficient amount of water in the wok. Then put the food above the water. The food can easily be above the height of the wok rim at this point:

          Another reason is that a lot of the Chinese steaming is done in a container, like a plate. It is actually more desirable to have the water NOT dip back to the plate. As such, a domed lid guides the water droplet down to the side instead of the center.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            The domed lid is a recent development in what you can see is available in retail stores. In all the Chinese restaurants I have ever seen, the lid is tapered and raised about 3-4+ inches, then it's flat on top with a handle, not a wooden knob. The handle can be lifted by hand...but in a Wok Line kitchen, the lid would be removed with the Spatula. The older style flat tops are also more durable and not cheaply made


            The same type of lid is what My mother used dating back over 50 years....until she gifted it to my nephew.

            1. re: fourunder

              I have seen both styles when I was young, so I don't think it is a new invention. In addition, I should say I have seen many things in between.

              Yeah, the style that you mentioned has certain advantage. Because it more or less go up straight first and then flat, it can fit even more stuff under the lid.




              Of course, if we really have to go back to the earlier wok lid, then I think they were actually flat:


              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Just realize the second link sometime does not take you to the right place. Here:

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  That lid, while wider and shallower than the ones the original poster is asking about, still looks somewhat domed (in stages).

      2. Thanks so much, all. Appreciate your time and the links and photos. Think I will be buying a wok with a domed lid!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wordl8y

          Come back for usage questions

          Wok On!

        2. Here's a link to The Wok Shop in San FRancisco. Even if you don't need to buy from her, you may find the site informative. I try to never miss this store when in SF.