Carbon Steel Wok vs Cast Iron

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Lauren Beck

If you’re looking to buy a new wok, you may be wondering whether carbon steel or cast iron is the right choice for you. While both types of woks have their benefits and drawbacks, carbon steel and cast iron differ in some important ways.

In this article, we’ll outline the differences between carbon steel and cast iron woks so that you can make an informed decision about which material is best for your needs.

Difference Between Carbon Steel vs. Cast Iron Wok

  • Materials: Carbon steel is a lightweight metal alloy made up of carbon and iron. It’s often used in cookware because it can be easily shaped, while also providing good heat distribution. Cast iron is heavier than carbon steel and more brittle, but it retains heat well and is ideal for searing or stir-frying foods.
  • Heat Retention: Carbon steel heats up quickly and evenly, but it doesn’t retain heat as well as cast iron. Cast iron takes a bit longer to heat up, but it can hold onto that heat for much longer than carbon steel, making it ideal for searing or stir-frying foods.
  • Cleaning: Carbon steel is relatively easy to clean and less likely to rust than cast iron. Cast iron, on the other hand, needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to prevent rusting, as moisture can easily get trapped in its crevices.
  • Price: Carbon steel woks are typically cheaper than cast iron ones due to the differences in materials and production costs.

Are Carbon Steel and Cast Iron Made of the Same Materials?

No, carbon steel and cast iron are made of different materials. Carbon steel is an alloy made up of carbon and iron while cast iron is pure iron that has been heated and shaped into its desired form.

Is Carbon Steel Compatible With Induction Stovetops?

Yes, carbon steel is compatible with induction stovetops. It’s a great choice if you need an induction-compatible wok that can also heat up quickly and evenly.

Why Do Professional Chefs Use Carbon Steel?

carbon steel wok

Professional chefs often use carbon steel because of its lightweight, durable construction and fast heating time. Its heat conduction and retention is also great for cooking delicate seafood or vegetables that require quick, even heat.

Is a Cast Iron Wok Useful for Making Stir Fry? 

Yes, cast iron woks are excellent for making stir fry. They heat up slowly and evenly, allowing you to quickly sear meats and vegetables without burning them. The heat retention also helps ensure that your food stays hot and flavorful throughout the cooking process.

Do You Season Cast Iron and Carbon Steel the Same? 

Yes, carbon steel and cast iron woks should be seasoned the same way. This involves heating oil in the wok until it starts to smoke and then wiping off any excess oil with a paper towel. Seasoning helps create a non-stick surface that makes cooking easier and also prevents rust from forming on the wok.

How Do You Store a Wok? 

It’s best to store carbon steel and cast iron woks in a dry place, such as a kitchen cabinet or pantry. If possible, hang them on the wall rather than leaving them on the countertop. This will help prevent moisture from building up in the wok and causing it to rust.

How to Choose the Best Cast Iron Wok?

When choosing a cast iron wok, it’s important to choose one that’s made with high-quality materials [1]. Look for a wok that has been treated to prevent rusting and is thick enough to hold the heat well. You should also look for a carbon steel or cast iron wok with a flat bottom so that it can be used on any stovetop. Make sure to read reviews and ask questions before making your purchase so that you get the best wok possible for your needs.


Carbon steel woks are typically lighter and easier to clean than cast iron, while cast iron retains heat better and is ideal for searing or stir-frying foods. Consider your needs when deciding which type of wok is best for you and make sure to read reviews and ask questions before purchasing one. With the right care and maintenance, carbon steel and cast iron woks can be a great addition to any kitchen.


Lauren Beck
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