A wok is an ingenious instrument for cooking that maximizes surface area while heating up evenly. You can cook a ton of food in it very quickly and use it for frying, stewing, steaming, and other techniques.
Some cooks swear by how suitable woks are in the kitchen. However, with the latest technology in cooking being induction stovetops, you have to either get a new wok that works with the new cooking method or get a little creative.
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How Does Induction Cooking Work?
Induction cooking is the newest way to heat pots and pans while cooking. Rather than conducting heat through burners, like on a gas or electric stove, induction stove tops cause the pans themselves to generate heat through magnetic induction.
Copper magnetic coils underneath the hobs begin producing negative ions when they sense a large amount of ferromagnetic material above them. These ions move into the pans and bounce around, producing heat.
The heat then cooks the food that is in the pan. The hob never even gets hot! Just remember that the pans can still burn you.
The Benefits of Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops are far more precise than electric or gas because it causes pans to heat up and cool down quickly. The pan responds as soon as you change the temperature, making precision cooking a breeze. Remember to watch your food, as these cooktops heat up far faster than you’re used to.
Also, induction cooktops can produce much higher temperatures than regular stoves, like 600 degrees higher. While it’s unlikely you’ll ever need pans to be this hot, it good to have in case you want to get a little experimental in the kitchen.
Induction cooktops also don’t have any problems with heating up or cooling down and are easy to clean compared to some gas and electric stoves.
The Type of Woks You Need To Cook on Induction
While induction cooktops are excellent, you need the right tools to go with them. Not all pans will work with induction stovetops, just as not all woks will. They must meet the correct set of criteria for use on these cooktops.
Ferromagnetic Metal Pans
Ferromagnetic pans are a fancy way of saying magnetic pans, otherwise known as iron. Any type of pan with iron or steel will work with an induction cooktop, which goes for woks.
Most woks are carbon steel, which is perfectly fine for induction heating, as it contains iron. Aluminum or copper pans and woks won’t work with induction stovetops, so you may have to invest in different cookery if you plan on getting induction.
Most traditional woks are round. It’s how they’ve been shaped for thousands of years and the secret behind their incredible flexibility. But round doesn’t work with flat stovetops.
While with electricity, you could at least heat the pan. Induction doesn’t have enough contact with the wok to register that it needs to heat up. So traditional woks simply don’t work with an induction stovetop, although there are ways around that.
However, if you’re getting an induction cooktop, it might be best to buy a flat-bottomed wok to maximize the surface-to-hob ratio for heating. Plus, they’re more stable on the stove than traditional woks.
Flat-bottomed woks are better for searing meat and other cooking that requires an even surface while still giving you plenty of space for stir-frying, stewing, and boiling.
Other Ways To Use Woks With Induction Cooktops
If you have your heart set on a traditional wok or have one you’ve used for years that isn’t made of a ferromagnetic metal, there are ways to get around that if you’re willing to get a few extra accessories.
Some induction hobs are made into basins that are made explicitly for woks. They have a round bowl shape inside of them that increases contact with the wok and activates the copper coils to produce induction in the wok.It’s the easiest way to use traditional woks with induction hobs, but it’s not cheap. Most are commercial inductions hobs that are used in restaurants.
However, if you use your wok for cooking every day, having this hob as customization on your stovetop or a separate counter hob might be worth it.
Woks have special adapters for working with flat stovetops, namely wok cradles. They keep woks balanced and usable while over flat burners. There are also wok cradles designed explicitly for gas cooktops, which better hold woks steady over flames.
Thunder Group 12356 Alsr001 Steel Wok Rack, Medium, Metallic
- Used to support woks when cooking on a regular range
- Keep in mind that a wok ring should typically be 4" smaller than the desired wok diameter
- It is a product from Thunder Group
- It has a innovative design
However, there are some concerns when using wok cradles with induction and flat cooktops, namely cooktops made of glass. Wok cradles can scratch the surface of the glass to create an unattractive look or, worse, damage the hobs.
Also, they don’t increase the amount of surface area on the hob very much, so induction cooking with just cradles isn’t efficient or may not work.
Induction adapters are like pans made of iron or steel, without the sides. You set them on the induction hob, and they heat up. Then you can place the pan you’re using to cook on top to absorb the heat from the adapter.
9.45inch Stainless Steel Coffee Milk Cookware Simmer Ring Induction Hob Plate Heat Diffuser Medium 24CM…
$19.99 in stock
- The heat diffuser is mainly helpful when you cook heat sensitive items such as caramel, rice and oats. Even simmering sauces, since you can keep the temperature at low levels.
- It also distributes the heat evenly, which in return improves the quality of your cooking and most importantly the taste of the food.
- The item can also be used as a gas hob trivet stabilizer no matter how small the pan is. In addition the diffuser comes with a handle so you can easily move it without the risk of burning yourself. Besides, you can hang it next to your stove for easy and quick access.
- The heat diffuser is the perfect gadget which allows you to use all of your pans on any induction surface. Therefore, you don’t have to buy expensive induction pans, since you can use your current regular ones, avoiding unnecessary costs.
- The disc of the heat diffuser consists of three layers. The upper and the bottom layers are stainless steel, whereas the middle is aluminum for excellent heat distribution.
It allows you to cook with not made of iron pans, like copper or aluminum. It’s also great to use with wok cradles, as they can then absorb the heat from the adapter rather than try to produce enough induction from the hob.
Cooking with Woks! Induction Style
When it comes to the question of will a wok work on an induction cooktop, the answer is yes–with certain conditions that need to be met. The wok must have a flat bottom and be made of a ferromagnetic material to work best on a flat induction hob.
Or you could use a wok basin, an induction hob specifically to hold woks. Or you could use a combination of a wok cradle and an induction adapter to cook with non-ferromagnetic or traditional woks.
You have options when it comes to cooking with woks on induction cooktops, which means you can enjoy the many recipes you can cook while enjoying the latest in cooking technology.