Kitchen Tips

How To Season A Wok With 5 Simple Steps

Tim Parry


Woks, like cast iron, require seasoning. Inside, well-seasoned woks should have a caramel-colored coating. Seasoning a wok to add flavor to your meal and assist the interior of the wok develops to a nonstick, smooth surface throughout time. That is why you should read our thorough how to season a wok tutorial to learn the right methods for seasoning your wok. It is also suitable for cast-iron woks. The wok may be seasoning and re-seasoning at any moment!

Now, let’s start finding out!

Why Do We Need To Season A Wok?

Seasoning is an important stage in the preparation of every carbon steel or iron wok. Here is the basic step-by-step method for seasoning a wok with just a few simple items.

Cast iron wok has a grey covering that must be cleaned when fresh. Seasoning is by far the essential step in preparing your wok. It protects and stops the wok from deteriorating in the first place.

A simple definition of “seasoning” is the use of heat to expand the pores of a wok so that the oil may be collected.

Seasoning a wok adds a coating of oil to its surface, preventing the metal from deteriorating and food from adhering to your wok. The more you utilize your wok, the better it gets.

When “seasoning” is properly done, the wok should appear bronze and black, and the seasoning, also called “patina,” will inevitably create the naturally nonstick surface. It will add subtle yet delicious tastes to your stir-fry meal.

In Asia, the wok is generally seasoned only on the interior with aromatics. This necessitates regular stir-frying to ensure that ‘seasoning’ has happened all over the pan and is extremely laborious.

Beyond The First Seasoning Wok 

Try to use the wok at a minimum of 2-3 times each week for the first month or two. You could, for example, cook an egg inside it or shallow-fry, deep-fry, pan-fry, and stir-fry.

Clean it after each usage and in between courses whether you’re cooking many dishes in the wok at the same time. Steaming in the wok is not recommended since it destroys the patina.

Repeated use helps your wok’s seasoning to grow more. During its early stages, your wok’s color will likely alter.

Foods may cling at first, but that is the nature of a new wok connection. You’ll eventually have a gorgeous mature wok that will be your workhorse in the kitchen.

You’ll need some time and patience. To get rid of the smoke, open all windows and doors, or turn on the fan. Be cautious of grease fires and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Wear a face mask and glasses if you’re sensitive to cooking smoke. Grey discoloration may spatter your backsplash while cleaning the wok for the first time.

How To Season A Wok?  

Due to its high nonstick surface, some cooks choose carbon steel. It is essential to remember, nevertheless, that the carbon steel woks are not inherently nonstick. It would be best if you first seasoned your wok. Afterward, with sufficient usage and maintenance, naturally, the patina will form on its surface, keeping your wok nonstick.

This seasoning technique is ONLY used for something like a Chinese, round bottom iron wok with 2 cast iron handles, which is the greatest for wok frying success.

What You’ll Need for Wok Seasoning:

  • Dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Scouring pad or metal scrubber
  • 1 bunch of cut scallions
  • 2 tsp peanut oil or another high-temp oil
  • 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1/3 cup sliced ginger

Step 1: Remove The Factory Oil 

Carbon steel woks are often coated with a coating of manufacturing oil before being sold to prevent corrosion. It is critical to remove this coating of factory oil before using the wok for frying. You wouldn’t want industrial oil in your meals!

Scrubbing With Soap

It requires dish soap with a metal scrubber or scouring pad for the initial scrubbing. When preparing for wok seasoning, you should only use dish soap and abrasive scrubbers.

They should not be used for routine cleaning or maintenance. Alternatively, you will scrape away the coating and damage the nonstick surface.

You should expect to spend some time scrubbing. Pour some soap into the wok and clean the interior and exterior thoroughly with a scrubber.

Rinse the wok under running water. Add additional dish soap to the pan and continue the scrubbing and the rinsing process a few more times.

If you see your fingers picking up black streaks from touching your wok as you rinse it, it implies you haven’t completely removed the manufacturer’s oil.

Please take note of the wrinkle at the top of the wok and the region where the bolts keep their handle in place. Those places are a little trickier to clean.

Rub the interior and outside the wok with towels after many rounds of cleaning and draining.

Use Paper Towels

The towels are excellent in removing any remaining factory oil residues from the pan. If your paper towel turns black after scrubbing the wok, clean it with dish soap, rinse it, then wipe it off again with your paper towels. When you receive a clean swipe with your paper towel, you will know you have sufficiently wiped off the original oil.

Use Paper Towels

This entire procedure can take about 10 to 15 minutes, don’t be disheartened if it appears to take a long time to remove the manufacturer’s oil.

Step 2: Dry The Wok  

Put the cleaned wok over high temperature on the stove. Since the water evaporates rapidly, there is no point in drying your wok with a paper towel. Wet the fingers gently after the wok has dried. Then, splatter some water into the pan with your fingertips. The wok now is hot enough for the following steps if the droplets disappear and sizzle in seconds.

Dry The Wok  

Step 3: Season The Wok 

The objective of this stage is to utilize heat to expand up the wok pores so that they might absorb oil, prevent corrosion, and build a nonstick wok surface. Because you’ll be warming oil for a long period, put your electric fan to the maximum setting. If your kitchen requires extra ventilation, open the windows.

Put 2 teaspoons of peanut or another high-temperature oil into your wok, then turn the heat down to medium. To the wok, add the ginger, cut scallions, and garlic. Begin stirring the veggies. To help expand the oil around it more evenly, push the veggies against the walls of your wok with the back of your wok paddle.

Continue to stir the veggies and push the oil against your wok’s walls with a spatula for about 15 minutes. That time is required for the wok to begin acquiring a patina. Your veggies will most likely seem burnt after the procedure, but that’s fine.

How the color of a wok changed during the seasoning process is one noticeable distinction. When heated over an extended period of time, almost all works change color dramatically, generally from grey to blue. That is very natural.

Season The Wok 
How to season a wok

Turn the heat off after 15 minutes. Allow the wok to cool for a few moments. Then, serve the veggies and toss them.

Step 4: Wash The Wok Again

Grease and a few little bits of food will sink to the wok bottom. Gently wipe the wok with such a bristle brush or soft sponge. The dish soap should not be used in this situation. Rinse your wok, then dry it on the burner.

Wash The Wok Again

Step 5: Seal with an oil layer 

Return the wok to high heat. Turn the heat off after water has evaporated. Apply a thin coating of oil to a wok with care. You should add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of oil into your wok and swirl it around with many layers of towels. Be cautious since the wok is still quite hot at this time. You may also use a spoon to roll your paper towel around.

It would be best if you did not use the kitchen towels for this operation since they can become damp, and you wouldn’t want to reintroduce humidity into your wok. Eventually, your wok will rust while in storage. It is now ready to use!

Wok General Maintenance 

After each usage, carefully clean your wok with such a brush or a soft sponge. If the brush becomes unclean and oily, place some dishwashing soap in a small basin and fill it with some water. Use your brush, then vigorously rub it against the bowl bottom for about 5 to 10 seconds. Your brush should be clean as a result of this. If it is necessary, repeat the process 1 more time.

Fill the wok with about 4 to 5 glasses of water whether there are obstinate pieces of food stuck to the work bottom. Bring some water to a boil before draining it. The hot water can loosen all food, making it simpler to remove with a brush or a sponge. After cleaning the wok, dry it all over high temperature and massage a little oil inside.

Once your wok rusts, use the scouring pad to remove the rust. As though it were fresh, rinse, then re-seasoning your wok.

Tips To Maintain A Seasoned Wok 

  • When you just cooked a very strong item, you may need to clean and reheat the wok again. Heat aids in the removal of leftover flavors from the wok.
  • Nothing like making a mildly seasoned dish and then tasting the food you cooked one night before.
  • If you’re not using a wok for a long period of time, it must be washed before usage. This is simply basic sense. If you discover a rusty area on a wok, you most likely didn’t heat it well enough to remove all of its moisture or didn’t use enough grease to wipe it off completely. Take note of these two crucial measures!
  • Never, ever put your wok in the dishwasher.
  • Even after a basic steaming, constantly wash and dry the wok and rub it off with some vegetable oil.
  • After using vinegar or another acidic substance in your meal, immediately wash the wok. Most acid will erode the wok’s patina.
  • If you see accumulation or if your wok is showing signs of wear, you may re-season it at any time by following the methods outlined above for a fresh wok.

Are you curious about cooking techniques for stir-frying with your wok at home? Watch our video now to learn new cooking skills:

Final Thought 

When we all agree that iron and carbon steel is the greatest all-around wok, knowing how to season a wok is essential. To have the ideal nonstick patina, most iron or carbon steel woks require the seasoning procedure before the first usage and ongoing care and maintenance.

A wok may endure a very long time if properly seasoned and cared for. It is among the most versatile kitchen utensils.

We hope that our step-by-step tutorial on how to season a wok can assist you in realizing how simple it is to season and maintain a wok, motivating you to utilize it more often. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries or offer any advice.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have fun in the kitchen!

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Tim Parry

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