Why Use A Wok Instead Of A Frying Pan | 6 Reasons Why You Should Invest in A Wok

A wok is a healthier alternative to a frying pan because it uses less oil to fry your food. It also has a deeper wall ideal for stir-frying and can hold more food at once than a frying pan. However, on many occasions, both pans can efficiently cook similar types of food.

Woks are the workhorses of Asian cooking, and while they may seem to be cut from the same cloth as frying pans, they’re actually different.

While shallow frying pans are made for stirring and flipping food, woks are designed with a round bottom and sloping sides. This shape allows woks to be used for stir-frying, deep frying, steaming, and boiling. 

Woks also have a rounded handle that allows easy gripping and tossing, making them the perfect tool for high-heat cooking techniques.

However, is that enough reason to choose a wok over a frying pan? We’ll find out soon, but first, you should understand the difference between the two kitchen utensils and when to use each of them.

why use a wok instead of a frying pan

How Is A Wok Different From A Frying Pan?

A wok and a frying pan are both essential kitchen tools. They each have their own applications and can be used to prepare delicious meals in various ways. In some cases, having both can help to simplify cooking as you can efficiently distribute your ingredients between them.

However, there are some significant differences between a wok and a frying pan that would help avoid cooking with the wrong tool. Let’s check them out.


A wok has a rounded bottom, steeper sides, and a deeper wall. On the other hand, a frying pan has a flat base, shallow depth, and a larger cooking surface. Below are some of these structures and how they determine their respective functions.

Cooking Surface

Because of its thick wall, a wok can trap more heat, cook food faster, and provide more even heat distribution than a frying pan. On the other hand, a frying pan is better for cooking thinner cuts of meat and softer foods like fish and eggs due to its flat cooking surface.


A frying pan also has long handles and is usually sold with a lid to cover the food, making it easier to move around than a wok.

Base Structure

Frying pans sit better on any stovetop than a wok due to their flat bottom. Although some new wok models now have a flat bottom and higher sloppy sides to make them sit on electric stovetops.


There isn’t much of a difference here. A frying pan and a wok can be made of the same material. I currently have a carbon steel wok and frying pan in my kitchen.

However, most woks are traditionally made of carbon steel and cast iron, whereas many frying pans are made of aluminum or stainless steel with a nonstick coating.

Cleaning And Storage


A wok is generally more difficult to clean and store than a frying pan, and special care must be taken to keep its carbon steel from rusting easily. You should hand wash your wok and keep it away from moisture. On the other hand, you can easily toss your frying pan into the dishwasher. 


A wok takes up more storage space than a frying pan and reacts badly to bring stored where there is moisture. While you can easily hang your frying pans on the kitchen wall

Cooking Abilities

A wok cooks faster and saves more time than a frying pan in its cooking performance. This is because it conducts and traps more heat in its space. However, since softer ingredients usually don’t require high heat, a frying pan is fine.

Why Use A Wok Instead Of A Frying Pan

A wok is a powerful skillet — and that’s precisely the type of cookware that many chefs like me need to prepare specific healthy, Sleek, and lustrous meals.

Below are several reasons why I prefer cooking with a wok instead of a frying pan.

using a wok to make a stir-fry

A Wok Is A More Versatile Type of Cookware

A wok can cook almost everything a frying pan can. Also, a wok can do more than just frying meat and make scrambled eggs because of its shape. It can be used as a regular pot to boil, steam, and cook soup.

A Wok Cooks Food Faster And More Evenly

When cooking with a wok, the heat is distributed more evenly than in a frying pan, allowing for quick cooking. The wok’s shape also concentrates heat on the bottom and the edges of the pan, making it ideal for high-heat cooking.

A Wok Has A Larger and Deeper Cooking Space

You can cook more food at once in a wok than in a frying pan. A wok also prevents oil from splattering on your stovetop due to its thick and high sides, making it a safer and healthier way to cook.

A Wok Use Less Oil For Frying

Because of its flat surface, a frying pan requires more oil to soak your food, thereby increasing your cooking fat. But a wok requires less oil to cook while still giving a tasty meal. So you’re exposing yourself to less cooking fat when you use a wok. 

A Wok Makes Better Stir-Fryer

When a regular wok user hears “wok,” stir-frying comes to mind. Because of its thicker walls, it’s easier to toss food around in a wok, allowing you to stir-fry and deep-fry. But a frying pan is often limited to sautéing and shallow cooking.

Some Foods Are Better Prepared In A Wok

Some foods are better prepared in a wok than in a frying pan. A wok, for example, is originally designed to cook most Chinese dishes. 

Likewise, a wok has a special place for cooking fried rice and noodles, frying meatballs, and steaming vegetables in my kitchen.

Your frying pan is best used to make fried eggs, many breakfast desserts, and beautiful browning.

What To Consider When Choosing A wok And A Frying Pan

Ideally, choosing between a wok or a frying pan should depend on the food you’re cooking. So ensure you understand your recipes to determine what pan works best for your meal. 

However, below are a few features that could help you make a better decision when selecting the best wok or frying pan for your kitchen.

man pouring oil in a wok

Consider the following:

  • Although there are many types of Wok available, I recommend getting one made of carbon steel. They conduct and distribute heat better.
  • When shopping for a frying pan, look for one with a ceramic nonstick coating. They are excellent for preventing food from sticking to the pan.
  • Get a flat-bottomed wok if you’re using an electric or induction pot. Although a wok ring will help your pot sit properly on your gas stove.

FAQs On Why Use A Wok Instead Of A Frying Pan

What Are the Disadvantages of a Wok?

When using a wok for the first time, you may experience excessive smoke, which can easily set off your smoke alarm. As a result, I recommend that you keep a close look at your food and cook it on medium heat if necessary. Make sure your kitchen is also well-ventilated. 

Can I Make Pasta in a Wok?

A wok is a very versatile piece of cookware, and in addition to stir-frying and deep-frying, it can be used to boil pasta, cook soup, steam vegetables, and make a variety of other foods.

What’s The Best Oil To Use In A Wok?

The best type of oil to use in a wok depends on what you want to cook. If you plan to stir-fry, use a high-heat oil like canola or peanut oil. Olive oil is a good choice for baking or drizzling.

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