Seasoning a wok in the oven is the best method because the oven will contain the toxic fumes generated from the oils reaching their smoking point, in this guide we will teach you exactly how to season a wok in the oven perfectly everytime.
Why Season a Wok
Seasoning a wok is a technique that is widely used in Chinese cooking and is designed to help the wok to retain its heat and give it a distinctive taste. Seasoning a wok involves applying salt, pepper, and oil to the surface of the wok.
This layer prevents rust and corrosion, improves non-stick properties, and enhances the flavor of your dishes.
Woks that are made of porous metals like cast iron and carbon steel must be seasoned before cooking to prevent rust.
There is a range of different seasoning methods that are effective. One of the simplest and beginner-friendly ones is the oven seasoning method.
We have created a step-by-step process that will help you achieve the desired results below.
Which Cooking oil to use for seasoning a wok?
Expert chefs always recommend using a neutral cooking oil that can withstand high levels of heat. Olive, sesame and peanut oils are most commonly used for seasoning a wok.
Here’s a list of some cooking oils that are great to season a wok with:
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a healthy choice for seasoning a wok. It has a mild flavor and a high smoke point. It also has a low level of acidity, which is important because you don’t want the oil to react with the metal wok.
- Sesame Seed Oil: Sesame seed oil is a great choice for seasoning your wok. It has a very high smoke point and it has a strong flavor that will season the wok well.
- Peanut Oil: Peanut oil has a high smoke point and it is very affordable. It will give your wok a light flavor that isn’t overpowering, but you may find that the taste of peanut oil doesn’t mix well with all types of food.
- Canola Oil: Canola oil has a neutral flavor, which makes it an ideal choice for seasoning your wok. It also has a high smoke point which means it will last a long time.
Some other options include:
- Grapeseed oil (cold-pressed)
- Sunflower seed oil (cold-pressed)
- Soybean oil (cold-pressed)
- Corn oil (cold-pressed)
- Walnut oil (cold pressed)
- Safflower oil (cold-pressed)
- Flaxseed oil (cold-pressed)
Hopefully you’ve now picked your oil based on the above and what you currently have in your home, so let’s move onto how to season a wok.
Step 1: Clean & Dry Your Wok
The first step is to clean your wok. You can use a little dish soap and water, or some salt and scrub it with a sponge until all the food bits are gone. Finally rinse. This will get rid of any residue stuck in the pores of the woks surface freeing the pores up for the oil to polymerise into it during the seasoning.
Next, dry the wok with a clean towel. Do not use paper towers as they will leave fibers in the pores of the metal.
Step 2: Applying the Oil to the Wok
In order to season a wok, it is necessary to first coat the inside with oil. This can be done by heating up about 3 tablespoons of seasoning oil in the pan until it becomes warm. Then, the using a paper towel, rub it into the wok to ensure your coating the entire wok, both the inside and outside of the wok.
Don’t worry about using excess oil, as this will drip off in the oven.
Step 3: Heating Phase
This is where the magic happens, preheat your oven to above the oils smoking point. To find your oils smoking point, this is a good list.
Once the oven is preheated to the desired temperature, place your wok upside down in the oven, and place some aluminum foil underneath (to catch the excess oil)
After 1 hour of baking time, the oil will have polymerized with the woks surface and your wok will now be seasoned.
Step 4: Cooling & Rinsing Your Wok
Allow your wok to cool thoroughly, once cooled rinse your wok and scrub it with something that’s not too abrasive like a hand towel, this will avoid you scrubbing off the seasoning but allows you to clean any excess oil that hasn’t polymerized.
Wok Seasoning and Care Tips
Woks are typically seasoned in the oven, as it helps to create a layer of seasoning that will help with sticking. This process is done by coating the wok with oil and heating it in the oven until it is very hot.
The wok is then removed and left to cool, following which a thin layer of oil should be applied and heated again before wiping off with paper towels.
To keep the wok in good condition, it is recommended that its surface be seasoned at least once a month. This can be done by following the above process.
Some more care tips include:
– Never use detergent to clean your wok. Use hot water and a soft sponge or cloth instead.
– Do not scrub the inside of the wok; use a soft cloth to wipe it down.
– Never leave your wok on direct heat for long periods of time. It can damage its surface and make cleaning difficult.
– If you have a carbon steel wok, never put it in the dishwasher. Hand wash it instead.