How to Season a Wok Properly: Three Methods with Instructions

You won’t be able to properly cook Asian dishes without the presence of wok. However, perhaps few people know that we need to season the wok regularly to get rid of bacteria and patina on it. So, let’s find out with KITCHENBAR how to season a wok in the article below!

Why Should I Season a Wok?

Seasoning in the wok will create a layer of oil on the surface of the pan to prevent the metal from rusting and also to prevent food from sticking to the pan. The more you use your pan, the thicker it becomes.

The color of the pan will become very dark, and the seasoning (also known as the “rust”) will eventually create a naturally non-stick surface. This rust will infuse some subtle but wonderful flavor (what we call wok hei – “breath of the pan”) in every dish you stir-fry.

How to season a wok when using it for the first time
How to season a wok when using it for the first time

How to Season a Wok: First Time

When you buy a pan, it’s important to clean it before you do anything else. Manufacturers apply factory oil to new pans to protect them from moisture during shipping. This prevents rust and ensures the pan stays in pristine condition.

To prepare the wok for seasoning, you need to scrub the pan thoroughly with a sponge and soap to remove all the base oil and dust from the pan during shipping. This will be the only time you will need to use soap and an abrasive sponge to clean the pan. Follow the steps below to remove all residue:

  • Fill the sink with hot water and soap.
  • Scrub the inside and outside of the pan with a scouring pad.
  • Rinse the pan completely.
  • Dry the pan with a clean, dry towel.
  • Place on the stove over medium to high heat to completely dry the pan and evaporate any remaining water.
  • After having removed all of the manufacturer’s oil and left it exposed to bare metal, you can choose a seasoning oil or another form of lard.

3 Method Way to Season a Wok

Every chef has their own favorite method of seasoning their wok. We will explore the three most common methods, kitchen seasoning, oven seasoning, and salting seasoning. Regardless of the method you use to spice up your pan, the first step is always to rinse the pan so that the bare metal is exposed.

Choose a Seasoning Oil

The best oils to use with pans have a high smoke point, which means they can be used over high heat without burning. They should also be refined and yield a neutral taste. Avoid unrefined oils with low smoking points like olive and sesame oils. Instead, choose one of these oils to season your wok:

  • Peanuts.
  • Canola oil.
  • Grape seed oil.
  • Sunflower oil.
  • Pork fat or pork fat.
  • Shortening.
How to season a wok Stovetop seasoning method
How to season a wok Stovetop seasoning method

Method 1: Stovetop Seasoning

A popular way to season your wok is the stovetop grill method. You will need a variety burner, oil of your choice, and paper towels.

  • Complete the initial wash to remove factory oil.
  • If your pans have wooden handles, wrap them in aluminum foil to prevent burning/burn or remove them.
  • Preheat the pan over high heat to open the metal holes. The pan will get very hot and release smoke, so make sure the space around your burner is well ventilated, the kitchen exhaust fan is on, and the windows are open.
  • Tilt and flip your pan to heat the front, back, and sides. Your pan will change color when exposed to heat.
  • Perform a water test by placing a drop of water on the pan. If your pan is hot enough, the water will evaporate within a second and it’s ready to be seasoned.
  • Let the pan cool until safe to the touch.
  • Use a paper towel to coat the pan with oil with a high smoke point. Try to keep the oil thin and even to achieve a smooth, non-sticky surface. Since the seasoning also acts as a rust protector, make sure you coat the outside of your pan with oil as well.
  • Return your pan to the burner over medium and high heat. When the oil stops smoking, that part of the pan is seasoned. Proceed to flip and tilt the pan to season each part.
  • Your pan seasoning is complete when its entire surface has turned to a matte and dark finish.
  • Rinse the pan with hot water and use a bamboo brush to clean the pan without losing the seasoning.
  • Place the pan back on the stove over high heat to evaporate any remaining water particles.
  • Store the pan until you’re ready to use it, or repeat the seasoning process. Marinate the pan up to three times for a non-stick surface and a thicker protective coating.

Method 2: Oven Seasoning

This method is recommended for pans with oven-safe handles.

  • Complete the initial wash to remove factory oil.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Line an aluminum sheet with foil.
  • Use a paper towel to coat the entire pan with grease or oil, including the outside.
  • Place the foil-lined pan on the bottom rack of the oven.
  • Place the oiled pan on the top rack.
  • Remove the pan from the oven after baking for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse the pan with warm water and a soft sponge.
  • Dry completely on the stove over high heat.

Method 3: Salt Seasoning

This method uses kosher salt to create a dark rust on your pan. It can also be used to refresh or re-season pans that have not been used for a long time.

  • Complete the initial wash to remove factory oil.
  • Pour 1 cup of kosher salt into the pan.
  • Place a pan filled with salt on the gas stove over high heat.
  • Push the salt up and around the sides of the pan and stir the salt constantly for 20 minute.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and pour the heated salt into the sink (let it cool before discarding).
  • Wipe the pan clean with an oil-soaked rag or paper towel, and apply a thin layer of oil to the surface of the pan.

General Care

After each time you use the wok, gently clean it with a soft brush or sponge. If your brush is very dirty and greasy like mine, put some dish soap in a small bowl and fill it with 1 cup of water. For 5 to 10 seconds, vigorously take your brush and rub it against the bottom of the bowl back and forth. This will clean the brush. Repeat if necessary.

If there are stubborn bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan, pour about 4 to 5 cups of water into the pan. Bring water to a boil and then drain. Hot water will help loosen the food and will be much easier with a brush or sponge. After you clean the pan, dry it over high heat and rub a little oil inside.

If your pan is rusty, scrub away the rust with a scouring pad. Rinse and redo the pan as if it were brand new.

How to revive your wok after a long time
How to revive your wok after a long time

How to Revive Your Wok After a Long Time

Bought a carbon steel wok years ago and quickly forgot about it? We’re here to help you dust off the dust and get back on track with Chinese home cooking. But after a long period of non-use, it may wear out a bit. That said, pans are more versatile than they seem. We’re always on hand to cook eggs, steam a cake, make scallion pancakes, or even toast a piece of bread. So here’s what you should do to revive your pan:

  • Scrub thoroughly with a small amount of mild detergent with a pot scrubber and make sure the entire surface area is as clean as possible.
  • Dry your hands and heat the pan to high (but do not smoke), and let cool.
  • Wash and gently scrub the pan again, and dry the pan on the stove.
  • Heat a wok over low heat and pour in a tablespoon of oil, stirring well. Remove from heat.
  • While the wok is still warm, use a paper towel to spread the oil over the entire inner surface of the wok. There should be no oil stagnation.
  • Your wok is now ready to use again!

Final Words

Seasoning is a very important step in preserving your wok, as well as keeping your food clean. KITCHENBAR hopes that this article will help you understand how to season a wok properly. So, please share your results with us and comment your experiences below. We are all looking forward to you!

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