How to Season a Carbon Steel Wok | Easiest Methods

A wok is a bowl-shaped frying pan usually used in Asian cooking methods.  Woks are usually used for making soup, stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, searing and many more.  Woks also come in many types.  A carbon steel wok is one of the best.  If you use it well, it will last a decade.

Do you know how important it is to season a wok before using it?  Because of the metal surface in new woks are untreated.  Meaning, every time you cook on a new wok will result in scratching.  Also, your food will stick like crazy even when you use a lot of cooking oil.

When you season a wok, the purpose is to create a natural forming of a nonstick coating on the metal surface of a wok.  It is like purposely forming a clean coating of grease/oil in the wok.  What you’re getting is, with a frequent seasoning of the wok pan, the thicker the layer is, the more nonstick the layer becomes.

Another fact is that every wok that is made of cast iron and carbon steel has to be seasoned first to prevent corrosion.  So, exactly how to season a wok, a carbon steel wok in particular?  Follow the easiest methods below on how to season a carbon steel wok.

How to Season a Carbon Steel Wok

Before finding out how to season a carbon steel wok, one fact from this type of wok is that it heats up faster.  Hence, it is lighter than a cast iron wok and it will develop a nonstick coating and forms a patina (green or browned surface) over time.

Now, gather up some things for seasoning your carbon steel wok.  You will need:

  • Liquid detergent
  • Metal scrubber
  • Paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons of any high-heat oil (peanut oil is preferred)

Let’s Start Seasoning

 Wash off all factory oil—Almost all factory woks, especially carbon steel woks are coated with factory oil to prevent rusting before they are sold.  Here, it is crucial to scrub off all factory oil with the liquid detergent.  Also, this process tends to take time and energy.  You might want to scrub and rinse several times before all oils are cleaned thoroughly.

Dry off—Using the paper towels, wipe off the wok to dry.  This will determine if the factory oil is thoroughly cleaned.  If not, start scrubbing and rinsing process again.

Place the wok on high heat—With your fingers washed and dripping wet, drop some water on the wok.  When it sizzles, then it’s ready for the next process.  You can also turn and tilt the wok until it is bluish or yellowish.

Seasoning process—Once the wok is hot enough, then it’s ready for the seasoning process.  Before that, set the temperature down to medium-low.  Go ahead and add 2 tablespoons of your chosen oil into the entire inside of the wok.  You might want to use a heat-safe brush to brush off the oil.  Another way is to use a paper towel to stir or rub the oil over the surface of the wok.  Don’t forget to use tongs with the paper towels.  Continue this process until black spots appear on the paper towel or brush.  It usually takes 3 times of repetition.

Clean the wok—Without using any liquid detergent, brush gently any grease on the surface with a soft sponge.  Then put the wok back on the stove.

Seal again with oil— Once the wok is dry, turn the heat back up again very high.  When the water evaporates, turn off the stove.  Still hot, add a thin layer of oil and rub with paper towels again several times.

Your new wok is now ready to use for cooking.

Save Time with Pre Seasoned Carbon Wok

Apart from a seasoned carbon steel wok, a pre-seasoned carbon steel wok will save you time and energy.  You will have no trouble seasoning your new wok.  Find out more about this type of wok:

  • It allows easy use and care with a nonstick coating as a plus.
  • No chemical coating is built in a pre-seasoned carbon wok.
  • Fast cooking meals and cooks evenly.
  • Heat conduction is used efficiently.
  • Hand washing is recommended. Do not try dishwashing the wok.
  • After each cooking with this type of wok, use paper towels to dry it off. Or, a small fire can be done to dry off the wok for a healthier cooking method and no rust.

Carbon Steel Wok Pros and Cons


Healthier cooking— Carbon steel wok has a natural nonstick coating for the healthier cooking method.  No need to use a lot of oil that is unhealthy during cooking.  The more nonstick a cookware is, the less oil it needs.  Thus, you may cook healthier meals in a carbon steel wok.

Affordable—A carbon steel wok is indeed much cheaper and affordable than any other type of cookware.

Durable—A carbon steel wok can last a decade.  With proper maintenance and cleaning, you will have a very good investment in this type of cookware.

High heat resistant—A carbon steel wok cookware can tolerate high temperatures without rusting.  It is also safe from toxic or chemical release.


Seasoning is a must—Cooking meals with a carbon steel wok requires seasoning.  Because you will have to get that nonstick surface out before cooking with your new wok.  Hence, it will cost you time and energy to season your wok on your own.

Reacts to acidic foods—Cooking acidic foods on a carbon steel wok is not recommended. It eliminates the natural nonstick surface of the wok.  You might want to avoid cooking acidic foods if you want your wok to last longer.  Otherwise, cook acidic foods infrequently.

Not dishwasher safe—Having a carbon steel wok requires special caring.  It is not dishwasher safe.  Having it in the dishwasher will make it lose its nonstick coating.

Hence, that is about all that you needed to know about how to season a carbon steel wok.  Otherwise, cooking in a carbon steel wok is authentic.