How To Season A Wok – (Three Methods Explained)

A wok is a versatile cookware that you need in any kitchen. It is commonly used for stir-frying foods that require tossing motions. The unique design of a wok also makes it great for deep frying or boiling food because it is deep. Additionally, you can use a wok to steam seafood or vegetables.

After buying your ideal wok, it is good to consider seasoning it before you start cooking. This is because woks are made of porous materials like stainless steel and cast iron which are prone to rust. Therefore, you can prevent your wok from rusting through seasoning. In this guide, you will learn the benefits of seasoning your wok, how to season and tips to maintain the seasoning.

Why Do You Need To Season A Wok

When you season your wok, the oil creates a layer so rusting doesn’t take place. The protective layer (patina) gets thicker every time you cook and this makes the wok have a naturally nonstick surface. This improves the taste of your meals because food doesn’t stick when cooking.
The seasoning of your wok improves with continuous cooking. You will note that the color becomes darker and the seasoning makes the surface nonstick.

Things you need to season a wok

  • A wok
  • Cooking oil
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Scouring pad
  • Paper towels

How To Season A Wok

Before you season your wok, clean it following the manufacturer's instructions. Use the dish soap and the scouring pad to clean the wok thoroughly. If your wok is new, many manufacturers apply oil on carbon steel and cast iron woks to prevent rusting during shipping. Rinse all the soap and let it dry. At this point, your wok is ready for seasoning. The following are the different ways you can use to season your wok.

1. How To Season A Wok In The Oven

This is a good method to season your wok if it has oven-safe handles. Follow these tips to season your wok in the oven:

  • After cleaning and drying your wok, preheat your oven up to 450 degrees F.
  • Line the sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  • Coat the wok surface including the outside with oil using a paper towel.
  • Put the lines sheet pan below your oven rack.
  • Put the oiled wok on the top rack of your oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the wok from the oven and rinse it with warm water using a soft sponge.
  • Let it dry on your stovetop under high heat.

2. How To Season A Wok On An Electric Stove

This is another popular method you can use to season a wok. For this method, you need a stovetop, oil, and paper towels. Follow these steps:

  • Wash the wok to get rid of factory oil.
  • If the wok has wood handles, remove them if they are removable. If not, wrap the handles with aluminum foil to prevent burning or scorching when seasoning.
  • Preheat the wok on high heat to open the metal pores. The wok gets hot and it will produce smoke. Ensure your kitchen windows are open and the kitchen hood fan is functional.
  • Tilt the wok to heat the sides, front, and back. It will change color because of the heat exposure.
  • Test the wok with water to determine if it is ready for seasoning. Throw some drops of water, and if they evaporate in a second, it is ready for seasoning.
  • Apply a thin layer of oil using the paper towels and this will provide a smooth nonstick surface. Apply the oil on the outside and this protects your wok from rusting.
  • Put the wok back on medium-high heat and when the oil stops smoking, your wok is perfectly seasoned. Flit and tilt it to season all the parts. A well-seasoned wok should have a dark hue and a matte finish.
  • Rinse the wok with hot water and a bamboo wok brush to prevent removing the seasoning. Store your wok until it is ready for use.

3. How To Season A Wok With Salt

Using salt is also another proven way to season your wok. For this method, you need to use kosher salt that helps to create a dark patina. This method also works well if you need to re-season a wok that has not been cooking for quite some time. Follow these steps:

  • Wash your wok first to remove factory oil.
  • Put a cup of kosher salt in the wok and place it on the stovetop on high heat.
  • Stir the salt constantly after 20 minutes and keep pushing it on the sides.
  • Remove the wok from the high heat after 20 minutes, put the salt in the sink to let it cool, and then dump it.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe the wok with oil, spreading on all the surfaces.

Dos And Don’ts To “Preserving Your Wok's Seasoning

Some essential tips that can help you maintain the seasoning include:


Fry, sauté, and cook often with your wok. It helps to build the patina.

  • Get a wok ladle, wok spatula, or a bamboo wok brush.


  • Do not cook acidic foods like lemon or tomatoes after seasoning your new wok.
  • Do not boil, steam, or poach anything when your wok is new.
  • Avoid washing the wok with abrasive pads or soaps and sanitizers that include chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do all Woks need to be seasoned?

A: All woks require proper seasoning to create a smooth nonstick surface. This helps to maintain the flavor of your food and ensures it doesn’t rust.

Q: What oil do you use to season a wok?

A: Oils that work well to season a wok have high smoking points. This means that you can use the oils at high temperatures without burning. The most recommended oil for seasoning your wok include sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, and lard/pork oil.

Q: How do you treat a wok before use?

A: Before using your wok, clean it with a pot scrubber and mild detergent. Hand dry it and then put it over high heat and let it cool. Rinse and scrub the wok lightly once more and then dry it on the stove.

Q: What happens if you don't season a wok?

A: Seasoning your wok is a good practice because it develops a naturally nonstick surface. If you don’t season your wok, it will be prone to rust.

Q: How do you re-season a rusty wok?

A: It is good to keep seasoning your wok from time to time to maintain a strong and thicker patina. If you had not used the wok for some time, remove the rust and then re-season. You can use any of the seasoning methods discussed above to re-season your wok.


Seasoning your new wok before use is crucial to prevent rusting. The more you use the wok, the patina improves and this makes the wok have natural nonstick properties. You achieve effortless food release and this makes cleaning easy. From the seasoning methods we have covered above, you can choose the most suitable one to season your wok. After seasoning, take proper care of your wok so that it can serve for many years.

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