How to Season a Wok

Wok’s cooking, fellow food enthusiasts? 

Welcome to our April blog post, in which we’re sticking true to our namesake and teaching you all how to wok. More precisely - how to season your wok! 

What do you mean, ‘seasoning’ a wok?

To ‘season’ a wok doesn’t mean drizzling it with salt and pepper, but rather is the process of creating a protective layer, or ‘patina’, over the wok’s inner surfaces. This oily, protective film serves as a brilliant non-stick surface, creates a deep smoky flavour to impart in your food, and protects your wok from rust and corrosion (nifty, huh?). Therefore, it is important to season your wok before its first use - but remember that YOU DON’T NEED TO DO SO FOR ANY NON-STICK VERSIONS (the protective coating is already layered on for you).

So… how do you season a wok?

It is one of the most common questions we receive across YouTube, social media, and in our cookery school itself - especially when someone is picking up a School of Wok wok for the first time - but seasoning a wok is actually surprisingly simple. Just take a read of the 4 steps below and you’ll have an authentically smokey, non-stick wok in no time. 

1. Scrub

Most shop-bought woks are layered with an anti-rust film to protect them while sitting on the shelf - so the first step is to scrub this off. Use a metal scourer, a small amount of detergent and a lot of elbow grease to really scrub hard at every edge of your wok, and then wash the detergent bubbles away. If your water runs clear, you know you’ve gotten rid of all of the film!

2. Burn

Burn, baby, burn! 
No matter what type of hob you have, turn it on to its highest heat and place your wok on top. Watch how this first burn takes your wok through a rainbow of colours, leaving a matte grey behind, and make sure to tilt and turn your wok as needed to ensure every side is heated thoroughly and coloured evenly.

3. Oil 

Once your wok has been burnt, allow it to cool before then coating the inside with a thin layer of  a high heating oil, such as vegetable or sunflower oil.

4. Smoke

Back to the burn! In this final step, place your now-oiled wok back onto a high heat, and allow the oil to reach smoking point. When the oil stops smoking, that part of the wok is seasoned - tilt and turn your wok once more until all sides have had their oil burnt off and your wok has its final matte finish. (Hint: tight for time? Use a blowtorch for faster results!)

So remember, the secret to seasoning a wok is to **scrub, burn, oil**, and **smoke**. That’s it! Happy wokking, folks. 

Begin your journey to wok stardom with your very own wok. Available in a range of sizes, and with a choice of carbon-steel, non-stick, flat-bottom or round and even a ‘skinny’ wok for the health conscious - we’ve got a wok that’s right for you. Just click here to check out your options online, or pop by our Covent Garden cookery school to take a look in person!