How to Season a Wok

Two Methods:Initial CareContinuous Care

Woks made of cast iron or carbon steel are prone to rust marks and sticky food build-up if they are not seasoned before use. This article explains how to season a wok to prevent food build-up, discoloration and rusting.

Method 1
Initial Care

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    Scrub a new wok to remove its protective coating. This initial coating is only for the sake of preventing rusting during retail display and is industrial oil; it needs to be removed before you consume food made in the wok.[1]
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    Heat the wok over high heat. The wok will discolor but this is normal. It will probably smoke also, so open the windows and turn on the fan. Expect the wok to go black ultimately; this is a good thing!
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    Wipe the hot wok using kitchen paper towel that has been covered in vegetable oil. Use tongs or a wok spatula to run the paper around the wok.
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    Turn the heat to low and allow the wok to sit on low heat for about quarter of an hour. This will allow the oil time to work its way into the wok and act like a "glaze" on the wok. [2]
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    Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Wash with warm water and wipe it with a sponge. Dry thoroughly using kitchen towels and add a little vegetable oil to coat it.
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    Store in readiness for use.

Method 2
Continuous Care

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    Get used to the black coating on woks. It is a protective layer of carbon and it should not be scrubbed off.
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    Wash in water. A wok should never be washed in detergent. Instead, wash only in hot water and use a sponge to remove burnt on particles. A number of chefs recommend using a bamboo brush to keep the wok clean in between seasonings.[3] Dry well with paper towels and season lightly with a coating of vegetable oil. When the wok begins to get sticky, re-season it as above.


  • Some people prefer to season a wok using the oven.
  • Stainless steel or nonstick-coated woks do not need to be seasoned.
  • Peanut oil or corn oil are ideal oils for seasoning a wok because they have a high smoke point.[4]


  • Never spill the oil – it is so hot that it can easily spark a grease fire. Have a fire blanket and appropriate extinguisher within reaching distance just in case. If this does happen, Never use water to put out a grease fire. This will just cause it to flare up - see How to put out a grease fire for exact details.
  • Never pour the oil directly into the hot wok when cleaning - it may catch on fire as the wok is so hot. Some people prefer to add the oil earlier and let it heat up with the pan; the problem with this when a pan is initially being seasoned is that the industrial oil is not yet burned off. It is okay to heat the oil up with the pan on subsequent seasonings if this is the way that you prefer it.

Things You'll Need

  • Wok (cast iron or non-stainless steel)
  • Tongs or a wok spatula
  • Kitchen paper towel
  • Vegetable oil

Article Info

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