Wok vs Skillet – Which One Should I Buy?

A wok and skillet are both important cooking equipment to have in the kitchen. However, when it comes to choosing which one is better for your needs, wok vs skillet, the process becomes nerve-wracking. Therefore, we’ve compiled a detailed comparison review of the wok vs skillet to get an idea of how these two almost similar equipment are different and which one is a better choice to get.


Wok vs Skillet – Which One Should I Buy? 2

A wok is round bottom versatile cooking equipment used for high heat stir frying – especially for Asian foods.  A wok is normally made from copper, carbon steel, stainless steel, or cast iron. Both these materials are favored for their high tensile build, durability, even heat distributing qualities, and corrosion resistance.

For some cooking functions, a wok is a better choice thanks to its ability to withstand and retain high heat. Furthermore, unlike other pans, a wok requires significantly less oils to cook thus, making them a healthier option.

Wok vs Skillet – Which One Should I Buy? 3Characteristics

  • Rounded bottom or flat bottom (some western-style ones) shape
  • Size ranges from 12 to 36 inches
  • Carbon steel, cast iron, aluminum, or non-stick material


A wok is designed to perform several cooking tasks. These include:

  • Steaming – Thanks to its concave shape
  • Smoking – Its wide and deep shape makes it perfect for circulating the smoke around food
  • Deep frying – It uses little oil compared to other pans thanks to its large room and cooking space.
  • Stir frying – A wok is particularly designed for stir frying. Thus, using it for this function yields maximum results.



Wok vs Skillet – Which One Should I Buy? 4

Skillets on the other end boast somewhat similar properties to woks. However, they are designed for modern kitchens and don’t necessarily require high heat to cook. When it comes to the comparison of wok vs skillet, a skillet uses considerably less heat but more oil. Due to their design, a skillet can work on most cooking surfaces including electric, gas, and induction stovetops. 

Whilst skillets don’t retain the highest heat like woks, they are still versatile in their own right and can be used for a wide selection of dishes. Typically, skillets are made from cast iron, stainless steel, copper, or aluminum.

Stainless steel and aluminum steel offer rapid heating, even heat distribution, and excellent corrosion resistance. Cast iron skillets on the other end boast impressive heat retention and distribution. However, they require seasoning frequently to prevent rusting, improve taste, and food from sticking to their surface.

Wok vs Skillet – Which One Should I Buy? 5Characteristics

  • Size ranges from 8 to 16 inches
  • Aluminum, anodized aluminum, cast iron, copper, stainless steel, or clad stainless steel material


Skillets come with several functions. Some of them include;

  • Pan frying – Pan frying meats and vegetables
  • Deep frying – Similar to pan frying but using more oil
  • Searing and browning – Pan frying meats at high heat to give them that brown land crisp layer
  • Sautéing – Cooking foods such as vegetables in small amounts of oil or fat in relatively high heat
  • Baking – Full baking any food items depending on the skillet size or pan baking food items such as biscuits
  • Roasting – Oven roasting different foods such as steak, poultry, and vegetables
  • Braising – Braising the heartiest sauces and stews
  • Broiling – Cooking foods in high and direct heat in the oven



Final Verdict – Wok vs Skillet

When looking at the wok vs skillet comparison, you notice that each pan brings impressive and versatile benefits. Ultimately, a skillet appears to be a great option for everyday cooking – whether you are braising, baking, or roasting.

Similarly, a wok is ideal for everyday cooking as well, although it may hold some limitations. Whilst a skillet is built for everyday cooking, a wok is faster at cooking with an average time of only 8 minutes. You need less time for the food to be in contact with the surface and to distribute the flavors evenly when using a wok.

Furthermore, a wok offers a healthy alternative to cooking as it uses minimal oil compared to a skillet. Ultimately, it depends on what your preferences are and what you are looking for. Knowing the precise functions for each pan helps you to make an informed decision on which one to invest in. Sometimes, you may simply want to buy them both.


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