Easy to set up
Side loop handles stay cool
Heat control plug gets hot
Not recommended for frying
We purchased the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
An electric wok promises to be low maintenance and you don’t have to season it before you use it, unlike traditional woks. Keeping the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok as my only cooking utensil, I put it to a searing test for a few days. I wanted to find out if electric woks are as good as the traditional carbon steel stovetop woks because I am a skeptic and I am finicky about that wok hei. There is an age-old tradition and a certain degree of reverence associated with a well-seasoned traditional wok. The food cooked in it has unique characteristics known as the wok hei (breath of the wok). In a traditional wok, you can cook on really high temperatures that brown the food with smoke and fire and the food gets that quintessential char. Stir-fries would be really boring without it.
While some of the hand-forged traditional woks can set you back by a few hundred dollars, most carbon steel woks are budget-friendly. Professionals and wok enthusiasts take time to carefully season the wok before first use, and then after each use to create a beautiful patina. So how did the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok compare? Here’s what I found.
Design: Flat base with side loop handles
The wok is a medium-sized 14-inch wok with two looped handles and a deep flat base with sloping sides. The tempered glass lid is clear and lets you see contents during cooking. It was great for covering hot pots and kept the food from drying out when I wanted to keep food warm. The included spatula has a wide-angled edge that was great for stir-frying and sautéing. The base of the wok is attached to a stand, which provides ample distance between the cooking surface and the wok. So, it was pretty safe to use on the tabletop for a family-style soupy noodle dish.
Once the wok reached the set temperature, it automatically shut off and then restarted when the temperature got lower.
The downside to the stand is that it makes it difficult to store in the kitchen cabinets. The 1500-watt heating plug is a bit awkwardly placed right under one of the looped handles and the power cord is short at only 30 inches. Although it was a good length to use in the kitchen, I needed an extension cable to cook in the wok on the table.
Material: Stainless steel with an aluminum-clad base
The wok and the handles are made of stainless steel with an impact welded aluminum base for even high-temperature cooking. The tempered glass cover also has a stainless steel rim and fits snug on the wok. The aluminum base tends to get discolored with washing in the dishwasher.
Even after prolonged cooking for stews, the wok handles stayed cool.
Cooking Performance: Quick heating
Once washed and set up, the wok got hot very quickly and released some odor and smoke. The instruction booklet says it is normal for the wok to burn off the manufacturing residue when using it for the first time. I let the wok heat for a few minutes to let it finish its burning process and washed it again before continuing the test. The base of the wok got hot very fast, but the sides took a few minutes to come to temp. Once hot, the wok efficiently retained the temperature. The regulator automatically shuts off when it reaches the desired temperature and then restarts when the temperature gets lower. I made a quick stir-fry dish to initially test its searing and heating prowess.
Food at the base sizzled quickly and browned well. The sides of the wok were not as efficient at browning as the base, but they were reasonably good. All in all, I was able to get a decent chicken and vegetable stir-fry. The wok excels at simmering and stew-like dishes. I made a Tteokbokki (hot and spicy rice cake) and the heat control throughout was magnificent. As a “one wok to do it all," it did not disappoint with either vegetable korma, vegetable fried rice, or making a stir-fry Japchae with "Dang-myeon" (sweet potato noodles). The only caveat was that using the wok at its highest heat setting made the food stick at the base and the temperature control was not as efficient. The wok worked best for stir-fry at around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the manufacturer does not recommend the wok for deep frying, I still made French fries and vegetable fritters to check if it could keep the oil at a consistent 360 degrees and it did. There were no soggy fries to be had. Everything was fried to delicious crispiness.
Heat Settings: Multiple
The heat regulator in the wok ranges from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the wok at 200 degrees keeps the prepared food warm, and 400 degrees gets it to searing-hot temperature. Most of the time I used the wok between 350 and 375 degrees.
Cleaning: Very Easy
After removing the heat control regulator, the wok can be placed in a dishwasher or hand washed. The only thing I had to remember was to unplug the regulator and then proceed as usual. When there was extra stuck-on food in the wok, I simply added water and set the wok to 250 degrees. As the water boiled, I scraped the bottom of the pan with the spatula and the residue came off easily. No scrubbing needed.
With the price ranging between $70 and $100, it is competitively priced. Granted it is not as inexpensive as some of the carbon steel woks on the market, but it is a versatile wok that can act as an extra cooking station when you have a large gathering without stealing space on the stovetop.
The heat control plug got very hot during use. I had to use a heat-protective mitten to change temperature.
Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok vs Breville The Hot Wok
Cooking in a stainless steel wok is not something everyone would enjoy. Even though the cleanup is easy, food does tend to stick in the Presto at high temperatures. The Hot Wok from Breville (view at Bed Bath & Beyond) solves that concern with a die-cast wok bowl that features a Quantanium nonstick finish. With a nonstick surface, the food won’t stick on and there is less to clean up. It also goes up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for a high searing temperature.
It’s a good one!
I wasn’t expecting to like the Presto Stainless Steel Electric Wok, but I did. It is a plug-and-play kind of wok. If you have an induction or electric stovetop where round-bottom and even some flat-based woks won’t work, this is your key to amazing wok cooking.
- Product Name Stainless Steel Electric Wok
- Product Brand Presto
- MPN 5900
- Price $82.99
- Weight 5.71 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 17.6 x 8.87 x 14.04 in.
- Material Stainless steel
- Electrical Rating 120V / 1500 Watts
- Warranty 1-year, limited
- What's Included Tempered glass lid, stainless steel wok with an aluminum-clad base, wooden spatula, instruction booklet