Last updated on January 11th, 2024 at 09:12 pm

How to clean a carbon steel wok with burnt food

Burned food in carbon steel wok, How to clean burned wok
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When you buy carbon steel woks, they usually come unseasoned and have factory coating on them. If you want to make your wok non-stick, you have first properly season it. Although the seasoning makes carbon steel wok non-stick, it is still not the same as teflon coating. That is why food will slightly stick and sometimes burn on the edges of the wok. If you use your wok often, the following bulletproof method of how to clean a carbon steel wok with burnt food will be saving you a lot of time and effort:

Step 1: Turn on the gas burner and heat carbon steel wok with burned food to the smoking point.
Step 2: Wash carbon steel wok with water and sponge (don’t use soap).
Step 3: Wipe the wok with a cloth and heat it to the smoking point.
Step 4: Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok and apply it with a paper towel.
Step 5: Wipe the excess oil and bring back to the smoking point.

How to clean carbon steel wok after cooking

The described process is a simple cleaning routine of carbon steel wok that will help you prolong the life of your wok. It is simple and will take no more than a few minutes of your time.

You can check in this video how to clean a carbon steel wok with burnt food (the easy way):

Heat carbon steel wok with gas burner

To heat your wok, put it on a gas burner or your high BTU wok burner Step 1. If you want to know more about best high BTU wok burners, check our post on best wok burners. Turn on the exhaust fan and put it to medium heat. Place your carbon steel wok on the burner and heat it, so the smoke starts to come out of it. At this stage, it is not necessary to burn your food fully on the wok. The process of heating the wok will help you in the scrubbing process as it is easier to clean burned food off of hot cookware than from cold cookware. The same goes for carbon steel woks.

When the wok is hot enough, and you get it to the smoking point, take it off the burner and place it in the kitchen sink.

Burned food in carbon steel wok, How to clean burned wok

Wash hot wok with hot water

Be careful at this stage as the wok is hot. If you have any other things in your sink, take them out so you will have enough space, and also, your things won’t get burned because of the hot wok.

Before you start scrubbing away, pour some hot water into the wok Step 2. Use a soft sponge, but if your wok is burned a lot, you can use a scrub sponge, just don’t scrub away that black patina coating. You need to keep that black patina because it will help you keep the wok non-stick.

Wash the wok until you get all your burned food off of it. Use hot water throughout the entire process. The hot wok and hot water will help you do this in no time, but be careful, so you don’t burn yourself.

When you finish scrubbing, take a cloth and wipe the excess water off of wok Step 3. You do this to help the water evaporate faster when you put it back on the burner.

Burned food in carbon steel wok, How to clean burned wok

Season your carbon steel wok

To preserve the non-stick coating of your carbon steel wok, you need to season it every time after you use it lightly. If you don’t, your wok will start to rust, and the non-stick coating will fade away. The process of seasoning after every use doesn’t need to be the same as your initial seasoning. Seasoning after cooking is just a thin application of vegetable oil after the wok is washed. Do this after every use, and your wok will stay non-stick, forever.

To do this process, put your clean and wiped wok back on the burner and turn on the heat. At this stage, you need to evaporate all excess water. When you get the wok to smoking point, add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Step 4 Apply the oil on the entire inner side of the wok with a paper towel. Step 5 Wipe the excess oil and bring back to the smoking point. Repeat this process one or two times to get a nice thin layer of oil on your wok.

When the wok is seasoned, cool it down and store it for your next cooking adventure.



I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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