How to Season Carbon Steel Woks

A wok is a traditional Chinese cooking vessel that is shaped like a deep bowl and is commonly made of high carbon steel.

Properly season a wok before using it the first time.Properly season a wok before using it the first time.
Seasoning a high carbon steel wok involves subjecting the metal to several applied coats of oil or fat at high temperatures. A wok that is properly seasoned can last for many years with a minimum of maintenance or cleaning.

Turn on a fan or open a window in the room where the high carbon steel wok is to be seasoned so that any smoke and fumes can escape.

Set a burner on the stove to high heat and place the wok on the burner to begin heating.

Put on an oven mitt to protect your hands from high heat.

Coat the entire inside surface of the high carbon steel wok with pig fat or lard. Apply the lard with a barbecue brush that is designed to withstand high temperatures.

Rotate and turn the wok over the high heat so that the entire wok surface is heated. Remove the wok from the heat once it is entirely heated.

Allow the wok to cool completely. Use a paper towel to remove any leftover fat or lard that has not been absorbed by the wok.

Place the wok back onto the burner and allow it to heat until wisps of smoke begin to rise from the wok's surface. Coat the surface of the wok once again with pig fat or lard, heat thoroughly, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Things You Will Need

  • Stove top
  • Wok
  • Pig fat or lard
  • Barbecue brush
  • Oven mitt
  • Fan
  • Paper towel


  • Repeat the application of pig fat or lard and heating the wok four or five times to properly season it.
  • Allow the wok to cool completely between each seasoning.
  • Completely remove all fat that accumulates in the bottom of the wok between each seasoning.


  • Use caution when working with fat or lard at high temperatures as the fats are combustible.

About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.