Last updated Mar 25 2019, this Serious Eats article proffers the WokMon to approximate wok hei.

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  1. This is a type of wok ring or burner, right?

  2. I know electric cooktops are measured in kW, not BTU. Can you TRY to achieve wok hei on them?

  3. If my priority is wok hei, better to buy a gas stove or electric cook top?

  • watch alex frenchguy cooking youtube channel and he done series about stair fry and wok hay. here is one video :google.com/… Nov 21, 2019 at 4:44
  • It's not more about the kW or BTU but the surface that is heated. The collar alows wok to be also heated from the sides. Nov 21, 2019 at 9:05
  • google for "btu per hour to watt" Nov 21, 2019 at 19:57
  • I'm a pretty experienced (amateur) Cantonese cook and I've never successfully replicated the same wok hei outside of kitchens in China (of course, I've never worked in professional kitchens), so I'd say it's really hard. But of course YMMV
    – xuq01
    Jan 12, 2020 at 19:12

3 Answers 3


I have wokked on Induction cook tops. Because they are so effective at transferring heat it works quite well! But there are a few things to consider:
1. you need a flat bottomed wok, which means it is slightly harder to stir
2. You cannot lift the wok above the cooktop which means you can not "flip" the

So you have to manually stir.

And you can't just calculate the kW to BTU, because induction cooktops heat the pan directly the per-watt efficincy is much higher. In my experience a domestic induction cooktop at full power (2000watt ish) is better than a domestic wok burner but not nearly as hot as a specialized wok burner.


The above answers evidently assume that induction stoves are all flat and thus require a flat vessel, which obviously excludes classic Chinese round bottom woks.

It just may be that the authors have never heard of specialized concave-surface induction tops intended for use with round bottom carbon steel woks. And I would expect they work fairly well as they are mostly produced in China both for prosumer and professional market i.d for the wok conscious Chinese cook.

The prosumer output would be in the 3500 watts range and it is well known that such power will be rather more than what you can get from a better gas range while the professional versions usually come as 5000 watts, 6000 watts and something like 8000 watts. Temperatures of 500 F or more will be easily reached at 3500 watts, so I'd expect the higher outputs be able to quickly sear even greater portions of food at one time.

Power is definitely not a problem, however, I'm not sure if wok shaking like on a gas stove is possible. Maybe somebody here could comment on this. Also, I don't think flaming is possible other than oil in the wok getting igniting simply because of the wok reaching the self-ignition temperature.

  • Looking at internet pictures I suppose it's possible to shake the wok to stir the food; however you can't use flames to "lick" food at the edge of the wok as with a gas burner, since there's no flame with induction cooking.
    – Luciano
    Mar 17, 2021 at 15:17

This may be a matter of semantics, but my understanding of wok hay is that it is the "energy" (perceived when the food is eaten) captured by cooking food on a well-seasoned wok at a very high temperature. Therefore, it is a combination between a well-cared for wok, and the heat source. The concept and effect is rather elusive, and probably difficult to replicate on a home stove because of the lower power output than restaurant equipment. Further, because an electric or induction cook top only heats the bottom surface (as pointed out above), you would be at a further disadvantage. So, I would go for gas, and use the burner with the highest output, but also keeping in mind that the wok itself is a significant factor in this concept.

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