I just used my wok for the first time to make some chicken fried rice, usual ingredients. What is this silvery spot? I cleaned before using and everything, but this spot, whatever it is, won’t come out. Have I ruined my wok?

enter image description here

  • 2
    As stated below already, heat could certainly help it to happen. You shouldn't try to stir-fry on a teflon of similar wok (unless manufacturer specifically says you can). Such coatings get soft and may start to release harmful chemicals, and it is ridiculously easy to scratch and chip them. If you want to do that, go carbon steel, cast iron, ceramics etc.
    – Mołot
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 14:10
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    Note that even if you did this by using metal utensils (which you still definitely should avoid on teflon), if this really received this much damage after literally ONE use, you might have grounds to return the thing and get a replacement. Teflon does scratch easily but it should be that easy to permanently ruin it. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 19:44
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    Never us a Teflon coated wok. Teflon can only be heated to 500 degrees F before it breaks down. Gas burners can easily exceed that. Many electrical stove top burners can exceed that, as well.
    – Keltari
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 5:40
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    I wanted to comment on the warranty (if in the EU at least) but then there are the scratches. If it was only the peeling part there would be no doubts, the scratches suggest that there was some scraping with sharp edges that are probably against the rules.
    – WoJ
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 14:02
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    PTFE (Teflon) coatings are less harmful than many people think. They're only really dangerous to birds, or people with existing lung problems. The coatings begin to break down at 299°C (570°F) but don't start rapidly deteriorating until 350°C (662°F). Breathing these fumes can cause "teflon flu" but these symptoms only last for 48h max. This wok looks similar to the bottom of one which caused teflon flu (hours of sustained heat, then submersion in water). Symptoms lasted under 3 days. You can learn more from a video by Adam Ragusea about this: youtu.be/5FNNKhVoUu8?t=277 Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 0:04

3 Answers 3


It looks very much like you've scraped off some of the non-stick coating.
Aside from the main peeled area there are other scratches that look like you were using metal utensils. You should be able to just feel the edges if that's the case, a very slight rise in the level between the 'silver' which looks to be aluminium & the 'dark' coating. It's very thin so may be hard to feel.

If indeed that's the case, it's time for a new wok.

I've blown up the photo to see a bit more clearly. The peeling could be from overheating, or just poor manufacturing. The scratches, however, are a separate issue, & look like heavy use of metal utensils, which 'old fashioned, regular teflon' just cannot take.

There are newer non-stick coatings which are much more scratch-, and indeed heat-resistant - but they tend to come at a price.

Late edit
As the subject of overheating teflon seems to always crop up in comments on this type of question, modern non-stick is quite often no longer described as 'teflon' or PTFE, but just as a rather secretive 'non-stick'.
My own wok is one of these - Masterclass - and has withstood all the heat I can throw at it for two years, without showing any sign of scratching, burning, evaporating or anything else detrimental to the surface. I treat it with little respect, though I only use wooden or plastic utensils for all my pans, & wash it in regular washing-up liquid (dish soap) with the same brush I use for everything else. The outside is scuffed & scratched, but the inside still looks as new.
And it only cost 30 quid [bucks/euros].

enter image description here

  • 3
    Note it's not just the mechanical scraping, very likely the coating was also overheated.
    – Nobody
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 13:53
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    What @Nobody says. You should never use non-stick WOK for traditional high-temperature recipes. They just can't do that.
    – Mołot
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 14:06
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    A bit of overheating shouldn't lift the teflon like that, in sheets. I'd blame the manufacturing - though because there's heavy scratching too, I doubt you'd have any luck trying to get your money back.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 17:30
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    Looks like steel wool used to clean the pan, perhaps after a particularly stuck-on stain from heat being too high.
    – user87599
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 18:31
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    Can we stop upvoting the 'never use a non-stick wok' comment, as it is patently untrue these days. Never use a cheap non-stick wok, perhaps would be more accurate.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 17:00

As @Tetsujin says the non-stick has come off. I've had experience with woks of this type and I've never had the non-stick coating last, it's simply not durable enough to stand up to real wok cooking. These are really only suited to medium high heat, not the screamingly hot temperatures of authentic wok cooking, so if you used this on a wok burner it's very possible you exposed it to too much heat. They really are more of a wok-shaped saute pan.

If you do plan to keep using this type of wok then keep the heat under control and use wooden utensils as metal utensils will scrape off the coating very quickly. If you want to do more authentic wok cooking you should invest in a real wok and wok stand, seasoning it using the standard method. If you want a non-stick wok that can take high temperatures you'll have to spend a bit of money. I have a Circulon one which has stood the test of time and temperature, it's not cheap but I's lasted 20 times longer than the cheap ones and it's still working.

  • 1
    I've a very heavy, thick pressed steel wok with non-stick coating, which quite surprised me when it arrived, as I thought it was going to be seasoned. The coating is supposed to be 'ultra-sooper-tuff', which time will tell, but it's withstood everything I've thrown at it for the past year. I always think the first giveaway on non-stick is if it's quite lustrous, as the OP's pic above, then it's not likely to last. The 'good stuff' always seems to be non-shiny & have a slightly marbled/rough textured surface, no matter who made it & generally just looks tougher from the outset..
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 11:47
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    What brand of wok do you have? I've got a gas hob again with a real wok burner, so I'm in the market.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:01
  • It's a Masterclass Professional I first found in a pro kitchen supplier, rather than through any consumer route. Outside is getting a bit banged up against my burner, but the inside still looks brand new after a year. You need a strong arm to lift it - I tend to tilt it by pushing down on the handle rather than trying to throw it around like a pro ;) It's not massively heavy, just there's a lot of leverage across such a large pan.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:31
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    When I say 'banged up' actually I mean I've scratched the paint off some of it - i.sstatic.net/0WJY7.jpg ;) The inside looks almost unused - i.sstatic.net/7exJi.jpg
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:41
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    Mine was actually relatively inexpensive - a late night "Hand-Hammered Wok" infomercial purchase. But it is heavy-duty carbon steel (so maybe the idea of a more expensive, but non-stick coated does not apply), so it's built to last. I found the infomercial! youtube.com/watch?v=-_wCm5kci9s Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 18:42

You scratched off what appears to be the anti stick coating off the pot. Which is why you don't use them. The best woks are made of high quality stainless

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