5 Common Wok Seasoning Problems With Proper Solutions!

Seasoning the oak is really helpful for a non-sticky cooking experience and cooking a flavor-infused meal. However, it occasionally will test you with some problems which might confuse you. 

So, what are the common wok seasoning problems?

The wok seasoning being sticky or uneven is a common problem with a seasoned wok. Also, the seasoning can sometimes keep flaking off or coming off, and while seasoning, the pan can smell. Most problems with wok seasoning will be solved if you use the right type of oil in the right amount and provide sufficient heat while seasoning. Also, the cleaning process is different from the other utensils. 

To know about the problem with proper solutions in detail, keep reading. 

Common Wok Seasoning Problems And Solutions 

wok seasoning troubleshooting

Here are the common problems which you will often face with wok seasoning with their efficient solution. 

Problem 1: Wok Seasoning Sticky 

The most common problem people often face with a seasoned wok is getting sticky patches throughout the pan. 

It’s an annoying problem as the pan feels dirty and it attracts more dirt and debris, making the wok harder to clean. Also, food gets stuck on the sticky patches. 


The sticky patches on the wok pan are unpolarized or unburnt oil. This happens for several reasons, including using the excessive or wrong type of oil and not heating the pan enough while seasoning.  

If you use too much oil while seasoning, some of it may not reach its smoking point and will remain on the wok’s surface. This excess oil will not polymerize and bond with the surface, instead, it will cool down and harden into a sticky residue. 


If you’ve seasoned your wok with too much oil or wrong and are experiencing sticky patches, heat the wok on high heat. 

After that, wipe it down with a paper towel or cloth. It will burn off any excess oil and wipe it down with a paper towel or cloth. It will also rectify the not heating the pan enough while seasoning the wok issue. 

Make sure to use the oil with a high smoke point of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It will allow the oil to polymerize and bond with the surface of the wok without burning too soon. Peanut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil are good choices for seasoning wok. Here are some good quality oils for seasoning wok you can consider. 

La Tourangelle, Expeller Grapeseed OilWith 420 degrees Fahrenheit smoking point, this refined oil is a great choice for seasoning the wok. 
Spectrum Naturals Canola OilThis is a pure organic canola oil that has a smoking point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
BetterBody Foods Avocado Oil It has a 500 degrees Fahrenheit smoking point which makes avocado oil the most versatile cooking oil. This brand provides pure organic, kosher, and non-GMO avocado oil. 

For seasoning, the wok next time, use only a thin layer of oil while seasoning and spread it evenly across the surface of the wok pan. For a medium pan, start with only a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around the pan. 

You can use a paper towel or brush to apply the oil and wipe away any excess oil before heating the wok. Make sure there is no extra oil. 

Problem 2: Wok Seasoning Flaking Off

Sometimes, even if you have seasoned the wok correctly, after some days, you may notice the wok seasoning coming off or chipping.


The reason behind the wok seasoning flaking off is the broken seal between the oil layering and the oak pan. The seal on the pan can be broken either due to aggressive cleaning or just simply using it for a long time. 

Moisture enters between the pan and oil coating from these broken parts and makes the coating flake off. Although carbon-steel oak pans are the best wok pans for fried rice, a pan with the flaking off coating can still ruin your dish.


You have to scrape off the whole laying and re-season it. If you don’t scrap off the whole thing and just re-season over it, the broken seal will stay as it is and keep making the seasoning keep chipping off. Here’s what you need to do. 

Step 1: Pour a small amount of seasoning oil and sea salt into your wok pan. 

Step 2: Heat them up. It will warm the seasoning layer and the scraping will be easier. 

Step 3: Take a scrubbing pad or paper towel and rub off the seasoning layer from your wok pan. Make sure to scrape off the whole thing. 

Step 4: Leave the wok pan to dry completely, 

Step 5: Season the oak again. 

By following the above steps, your problem should be solved. 

Problem 3: Wok Seasoning Uneven

Another common problem you can face with the wok seasoning is noticing uneven seasoning or white spots throughout the pan. 


If you have newly seasoned the pan for the first time, there can be uneven or white spots. This is very normal. Another reason for uneven seasoning is using too much oil. Excessive oil gets congealed and makes the seasoning uneven and blotchy. 


If you have a new pan with fresh seasoning, you don’t have to worry about uneven parts. Just keep cooking with it, and after 2-3 seasons it will be fine. 

However, you should avoid using the pan for cooking something that tends to stick more for now. For example, eggs or fish. You can cook some rice dishes with a pan like this, either this be delicious arroz con mariscos or yummy paella.

Furthermore, if your used pan is causing this problem, heat the pan until the excessive oil gets fully absorbed. 

Problem 5: Wok Seasoning Smell

It’s normal to get some unpleasing burnt or smokey smell while seasoning the wok pan. 


To season a wok, you need to burn oil or fat until it turns into a black, carbon-based layer on the steel surface of the wok. This process produces a strong, non-stick layer on the wok, but it also creates a lot of smoke and smells bad.


You can not avoid the burnt or smokey smell while seasoning the wok. But there’s something you can do about it to minimize its effect. Here’s what you can do. 

  • Open all the windows of your house, especially in the kitchen. 
  • Turn on the exhaust fan of the kitchen to let the smell outside. 
  • Although seasoning and cooking in the wok on glass-top stoves sound more convenient, If possible, perform the seasoning process outside. You can use a BBQ stove for this purpose. 

Problem 6: Wok Seasoning Keeps Coming Off

Wok Seasoning Keeps Coming Off
Source: Reddit

Another problem you can encounter with the wok seasoning is, no matter how many times you perform the seasoning it keeps coming off. This problem can persist even after you have used the right oil in the right amount. 


There can be two primary reasons behind the seasoning to keep coming off. 

The first reason is, during the seasoning, you are exposing the pan to excessive heat too quickly, which is making the oil burn rather than seasoning. Another possible reason is, you are cleaning the seasoned pan with harsh materials. 


While seasoning, heat the wok slowly and steadily. Start with low heat, around 200 degrees before applying the oil. After 15-20 minutes, cover the wok pan with a thin layer of oil. 

And gradually increase the heat to around 420 to 425 degrees until the oil starts smoking. This will help to ensure that the seasoning layer adheres properly to the wok surface.

Don’t clean the oak pan with Harsh materials. And never use any kind of soap or cleaner to clean the oak plan. To clean the pan, pour some hot water on the pan, leave it like that for a while and gently rub the pan with a soft kitchen sponge or wok brush. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does Every Wok Need To Be Seasoned?

Yes, all types of wok pan need to be seasoned, even the non-sticky ones. Because the seasoning not only makes the pan non-sticky but also helps infuse great flavors into the dishes. 

Is Seasoning A Wok Unhealthy?

No, seasoning a wok is not unhealthy at all. You only use natural food-grade oils to season the wok pan. So, unlike non-stick pans which use toxic materials for coating, seasoning is completely non-toxic and safe. 

How Do You Tell If A Wok Is Properly Seasoned?

If the wok is properly seasoned, initially, when you heat up the pan for cooking, it will turn golden brown in color. Over time, a properly seasoned wok will have a deep, dark black color. Also, when you touch a well-seasoned pan, it will feel smooth and non-stick. 


That’s all about the common wok seasoning problems you can face. Hopefully, this article will help you deal with this problem in an efficient way. Don’t forget to maintain your wok pan regularly and season it from time to time. 

I am ending this article here. Have a great day!

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