The Xtrema Versa Wok is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a PFAS, PTFE, and PFOA free, truly non-toxic wok. The aesthetic, and quality, of this all ceramic wok will be appealing to many, but it’s not without problems when it comes to function.
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Xtrema is one of our top picks for non-toxic cookware and bakeware, with a fantastic collection of pure ceramic products for the kitchen. This includes an ingenious pure ceramic wok that looks great, performs decently, and is totally non-toxic (no nasty Teflon or GenX chemicals in sight!).
Here’s our take on the Xtrema Versa Wok, which John and family have been cooking with for a while.
- Scratch-resistant (pure ceramic!)
- Truly non-toxic – third-party tested for lead, cadmium, PFAS and other chemicals of concern
- Fairly non-stick (best to use a little oil though)
- Oven-safe, microwave-safe, and dishwasher-safe
- Silicon handle/sleeve helps with safety
- Lighter than cast iron woks
- Non-reactive (great for more acidic foods)
- Much heavier than carbon steel or stainless steel woks
- Not as non-stick as a well seasoned carbon steel wok
- Only available in black
- Doesn’t work with induction cooktops
- Doesn’t heat quickly or all that evenly
- Very short handle – more like a ‘helper handle’ on long-handled woks
Highlights: A pure ceramic wok with steep sloping walls, a very short handle, and a flat base. No metal, PTFE, PFOA, just even heating and perfect stir-frying potential. Made by hand by a sustainably minded company.
The Xtrema Versa Wok at a glance:
- Pure ceramic wok, not just ceramic coated metal
- No metal, no PFOA, PTFE, PFAS, or other chemicals of concern
- 11-inch diameter and 6 inches tall
- Very short pure ceramic handle
- Weighs 7.7 lb. (pretty heavy for a wok!)
- Oven safe and dishwasher safe
- Not suitable for induction stovetops.
Why we like the Xtrema Versa Wok
Many modern woks are made with nasty Teflon type coatings or GenX chemicals that are bad for indoor air quality and for the environment in general. Other types of woks are made with a non-stick ceramic coating that is proprietary and not third-party tested for heavy metals or other chemicals of concern.
If you don’t want a carbon steel or stainless steel wok, then, you didn’t have much choice until Xtrema brought out its Versa Wok. This pure ceramic wok is ceramic through and through, not just a metal wok with a thin ceramic coating that will scratch and degrade to make the wok useless.
Totally free of metal, Xtrema’s Versa Wok is California Prop 65 compliant and FDA approved. The company tests every shipment for heavy metals and contaminants and everything is free from Teflon type chemicals, meaning no PFOA, PTFE, and no cadmium or lead either.
How the Versa Wok performs in the kitchen
The Versa Wok is a traditional short-handled wok that feels solid and durable and is easy to use. It’s versatile enough to work on the stovetop (except for induction), microwave, and oven, and is also a breeze to clean and is dishwasher safe!
You can even use the Versa Wok on a barbecue grill or over a fire, meaning you can take this wok camping! It’s a bit too heavy for anything but car camping though, unless you’re intensely purist about only cooking with a wok.
The Versa Wok measures 11 inches across, which is about all you need for most families. It’s also 6 inches tall, meaning you can use it to simmer a decent amount of soup and stews. The short handle makes sense given the heft of this wok. A longer handle would make it pretty tough on the wrists to toss any veggies around while stir-frying. That said, the handle is less than 4 inches long and is more a helper handle style than a long handle, which can take a bit of getting used to.
Because the Versa Wok is pure ceramic, you don’t have to worry about scratching off a ceramic coating and ruining your wok. The trouble with pure ceramic, though, is that it takes a while to heat up and then retains heat super well, but doesn’t necessarily distribute the heat all that evenly. For quick-frying, this can be a bit of an issue and will take some getting used to. Ideally, you’re going to preheat your wok with a bit of oil before tossing in any food, then make sure to remove the food fast once it’s cooked. The heat retention is excellent, though, for simmering food.
Xtrema says that its wok is chip-resistant and stain-proof. Given that it’s black, it would be hard to tell if it was stained anyway. As for chip resistance, it certainly seems sturdy and John has yet to chip his after using it pretty regularly for several months.
One of the really nice things about a pure ceramic wok versus a carbon steel or stainless steel (or cast iron) wok is that it is non-reactive. That means you can cook up acidic foods like tomato sauces without worrying over heavy metal leaching or odd flavors being imparted to the food.
You can also use this pure ceramic wok in the microwave and oven, and can even freeze the wok should you need to. This makes for easier storage and reheating of leftovers, though it’s best not to put a frozen wok straight onto a hot stove or in a hot oven, or to put a hot wok in the freezer or fridge.
Final thoughts on the Xtrema Versa Wok
Personally, I’m a fan of a lighter carbon steel wok, so this super heavy pure ceramic wok isn’t especially appealing. That said, I do love that it’s non-toxic and non-stick (for the most part), and that you can use it for more acidic foods.
If you’re more into simmering or steaming with your wok, the Xtrema Versa Wok is a great choice. If you love to move your wok around a lot, this one might be a bit too clunky for regular use.