The Pros and Cons of Cookware with Wooden Handles

The wooden handle allows for tight gripping and stays cool when you cook on the stove. Wooden handle pans are great for certain types of cooking and are a favorite for people who prefer to shake and flip the food during cooking. The most common types of cookware with wood handles include stir fry pans, woks, deep frying pans, saucepans, and cast-iron skillets.

Why do some Cooking Pans Have Wooden Handles?

1. Wood Keeps your Fingers Safe

The metal cookware can cause serious burns if you grip the handle when cooking on the hot stove. Although the metal handles are suitable for finishing the cooking process in the oven, they are not convenient if you need to hold the pan during cooking. Before grabbing the hot metal handle, you must use a potholder or kitchen gloves to protect your fingers from accidental burns.

It is completely different when you are using a pot or pan with a wooden handle. Wood is an insulating material and needs a lot of time to warm up. The wood handle stays cool throughout the cooking process. You can feel quite comfortable holding the handle with one hand and mixing the food with your other hand.

Woks with wooden handles are especially popular because the content in them requires intensive frying and stirring as well as the frequent movement of the pan.

cast iron pan with wooden handle

2. Firm and Comfortable Grip

Wooden handles have a safe and comfortable grip. This is an advantage when preparing food that requires tossing, stir-frying, or flipping. Wood is lighter than metal, so a pan with a wooden handle is lower in weight than metal-handled pans and is easier to hold and move when cooking and serving food.

If you love to cook Asian dishes, a wooden handle will offer a tight grip while you are tossing and stirring ingredients in a wok.

Some leading brands such as Le Creuset produce frying pans with wooden handles with ergonomics in mind.

What are the Downsides of Pots and Pans with Wooden Handles?

1. Can’t Go Into the Dishwasher

Unfortunately, cookware with wooden handles is not dishwasher safe. High temperatures and chemicals in the dishwasher have an adverse effect on the wood and can cause deformation and cracking o wooden parts of cookware f. A cracked handle not only affects the aesthetic appearance and functionality but is also a way for bacteria to collect and multiply.

As a rule, cookware with a wooden handle should be washed by hand. Avoid soaking such cookware in water for a long time to keep wooden parts from warping and cracking. Make sure to wipe well after washing to eliminate moisture that can be absorbed. Then leave the pan to dry well.

Good prevention against drying out of the wood is occasional seasoning with food-grade oil.  Repeat this procedure once a month. Make sure that the handle is thoroughly dry before applying the oil. Leave the oil to soak well for a few hours, then remove the excess with a paper towel. The seasoning will prevent the penetration of moisture into the wood. Oil-treated handles look shiny, so the pan will look more attractive.

This oil treatment is not necessary if the handles have already been polished in the production so that they don’t absorb water.

2. Can’t Go in the Oven

High oven temperatures cause moisture to cook out of the wood and the wooden handle shrinks. Another problem is that at high temperatures, the wood releases flammable vapors that can add unpleasant flavors to the food.

Consequently, you cannot season iron pans with wooden handles with an oven method. The exception is a piece with a detachable handle that can be removed before placing cookware in the oven.

3. Not Long-Lasting

Wood has a shorter lifespan than metal, so a pan with a wooden handle is less durable than one with a metal handle. The wooden handle is vulnerable to the impacts of moisture and can dry out, loosen, or even crack over time. Then you will need to replace the handle to get all the benefits of a wood handle again. Unfortunately, finding adequate replacement handles is not always easy.

Improvements:

1. Pans With Removable Wooden Handles

Some pans come equipped with a wooden handle, that you can remove to make the pan oven-ready. The removable handle makes a pan more versatile and saves storage space.

2. Bakelite Handles with Wood Grained Patterns

To make cookware easier to maintain and more resistant to moisture, the manufacturers have made handles from Bakelite that has a wood-textured look and resembles real wood. This way cookware gets that rustic eye-appealing look.

Bakelite handle has some advantages to real wood while making cleaning much easier. Woodgrain Bakelite is slip-resistant with a soft velvety feel and just the right amount of grip. It doesn’t transfer heat, so you don’t have to look for potholders. It can go into the dishwasher if other components are machine washable.

Unfortunately, Bakelite is not resistant to high temperatures and is not a good choice for cooking in the oven. Bakelite can withstand 350 degrees F, for a limited time. You should also be careful when using cookware with Bakelite handles on gas stoves as it can melt.

Wooden Handle Cookware Brands

If you are in the market for high-end cookware, consider Staub Cast Iron Beechwood Handle Fry Pan (Beechwood handle requires no seasoning), Berndes Tradition 9-1/2-Inch Skillet, or Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Frying Pan.

A more budget-friendly option is Lightweight Cast Iron Wok, Stir Fry Pan with Wooden Handle, and Glass Lid by Let’s Cook Better.

Pans with detachable wooden handles:

  1. POT QUEEN Stainless Steel Wok with Lid and Detachable Wooden Handle (The handle is easy to detach for use in the oven and convenient storage)
  2. LINKCOOL Carbon Steel Wok Pan with Lid & Detachable Wooden Handle (the hanging ring on the handle allows for an extra storage option).

Takeaway

A wooden handle is the best choice for cookware that needs a lot of maneuvering. You can securely hold the pan while stirring and flipping. If you like stir-frying, sautéing, and flipping the food make sure to have at least one pan with a wooden handle in your kitchen. 

Disclaimer: All content on this blog is created for informational purposes only. You shouldn’t use it as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Blogger. Founder of Healthy Cookware Website. Content Creator at https://healthy-cookware.com.

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