paella pan

Best Paella pans

Once you’ve tasted Paella, you’ll want to enjoy this dish often. There is no reason why you can’t make it your own kitchen, and investing in a good paella pan is the best place to start. The term ‘paella’ refers to the pan used to cook the meal in.

This Spanish rice dish is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Popular in the rice-growing region of Valencia, Paella is made from Spanish short-grained, starchy rice. A fragrant mix of onions, garlic, paprika, and saffron are the beginnings of this dish before a good stock is added, and once the rice is added it is left to simmer until cooked. Unlike Risotto, which is constantly stirred, Paella should be left to form a nice crispy crust on the bottom of the pan. You can add almost any meat and vegetables you have on hand to the rice, making this a versatile dish that can be put together without much planning.

There are many paella pans available to choose from, but these are some of our favorites:

OUR TOP CHOICE

Our favorite paella pan is one that can be used on the open flame for authentic paella and still be used indoors on a hob or in an oven if preferred. 

The La Paella 18-inch carbon steel pan is our top choice for the best paella pan. Not only will it add a wonderful dimension to the flavor of the paella but, authentically Spanish in design and construction, this pan is strong, durable and offers exceptional heating. While being slightly pricier, it has better handles, thicker steel and more even heating than the other carbon steel pans we reviewed. 

The Lodge cast-iron skillets come a close second because they are strong, robust pans that are extremely durable and won’t require as much maintenance in the long run. The fact that they are available in a variety of sizes is a bonus. You are bound to find one to suit your needs.

Paderno World Cuisine Classic Paella Pan (Carbon Steel)

Features and Performance

Authentically Spanish, this paella pan is made from blue steel, which is partially protected against rust. It must be washed and seasoned well before its first use, and carefully dried and oiled after use to protect it from rust. Over time, it will develop a well-seasoned finish and improve the taste of your paella. The thin, hammered bottom has small ‘dents’ in it which allow the metal to expand when heated and can be used on all surfaces, including induction, and offers excellent heat distribution. This pan is not dishwasher safe. Paderno offers this pan in a variety of sizes from 13 3/8-inch to 35 ½-inch so be sure to choose a pan that fits your hob and oven.

Quality and Durability

This classic paella pan is made from carbon steel, has dual zinc handles and is of professional quality. Following the manufacturer’s detailed guidelines for seasoning and care will enhance the durability of the pan. Any exposure to moisture, when it is not in use, will quickly lead to rust and this will damage the pan if it is not corrected. Good seasoning and care of this pan will make sure it lasts you a good few years.

User reviews

Customers are impressed by the weight and depth of this pan, commenting that it is solid and well built. This one of the few paella pans in the Paderno range that have covered metal handles, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Customers found the covering handy for working with the pan while cooking but commented that the handle covering does not withstand the heat of the fire or oven and melts. A handful of customers have complained that the pan warped and rusted soon after first use.

LA PAELLA 18-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

This is a big paella pan, which is advertised to serve 5-8 people but easily serves 10. Authentically Spanish, it is perfect for use on an outdoor fire or stand and will take up almost 2 burners on a hob. It can be used on most surfaces except induction. The heavyweight steel conducts heat extremely well and the heat-resistant handles make this pan easy to maneuver even on an open fire.

Quality and Durability

This restaurant-quality pan makes cooking paella an easy task for the home cook. The professional-grade carbon steel is extra-thick, creating a durable pan that offers excellent heat conduction. This paella pan requires a bit of maintenance and must be kept dry and oiled to enjoy its durability and keep it rust-free.

User reviews

Customers like the size and quality of this pan and find it cost-effective. They have commented that it does not warp, heats very evenly and the handles do not get hot. The heavy-gauge steel seems to make a big difference and it handles direct heat very well.

GARCIMA 15-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

Garcima is one of the better-known Spanish paella pan brands. Made of carbon steel this pan is thin but strong and durable, with a hammered dimpled bottom, and big enough to feed 3-5 people. The steel handles are painted red and riveted to the pan, which is safe for use on hob, oven, and grill.

Quality and Durability

This carbon steel pan is quite thin but is sturdy and durable. It requires all the maintenance raw steel requires in keeping it dry and oiled to prevent rusting. 

User reviews

Customers who have used this pan are generally very happy with it, find it lightweight and easy to use. Some customers commented that it is too thin, is hard to clean and that the paint melts off the handles. A few customers commented that this pan heats unevenly and requires a lot of effort to keep turning it for even cooking.

CASTEVIA 13.5-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

Coated in black and white enamel, this authentic carbon steel paella pan is made in Valencia, home of paella. It offers the excellent heat conduction and retention of carbon steel while saving you the hassle of seasoning and maintenance. Your rice will not burn in this pan and it is easy to clean. Suitable for feeding up to 6 people, it works well on the hob, in the oven, and on the grill, and is ergonomically designed for comfort when cooking.

Quality and Durability

Made with high-quality materials, this pan is used by Spanish locals to make paella. It will not rust if the enamel is not chipped and is durable. 

User reviews

There are not many reviews on this pan but customers have commented how happy they are to buy a pan they’ve seen used to cook delicious paellas when visiting Spain and have been impressed by the good quality of the pan.

GARCIMA 14-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

Ideal for serving 2 to 4 people, this medium-sized paella pan is great for those learning to make paella. It also has a black and white enamel layer, inside and out, so it is easy to keep clean and does not require the maintenance of an authentic carbon steel pan. The handles are welded to the exterior of the pan and not riveted, making it easier to keep clean inside. Ideal for use on the hob, in the oven or on a grill, this pan must be hand-washed and cleans easily.

Quality and Durability

Authentically Spanish, the materials used are in keeping with the quality and durability the locals have come to expect. The pan will continue to look brand new thanks to the enamel coating, which does not need continuous oiling. If the enamel remains intact, this pan will last a long time.

User reviews

Most customers enjoy this pan and love the fact that it looks as good as new no matter how many times its been used. It is easy to use, generally feeds between 4 and 6 people and is super easy to clean. Customers who are new to making paella love that the rice does not burn and that it makes great paella every time.

LODGE 17-INCH SKILLET

Features and Performance

The 17-inch base is 2-inch deep and provides a lot of space for the rice to cook. The America-sourced cast-iron is well seasoned with 100% vegetable oil and is a lot cheaper than many traditional cast-iron pans. The 2 handles on the side of the pan are ergonomically designed and make it easy to use on the fire, in the oven and as a serving vessel on the table. It works well on all hobs, including induction, providing excellent heat distribution and retention and can also be used for sautéing, searing, roasting, braising, simmering, baking, and frying. The secret is to using this pan is to begin heating this pan on a low heat and to gradually increase the heat to medium, removing the pan from the heat source when you are finished cooking.

Quality and Durability

Cast-iron has been used to make cookware for thousands of years and is heavy and durable. Lodge provides excellent instructions for the care of the skillet to prolong the durability of the cast-iron and protect it from rust and degradation. While Lodge does not have a specific warranty for their cast-iron products, they stand behind their workmanship and promise to solve any problems with their pans to the customer’s satisfaction.

User reviews

Customer’s find this pan a nice size for feeding 4-6 people. The short handles on the side make this sturdy skillet easy to handle, especially when it is full of paella. Customer’s have found that a dishcloth or gentle sponge clean the skillet best and highly recommend purchasing the cast-iron scrapers made by Lodge for removing stubborn remains. Customers who have followed the care instructions have benefited and are very happy with the skillet.

VICTORIA 13-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

Made from recycled cast-iron and seasoned with 100% non-GMO Kosher certified flaxseed oil, the Victoria paella pan is PFOA and PTFE free. It is designed with comfort in mind adding wider handles and contoured pour-spouts. Not only is it a great paella pan, but it can also be used for grilling, baking, and cooking any of your favorite dishes on the fire or hob, or in the oven. This is a beautiful pan that can just as effectively be used for serving your meal at the table. 

Quality and Durability

Victoria offers a lifetime warranty on this paella pan. Made in Columbia, using European cast-iron machinery, this high quality cast-iron pan is strong and durable and offers excellent heat retention. The quality of this pan compares favorably with that of the better-known brands and is much cheaper.

User reviews

There are not many reviews on this pan. A customer who had tried a variety of pans commented on the excellent quality of this paella pan and its durability. The cooking of the surface is rough when the pan is new but with use, it will become smooth.

STAUB 15-INCH PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

Staub is infamous for its beautifully designed cookware that looks great in the kitchen and on the table, and this enamel-coated paella pan definitely looks more beautiful than the non-coated pans.  Coated inside and out, enamel-coated cast-iron pans do not require seasoning. Liquids evaporate evenly throughout the cooking process in this pan thanks to the even heat distribution, and it retains its heat well. This is also a great pan for cooking one-pot meals or for cooking multiple ingredients at the same time. The secure-grip handles make handling this pan comfortable to maneuver, even with oven mitts on and it is very easy to clean.

Quality and Durability

Made in France, Staub has built up a reputation for its functional and highly durable cookware. They claim that the colorful enamel will not rust, crack or chip, and offer a lifetime warranty.

User reviews

Staub cookware is solid, top quality cast-iron and customers find this pan heavy to work with. Having two handles on the paella pan to carry and move it does help. 

MAUVIEL M’ELITE PAELLA PAN 

Features and Performance

French manufacturer Mauviel takes pride in making top quality cookware and this paella pan does not disappoint. The 5-ply design boosts the effectiveness of stainless steel and ensures constant heat throughout. The even distribution of heat cooks the rice uniformly and creates a nice crusty bottom. The hammered exterior offers an authentic look and the polished pan makes a great serving centerpiece. Oven safe to 680F this pan can also be used under the broiler, making it very versatile and suitable for cooking much more than paella. The oversized handles are ergonomically designed and stay cool making the pan easy to lift and work with. Available in 13.8-inch and 15.7-inch, this pan is dishwasher safe and easy to clean, even if rice sticks to the bottom.

Quality and Durability

Strong and durable, this pan is 2.6mm thick and solid. The same 18/10 stainless steel materials have been used on the inside and outside layers of the pan to prevent the pan from deforming while cooking. The construction and thickness of the pan enhance its heat conductivity and the pan is manufactured to last many years. Mauviel guarantees this pan with a lifetime guarantee. 

User reviews

Customers have been very happy with the performance of this well-made pan and review it positively. A few customers commented that the pan was a bit large for their burner but because of the excellent heat conduction this was not a problem. The fact that it is easy to clean off stuck or burnt rice without damaging the pan in any way is a favorite feature of this pan. The pan can be left to soak in hot water and then washed by hand, almost effortlessly.  

ALL-CLAD TRI-PLY PAELLA PAN 

Features and Performance

The tri-ply design of this pan extends from the 16-inch base to the rim, ensuring even heat distribution throughout the whole pan. Oven and broiler safe to 600F, the pan has contoured stainless steel handles and comes with a stainless steel lid. The lid, however, is not oven and broiler safe. This highly polished pan is elegant enough for use on the hob and table, and the starburst interior finish offers superior stick resistance so food is released as it cooks. 

Quality and Durability

Designed to offer warp-resistant strength, this pan is strong and durable. Top quality stainless steel encapsulates a thick-gauge aluminum core, creating superior heat retention and distribution throughout the pan. All-Clad guarantees this pan with a limited lifetime warranty.

User reviews

Customers enjoy the versatility of this pan. Not only does it make good paella but has also been used for roasting, stir-frying and making casseroles. A customer who enjoys cooking on high temperatures found that the pan does not cook as evenly at high temperatures as other competitor’s pans. Generally, customers find the pan to be stylish, easy to clean and effective for making paella.

PADERNO GRAND GOURMET PAELLA PAN

Features and Performance

This satin polished 18/10 Stainless steel pan has a tri-ply metal base that combines the heating properties of aluminum to increase the effectiveness of the stainless steel. The base, which is concave when cold and flattens when heated, heats up quickly and evenly distributes heat to cook the rice. Suitable for use on all hobs, this pan has non-drip edges, hollow handles that stay cool, and is dishwasher safe. This pan is very effective and delivers great paella.

Quality and Durability

Paderno delivers a well-encapsulated base on this tri-ply stainless steel paella pan. The base of the pan is strong and will not warp or be easily damaged, but the sides of the pan are quite thin compared to the Mauviel paella pan. Given the quality of the materials used on this pan it is surprising that Paderno only guarantees this pan with a limited one-year warranty. 

User reviews

Many people have bought the Paderno paella pans over the years and have been very pleased with their performance. The size advertised is often the base diameter and with the splayed sides, the pan is generally 1.5 inches wider than expected but most customers are not put off by that. There have been one or two isolated comments about the poor quality of workmanship on the pans but the majority of customers have commented that the pan is well made and is good value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best paella pan to use?

Authentic Spanish pans are made of carbon steel, which offers excellent heating qualities and strength. Still a Spanish favorite to this day, carbon steel paella pans can be used on outdoor paella stands and on all hobs. Traditional paella pans have a slightly rounded bottom, so if you are planning to use your pan on an electric, glass or induction hob make sure the pan you buy has been designed with a flat bottom.

Carbon steel pans are very thin, lightweight and affordable. They heat up quickly and evenly, requiring less energy to cook the meal. The way carbon steel reacts with food is also one of the reasons it is a favorite, it definitely enhances the flavor of the food. Carbon steel pans require a lot of care, they must be well seasoned before first use and must be rubbed with oil after every use. As soon as the pan has been hand-washed it should be dried and oiled or it will rust.

To prevent the rusting of Carbon steel pans, manufacturers have coated the steel with enamel. While you won’t get the same depth of flavor the plain carbon steel pans give off, enameled pans are much easier to clean and require no real maintenance to prevent rust. To protect your enamel layer from chipping you will have to avoid using metal utensils and make sure it is well stored. The pan will rust on the areas where the enamel chips off.

A cast-iron paella pan is heavier but is robust, durable and offers excellent heat conduction. It will also enhance the flavor of the food as the iron reacts to the ingredients and make a delicious crust at the bottom of your dish. It requires the same kind of care a carbon steel pan needs, with regular oiling after use to keep it rust-free.

Stainless steel is also a popular choice for a paella pan because of its health benefits and easy maintenance. Stainless steel is often more expensive than pans made from other metals, but it will not rust and maintains its beautiful looks for many years. It is not a good heat conductor by itself and loses a lot of energy as it cooks, but buying a pan with an aluminum core will enhance its cooking performance and require less energy to cook. 

What is special about paella pan?

A paella pan has a flat, round bottom with sloped sides. It is quite shallow but has a large base and the shape of the pan ensures that all the rice cooks evenly in one layer. The rice layer should only be about half an inch thick, so the larger the diameter of the base of the pan the more rice you have directly in contact with the flavorful ingredients that form the base of the dish. A paella pan does not have a lid because the extra liquid needs to evaporate as the dish is cooking to achieve the signature paella crust. Cooking the meal with a lid would result in soggy, saucy rice instead. 

Can you make paella in a normal pan?

If you are going to make paella in a normal pan, choose one that is shallow, wide and with high sides. Paella doesn’t have to be made in a special paella pan, but the traditional pan does add a special dimension to the flavor of the dish and looks very impressive when serving. Locals often make use of sauté pans and Dutch ovens to make their paella, proving you can enjoy this dish cooked in almost any pan.

How big paella pan do I need?

When buying a paella pan there are a couple of factors to consider. 

What size is your burner or cooking plate? Paella pans are often too big to fit on only one burner and the pan may need to be rotated often for even cooking. Purchasing the largest pan that will fit on your burner is often best.

What storage space do you have available for storing your paella pan. If you choose to buy an enameled pan this is an important consideration because you will want to store your pan in a way that protects the enamel layer from being chipped or scratched by other pans.

A huge consideration is the number of family members or guests you plan to cook for. Will the paella be a tapas serving or the main course. Paella pans come in a wide variety of sizes and you could buy one to make the main meal for one or two people, or even cater for a group of 150 people. As a general guideline, a 12-inch pan serves 2 main meal portions, a 16-inch pan serves 4-6, and an 18-inch pan serves 6 to 8.

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