Which paella pan is the best?
Originally from Valencia, a rice-growing region of Spain, paella is a simmered dish of meat, seafood and vegetables simmered in saffron. This deeply flavored culinary masterpiece uses a wide and fairly shallow pan. This exposes as much of the rice as possible at the bottom, allowing it to form the crispy crust – socarrat – for which paella is famous.
The Matfer Bourgeat black steel paella pan is the pan that professionals choose for cooking at home. It is durable, well made, and non-stick with proper seasoning and care..
What to know before buying a paella pan
The high cooking temperature and the long cooking time of this dish require that a paella pan be resistant and can heat evenly.
You have the choice between several materials.
- Carbon steel: Carbon steel is the traditional material for paella pans designed to last for generations. They heat evenly and retain that heat for a long time, but they require special care to prevent rusting and remain nonstick.
- Melting : Cast iron is ideal for use over an open flame, but is very heavy. It also requires specific seasoning and care. You can get enameled cast iron, which is easier to maintain.
- Non-stick steel: These pans aren’t traditional, but they do offer a nonstick surface. Be sure to select a PFOA-free pan.
- Stainless steel: These pans work well and look great, but they don’t release food as easily and can be expensive.
Paella pans are traditionally large, up to 32 inches in diameter, but they can be as small as 8 inches. Regardless of size, the pan should have straight sides no more than 3 inches deep. This shallow surface allows for the perfect texture of rice, meat, seafood and vegetables.
Non-stick vs raw materials
While nonstick pans make it easier to release food, some cooks prefer to limit the number of potential chemicals that leach into their food. Look for raw materials, such as steel or cast iron.
What to Look for in a Quality Paella Pan
Handles that stay cool
It’s hard to find handles that stay cool on a paella pan. These are usually covered with something that minimizes heat transfer from the pan. If you don’t want to bother with potholders, this is a useful feature. However, keep in mind that even handles that stay cool can get hot, and proceed with caution.
The dimples in the bottom of a paella pan resemble the dimples in a golf ball. These shallow indentations promote even heating.
Lids are optional as they are not traditionally used to prepare paella. However, if you plan to use your pan for other dishes where a lid would come in handy, this is a nice addition to have.
Free from harmful chemicals
Many people avoid non-stick cookware due to the potential for chemicals to leach into food. The new generation of these slippery pans use PFOA-free and non-toxic coatings with no risk of food contamination.
How much you can expect to spend on a paella pan
When it comes to these pans, the lower the price, the lower your expectations should be. Expect to spend $25 to $250.
Paella pan FAQ
What else can you prepare in a paella pan?
A. If you don’t have the space – or the patience – for a single-tasking kitchen tool, don’t worry. Use your paella pan to prepare:
- Shallow fried chicken.
- Egg dishes.
- Sautéed vegetables.
- Pork ribs.
- Pan-fried meals (on the stove or in the oven).
Can paella pans be used on induction burners or garden grills?
A. Some paella pans are safe to use on all surfaces, including induction burners and backyard grills. If you want a versatile skillet that can be used on all cooking surfaces, cast iron is your best bet. It’s heavy, but its durable construction and ability to be non-stick with proper care make it a good choice.
Do paella pans require special care?
A. Some paella pans require special care to maintain or develop a non-stick surface. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions that came with your stove.
What is the best paella pan to buy?
Superior paella pan
Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan
What do you want to know: Once this skillet is seasoned, it easily releases every morsel.
What you will love: The deep sides of this pan can accommodate large amounts of paella. It weighs 7.6 pounds and feels substantial. The handles are oven safe at high temperatures. This skillet works on all surfaces, including induction burners.
What you should consider: This is the most expensive option, so if you don’t make paella often, you might want to choose a different pan.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair
Top paella pan for the money
Ecolution Sol Paella Pan
What do you want to know: This slightly smaller pan is suitable for people with less storage space who still want a well-built pan.
What you will love: This is a 15-inch nonstick skillet that uses Hydrolon, a non-toxic water-based coating, on durable carbon steel. Dimples on the bottom distribute heat evenly. The handles are chrome plated to stay cool and the pan is dishwasher safe. The packaging is made from 70% recycled materials.
What you should consider: It feels less substantial than more expensive models.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair
Worth checking out
Garcima carbon steel paella pan
What do you want to know: It is a pan that makes paella for a group of six to 10 people.
What you will love: the carbon steel distributes heat evenly through hammered dimples in the bottom of the pan. It heats up quickly and is also ideal for cooking eggs. It comes with recipes and is made in Spain.
What you should consider: Because it is raw steel, it requires extra care.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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