Paella is a vibrant and flavorful rice dish hailing from the sun-drenched coasts of Spain (particularly, Valencia); it is typically dotted with shellfish and fish, or nods to the Spanish tierra with hyperlinks of chorizo and pork. Historically, it is made in a large paella pan and cooked over a blazing wooden hearth.

Our resident paella aficionado and culinary director Daniel Gritzer gave us his two cents on how the pan makes an affect: “The entire idea of paella, the best texture of rice, the ratio of crispy backside to tender al dente grains, the necessity to construct taste shortly with a high-heat searing step…all of that is related to the shape and construct of the pan and to the very particular cooking method to realize the specified outcomes.”

In different phrases, the pan must be conscious of a wide range of warmth adjustments, be it screaming sizzling searing, or low and even simmering. So, to seek out an ideal paella pan, I examined six widespread ones produced from chrome steel, carbon metal, copper, and enameled metal. I used them on a fuel range and over a charcoal grill (since most of us aren’t essentially cooking over woodfire). The winners cooked up tender rice with an ideal socarrat each time.

The Winners, at a Look

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Garcima Pata Negra Paella Pan

Amazon


This sturdy pan carried out higher than any pan in our assessments, cooking over each fuel and charcoal. It was additionally straightforward to wash, and its broad handles made it snug to carry.

The Greatest Enameled Paella Pan

Machika 20-Inch Polished Steel Paella Pan

Amazon


An enameled paella pan just like the Machika brings some notable benefits, like not having to season the pan or fear about rust. It additionally cooked up tender, flavorful paella.

The Greatest Splurge-Worthy Paella Pan

Mauviel M'150 B Paella Pan With Brass Handles

Mauviel


Although you’ll be able to solely use this pan over fuel or electrical warmth, the implausible efficiency and jaw-droppingly lovely building are sufficient to be well worth the splurge.

The Checks

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray


  • Stovetop Paella Take a look at: I made this recipe for stovetop paella to gauge the pans’ cooking efficiency and to see how straightforward they had been to carry and transfer. After cooking, I washed and dried the pans, noting any difficulties or blemishes.
  • Grilled Paella Take a look at (Winner’s-Solely): I used the winners to prepare dinner a grilled paella over a charcoal grill. I examined the outcomes, how the pan made up for any inconsistencies in heating, and if there have been any blemishes or injury.

Make Paella

Making a basic paella is an artwork kind that mixes custom with culinary ability, and it entails a number of important steps. Chef Teresa Montaño of Otoño in Los Angeles mentioned, “To prepare dinner an ideal paella you could perceive the layering of flavors and execution of the rice cookery.”

First, begin with a superb paella pan—one which’s broad and shallow—to make sure even cooking and the event of the coveted socarrat, the crispy rice crust on the backside. Start by sautéing onions, garlic, and different greens in olive oil to make a sofrito, laying the inspiration for the dish’s wealthy flavors. This will get cooked down till nearly a paste, then faraway from the pan whilst you sear the proteins. As soon as browned, the proteins get pushed to the aspect and spices like saffron and paprika are added to the center to brown, together with the sofrito. Subsequent, add a aromatic broth that matches the proteins (like clam inventory for a seafood paella), then scatter within the rice—usually a short-grain selection like Bomba or Calasparra. The dish is then embellished with any remaining proteins, like mussels, rabbit, or shrimp.

It is essential to distribute the substances evenly and to not stir the rice after including it to the broth. The paella is cooked over a gentle warmth till the rice is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed. Proceed to prepare dinner till the rice begins to crackle and pop, which signifies the formation of the socarrat. “The way in which I educate my cooks to prepare dinner paella is to interact all of their senses. Because the broth cooks down and concentrates into the rice, you’ll be able to hear the rice begin to crackle within the pan.  As a result of there’s a fantastic line between burning and attaining the crispy rice, you could use your nostril to scent for burn as you might be crisping the rice,” Montaño says. Lastly, garnish with substances like peas, roasted purple peppers, and lemon wedges, and let relaxation for a couple of minutes earlier than serving to permit the flavors to meld.

What We Discovered

Which Materials Was Greatest?

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Conventional paella pans are product of skinny chrome steel, which may be very responsive, and permits you to management the method over a sizzling woodfire. However for the house prepare dinner who won’t be capable of (or wish to) prepare dinner over an open flame, I discovered carbon metal or enamel-coated metal pans had been essentially the most versatile; they carried out properly each on the stovetop and grill. The chrome steel fashions I examined carried out greatest over charcoal.

Selecting a fabric additionally will depend on how you are feeling about upkeep and care; whereas carbon metal conducts warmth properly and permits for even cooking, it requires common seasoning to forestall rust. Stainless-steel or enameled metal pans are simpler to take care of and are rust-resistant, although they could not distribute warmth as evenly. However, ultimately, all of those supplies created an ideal pan of paella in my assessments, so it actually will depend on whether or not you wish to prepare dinner inside or exterior (or each), and the way a lot effort you wish to exert when it comes to upkeep.

Thinner Pans Have been Extra Responsive

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Whereas thicker gauge steel pans typically yield higher outcomes when it comes to even browning and good warmth conduction (particularly with saute pans), for paella, a thinner pan is conventional. That is probably as a result of paella was historically remodeled giant fires, and cooks wanted the pan to each warmth up quick to boil after which quiet down for the ultimate simmer. As Daniel famous, “The thinness of the metal…reduces the thermal mass of the pan, making it particularly conscious of temperature adjustments.” Whenever you’re cooking paella at residence over a stovetop or grill, this similar thinner building helps to present you extra management over the ultimate product (paired with some temperature tweaking, in fact).

Floor Space Was Key

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray


When the rice is added to the pan, it ought to be not more than a finger’s width deep, so a large diameter is essential, otherwise you’ll find yourself with erratically cooked paella. All the pans in my closing spherical of testing had been between 12 and 14 inches in diameter on the opening, and the pans that created one of the best paella, just like the Garcima, had been no less than 11 inches throughout on the underside. Among the winners had a 1-inch variation between the diameter on the high and backside, which made a distinction in funneling the warmth to the suitable spots and stopping burning. Although pans with a smaller floor space match higher over smaller fuel burners, I discovered {that a} paella pan tends to push warmth towards the middle, the place the rice cooks sooner. Wider pans allowed the warmth of the broth to flow into higher and produced a greater closing product—even on burners that had been a lot, a lot smaller than the general diameter of the pan.

The Standards: What to Search for in a Paella Pan

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray / Grace Kelly


Forged iron and enameled metal had been essentially the most versatile, whereas chrome steel was nice for outside cooking—so select a pan with that in thoughts. A thinner pan is conventional and helps you regulate to the intense temperature swings wanted to prepare dinner a correct paella.

In terms of measurement, the pan ought to be giant sufficient to permit the rice to unfold thinly over the floor, which is important for creating the right socarrat (the crispy layer of rice on the backside). I most well-liked pans with no less than an 11-inch broad diameter on the base or people who had not more than a 1-inch distinction between the bottom diameter and the opening diameter. The depth of the pan can also be essential: An excellent paella pan is usually shallow, which aids within the even cooking of the rice and socarrat growth.

The pan ought to have a flat backside to make sure even warmth distribution, particularly in the event you’re utilizing an everyday stovetop. Search for pans with barely sloping sides, which assist distribute the broth and prepare dinner the rice uniformly. The handles are one other consideration—they need to be sturdy and heatproof, making it simpler to deal with the pan, particularly when it is full. Pans with broad, looped handles had been simpler to seize, and people who had been coated stayed cooler.

The Greatest Paella Pans

Garcima Pata Negra Paella Pan

Amazon


What we favored: This well-made pan is crafted in Valencia, the birthplace of paella. It has a restaurant-grade building and is product of carbon metal. The Garcima paella pan has a barely thicker ply metal that distributes warmth evenly, whereas nonetheless being responsive. The coated handles stayed cool throughout cooking (except subjected to direct flame), and the underside of the pan didn’t warp or bend. It produced an ideal socarrat in the course of the stovetop paella recipe and, although the socarrat burned a little bit over the charcoal grill, I used to be capable of scrape it off and clear it simply and with none soaking.

What we did not like: It gained’t work on an induction range and wishes a superb layer of seasoning earlier than use. 

Key Specs

  • Supplies: Carbon metal
  • Diameter at opening: 13.5 inches
  • Diameter at base: 11 inches
  • Max temperature: 482°F
  • Weight: 3 kilos, 12 ounces
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray


The Greatest Enameled Paella Pan

Machika 20-Inch Polished Steel Paella Pan

Amazon


What we favored: After each assessments, the enamel coating was nonetheless actually easy to wash and didn’t require intense scrubbing. It doesn’t discolor after use, even when uncovered to charcoal smoke, and it doesn’t have to be seasoned. Its sides are nearly straight up and down, which made for lots of warmth circulation throughout cooking and resulted in a superb paella. It’s affordably priced and is available in a wide range of sizes.

What we did not like: Enamel may be susceptible to chipping over time (although the pan I used was fantastic) and as soon as it does, it’s just about ruined. This end can also be not as engaging as among the different supplies for presentation functions.

Key Specs

  • Supplies: Enamel-coated metal
  • Diameter at opening: 12 inches
  • Diameter at base: 11 inches
  • Max Temperature: 400°F
  • Weight: 2 kilos, 3 ounces
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray


The Greatest Splurge-Worthy Paella Pan

Mauviel M'150 B Paella Pan With Brass Handles

Mauviel


What we favored: With fancy flourished brass handles, the Mauviel paella pan doesn’t precisely look like a standard paella pan, however that doesn’t cease it from producing some wonderful outcomes. It has a stainless-steel core and a copper exterior and actually confirmed off in the course of the searing stage of the recipe, producing golden brown rooster thighs. Whereas I wasn’t certain what to anticipate in the course of the closing stage (making an attempt to realize that excellent, crispy socarrat) the ensuing golden layer of rice was nothing in need of phenomenal. It might go with out saying, however the gleaming copper and brass are positively attractive, and this pan would be the solely centerpiece your eating desk wants.

What we did not like: The value of this pan in comparison with different paella pans is astronomical, however anybody who is aware of about copper pans (and particularly ones made by Mauviel) is aware of that that price ticket typically comes with superior building and supplies. Copper pans require particular care when cleansing to maintain that copper backside shining, and they need to by no means go within the dishwasher. This type of pan isn’t appropriate to be used on an induction stovetop or on the grill (or very excessive temperatures in any respect) so hold that in thoughts.

Key Specs

  • Supplies: Stainless-steel inside, polished copper exterior
  • Diameter at opening: 13 3/4 inches
  • Diameter at base: 10 3/4 inches
  • Max temperature: 400°F
  • Weight: 4 kilos, 14 ounces
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Severe Eats / Taylor Murray


The Competitors

  • Smithey Round Roaster: As its title suggests, that is actually extra of a roaster than a paella pan. The bottom of the pan was too slender to accommodate a paella recipe for 4, and the handles had been a bit small.
  • de Buyer MINERAL B Carbon Steel Paella Pan, 12.5-Inch: This can be a high quality pan that will little question final years. Nonetheless, its design is simply not properly suited to the duty of cooking paella, particularly as a consequence of a slender base and excessive sides that brought about the rice to kind a thick layer.
  • El Cid Paella Pan: This can be a nice funds choice and was solely narrowly overwhelmed by the Garcima.

FAQs

What are you able to make in a paella pan? 

Past basic paella, there are a ton of how to make use of your paella pan. First, it’s an ideal vessel for sauteing veggies or searing meat. The broad open floor space of the pan permits warmth to flee so it doesn’t mess with browning. You can additionally roast a rooster or simmer a stew-like shakshuka. Mainly, something you’d prepare dinner in a braiser, so long as the recipe doesn’t want a lid.

What’s the greatest paella pan for stovetop use?

The very best paella pan for cooking on a stovetop is the Garcima, which was straightforward to make use of and clear and made an ideal paella. A extra budget-friendly choice could be the El Cid Paella Pan, which did properly on the stovetop and is half the worth.

What’s the greatest paella pan for grilling? 

The Garcima pan additionally carried out properly throughout our grilled paella check, making up for hotspots within the charcoal and distributing warmth the place wanted. 

What measurement paella pan is greatest?

For 4 folks, you’ll want no less than a 13-inch paella pan. Any smaller and also you may need hassle becoming in all of the proteins and nonetheless leaving sufficient room for the rice and broth.

In the event you’re utilizing a paella pan on a grill, what sort of grill must you use?

You possibly can prepare dinner paella on a fuel or charcoal grill, although immediately, paella is commonly made on a big fuel burner that’s broad sufficient to use warmth to all the backside of the pan. 

How do you season a paella pan?

If the paella pan you may have requires seasoning, step one is to present it a wash with sizzling, soapy water; oftentimes, the producer will go away a skinny protecting coating on the pan to forestall rust, and you may wish to eliminate it earlier than cooking. Some producers additionally suggest simmering water (with a splash of vinegar) within the pan for round 10 minutes earlier than emptying, washing, and drying. Lastly, give the inside of the pan a wipe with some canola or vegetable oil.

How do you clear a paella pan?

All the paella pans I examined weren’t dishwasher-safe. As a substitute, it is best handy wash them with heat, soapy water, then dry them completely. If the pan is carbon metal, giving it a skinny wipe with a impartial oil will assist the seasoning construct.

Why We’re the Specialists

  • Taylor Murray has been working in meals and meals media for over 10 years, together with in award-winning eating places. She has written extensively for Severe Eats. 
  • She examined six paella pans by making two recipes on each a stovetop and a charcoal grill to look at how they carried out.
  • We interviewed our resident paella specialist Daniel Gritzer, in addition to chef Teresa Montaño of Otoño in Los Angeles.



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