Although paella is a food representative of Spanish gastronomy and cuisine; this delicious dish has become popular in the western hemisphere due to its versatility and ease of preparation. The only way to properly make this savory dish is to use a special paella pan. This pan can come in many sizes, and it has two handles on the sides.
Even though there is a large variety of paella pans and sizes on the market, they all have a similar shape and build. However, to get the most out of this amazing kitchen appliance, you must take into account a number of factors. To help, we’ve prepared this shopping guide that lays out all the important characteristics of paella pans and how they can vary model to model and brand to brand.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection of the Best Paella Pans
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Paella Pans
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- These days it’s extremely easy to find a number of different paella pans on the market. Usually, the most distinguishing factor is their size. This determines how much paella you can make at once, how long it will take, and how many months you can feed.
- Cleanliness in the kitchen is always a priority. When choosing your paella pan, take note of the material it’s made of and the ease with which you can clean and serve it. Non-stick pans offer easy cleaning, on both the interior and exterior surfaces. Whether you want your pan to be dishwasher friendly is another important feature to keep in mind.
- Make sure to consider the surfaces that you will be cooking on. This will also determine the most suitable paella pan material. Not all models are suitable for all types of stoves. Those with induction stoves will need to look for the proper pan so that it adequately transfers the heat to cook the paella well.
Our Selection of the Best Paella Pans
When buying a paella pan, it may be difficult at first to find the one with the proper features and characteristics you need. One of the best ways to find the most accurate descriptions of each pan is to read the reviews of other users. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best paella pans on the market with summaries of their individual characteristics.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Paella Pans
Now that we’ve listed off a variety of high-quality paella pans, we’ll highlight a number of specific factors you should take into consideration when searching for your own pan. In the following sections we’ll answer the most common questions asked by users, all the differences you can expect to find amongst the different paella pans and everything you need to know about proper maintenance.
What is a paella pan?
How to clean a paella pan?
To avoid scratching and destroying the interior surface, it's recommended to use a wooden spoon while making and serving your paella. Using special wool sponges can help remove encrusted food as well as rust after years of use. Certain models have been made to be used in the dishwasher, however not all. It’s important to always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for properly cleaning your paella pan to ensure it has the longest life possible.
How are paella pans cured?
What is the proper diameter of a paella pan?
What material should a paella pan be made of?
|Polished steel||This type of paella pan is most commonly used for preparing the Valencian influenced paella dish.
They are very resistant and can even be used with wood, fire, and gas.
|Stainless steel||It is more resistant than polished steel.
It is a material that’s for its great performance and longevity due to its durability.
They are also suitable for wood, fire, and gas.
|Aluminium||Steel paellas are not suitable for induction stoves.
For this type of stove, you will have to buy an aluminum-made paella pan.
How to use the paella pan?
- Initial cleaning: It’s important to clean the paella pan with boiling water and vinegar before the first use.
- Stove Type: The larger the surface area, the more evenly the paella will cook. If the surface you cook on is smaller than the pan, make sure you choose a paella pan that is built to distribute heat evenly. If you will be using it outdoors, make sure the cooking surface is stable.
- Temperature: The proper temperature of the stove or oven is essential to preparing the perfect paella. This will vary depending not only on the size of your paella pan and dish but the thickness as well as the material it is made of. Never leave your paella pan on a hot surface while it is empty to prevent it from burning and ruining the interior.
- Careful treatment: Handling your paella pan with care will ensure that it lasts you years. Using wooden utensils while you are cooking your paella will prevent scratching the internal surface. This not only affects its ability to conduct heat and the flavor it gives the paella but it will keep non-stick coatings intact.
- Proper cleaning: Cleaning the pan after every use is crucial. Always start the cleaning process by soaking it first to gently release the stuck food particles from the pan, followed by a simple wash with soapy water and a non-corrosive brush or sponge.
- Curing: Some manufacturers recommend oiling the inside of the paella pan to prevent it from rusting as well as giving it more flavor. This process is called curing.
- Storage: When not in use, always store the paella pan in a dry place with as little humid air as possible.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of paella pans?
When going out to buy your own paella pan, it’s good to run through a checklist of features that can vary from pan to pan. You should also analyze a number of aspects outside of the design of the pan itself that will influence which brand and model you should buy. Below is a shortlist of the main purchasing criteria, which includes different aspects around making paellas, it can serve as the main guide during your selection process.
Kitchen and Stove
A huge factor in selecting the proper pan to cook your paella in is where you will be cooking it and what kind of facility you have. This could be on a stovetop, in an oven, or directly over an open fire. There a multitude of different stovetops and ovens that will all impact the way the pan absorbs and conducts heat. For induction stoves, for example, it’s essential to use a vitro-ceramic pan that will evenly cook paella without burning it. For outdoor use, make sure the pan is suitable for barbecue, firewood or charcoal.
You should check that the size of the paella pan you choose is sufficient to cook meals large enough for your family or guests. Size often goes hand in hand with your cooking surface. If you have a large number of mouths to feed, but a small cooking space, it may be best to buy two pans. Luckily these days, these pieces of kitchenware are relatively affordable. If paella is a dish you prepare often, it may be a good idea to buy two different sizes of pans, one for small gatherings, and another for larger groups.
Paella pans are now made in a number of different materials as well, the most common are steel and aluminum. Steel is an extremely resistant material and has been used for decades to make perfectly cooked paellas. Stainless steel is a bit more modern but it still has all the same properties as traditional steel ones, with added durability. Aluminum pans are most suitable for induction stoves and ovens.
Most paella pans today are made with non-stick coating on the inside to prevent food from sticking to the surface. Some are made with only an interior coating, while others are non-stick on the inside as well as the outside. These are great for professional level service as well as easy cleaning.
Since paella pans are often filled to the brim, it’s important that your pan is well-built, durable and equipped with the proper materials to keep you safe. Many pans are now made with silicone handles that prevent burning. Lastly, the weight of the material will have an overall influence on your ability to handle it safely and carefully - just a small but important factor to keep in mind.
In order to prepare the perfect paella, it is important to have the proper paella pan. With all the different models on the market, make sure to consider a number of details before simply choosing the first paella pan you see. Size, material and kitchen amenities are just a couple of the main aspects that will influence which paella pan you find to provide you with the perfect container to create your own delicious dish.
Like all kitchenware, the durability and quality of the pan are also very important considerations. With a wide range of prices, designs and special features, the world of paella creation has been taken to a whole new level. You no longer need to be a professional or in the presence of a traditional Spanish family to enjoy your very own paella dish.
(Featured Image Source: Iryna Denysova: 41214314/123rf.com)