Last updated: 16/10/2022

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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.

Key Facts

  • 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.

Paella pan

Make sure the paella pan you choose is size appropriate for your stove or cooking area.
(Source: Miguel Dovale Alvarez: 95423270/

What is a paella pan?

A paella pan is a kind of frying pan that comes without a long single handle; instead, they are built with two small handles on either side that allows you to easily lift the paella filled pan in and out of the oven. There are a number of different diameters and depths available, depending on the style and quantity of paella you plan on making. These pans are meant to perfectly cook, hold and lock in the flavor of this delicious dish.

How to clean a paella pan?

While it’s not absolutely necessary, having a non-stick paella pan is key for serving the perfect paella and for easier cleaning. Non-stick materials keep the paella from sticking and burning on the bottom. The best way to clean one of these pans is, after use, leave it to soak in a bit of warm, soapy water. Then, gently scrape and scrub off the remaining food particles. Using a bit of vinegar on a kitchen towel is an effective way to get rid of stubborn left-over pieces.

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.

Alberto ChicoteSpanish Chef and TV Personality
“The recipe for paella has greatly evolved, decades ago, the people of the town would place whatever food leftovers they had around in a community pot ready to make rice; it was a dish created for the whole town.”

How are paella pans cured?

If you want your paella pan to last, you must take care of it from the start. Little known practice, but arguably the most important step for proper maintenance, is properly curing the pan before the first use. Professional chefs and culinary experts recommend boiling the pan in water and vinegar a few minutes before use. To clean it after food, empty and scrape out any leftover scraps, let it cool, clean it with soapy water and wipe it down dry. Propper cleaning after every use will prevent the paella pan from rusting.

Spanish traditional suit girl

Paella pans today can have non-stick coating and be dishwasher safe.
(Source: Olena Kachmar: 88580619/

What is the proper diameter of a paella pan?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when browsing for pans is the size you need and want. Determining how many people you will cook for on average will indicate the appropriate diameter of your pan. Although each manufacturer has their own particular measurements, the following table shows the most common sizes available.

Rations Diameter
2 26 cm
3 28 cm
4 30 cm
6 34 cm
8 38 cm
10 42 cm
12 46 cm
16 55 cm
20 60 cm
25 65 cm
30 70 cm

What material should a paella pan be made of?

Material is another factor that influences one’s choice for their preferred paella pan. This will influence where you can use it, how it will affect the flavor of your paella, and how long it’s expected to last. Informing yourself of each individual factor will help you get the most out of your pan. Below is a table laying out the individual characteristics of the main materials used to make paella pans.

Material Characteristics
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?

Using a paella pan is for the most part very simple, however, there are a few small aspects to keep in mind. Below is a shortlist of easy but important considerations to help you get the most out of your pan every time you use it.

  • 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?

As with any product, there are advantages as well as some disadvantages to using a paella pan. Now that we’ve explained what a paella pan is and how to use it, it’s important to look a bit further into the benefits it brings as well as any possible issues that can come forth. Before making your final decision, take a good look at this table below, it summarizes the main advantages and disadvantages of using a paella pan.

  • It is the best way to prepare a paella
  • Very affordable
  • There are many different options
  • Not all are suitable for all kitchens
  • Some are not easy to clean
  • The biggest ones can be difficult to store and handle
Jamie OliverFamous English Chef
“Good versatile food doesn’t get any better than paella. My version combines chicken thighs and chorizo.”

Shopping Criteria

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.

Spanish traditional food

A convenient feature that some paella pan models have is removable silicone handles to prevent burns when handling the appliance.
(Source: Enrico Antognelli: 34112232/


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.

Nonstick Coating

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/