10 Best Paella Pans 2020 – Carbon & Stainless Steel Paella Pan

Indians have pilaf, Italians have risotto, and Spaniards have paella. But to give your paella the right texture and flavor, you need a good paella pan. And because paella is traditionally served in the same frying pan it’s cooked in, you need a pan that’s presentable to dinner guests.

Paella contains rice, beans, seafood, veggies, chicken, saffron, and other spices. So you want a pan that’s wide enough to hold all these ingredients, distributes heat evenly without burning and is worth plating. Let’s look at some top brands so we can identify the best paella pan.

Quick Summary: Best Paella Pan 2020

Product

Weight

Dimensions

Our Rating

Best Paella Pan Lodge

Lodge 15" Carbon Steel Paella Pan

7 pounds

19.88 x 15 x 2.5 inches

Best Paella Pan Garcima

Garcima 15" Carbon Steel Paella Pan

2.42 pounds

19.5 x 19.5 x 1.75 inches

Best Paella Pan Matfer Bourgeat

Matfer Bourgeat 15.75" Paella Pan

7.6 pounds

1 x 15.75 x 2.06 inches

Best Paella Pan Matfer Garcima

Garcima 16" Paella Pan

4.4 pounds

16 x 2 x 16 inches

Best Paella Pan Matfer Mabel Home

Mabel Home Paella Pan With Paella Burner and Stand Set on Wheels 

21.5 pounds

34.65 x 19.69 x 7.87 inches

Best Paella Pan Matfer Nordic Ware

Nordic Ware 15" Paella Pan

1.1 pounds

20 x 15 x 3.13 inches

Best Paella Pan Matfer Mauviel

Mauviel 15.7" Stainless Steel Paella pan

5.4 pounds

17.5 x 15.7 x 2.4 inches

Best Paella Pan Sertodo Copper

Sertodo Copper 12" Paella Cooking Pan

3.7 pounds

12 x 12 x 2 inches

Best Paella Pan Le Creuset

Le Creuset 13" Enameled Cast Iron Paella Pan

5 pounds

17.7 x 14.9 x 2.5 inches

Best Paella Pan Vaello Campos

Vaello Campos Paella Pan With Paella Gas Burner and Stand Set

2.2 pounds

32.7 x 26.5 x 6.2 inches

The Best Paella Pan Reviews 2020

1. Lodge 15 inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan

OUR TOP PICK
carbon steel paella pan Lodge

  • If you swear by local brands, this one is made in the US.
  • It comes pre-seasoned so you can use it immediately.
  • The cast iron holds and spreads heat well.

15-inch pans are the most common kind for home cooking. This one measures 15 inches and has two insulated, well-balanced handles. The handles are less for cooking and more for carrying because paella is typically served in the pan. It was traditionally eaten communally with wooden spoons, so you could buy a few if you want to really tap into the paella tradition.

This cast iron paellera is versatile. It has a flat bottom, so you can cook on induction cookers and electric plates. But its heat distribution and retention abilities make it equally effective over gas grills or flaming campfire logs. It’s a tough, durable pan, but it’s also lightweight. The carbon steel used here is 12-gauge, and it needs to be hand-dried and seasoned with vegetable oil.

The process only takes a few minutes once you’re used to it. And because it’s a cast-iron pan, it can handle hard scrubbing when you want to wash off the leftover socarrat. Keep the pan well-seasoned to avoid wasting any of your precious rice crust – you want it to carmelize then easily peel off while you eat. If too much of it clings to the pan, you end up wasting good food.

Lodge paella pans are US-made, lightweight, and tough. They’re especially good ate searing, so use it for meal prep before you start the paella-cooking process. And don’t stir!

Pros:

  • If you swear by local brands, this one is made in the US.
  • It comes pre-seasoned so you can use it immediately.
  • The cast iron holds and spreads heat well.

Con:

  • Cast iron paella pans need a little more attention to maintain them.

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2. Garcima 15 Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan

garcima paella pan

  • This paellera is authentic and is made in Spain.
  • It has the traditional dimpled bottom.
  • The shipping box includes maintenance instructions, recipes, and tips.

When you’re buying cookware for a cultural dish, it helps if you buy it from the same place as the dish. Meaning if you’re buying a paella pan, you should get one from Valencia. Or at least from Spain. Garcima is a trusted Spanish brand, so their paella pans are worth considering. This piece has a 15-inch diameter that’s ideal for home use. The paella made in this pan serves 3 to 5.

The pan is pretty enough to bring to the table, and it has the dimpled concave base that produces a perfect socarrat every time. The pan does need seasoning when you first buy it, and it may need oiling after you wash, to prevent a rusty film from developing. The pan has bright red insulated handles that are well-balanced for carrying it to the table and serving your meal.

The bottom of this paella is dimpled and concave, so it doesn’t work well on flat cooktops. So don’t buy it if your primary kitchen appliance is an induction cooker or electric plate. This pan needs gas grills, a wooden hearth, or a stand to support the curvy bottom. Otherwise, your food will cook unevenly, or worse, the paellera will tip and spill everything, wasting food and effort.

Garcima paelleras are preferred by many Spanish chefs and home cooks. But like any other aculido pulida (polished steel) pan, it needs to be dried and oiled after every wash.

Pros:

  • This paellera is authentic and is made in Spain.
  • It has the traditional dimpled bottom.
  • The shipping box includes maintenance instructions, recipes, and tips.

Con:

  • This pan is great for home use, but if you have a flat-top cooker, skip it and get a flat-bottomed pan instead. Or buy a paella-friendly cooktop to supplement your home menu.

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3. Mauviel 15.7 Inch Stainless Steel Paella pan

Stainless Steel Paella Pan Mauviel

  • The pan has a flat bottom suitable for induction cookers.
  • The brand has a rich heritage that goes back to 1830.
  • The dimpled sides provide heightened conductivity and aesthetic appeal.

Stainless steel pans are usually gauged at 18/10, 18/8, or 18/0. The ‘18’ here is for chromium and the 0 / 8 / 10 is for nickel. The higher the nickel content, the better your stainless steel resists corrosion. Mauviel M’Elite paelleras use 18/10 steel. The pan is thickened with 5-ply metal to a depth of 26mm. This enhances conductivity and evens out heat distributions.

While the base of the pan is flat to suit contemporary cooktops, the sides are dimpled. This is both a style choice and an aesthetic one. Paellera novices will see the ‘shifted dimples’ and not give it a second thought. But the side dimples do help heat spread more evenly while you cook. They also make your ‘pan plate’ prettier when it lands on the table.

The handles in this paella have no insulation, but because they’re made of cast stainless steel, they stay cool while cooking and serving. And the entire panhandles inclusive – is safe in your dishwasher and oven, in case you want to risk it all and bake your paella. The pan does have a lifetime guarantee – all Mauviel cookware does. And if it helps, the brand is French.

The hammered-steel no-drip rim is the trademark feature of this French paella pan. The handles stay cool even when cooking temperatures are high, and the rivets are dishwasher safe.

Pros:

  • The pan has a flat bottom suitable for induction cookers.
  • The brand has a rich heritage that goes back to 1830.
  • The dimpled sides provide heightened conductivity and aesthetic appeal.

Con:

  • Stainless steel isn’t as conductive as polished steel aka carbon steel, so you’ll have to add a few minutes to your typical paella cook-time.

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4. Garcima Paella Pan 16 Inch

garcima paella pan 16 inch

  • It’s manufactured in Valencia, the original home of paella.
  • The pan has a thick bottom for regular extended use.
  • The handles are comfortable and well-insulated.

When you buy a wrought iron pan, it’s likely to be matte black in color. So you’ll see traces of rust and know you need to season. But this Pata Negra paella pan has a distinct gray tone, so you may be surprised by the care it needs. It’s not much – just dry it after washing and oil it lightly before storing. The paellera has a thickened bottom for heavy-duty use and it darkens with time.

The carbon steel on this pan can withstand oven use, but it has dimples so it won’t sit comfortably on a flat cooktop. It works better with a charcoal grill or gas stove. The box has some handy hints on how to extend the lifespan of your pan with proper maintenance. It also has some recipes you can try. This pan serves 4 to 6 people and has black insulated handles.

La Paella’s pan is 16.25 inches wide at the top, 14.25 inches wide at the base, and 2 inches deep. You can spot fakes because authentic La Paella products have their name branded beside the dimples. It’s a heavy pan and weighs about 4 and a half pounds. And don’t worry is the pan is larger than your cooktop. The carbon steel will still spread heat evenly for a perfect socarrat.

If you make paella regularly, you’re better off with a Pata Negra pan that can withstand frequent use. This one is a bit over 16 inches and has a dimpled base, so don’t use it on flat cookers.

Pros:

  • It’s manufactured in Valencia, the original home of paella.
  • The pan has a thick bottom for regular extended use.
  • The handles are comfortable and well-insulated.

Con:

  • You have to remember to oil it after every use. Practice the seasoning process or you’ll end up staining all your cabinets with vegetable oil.

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5. Sertodo Copper 12 Inch Paella Cooking Pan

Paella Cooking Pan

  • The pan is made of 14-gauge copper that’s hammered by hand.
  • The copper is derived from recycled items so it’s environmentally friendly.
  • The paellera is lined with tin on its inner surface.

Copper is a more recent selection for paelleras. It looks good and conducts heat effectively. But copper can oxidize and get a green tinge. That’s something you don’t want to be associated with your food. This copper pan is lined with tin on the inside, which solves the issue of ‘greening your food’. The tin is non-stick and non-toxic but still allows your socarrat to carmelize effectively.

But the pan is ‘green’ in other ways because it’s made of no-wastage recycled metal. Both the inner tin and the outer copper are hammered by hands. The dimples and dents add aesthetic value, but they also help with heat distribution. The pan has stainless steel handles.

These handles are attached to the pan via copper rivets. The handles respond to heat better, staying cool to your touch whether you’re cooking or eating. The tin is also a useful touch because it doesn’t react with the acids or juices in your food and it does give your food a ‘metallic taste’. To be sure you’re not buying a fake, flip the pan and check for the Sertodo seal at the back.

The pretty mix of copper exteriors and tin interiors makes Sertodo a pleasure on any table. The paellera conducts heat effectively and doesn’t need seasoning or extra maintenance.

Pros:

  • The pan is made of 14-gauge copper that’s hammered by hand.
  • The copper is derived from recycled items so it’s environmentally friendly.
  • The paellera is lined with tin on its inner surface.

Con:

  • At 12 inches, this pan is on the smaller side, so it’s more of a bachelor paellera.

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6. Le Creuset 13 Inch Enameled Cast Iron Paella Pan

Cast Iron Paella Pan

  • Le Creuset pans look so pretty on your table.
  • The cast iron inside and enamel outside facilitate even heat distribution.
  • It has a flat base so it’s suitable for contemporary cooktops.

When you see a colorful pot, you’ll assume it’s non-stick. And yes, a lot of the cookware from Le Creuset is non-stick. If you’re familiar with paella, you know you should never make it in a non-stick pan because it messes with your socarrat. That’s why for their paellera, this brand used an enamel coating instead of their usual non-stick heritage from way back in 1925.

The paella pan does lean into the other benefits of Le Creuset. Its matte lining has a limited lifetime warranty. It resists cracking, chipping, and scratching and spreads heat evenly throughout your paella. The outer cover comes in five inspiring colors that have names like ‘flame’ and ‘oyster’. This paellera has a flat bottom, so you can cook on induction cookers.

The pan also has two broad, insulated handles that are ideal for both cooking and serving. Also, while most enameled pots and pans have an inner base of carbon steel, Le Creuset cookware is made with a cast-iron mold. So this pan has iron on the inside and tinted enamel on the outside. This combination is ideal for paella because it enables consistent evaporation for a better crust.

Le Creuset cookware might be cast iron or stone. It’s coated with brightly colored enamel that’s both beautiful and functional. The paellera works well with modern coking surfaces that are flat.

Pros:

  • Le Creuset pans look so pretty on your table.
  • The cast iron inside and enamel outside facilitate even heat distribution.
  • It has a flat base so it’s suitable for contemporary cooktops.

Con:

  • The pan doesn’t need seasoning, but you have to be careful while cleaning or scouring t because the enamel coating might be damaged by abrasive cleaners.

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7. Matfer Bourgeat 15.75 Inch Stainless Paella Pan

Stainless Steel Paella Pan Matfer Bourgeat

  • The pan is made of hardened blue/black steel.
  • The color is pretty for tabling purposes.
  • It’s 15 inches at the rim and 12 inches at the base.

Most pans are made of carbon steel with stainless steel handles – because stainless steel is a poorer conductor so it’s less likely to scald you while you cook. But there’s a newer variant called black or blue steel. It has an aqua tint and it harder than regular steel. This hardening agent reduces rust and corrosion. And although the color fades over time, it won’t leech into your food.

Matfer paelleras have flat bottoms so you can use them on any type of cooker. Its unique feature is its curvy sides. Many paella pans have flat, tapered sides, but the curve on this brand are both visually stunning and helpful for preventing food spills. The pan weight nearly 7 pounds but the handles make it easy to carry your dish from the cooktop to the table. The pan is 15.75 inches.

This paella pan is designed for frying Spanish rice. But it’s actually more effective for oven-based dishes. The curved sides reflect heat towards the center, so they’re better formed for baking. The handles are built for paella though because they make it easier to flip the food instead of stirring. Stirring will mess your socarrat, so you essentially want to toss the food like a salad.

The distinctive teal on this pan will pull you right from the shelf. But if you don’t season it well, the color will soon fade and grow dull. A little oil after every wash does the trick.

Pros:

  • The pan is made of hardened blue/black steel.
  • The color is pretty for tabling purposes.
  • It’s 15 inches at the rim and 12 inches at the base.

Con:

  • Eventually, that blue/black coat will fade because acidic foods ‘wash’ it off. Regular seasoning will retain the pretty color for longer.

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8. Vaello Campos Paella Pan With Paella Gas Burner and Stand Set

Best Paella Pan Vaello Campos

  • This large paella pan measures 20 inches at its widest point.
  • It sits on a stand (pun intended) that can hold pans from 12 inches to 28 inches.
  • It’s a Spanish-made product so authenticity is a given.

For those who are really into paella but don’t have the right cooktop, a paella stand kit can be helpful. It contains a paella pan and a tripod stand fitted with grills and gas hoses. All you do is connect it to your main gas supply. These stands are portable, so you can ‘plug’ them into gas canisters at campsites or RVs. Castevia’s paellera has a non-stick enamel surface.

The 20-inch pan can cook for 8 to 10 people at a go. The stand is equally versatile. The stand has two rings and three grills. The rings have diameters of 7 inches and 15 inches, and between them, they can hold paelleras as small as 12 inches and as large as 28 inches. The feet are adjustable too. Their maximum height is 27.55 inches. The stand maker is Flames VLC.

The tripod stand is easy to use. And it lets you get your paella just right because you can control heat levels and flame heights. The pan is made in Valencia and you can get over a dozen servings from the same ‘plate’ of paella. But you have to buy the gas hose and gas bottle separately.

If you intend to cook paellas regularly and in larger sizes, this Castevia paellera set is a good selection. It’s portable so all you need is a functional gas line. And it supports 28-inch pans.

Pros:

  • This large paella pan measures 20 inches at its widest point.
  • It sits on a stand (pun intended) that can hold pans from 12 inches to 28 inches.
  • It’s a Spanish-made product so authenticity is a given.

Con:

  • This paellera kit needs gas to function, but you still have to buy your gas hose separately. It’s not included in the shipping box.

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9. Mabel Home Paella Pan With Paella Burner and Stand Set on Wheels

Best Paella Pan Mabel Home

  • The paella stand has wheels for added mobility.
  • The kit includes an 18-inch paella pan.
  • The burner has two independent flames.

Paella pans are wide. Even the smallest models measure a foot across. Cooking with a pan that big can be tricky in enclosed spaces. It would take up the whole cooktop and can be difficult to maneuver, leading to spills, frustration, and general mess. This gets tougher because socarrat needs time, space, and ventilation to prevent your kitchen from feeling crowded and stuffy.

You can solve those problems using a paella stand kit like this one from Mabel Home. It’s portable, with large casters, so you can use it outdoors or wheel it to a more spacious part of your kitchen, balcony, or alfresco BBQ zone. The burner is 15.75 inches in diameter and the pan is 18 inches wide. The pan has an enameled steel finish so it’s rust free and needs no seasoning.

The stand has a central pyramid for extra reinforcement, but you can remove the triangle or even the wheels when needed. Mabel Home is designed to work with propane, but you need to order the tank and gas hose separately. They’re not part of the stand kit. The pan is 2.4 inches deep. That’s deeper than typical paelleras, so don’t overfill or it will mess with your socarrat.

Paella pans can be heavy, especially if you’re cooking for ten or more people. This 18-inch paellera comes with a stand and wheels for better mobility. And it’s low-maintenance too.

Pros:

  • The paella stand has wheels for added mobility.
  • The kit includes an 18-inch paella pan.
  • The burner has two independent flames.

Con:

  • The stand comes in separate pieces so you’ll need some DIY work to put it together.

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10. Nordic Ware 15 Inch Paella Pan

Best Paella Pan Nordic Ware

  • This brand is made in the US (though the handles are shipped from Taiwan).
  • The pan is cast from aluminum-coated steel.
  • The paellera has heightened heat distribution.

Aluminum is often added to make things rust-proof. This applies to paella pans too, since an aluminized pan won’t need seasoning as often as a carbon steel paella pan. Nordic Ware opted for steel coated in aluminum. But the base of the pan is thickened because while aluminum is lightweight, paelleras need to be sufficiently heavy to accommodate cooking and serving.

The pan has a flat bottom and heat spreads evenly to the edges, ensuring every bit of your paella is cooked through. Like all pans within this brand family, the paellera comes with a 10-year warranty. It weighs a little over 1 pound and is 15 inches wide minus the handles. The sides are more steeply tapered than the other brands we’ve looked at though, so the base is only 10 inches.

This aluminum-coated paella pan has insulated handles to prevent scorching and easy the process of tossing and serving. It doesn’t need seasoning and it’s relatively lightweight.

Pros:

  • This brand is made in the US (though the handles are shipped from Taiwan).
  • The pan is cast from aluminum-coated steel.
  • The paellera has heightened heat distribution.

Con:

  • The pan is 3 inches deep, which some people consider a plus. But for paella, you want a shallow pan to optimize evaporation, so this is actually a flaw.

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How To Choose A Paella Pan: A Buyer’s Guide

iron cast paella pan

You may be rushing for non-stick oven-safe cookware with ceramic coatings and assurances of dishwasher safety. But when you want to buy the best paella pan, your deciding factors are narrowed down. For example, dimpled paella pans aren’t stable on flat contemporary cooktops, so you might need gas. Let’s look at more tips to consider while you’re prepping for Spanish rice.

Size

Paella pans are sometimes called paelleras. And the most common paellera size is 15 inches. This serves 4 to 6 people if you’re serving paella as the main course. If you’re serving it as an appetizer or snack, it doesn’t need to be quite so big. But size isn’t just about the number of people you’re serving. One of the distinguishing elements of paella is the socarrat.

This is the crunchy crust that carmelizes at the bottom of the pan. To get the right texture and flavor for your socarrat, your paella dish should never be filled deeper than half an inch. So if your paella is too deep (or too shallow) you might want to shift a few sizes up or down.

Paelleras can get as large as 60 inches and prepare the dish for roughly 250 people. But you shouldn’t substitute a paella pan with a standard frying pan because paellera needs to be sufficiently shallow. This allows effective evaporation to keep your socarrat singed and crispy. And because paella is served in the pan, buy one with an insulated handle for easy carrying.

Material

Paelleras are traditionally made of carbon steel with a concave bottom to optimize your socarrat. The thin curved bottom transfers heat quickly and evenly. Spaniards swear by carbon steel, and it’s the most common local medium for paelleras. But while it’s durable, it needs seasoning and ritual maintenance to prevent. Enameled steel has a carbon steel base with an enamel topcoat.

The coating prevents rust but it also reduces conductivity. The coating also stops that ‘metallic pan taste’ from leeching into your paella. Enameled steel costs more, needs less maintenance (no seasoning) and is easier to clean. But it’s not as strong as carbon and doesn’t last as long. Copper is a new addition to the paellera space. It conducts well, is durable, and is so pretty.

The final type is stainless steel, which is pretty and pricy but has the lowest conductivity. It transfers heat at 1/3rd the rate of carbon steel. You’ll have to cook your food longer and measure your heat levels more carefully to ensure an even socarrat. They look great in your kitchen though, with that constant sparkle and shine. And beyond washing, they’re zero-maintenance.

Usage

How often do you prepare paella? Restaurants make it daily and in large quantities. For them, consistency is key, so they opt for Pata Negra Paelleras. These pans have a thicker bottom to spread heat better. These pans are intended for professional, commercial use, so you should only buy them for home use if your household enjoys paella on the daily. They cost more than the usual ones.

Pata Negra pans are made of carbon steel. Some are dimpled (to create that concave curve) while others have flat bottoms. Dimpled bottoms need a curved cooktop since they’ll wobble n induction cooking surfaces. So your choice of pan could be driven by the type of cooker you have unless you’re willing to invest in a new wood hearth or paella charcoal grill.

Alternatively, you could buy a paella set with a stand. And in case you’re wondering, Pata Negra literally means ‘blackleg’, a reference cured ham dried from Black Iberian Pigs. Metaphorically, Pata Negra describes top-shelf quality. It denotes a product as premium and exclusive.

Flip that Pan!

In our opinion, the best paella pan is the Lodge Paellera. Here’s why:

  • Lodge is a US-made brand.
  • It’s pre-seasoned so it comes ready to use.
  • The carbon steel and dimpling stay true to the paella tradition.
  • The pan can withstand high heat so you can effectively sear your meats.
  • It’s made from 12-gauge carbon steel with enhanced heat retention and distribution.
  • The bottom is flat so it’s fine for induction cookers.’
  • It’s a 15-inch pan so it comfortably cooks for 4 to 6.

What pan have you been using to make paella? Show us a photo in the comments!

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