This paella pan does triple duty.
Paella—made with rice, broth, and maybe wine, with a jumble of meat and seafood—is practically the national dish of Spain. It’s traditionally cooked on the grill in a carbon-steel paellera, a pan with a shallow, wide shape that that allows for rapid evaporation of the cooking liquid and optimal socarrat (a golden rice crust) development. We wanted to find the best paella pan for the home cook—a pan that would be easy to use and wouldn’t cost too much for this special-occasion dish. Further, it had to hold enough to feed six to eight people but still be small enough to fit comfortably on our winning gas and charcoal grills. The clear winner not only aced its namesake dish but is also practical; it will serve you as a roasting pan and griddle, too.
Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan
Heavy and thick, with easy-grip vertical handles, this sturdy, handsome carbon-steel pan made it easy to produce evenly cooked paella and perfectly browned socarrat. The pan required initial seasoning and maintenance, but the resulting patina was practically nonstick, ensuring that the socarrat released effortlessly and that cleanup was simple—with few crusty bits stuck to the pan, a brief scrub was usually all that was necessary before reheating and oiling.
PAN THICKNESS 3 mm MADE IN GERMANY
How We Tested Paella Pans
We tested five nationally available paella pans priced from $24.95 to $79.00 on our winning gas and charcoal grills. The pans were made from carbon steel, enameled carbon steel, and stainless steel.
To The Grills!
We used each pan to make two batches of our Paella on the Grill. We gave more points to pans that retained even heat (with minimal manipulation on the grill), cooked the paella uniformly, and produced lots of evenly browned socarrat (the prized caramelized crust that forms as paella cooks).
We preferred vertical handles that made it easy to rotate the pans without bumping into the sides of the grill and that kept our hands safely above the heat.
Pans that were easy to clean and maintain and that required no initial preparation out of the box received more points. Carbon-steel pans usually require some seasoning and/or maintenance to prevent rusting; methods varied, but none took long to complete. The enameled carbon-steel pan requires no seasoning or special upkeep.
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The Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan is the Test Kitchen’s Top Pick.
・Once hot, stayed hot from edge to edge to cook paella consistently
・Thickest and heaviest pan we tested
・Knuckle-friendly: Handles rise above lip of pan
・Simple prep and maintenance makes pan practically nonstick
・Versatile multitasker: paella pan, roasting pan, and griddle