You’ve probably seen a paella pan before in a cookware shop or a friend’s kitchen. It is a wide, shallow pan that is used to make paella.
The word paella literally means ‘pan’. So, yes, these pans are called pan pans!
Nevertheless, do you need a paella pan? What does a paella pan bring to the table that other pans don’t? Well, here’s everything a paella pan fan needs to know.
Why Are Paella Pans Shaped Like That?
Paella pans are wide and shallow. They are made like this so that the pan has as much contact with the heat source as possible. This allows liquid to evaporate as quickly as possible. This is how the golden-brown crust is formed on the bottom of your paella.
You may notice that paella pans are never sold with a lid. This is because lids on pans are designed for trapping moisture and not letting it escape. This is great for certain dishes, but that’s the last thing you want to do with a paella.
So, that’s why you’ll never find a paella pan with a lid, and if you do, it’s not a true paella pan. Of course, this means that a paella pan has fantastic heat conduction and so it is perfect for many other uses too.
What Else Can You Use a Paella Pan For?
Paella pans are typically massive, so many people are put off from owning one because all they can make is paella, right? Well, paella pans are also fantastic for anything that benefits from a wide, flat surface that heats up quickly.
Frying bacon, searing steaks and fish can be done in a paella pan with great success. Of course, as most paella pans have metal handles too, you can use them as a roasting dish in the oven and cook over a campfire as well.
You can also make massive pancakes in a paella pan, and who doesn’t love a massive pancake?
Remember, the idea that you can only use paella pans for making paella is a rumour. However, the dish is named after the pan, not the other way round.
So, a paella pan is really just a pan. It is traditional Spanish frying pan or skillet, basically. So, you can use a paella pan for pretty much everything you would use a skillet or frying pan for?
Do I Need a Paella Pan to Make Paella?
No, you can make paella in other types of pan. The same rule from above applies here. A paella pan is simply a particular type of Spanish frying pan. So, you can make paella in any shallow cooking pan.
However, if your paella recipe calls for it to be transferred into the oven, the frying pan or skillet needs to be oven-proof.
Also, paella pans are usually a lot bigger than a typical frying pan which helps when cooking a large amount of paella as you don’t want the layer of rice to be too thick (about 5cm is just the right thickness).
So, if you have a large frying pan, you can use that to make paella. However, if you have a smaller frying pan or skillet, you will struggle.
Paella Pan Sizes
Paella pans range in size from 16 inches to 32 inches, but there are pans that can reach over 60 inches in size too.
A 16-inch paella pan is perfect for 4-6 servings. A 32-inch pan will do up to 40 servings.
For most of us, a paella pan on the smaller side is normally enough to get the job done unless you’re having an army for tea!
Why Use a Paella Pan?
As we’ve learnt, paella pans are fantastic for any cooking tasks that require a good amount of heat in a shallow pan.
They are the best pan for cooking paella, of course, but there are plenty of other uses for them. They are so handy for transferring dishes from the hob to the oven too, and make cooking bigger batches of bacon, for example, extremely easy.
If you’ve got a large family and/or love entertaining, a paella pan is a very option for you. You can cook loads of stuff quickly and easy, and enjoy some of the best paella you’ll ever have too.
Hopefully, you have learnt that paella pans are way more versatile than most of us think they are. Of course, you can make incredible paella in this pan, but it has way more uses than that.
So, if you want to grab a paella pan and take advantage of this versatilely, please check out our other paella pan articles on here.
We have found the best paella pans in the UK that will be a great addition to your kitchen.