FAQ - Choosing The Right Pan

I need guidance on choosing the right size pan. Can you advise?

There are a few factors to consider.

First, how many people will you be serving? We give a range of servings for each pan size, so use those numbers as your primary guide. Also consider whether you'll be serving other food before or alongside the paella, as that will affect how much paella people eat and how many servings you can get out of the pan.

Second, consider your heat source as that may limit you to certain sizes. We can give some rough guidelines, but you might want to measure your stove, grill, oven, or firepit before ordering. For a home stovetop, the maximum size is usually 20 or 22 inches. In an oven, the largest is usually 17 or 18 inches. A large outdoor grill can usually handle up to a 26 inch pan. If you're looking for precise control over the heat and maximum flexibility, consider our gas paella burners, which can be used with any size pan up to 40 inches.

A good guideline is to choose the largest size pan that will work for your heat source. That's because the larger your pan, the thinner the layer of rice, and that translates into a more delicious paella.

Some customers find that it makes more sense to buy two smaller size pans rather than one large one. For example, maybe you're having a dinner party for 12 next week, but more often you'll be cooking for just four or six people. Or perhaps your heat source isn't large enough for one big pan and you're not ready to invest in our paella burner. Two smaller pans gives you the opportunity to cook two different paellas for your guests.

One more tip: it's very useful to pull out a tape measure so you can really "see" how big the pan is. The size you're considering might be much larger than you think! If you're still unsure which size to get, email or call us, we're here to help!

Why is there a range in the number of servings for each pan size?

How many servings you'll get from the pan will depend on how much rice you use and, of course, whether you'll be serving other food along with the paella. Ideally, you will use a nice thin layer of rice. This gives the best tasting paella but also means fewer servings (this is the lower number in our serving range). But if you need to serve more people, that's okay. Just add more rice, along with meat, vegetable or seafood garnishes to the pan. You'll have a thicker layer of rice (this is the higher number in our serving range).

How do I measure my oven to know if a pan will fit?

Measure both the width and the depth (from back to front of the oven). Many home ovens are wider than they are deep, so the depth will probably be the determining measurement. Don't worry about the handles of the pan; they will fit in the corners of the oven.

Which pan material is best - carbon, stainless, or enameled steel?

One reason we carry so many pan types is that each material and model has its pros and cons. There is no single "best" material because everyone has different needs and priorities.

Carbon steel is most traditional. It perhaps has a very slight edge in terms of how quickly it conducts heat, and as a reactive metal, some people feel it adds a desirable flavor to the paella. Its main drawback is its tendency to rust if not properly maintained (i.e. dried thoroughly and rubbed with oil after each use).

Stainless steel pans are gorgeous with their mirror finish, and they make wonderful gifts and even better paellas. They are quite easy to maintain. They're more costly than our other pans, however.

Enameled steel pans are made of carbon steel that has been coated with a speckled black enamel finish. They won't rust, they're easy on the wallet, and they make cleanup a breeze. The only caveat is that the enamel coating can be damaged if your cookware gets banged around a lot in the cabinet or on the pot rack. But this is a small risk; even if the enamel did chip a tiny bit, it would be only cosmetic and would not affect performance.

FeatureCarbon SteelEnameled SteelStainless Steel
Will not rust   Yes Yes
Economical Yes Yes  
Easy maintenance   Yes Yes
Use on grill or fire Yes Yes Yes
Use in oven Yes Yes Yes

How are the pans measured? Are the handles included?

Our paella pan sizes refer to the top diameter, measured from rim to rim. The "truest" measurement is the one in centimeters; we round up or down to the nearest inch. Due to the sloping sides, the bottom diameter of the pan will always be less than the top.

The handles are not included in the measurement. As an example, on a 14 inch pan, the handles protrude about 2 inches on each side.

Does the paella pan need a lid?

No, it doesn't need a lid since paella is traditionally cooked uncovered (until the final resting period off the heat). However, some people do request them. We carry aluminum lids up to 22 inches.

Can I use the paella pan on a smoothtop electric stovetop?

Traditional paella pans have a slight dip in the center, so they won't sit flat on a smoothtop electric burner. You should instead choose one of our flat-bottomed pans, which are uniquely made for these modern burners (they also work on induction). We carry them in stainless steel up to 16 inches. For larger sizes, consider cooking the paella on a grill or using one of our paella burners.

Can I use the pan on a grill or in the oven?

All of our pans can be used on a gas or charcoal grill, in an oven, over a live fire, or on an indoor stovetop burner.

I have a Big Green Egg. Which pan size will fit?

Our BGE customers tell us that paella turns out great on their grills. Check out our detailed pan measurements table to see what pan best fits your cooker.

How deep are the pans?

Paella pans are intentionally shallow because paella tastes better when the rice cooks in a thin layer. The depth ranges from 1 3/4 inches in the smaller sizes to 3 inches in the largest sizes. If you need the exact depth of a particular size, please email us.

Will carbon steel pans rust?

Carbon steel is a reactive metal, and it will rust if it's not properly maintained. You don't need to wash the pan right after it's used; it's fine to let it soak with water in it for several hours or overnight. But you must remember that after washing the pan, you should immediately dry it thoroughly. Then pour a bit of cooking oil on a wadded up paper towel and rub the oil on the surface of the pan. This seals the surface and protects it from moisture in the air, which could cause oxidation. Before you use the pan again, just wipe the surface with a clean paper towel. You may see a tinge of orange-brown residue on the towel. This is normal.

By the way, if you forget to seal the pan and it does rust before your next use, don't worry. Just remove the rust with a bit of steel wool (it comes off easily) before using it. No harm done.

Do you rent pans and burners?

Yes, we do! Please call or email for prices.

Do you have detailed pan measurements?

Pan sizeTop diameterTop diameter w/handlesBottom diameterPan depth# Handles
4" pan (10 cm) 4" 5 1/4" 3 1/4" 3/4" 2
6" pan (15 cm) 6" 7 3/4" 4 1/2" 1 1/4" 2
8" pan (20 cm) 8" 12" 6" 1 3/4" 2
9 1/2" pan (24 cm) 9 1/2" 13 3/4" 7 3/4" 1 3/4" 2
10" pan (26 cm) 10 1/4" 14 1/2" 8 1/4" 1 3/4" 2
11" pan (28 cm) 11" 15" 9 1/4" 2" 2
13" pan (32 cm) 12 3/4" 17" 10 1/2" 2" 2
13 1/2" pan (34 cm) 13 1/2" 17 1/4" 11 1/4" 2" 2
14" pan (36 cm) 14 1/4" 18 1/2" 12" 2" 2
15" pan (38 cm) 15 1/4" 19 1/2" 13" 2" 2
16" pan (40 cm) 16" 20" 14" 2" 2
17" pan (43 cm) 17" 21" 14 3/4" 2" 2
18" pan (46 cm) 18 1/4" 22 1/4" 16 1/2" 2" 2
20" pan (50 cm) 20" 24" 17 1/2" 2" 2
22" pan (55 cm) 21 1/2" 28 1/2" 19" 2 1/4" 2
24" pan (60 cm) 23 3/4" 30 1/2" 21" 2 1/4" 2
26" pan (65 cm) 26" 32 1/2" 23 1/2" 2 1/2" 2
28" pan (70 cm) 28" 34 1/2" 25 1/4" 2 1/2" 2
32" pan (80 cm) 32" 39 1/4" 28 3/4" 3" 2
36" pan (90 cm) 36 1/4" 43" 32" 3 1/4" 4
40" pan (100 cm) 40" 50" 36" 2 1/2" (perimeter)
3 1/4" (center)
45" pan (115 cm) 45 1/2" 54 1/2" 41" 3" (perimeter)
3 1/2" (center)
52" pan (130 cm) 51 1/4" 60" 45" 3 3/4" (perimeter)
4 1/4" (center)
60" pan (150 cm) 60 3/4" 68 1/2" 53 3/4" 5 1/2" (perimeter)
6" (center)