Whenever you hear about paella or see it cooked, one thing you will notice is the pan. The Spanish dish uses a specific type of pan to get a unique texture that is invaluable to the finished recipe. What separates paella from other rice in pan dishes include the way that it is cooked. However, can you cook paella if you do not have a paella pan at hand? Well, you could buy the best paella pans around from Machika today! However, if time is of the essence, you can simply use another type of pan instead. By adjusting how you cook the paella, you can make the recipe without much of a hassle in multiple other types of pans. Stainless steel frying pans, cast iron, and woks can all cook paella.
If you find yourself missing a paella pan, just keep in mind that you will have to adjust your cooking process to get the same recipe results. When cooking with a pan that is not specifically made for paella, you must consider the following factors when cooking:
- Thickness of the metal
- How flat is the surface
- How fast heat moves through the metal
What Makes a Good Pan for Paella Recipes?
As previously noted, woks, cast iron pans, and stainless steel frying pans all can cook a good paella recipe. Cooking with something like a wok is different from how you would handle a regular paella recipe. Woks are thinner than something like cast iron, but the shape of the pan means that you will have to cook it slightly different. With a wok, the rice and other ingredients are meant to be moved around and shaken up. You tend to flip the ingredients and keep the wok elevated for a time as you cook. Paella recipes, on the other hand, are typically very still cooking experiences. Moving the pan around a lot while cooking or flipping ingredients is not necessary.
The thickness of the metal, shape of the surface, and material used are all important when it comes to cooking paella recipes like our Machika Spanish Paella Recipe. You may cook the dish longer, or at a higher heat, or by using a larger burner to get more equal heating. The thin carbon steel metal of paella pans and the dimples on the surface make it perfect for spreading heat.
How to Cook Paella Recipes with a Frying Pan
A traditional frying pans has many small differences compared to a paella pan. For one, they are typically thicker and made from steel or stainless steel with a protective non-stick coat. Don’t think that since they look similar and are both made out of steel that they cook equally. For one, frying pans are typically not made for oven use. The handles of many pans are made of a type of plastic or rubber like silicon. Exceedingly high heat such as direct contact with flames over a fire pit, can melt plastics, even silicon which is known to have a high heat tolerance. A campfire can reach over 600 °F at times so silicon with its 446 °F is not really suited for long periods on open flames.
To cook paella on a frying pan, you will want a medium to large sized pan that is flat and thin. If it is too thick, just keep in mind you will have to avoid overheating. This occurs with a high heat touches a small part of the pan and is too slow to spread leading to the middle of the pan cooking faster than the edges. You can use a larger burner or wait for the heat to evenly spread to avoid overcooking the center of your paella. The pan will also be slower to cool down, so you may need to remove the pan from the heat when it is finished instead of just turning off the burner.
How to Cook Paella Recipes with Cast-Iron
Cooking with cast-iron is a bit more difficult when it comes to paella. A large cast-iron for cooking paella will weight much more than a wok or frying pan. Cast-iron pans are also much thicker than your average cookware. You will have to pay close attention to avoid overheating the pan and potentially burning the bottom layer of rice. Cast-iron also is known to retain heat for quite a long time. You may have to closely monitor the temperature of your pan so that when you remove the pan, it has enough time to cool down without overcooking the food. However, cast-iron pans are typically flat and make a great socarrat (the delicious crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan).
How to Cook Paella Recipes with a Wok
White a wok is rounded so not flat like your traditional paella pan; it can still be a good alternative. What it lacks in flatness, it has in surface area! Woks have a large surface area which means you can get a strong socarrat by cooking with it. Compared to materials like cast iron, it is also easy to take care of.
You do not have to season or treat a wok in any special way like a paella pan or cast-iron pan. Making paella recipes on a wok can be a great way to get a slightly different texture from your paella. If you are looking for a quick pan to make paella with, taking out a wok may be the best alternative. Just be careful to not use a wok that is too deep. You still want to be able to spread the rice to cover the entire surface. If you take these differences into account, you can cook paella with a wok without a problem.
Buy a Carbon Steel Paella Pan from Machika Today
While you can cook paella in many kinds of pans, nothing it better than the original cookware made specifically for it. An authentic paella pan is the perfect blend of lightweight, thin, and durable. The thinner carbon steel material allows you to handle large paella pans more easily while the maintaining the durability of other thicker pans.
Our paella pans are authentic Spanish pans made in Valencia, Spain. These pans are specifically designed to handle all types of paella recipes. You can buy your own brand-new paella pan from Machika today! All you have to do is select shopping at the top menu and pick between an enameled or polished carbon steel paella pan. Get yours today and start making delicious authentic Spanish paella from the comfort of your own kitchen.