7 Paella Pan Substitutes (That Work Just as Well) – Best

The paella pan is often used to prepare a Spanish dish called paella, hence its name.

A real paella pan is a wide, round pan. It is completely flat and has angled edges. An interesting feature of the pan is that it does not come with a lid.

The shape of the paella pan helps ensure that the rice cooks in a nice thin layer. For example, most paella pans are larger in diameter instead of deep.

This allows the maximum amount of rice to touch the bottom of the pan, enhancing the flavor of the final dish.

The downside, however, is that the paella pan is only suitable for making paella.

It is therefore completely understandable that you do not want to spend your money on this cookware to cook only one dish!

Here are a few Paella Pan Substitutes who can help you prepare this delicious dish without investing money in the pan.

List of paella pan substitutes

Even if you buy a paella pan, it probably won’t be of much use to you. It will probably stay in your kitchen cupboard one or two days a year.

You might be wondering how it is possible to achieve this evenly cooked rice and flavor without a paella pan.

But if you’re willing to make some adjustments to the ingredient list and cooking time, you can definitely make delicious paella without a paella pan.

With the paella pan substitutes below, you can save money without sacrificing taste.

Option 1 – Stainless steel or aluminum pan

If you don’t have a paella pan, you can easily make paella in a stainless steel or aluminum pan. However, you just need to make sure the pan is shallow with a wide bottom (minimum 13 inches).

A great tip when using one pan to cook paella is to cook in two pans instead of one. All you have to do is divide the ingredients in half to make sure they cook evenly.

Pro tip – Avoid using non-stick pans and cast iron pans when cooking paella. Non-stick pans do not add flavor to the dish, while cast iron pans do not dissipate heat properly.

Option 2 – Wok

There is a common misconception among people that a wok is not suitable for cooking paella. However, this is just a myth that has no truth.

The paella pan is flat and has a large surface which makes cooking quick. These characteristics also apply to a Wok, making it a good candidate for cooking Paella.

The angled edges of the Wok allow you to cook and set aside foods such as sausages, chicken, shrimp. Then you can cook the vegetables and finally prepare the rice in the Wok to make a mouth-watering Paella.

Option 3 – Dutch Ovens

The saucepan is another great substitute for paella pans. With this cookware, you can easily cook consistent, tender rice that is bursting with flavor.

Indeed, the heavy base of the casserole forms a layer of perfectly toasted rice.

On the other hand, it is quite difficult to obtain the best Socarrat with a casserole dish. A good trick to solve this problem is to use a cast iron casserole dish.

With this cookware you get the crispy paella crust on the bottom.

Pro tip – Do not stir the mixture while the Paella is cooking, as this could spoil the crispiness of the Socorrat.

Option 4 – Hotel cookware

If you need to cook a large amount of paella and are looking for an alternative to the paella pan, choose a hotel pan.

If you make the paella in a hotel pan, you cook the rice in a separate pan, the vegetables in a separate pan and the other ingredients in another separate pan.

Once these three components are cooked separately, you need to mix them in one pan.

Ideally, you should put it in a pan with a flat bottom instead of a round one.

Option #5 – Shallow sauté pan

A 4-quart or larger shallow sauté pan is a great option for making a savory dish that’s bursting with flavor.

Similarly, a wide sauté pan with a depth of 3 inches is also suitable for preparing paella.

Also, it’s perfect if your sauté pan comes with a long handle and an auxiliary handle on the other side.

Do not cover the paella while cooking. However, you can put the lid on after taking the dish out of the oven, so that it does not cool down.

Option 6 – Frying Pan

A frying pan is a standard kitchen utensil in every home. The good news is that this indispensable pan is a perfect replacement for paella pans. Make sure that the pan you use has a diameter of at least 25 cm.

The best thing about using a frying pan is that you can make different types of paella in it, like seafood paella or vegetable paella.

If you use a frying pan, you have to be very careful in choosing the right ingredients to make the authentic paella dish.

For example, you need high quality saffron, round rice, extra virgin olive oil, etc.

The technique of cooking paella in a frying pan is slightly different from cooking in a paella pan. First you need to cook seafood or vegetables and reserve them in a bowl.

Then you need to add rice. After about 5 minutes of adding rice, turn the heat to medium.

Keep the heat on medium for about 3-4 minutes, then increase it again for about 5 minutes. This makes it possible to obtain a perfect and crispy Socarrat.

Option 7 – Combination of rice cooker and shallow pan

If you don’t have a paella pan or any of the cookware listed above, you can simply use a rice cooker in combination with a shallow pan to make paella.

Start cooking the rice in the rice cooker. Meanwhile, sauté all other ingredients in a large shallow skillet and set aside.

Once done, add the vegetables and rice in a single bowl and stir for a few minutes. Finally, add the seafood with a little water.

Leave the mixture on medium heat for a while to toast the rice from bottom to top.

Recipe for making paella without a paella pan

Here is a simple recipe to make a delicious paella without using a paella pan.


  • 2 yellowfin tuna fillets (diced and seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 25 green beans, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 medium grated tomato
  • 14 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cups cooked lima beans
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 214 cups of water
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 12 teaspoons of saffron threads
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 cup round rice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Cooking instructions

  1. Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat and add 14 cups of extra virgin olive oil. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the tuna cubes to the pan and stir. Once the tuna has turned brown, remove it from the pan and set it aside in a bowl.
  2. Add the green beans to the same skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Make a well in the center and add the minced garlic cloves and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the grated tomato with the lima beans, smoked paprika and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Continue mixing until all ingredients are well blended.
  3. Pour cold water into the pan and add the saffron threads with a pinch of salt. Then add the rosemary and mix gently. Once the water boils, add the round rice and lightly stir the mixture so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. After that, avoid mixing the rice and shake it lightly from time to time.
  4. After exactly 4 minutes after adding the rice to the pan, add the prepared tuna set aside in step 1. After 3 minutes after adding the tuna, increase the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 3-4 minutes. There should be very little water left now.
  5. Now, to get the socarrat, raise the heat to high for 5 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a tea towel. Remove the towel after 5 minutes.
  6. Here is! Your paella is now completely ready. Pour into a platter and garnish with lemons.

It is literally as easy to cook paella without owning a paella pan.

Last words

Remember that when using a paella pan substitute to make paella, do not cover the pan. The dish should be cooked uncovered to allow moisture to escape.

This helps keep the rice tender.

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