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Smaller Paella Pan

A smaller paella pan is the versatile vessel you didn’t know you needed.

More on the Best Paella Pans
We also tested the 15.6-inch version of this paella pan.

How We Tested

After testing full-size paella pans, we fell in love with the winner, the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan, 15¾ inch, which proved to be the perfect specialty vessel for making Paella on the Grill. (We ordinarily use a roasting pan, which has a similar footprint.) Matfer Bourgeat also makes a slightly smaller version, the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan, 14⅛ inch. We’re pleased to say that we like this pan just as much as the big one, if not more. It’s made from the same thick carbon steel as the larger version, so it’s got the same great heat retention and conduction. And its large handles make it easy to lift and maneuver. You’ll still need to season and maintain the pan to keep it from rusting, but to us, that’s a reasonable price to pay for superior performance and longevity.

As we learned when we talked to our resident paella expert, Cook’s Illustrated Senior Editor Lan Lam, a few adjustments are necessary if you’re going to make paella in it. Because it’s smaller, with about 26 square inches less surface area, you’ll have less socarrat overall. You will also have to cook the paella a touch longer, as the layer of rice will be thicker than in the larger pan. But the end results will still be delicious.

This pan’s size also makes it versatile. Because it’s smaller, it fits better on stovetop burners but still has lots of wide-open surface area, making it an excellent substitute for a griddle or wok. Depending on how big your burners are, you may still have to move the pan around a little to keep it evenly heated, but less so than with the larger paella pan. We made double batches of perfectly browned grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes and turned out great fried rice in it. Its sides were also more than 2 inches tall, high enough that we could shallow-fry chicken cutlets in it, a nice bonus. You can also use it in the oven as a roasting pan; roast chicken made in it was browned and beautiful.

We still think that the larger paella pan is best if your main priority is to make our paella recipes, but the smaller version is also great and can be used for many more cooking applications. 

Methodology

  • Test the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Paella Pan, 14⅛ inch, priced at about $60
  • Season the pan and maintain it as needed
  • Make double batches of grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Make pancakes
  • Make fried rice
  • Roast chicken
  • Shallow-fry chicken cutlets

Rating Criteria

Performance: We rated the pan on how well it cooked various foods.

Ease of Use: We rated the pan on how easy it was to lift and maneuver.

The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.