The 5 Best Traditional Carbon Steel Paella Pans

Carbon steel paella pans are the best pans to get that perfect sear without the rice or seafood sticking to the pan, and help you nail that perfectly cooked paella – every time.

In this post, you’ll find the top 5 traditional paella pans for the enthusiastic home cook, how we picked them, the benefits of carbon steel for cooking paella, and how to season and care for paella pans.

best carbon steel paella pans

👉 In a Hurry?

See our short comparison table, below you’ll find the complete paella pans reviews.

Paella PanBest forCooktopsPrice
Garcima 15" Pan
garcima 15 inch paella pan
Best authentic
Stovetop, oven, grill, open fire (over tripod)$23 on Amazon
Lodge 15-inch Carbon Steel Skillet
lodge carbon steel skillet review
Most versatileGas, electric, ceramic glass, grill, oven, open fire, induction$80 on Amazon
BK Black Carbon Steel Paella Pan
Most LightweightAll cooktops except microwave$65 on Amazon
Made In Blue Carbon Steel Paella Pan
Best for High HeatAll cooktops$109 on Amazon

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Which Pan Is Best for Paella?

Carbon steel is the traditional cookware material for paella pans in Valencia (on the east coast of Spain), where this delicious dish originates from.

In fact, every Valencian kitchen has at least one polished carbon steel paella pan.

carbon steel paella pan benefits

A carbon steel pan has the highest heat conductivity, is thinner and lighter than cast iron pans, yet is just as durable. The large cooking area allows the rice to be spread in a thin layer to help evaporation and develop that golden caramelized crust.

This pan is not completely flat, but slightly concave at the bottom, created by prickling the bottom of the pan with small dimples.

Maintaining a carbon steel pan is fairly easy: After each use, wash and thoroughly dry the pan and then rub it again with oil.

And the best news?

Carbon steel pans are usually cheaper than stainless steel and enameled carbon steel pans. And with proper care, you can use them for years.

However, these traditional carbon steel pans usually need some seasoning before the first use and some maintenance (though not frequent) – to ensure they don’t rust.

Also, they are not dishwasher safe.

What Size Paella Pan Do You Need?

Paella pans come in a variety of sizes, from 8″ (20cm) to 60″ (150cm), which is big enough for serving 25 people.

The size of your paella pan depends on the number of meals you want to prepare.

Choose a pan that can comfortably feed the number of guests you are about to feed.

Don’t get a pan that’s too small or too big, or your guests might end up fighting over the scraps or getting lost in it.

Paella Pan Size (inches)Paella Pan Size (cm)Servings
14362 to 4
15383 to 5
16404 to 6
Ideal for home cooking
18455 to 8
22557 to 12
246012 to 20
266514 to 22
287016 to 25
Size of carbon steel paella pans (in inches/centimeters) and the amount of paella servings per size.

The ideal size for home cooking (4-6 people) is a 15″ or a 16″ carbon steel paella pan.

If you want to invite a few friends over, you’ll need an 18″ or a 22″ pan, which is big enough for 7-12 people.

For sizes from 18″ and more, you’ll need a paella burner or tripod for an open fire.

Good to Know
For making the best paella dish, the rice layer should be thinner than a finger (1/2 inch or 12 mm).

This way, the socarrat (thin layer of the crunchy, caramelized paella) gets evenly browned.

How Do You Choose a Paella Pan?

Choose your paella pan according to its material (carbon steel is traditionally used), your cooking surface (for induction use flat bottom pans only), and the size according to the number of people you want to feed.

Look for sturdy handles because you don’t want it to giggle when you serve, and make sure it looks nice since it’s used for serving.

The larger the pan, the thinner the rice layer will be, which translates into a better paella.

The Top 5 Carbon Steel Paella Pans 

Through our research, we found the 5 best carbon steel paella pans, including the best value one, the best budget pick, and the best paella set for outdoor cooking.

Let’s kick things off with the most authentic one:

1. Garcima Paella Pan Best Authentic

best polished carbon stell paella pan
Garcima 15-inch authentic paella pan – view on Amazon
  • Weight – 2.42 pounds
  • Cooktops  stovetop, oven, grill, open fire (over tripod)
  • Sizes – 13″/15″/18″/26″

The Garcima authentic Spanish paella pans are our top 2024 choice for cooking paella at home.

They come in all the sizes you’ll need (13-inch for 4 people, 15-inch for 6 people, 18 inches, and 26-inch for outdoor cooking for 10-12 people).

Garcima is a family-owned company from Valencia that has been making carbon steel paella pans for almost a century.

It is now considered the leading manufacturer of paella pans in Spain.

garcima paella pans review

The Garcima paella pans have the traditional design and dimple bottom (that helps with uniform heating) and two riveted handles, that remain cooler than the pan.

They can be used on a gas stove, a grill, a gas burner, and an open-fire tripod, but not on an induction cooktop.

Out of all Garcima Paella Pans, the best choice for home cooking (4-6 people) is the 15″ pan, which is not-so-heavy (2.4 pounds) and can be easily transferred to the table.

Garcima Paella Pan Pros & Cons (According to Consumers)


  • Authentic family-made manufacturer from Valencia
  • Handles stay cool
  • Great cooking performance


  • The dimpled bottom prevents the use on induction
  • must be seasoned to prevent rusting and improve performance. If it does rust – a few passes with steel wool take it right off.

Available  on Amazon ($20-$23) and Walmart ($26)

Good to Know
For induction you’ll need heavier steel, completely flat-bottomed pans that are also not dimpled (outside). We recommend the Lodge carbon steel pan for induction.

👉 If you need the best paella pan for outdoor cooking and serving more than 8 people, choose the one below:

2. Garcima Mediterraneo Paella Pan Set Best for Outdoor Cooking

garcma paella pan and gas burner set
Garcima paella pan with gas burner – view on Amazon
  • Weight of burner – 13.32 pounds
  • Recommended pan size – 16-inches
The Garcima paella pan set is the perfect choice for simultaneously feeding 10 people or more (choose the number of servings to get the ideal pan size) using a burner with reinforced legs.

The 14-inch burner fits paella pans up to 20″ in diameter, and has two rings of flame that you can control independently with its own knob. However, they connect to one tank and you can not split it into two tanks.

The burners run hot even on the lower setting so you’ll have to be careful not to burn the food, and use it on the lower setting to simmer.

The sturdy tripod is 30 inches tall and the complete set is very easy to assemble and use out of the box, so you can easily take it apart and bring it to parties outside your home.

The Garcima carbon steel paella pan that comes with this set can also be used for stews, beef dishes, and stir-fries, and not just delicious, authentic paellas.


  • Great customer service, the company will replace the pan if you have any problems


  • No wind guard on the flame so it can go out at any time and there is nothing to secure the pan to get it perfectly centered on the burner (without standing on your head to see it).
  • Does not come with a regulator hose

Available on Amazon ($105) and Walmart ($119)

3. Lodge 15-inch Carbon Steel Skillet Most Versatile

Lodge carbon steel skillet for paella
Lodge Carbon Steel Skillet – view on Amazon
  • Weight – 6.42 pounds
  • Cooktops – gas, electric, ceramic glass, grill, oven, open fire, induction
  • Size – 15″

Lodge has a line of carbon steel pans, one of them is an excellent 15-inch paella (made from 12-gauge American carbon steel) pan that is preseasoned with natural soybean oil, with sloping sides, and 2 riveted handles made from pure iron.

The Lodge Carbon Steel Skillet allows for stable and even cooking and can be used on gas, induction, electric, ceramic glass, outdoor grills, and open fire. Basically every heat source except for a microwave.

carbon steel pan benefits for paella

We recommend not relying on the pre-seasoning and adding seasoning yourself before the first use.

This way, the pan becomes somewhat nonstick with a bit of use.

The darker it gets, the better it becomes. It may appear a bit rough-textured, but it gets smoother with use.


  • Heavy-duty construction, made to last for decades
  • Works with any cooking surface except microwave ovens.
  • You can cook many other foods with this pan, including big pieces of meat.
  • Great value for the price
  • Made in the USA


  • Handles made from pure iron require the use of mittens to avoid burning your hands.

Available on Walmart ($80), and on Amazon ($75)

Should a paella pan be nonstick?
While a nonstick pan is easier to clean, most chefs argue that it is not suitable for making a delicious paella dish because the nonstick material will not allow the rice to stick to the bottom and you won’t get that authentic and delicious caramelized thin layer known as socarrat.

4. BK Black Carbon Steel Paella Pan Most Lightweight

black steel preseasoned paella pan
BK paella pan – view on Amazon
  • Weight – 5.29 pounds
  • Cooktops – All cooktops except microwave
  • Size – 15″

The BK carbon steel paella pan is durable enough for outdoor cooking and develops a naturally nonstick surface as you use it. The handles are made from cast iron and offer a sturdy and durable grip.

The pan is pre-seasoned and ready to use out of the box, and you only have to remove the thin silicone wax coating that protects it by washing it.

Many users claim that this is amazingly nonstick – from the first use.

Black carbon steel is stain-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and highly durable.

It is safe up to 600 F and can be used over all surfaces, including open fire and induction.

lightweight carbon steel pan

The BK Paella Pan is lighter than average, weighing only 4 pounds, which makes it easy to handle.

BK Paella Pan Pa Pros & Cons (According to Consumers)


  • Pre-seasoned properly
  • The most lightweight 15-inch pan you’ll find


  • Some buyers claim that the wax coating was hard to remove and the pan needed seasoning after the removal

Available on Amazon ($65)

5. Made In Blue Carbon Steel Paella Pan Best for High Heat

blue carbon steel paella pan
Made In Blue Carbon Steel Paella Pan – view on Amazon
  • Cooktops – all
  • Weight – 4.4 pounds
  • Size – 13″

We love the Made In Blue 13″ Carbon Steel Paella Pan, mainly because the 2 mm thick blue carbon steel (made in France) can tolerate heat up to 1200 F without bending or warping, so you can take it on your next camping trip.

The Made In pan can be used on any cooking surface, including induction, and they develop that well-known black patina over time, adding authentic flavor for perfectly cooked results.

traditional paella pan

Plus, the pan has sturdy handles that make it easy to grip when stirring or transporting it from stovetop to table.

Blue carbon steel is the very same material that makes the brand’s continuously sold-out frying skillet.


  • 45-day trial and free shipping for returns
  • Extra sturdy blue carbon steel
  • Excellent customer service


  • You’ll have to remove the wax layer carefully
  • The pans are not dishwasher-safe

Available on Amazon ($109)

How to Season & Clean a Carbon Steel Paella Pan

Before the first use of your carbon steel paella pan, fill it with soapy water and 1 spoon of salt, and boil the mix for 2 minutes.

After drying it, pour a few drops of olive oil (this is Mediterranean cooking, after all), and use a paper towel to coat the inner bottom and sides of the pan with a thin layer.

Remove excess oil if needed.

After each use, clean the pan by hand (like every other pan you have), dry well with a cloth, and season with oil the same way, before storing it.

This process will increase the pans’ longevity.

Carbon Steel vs. Stainless Steel Paella Pans

Carbon steel pans conduct heat quickly and more evenly than stainless steel and have a naturally non-stick surface.

They are thinner and lighter than stainless steel – without compromising on durability and longevity.

The thin and lightweight carbon steel makes them easy to transfer to a dinner table, and you can safely use metal cooking utensils – without scratching or damaging them.

stainless steel paella pan
Garcima stainless steel paella pan – view on Amazon

You can use carbon steel paella pans on almost any cooking surface, including gas stoves, ovens, grillers, and open fires, and they perform extremely well over a paella burner.

👉 RELATED: Cast Iron vs. Carbon Steel Pans – What Should You Choose?

Paella Pan FAQ

Is a Carbon Steel Pan Safe for all Cooktops?

The best cooktop for the traditional, slightly curved paella pan is a gas stove.

For electric, ceramic, or induction, you’ll need a flat-bottomed paella pan, so you’ll get a good heat transfer.

Most carbon steel pans can tolerate at least 600 F and can be used over an open fire as well.

Can a Carbon Steel Paella Pan Rust?

Yes, a carbon steel paella pan can rust if you don’t care for it properly.

It is a type of iron that is prone to rusting when exposed to moisture and air.

To prevent rust, keep the pan dry and oiled.

Don’t let it soak in the sink for hours.

Store it in a dry place and avoid exposure to moisture and humidity.

If rust does creep up on the surface, you can usually remove it with a mixture of baking soda and water.

These tips will help extend the lifespan of your paella pan and make it your loyal companion for many paella parties to come!

What Else Can You Cook in a Paella Pan?

Other than paella, you can use carbon steel paella pans as a roasting pan (searing steaks, chicken cutlets, and roasts), in place of a wok, as a griddle for bacon, pancakes, and breakfasts, and even for cooking over an open fire when you go camping.

What is the Largest Paella Pan?

The largest paella pan we’ve found is a 60-inch pan – truly a giant paella pan – that can only be used on a large outdoor grill because it won’t fit into an oven.

This large paella pan can feed a small village and weighs more than 60 pounds. It costs thousands of dollars.

For home cooking, in an oven, the largest is usually 17 or 18 inches.

A large outdoor grill can usually handle up to a 26-inch pan.

The KM Team

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