Lena is a foodie and home cook from the SF Bay Area with a passion for Spanish flavors and traditional cooking with a modern touch!
Maybe your mother brought you a paella pan home from Spain as a gift. Maybe you bought one yourself for a souvenir. Or, perhaps you bought it for a particular occasion and then never cooked paella again. Whatever the case, it's now sitting on a shelf staring you down every time you go into the kitchen.
Give that paellera a new purpose! There are plenty of other ways to use a this cooking vessel, and they aren't exclusive to Spanish food. You might be surprised at how often you reach for it once you see how versatile this cooking vessel can be.
9 Alternative Ways to Use a Paella Pan
- Cooking meat or fish
- As a breakfast griddle
- Stir-frying or sautéing
- Campfire cooking
- For presentation
- As a bird feeder
1. Cooking Meat or Fish
Because of the wide, shallow shape, you can prepare more food at once than in a traditional frying pan or skillet. Instead of cooking your meat in batches, you can fit more chicken breasts, pork chops, or fish fillets on the heat at once, so you spend less time over the hot stove and can ensure that everything is done at the same time. A paella pan gets really hot, so it is perfect for putting a nice, hard sear on steak or chops.
2. As a Breakfast Griddle
The relatively flat surface is ideal for cooking breakfast foods. You can crisp bacon, scramble or fry eggs, even brown your toast in butter! Use it as a plancha or griddle for your pancakes to cut down on cooking time and get to the eating part faster.
For those veggies tend to fall through the cracks of your grill, a paella pan is the perfect solution. It will get you those perfect toasty vegetables you want, without all the fancy work with the barbecue tongs. Try asparagus, zucchini, broccolini, or some sliced peppers and onions.
Designed for high temperatures, paella pans can be used as you would baking sheets or jelly roll pans. Make buttermilk biscuits or oatmeal cookies, whatever your heart desires!
A traditional roasting pan is wide and shallow, too! You can get a beautiful crispy crust on potatoes in the oven or slow-roast root vegetables to caramelized perfection. Depending on the size of your pan, you can even roast a whole chicken dinner!
6. Stir-Frying or Sautéing
If you don't have a wok, a paellera is a great substitute. It provides a nice even heat so that all of your ingredients cook evenly. Sauté vegetables or stir fry strips of meat, or make a fried rice!
7. Campfire Cooking
A paella pan is pretty much ideal as a portable cooking surface for use over a campfire or open flame (which is how paella is traditionally made, as well). Be careful that it has adequate support; do not simply place it on top of burning wood, as the fire can collapse and send the hot pan flying. Safety first, then dinner!
8. For Presentation
Make a seasonal centerpiece for your table or sideboard in your paella pan, or use it to display and serve appetizers at a dinner party. Just make sure you wash and reseason the pan before you cook with it again!
9. As a Bird Feeder
Frankly, I would rather see you use the pan for any of the above, or donate it to someone who will, but if you absolutely cannot find another place for it, the shape does lend itself to repurposing as a bird bath or bird feeder. Build a custom stand or secure it to a sturdy railing.
Sample Recipe—Chicken Madras in a Paella Pan
Of course, the best use for a paella pan is always going to be to cook paella. You'll need a little bit of practice to make sure you get the right rice texture and a great soccarat, or crust, but once you get the hang of it, it really doesn't take very long to cook. Once you get in the habit, won't be so so daunting, and before you know it, you'll be whipping it up all the time!
Nat on April 27, 2020:
After tons of research I determined my 18" paella pan was the BEST pan available for Camping. You can literally cook anything on it. Only cooking surface necessary for car camping and much cheaper than the fashionable Skottle's now popular with the Overland crowd. I got the "pata negra" 18" paella pan from www.paellapans.com. It is thicker gage carbon steel so it retains heat like a cast iron skillet or carbon steel pan. It has been making the best paella and it's super durable. I'm not paid by them or anything, I just wanted to share the exact pan to get. I also got a 15" Domed cheese melting lid to cover any food you want to "bake" on the pan.
jugeosdeautos on April 09, 2019:
Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.
jenny on April 05, 2019:
This is good
game vex from new york on May 31, 2018:
Oh great! I would also like to experiment with such camps