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The right diameter for a Paellera?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I want to buy a paellera, a.k.a. paella dish, and am wondering what diameter I should get. 


Ideally I'd like to be able to feed 6 to 8 people comfortably, more often 6 than 8 (meaning they may eat a bit more than a typical serving, if it's really good - I'm ambitious) without using a special fire ring. I'll be using a single large burner on the top of my range. 


Does 17" sound like the right size? 


Also has anyone ever tried the thicker carbon steel paelleras? Like "La Tienda"'s pata negra? I suppose it would be easier to heat up uniformly, and to retain the heat better once the dish is in the middle of the table for serving.



post #2 of 12

17" (about 43 cm.) should be ok for 6-8. Just in case someday you have 10 hungry guests, you could buy a 18". But it depends on the size of your burner or oven. Carbon steel paellas are good. Just need some extra care. Dedicated burners are the way to go unless you are cooking over wood fire, which is the best (you know: smoke condensing over the paella, falls down to the paella, gives extra smoky flavour, etc.)

The Pata Negra paella pans looks awesome. Pro level.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks ordo!! Can't wait to try one over a wood fire.... I hear the tradition is to use orange tree wood, I have grapefruit tree wood so I'll try that first.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ok I gave this more thought... and the large parties or cooking over wood fire may require a different paellera in the future. For right now I need a paellera that will work with a standard large range-top burner, even if that means it's only enough paella for 4 or for 6.


So what's the maximum size that does not require a wood fire or a special burner, and how many people can that size feed? For those of you who have cooked paella in a paellera, do you think the estimate serving numbers listed with the dishes for example at are accurate? 


Thanks a lot!

post #5 of 12

To start with just use a large frying pan, but from time to time Lidl or Aldi (never can remember) do a double ring gas burner for about 30 Euros.

If you are in France, it is not a long drive to Spain (I do it all the time!) you can get a really good price in one of the local markets and buy a range of different size pans to suit your needs.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Lawrence, but right now I don't have space to store additional equipment so I really don't want to purchase anything but a paellera. I've made paella in frying pans before but I want to start using a real paellera, the challenge being to find the maximum amount I can make over a range top burner. 


Anyway I'm mostly in the U.S. nowadays, I won't be able to visit a Lidl or an Aldi for the next 6 months or so. smile.gif

post #7 of 12

I have an 18" pan which in my opinion serves 4 to 5, the figures on that site you mention seem to be very abitious or maybe refer to "tapas" servings.

I have used my pan on a standard range, the balance was the hardest part but the results were good. If you have a 5 burner top with one in the middle you will be fine. You might want to try using a diffuser to spread the heat (I think that was what I did.)

I also got great results using a really cheap round bbq, I didnt put the back on when I assembled it so the pan could be placed centrally.

post #8 of 12

17 - 18" is probably max for a kitchen stove; but it depends on the stove.  If you can get the paellera over two burners, that's a good thing.  The limitation is, as already said, keeping the paellera from falling off the side. 


An outdoor grill is very convenient, as long as it's deep enough.   Considering the pan size you're talking about -- a great many aren't.  For most people, getting an adequate wood fire in their patio grill is fantasy.  Ordinary grill size and construction restricts them to gas or charcoal. You could, I suppose, throw a few vine trimmings or wood chips on the fire, or use a smoke bomb for a few minutes of cooking.     



post #9 of 12



42 Cm. would be better in case you have company or would like leftovers for lunch the next day ... I would also purchase one made in Valencia, where the dish originated.



My Shellfish Paella

Edited by margcata - 7/22/12 at 9:34am
post #10 of 12

Margcata -- With affection and respect, a 24cm (9-1/2") diameter paellera is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too small for 6 people.  24cm is a nice individual serving. 


Something in the 42cm to 46cm range is the ticket.  Me, I put 42cm as the ideal size for dinner for four, and kind of a stretch for six.  46cm, vice versa.  On the one hand, better to have left overs than left outs.  On the other, 46cm is getting awfully big for a home stove.


IMO pan's region of origin doesn't matter much either.  Why would it?



Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/22/12 at 9:44am
post #11 of 12



Apologies ... I honestly meant to state 42cm ... that is what I have in Madrid ... The one in the photo is just for a visiting older daughter and her daughter.


Have a nice summer Boar.


Ciao, Margi.  

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Great, thanks guys. Sounds like I will end up with a standard 17" paellera then for now. 

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