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Smaller Paella Pan

Published December 2020
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. 


  • 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.

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The Results


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.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.