Spanish Paella

How to use your Cazuelas

Cazuelas (or cazuelitas for the smaller sizes) of all different sizes are a staple in every Spanish Kitchen. You can use your Cazuela in a variety of ways, on gas/electric/or ceramic cooktops, in the oven, or over an open fire or BBQ. Our Cazuelas come with a set of instructions for your convenience. 

Here are some tips from Janet Mendel, journalist and Spanish cookbook author who has lived in Southern Spain for over 30yrs. We are selling Janet’s Book, “Tapas A bite of Spain” in our online shop. She also has a fantastic blog about Spanish food and home cooking, live from her kitchen and garden called “My Kitchen in Spain”  - mykitcheninspain.blogspot.com

Extracts By Janet Mendel

Cazuelas are Spain’s contribution to clay pot cooking.  They are wide, flat casseroles of low-fired clay, glazed on the inside, so liquids don’t escape through the porous clay, and unglazed on the bottom. Cazuelas come in many sizes, though they generally are not very deep. Rarely do they come with lids.

I use my cazuelas directly on a gas stove burner.  If using an electric or ceramic cooktop, it is suggested that you always use a heat diffuser when cooking in earthenware.

You can use a cazuela in place of a skillet, a paella pan (a paella becomes “rice cazuela”), a sauté pan, an oven casserole. Earthenware holds a slow, steady heat, allowing foods to cook gently and evenly. Earthenware holds the heat, so food continues to cook even after you remove it from the stove. You can even sauté and brown foods in a cazuela—add enough oil to cover the bottom surface and heat the oil until very hot. Don’t crowd the pan with the foods to be browned.

New cazuelas taste of raw clay. Soak them in water for 24 hours. Dry well, then coat the inside with olive oil and place in a medium-low oven for 40 minutes. Frequent use is the best method for seasoning cazuelas.

Never heat an empty/dry cazuela. Take care not to set a hot one down on a cold surface, as it might crack. Really big cazuelas are heavy and not easy to manoeuvre in and out of the oven. Small cazuelitas are fine for microwave cooking and reheating. 

Here in Spain, cazuela is both the name of the cooking vessel and of foods cooked in it. Most cazuela dishes start with a sauté, or sofrito, and finish braising with liquid.

Thanks Janet

In Janet Mendel's superb cookbook "Tapas a bite of Spain" she dedicates a whole chapter to cooking with Cazuelas/Cazulitas, called "saucy dishes". Find her book in our online shop.

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