What’s the best Spanish paella recipe?

Make Paella Recipe: Seafood or or Chorizo

Paella, which originates from Valencia and is pronounced paw-ayy-yah, is a rice-based Spanish dish that uses a saffron-infused chicken stock to tint the rice a golden yellow and can contain any and every variety of vegetables, poultry, seafood, shellfish, and occasionally sausage. It is cooked and usually served in a shallow, wide bottomed pan known as a paella pan.


  • 2 cups Arborio or Valencia rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, for extra flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1/2 pound clams, cleaned
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, crush the saffron threads with the back of a spoon and soak them in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Set aside.
  2. In a large paella pan or wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the sliced bell peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the diced tomato, paprika, smoked paprika (if using), cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the vegetable mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice is lightly toasted.
  5. Pour in the white wine and saffron mixture, and let it cook for a minute or two until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  6. Add the chicken broth, starting with 3 cups. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is about 80% cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. If needed, add more broth.
  7. Nestle the seafood into the rice, placing the mussels, clams, shrimp, and squid evenly around the pan. Add the frozen peas as well.
  8. Cover the paella with a lid or aluminum foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through and the rice is tender but still slightly al dente.
  9. Remove from heat and let the paella rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
  10. Enjoy your homemade seafood paella!

When it comes to the best Spanish paella recipe, there are countless variations, each with its own unique blend of flavors and ingredients. One popular version of paella incorporates Spanish chorizo, a flavorful sausage made with paprika and garlic. To make this recipe, start by heating olive oil in a large paella pan over medium heat. Add sliced Spanish chorizo and cook until it begins to release its oils and turn slightly crispy. Next, add diced chicken thigh pieces and cook until they are browned on all sides. This combination of chorizo and chicken adds a rich depth of flavor to the paella.

Once the chorizo and chicken are cooked, add paella rice to the pan, spreading it evenly across the bottom. Traditional Spanish paella rice, such as Bomba or Calasparra rice, is ideal for this dish as it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients while maintaining a firm texture. Make sure to distribute the rice evenly so that it forms a thin layer at the bottom of the pan, allowing it to develop a crispy crust, known as socarrat, as it cooks.

To enhance the flavor of the paella, add chicken broth or stock to the pan, covering the rice and other ingredients. Allow the paella to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the short grain rice has absorbed the liquid and is cooked through. As the rice cooks, it will absorb the savory flavors of the chorizo, chicken, and broth, creating a deliciously flavorful rice dish.

Once the rice is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, remove the paella from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the socarrat to form on the bottom of the pan. Garnish the paella with fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, for added freshness and color. Serve the paella hot, straight from the pan, and enjoy the rich, savory flavors of this traditional Spanish dish.

When it comes to the best Spanish paella recipe, there are numerous variations to explore, each offering its own delightful twist on this iconic dish. One classic rendition is the traditional Valencian paella, which typically includes a combination of meat and seafood. To prepare this authentic Spanish paella, you'll need a large paella pan to accommodate the ingredients and ensure even cooking. Start by heating olive oil in the pan and sautéing diced chicken and Spanish chorizo until they are browned and cooked through. This combination of meat adds rich flavors to the paella and is a hallmark of traditional Spanish cuisine.

For seafood lovers, a seafood paella recipe offers a tantalizing alternative. This version of paella features an array of fresh seafood such as shrimp, mussels, and clams, combined with traditional paella rice and aromatic spices. To make this delicious paella, begin by heating olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan. Sauté diced onions and garlic until they are soft and fragrant, then add the seafood and cook until it is just cooked through. This seafood paella is a celebration of the ocean's bounty and is sure to impress with its vibrant colors and flavors.

One of the beauties of paella is its versatility, allowing you to customize the dish according to your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. For a mixed paella, you can combine both meat and seafood for a hearty and satisfying meal. This mixed paella is a crowd-pleaser and is perfect for gatherings and celebrations. Whether you're cooking paella with chicken, chorizo, seafood, or a combination of ingredients, the key is to follow the recipe and cook the paella with care, allowing the flavors to develop and the rice to absorb the delicious broth.

The best paella is traditionally cooked in a large paella pan over an open flame, you can still achieve excellent results using a regular skillet or even a Dutch oven. The important thing is to cook the paella uncovered, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the broth and develop a crispy crust on the bottom of the pan. Whether you're cooking paella indoors or outdoors, the result is sure to be a delicious and memorable meal that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine.

To make paella, start by heating olive oil in a large paella pan over medium heat. Add diced chicken thighs and Spanish chorizo, cooking until browned and cooked through. Next, add diced onions, bell peppers, and garlic, sautéing until softened. Stir in Spanish rice, such as Bomba or Calasparra rice, ensuring it forms an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Pour in chicken broth and saffron threads, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid and cook until tender. Arrange seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, and clams, on top of the rice and cook until they are just cooked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges before serving.

In conclusion, the best Spanish paella recipe is a celebration of flavors and textures, showcasing the rich culinary heritage of Spain. Using traditional Spanish rice, such as Bomba or Calasparra rice, ensures the perfect consistency and texture for the dish. Whether you opt for a classic paella with chicken and chorizo or a seafood paella bursting with fresh seafood, the key is to layer the ingredients carefully, allowing the rice to form a crispy crust at the bottom of the pan. With its vibrant colors, bold flavors, and comforting aroma, paella is not just a dish but a culinary masterpiece that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. Using short-grain rice ensures a creamy and tender texture, while the layer of rice at the bottom of the pan adds depth and richness to each bite. Follow this great recipe to make this dish at home and savor the authentic taste of Spain in every mouthful.