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Spanish Paella Recipe (Seafood Paella) Best Paella

30 min Cook
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  • Indulge in the vibrant and flavorful world of Spanish cuisine with this efficient and delicious Spanish Paella recipe. With a mere 20 minutes of preparation and 40 minutes of cooking time, you can create a memorable dish to serve six people. The total time investment is just 1 hour, making it a perfect choice for both busy weeknights and special occasions. Immerse yourself in the rich aromas and harmonious flavors of Spain, bringing the essence of authentic paella to your table.

If you want to impress your family and friends with a delicious and authentic Spanish dish, then you need to try making a seafood paella! In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to create the best Spanish paella recipe that showcases the flavors of fresh seafood. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned cook, you can follow our recipe to prepare a mouth-watering dish that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Spain.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn the essential ingredients for making an authentic Spanish paella recipe
  • Discover the history and evolution of this beloved Spanish dish
  • Follow our step-by-step guide to prepare a delicious seafood paella from scratch
  • Get useful tips and tricks to master the art of perfecting your paella
  • Explore different variations and adaptations of paella to suit your preferences and dietary restrictions

What Is Paella?

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish that has become famous all around the world. Legend has it that paella originated in Valencia, a region on Spain’s eastern coast, where farmers would make rice-based meals using whatever ingredients were available to them. Over time, as the recipe for this dish evolved, locals started adding rabbit, chicken and sometimes snails to the mix.

Today, paella is known for its vibrant colors, rich flavors, and communal serving style. It is typically made with short-grain rice, saffron, and a combination of ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables. The dish is cooked in a wide, shallow pan called a paellera, which is specifically designed to ensure the rice cooks evenly and develops a crispy layer at the bottom called the socarrat.

Paella has become so popular that it is now considered Spain’s national dish, and many regions have their own unique variations. Some of the most popular types of paella include Valencian paella (which typically includes chicken, rabbit and snails), seafood paella (made with an assortment of fresh seafood), and mixed paella (a combination of meat and seafood).

Seafood Paella Recipe

To make an authentic paella with chorizo, begin by heating olive oil in a traditional paellera. Sauté Spanish chorizo slices until they release their flavorful oils. Add chicken thighs to the pan, allowing them to brown and infuse the dish with richness. Incorporate paella rice, such as bomba or arborio, stirring it into the mixture. Pour in fragrant chicken stock, enhancing the rice with a savory depth. For an extra layer of taste, add chicken pieces and let them simmer together. This carefully curated blend of ingredients will impart a unique Spanish flair to your paella. As you cook paella, resist the urge to stir too much, allowing the rice to develop that coveted socarrat, a crispy layer at the bottom of the pan. The result is an exquisite paella that perfectly balances the smokiness of Spanish chorizo, the succulence of chicken thighs, and the hearty texture of paella rice—creating a truly authentic and delightful Spanish dish.

Amazing Paella

The History of Paella

Paella has a rich history that reflects the diverse cultural influences that shaped Spain. The dish originated in Valencia, a region that is known for its fertile rice fields and abundant seafood. The origins of paella can be traced back to the 18th century, when farmers cooked rice outdoors over an open flame in a flat, wide pan. They would add whatever ingredients were available, such as beans, rabbit, or snails. The name “paella” comes from the Latin word “patella,” which means “pan”.

Over time, paella became a popular dish among Valencia’s aristocracy. The recipe evolved to include saffron, which gave the rice its distinctive golden color and flavor. Seafood became a common ingredient as Valencia’s fishing industry grew, and the dish spread across Spain and beyond. Today, paella is recognized as a symbol of Spanish cuisine and is enjoyed by people around the world.

The Evolution of Paella

PeriodMajor EventsIngredients
18th CenturyPaella is invented as a farmer’s meal in ValenciaRice, beans, rabbit, snails, saffron, vegetables
Mid-19th CenturySaffron is added as a key ingredientRice, chicken, rabbit, saffron, vegetables
20th CenturySeafood becomes a popular ingredientRice, seafood, saffron, vegetables
Present DayPaella is recognized as a symbol of Spanish cuisine and is enjoyed by people around the worldVaries by region and chef

As the popularity of paella grew, different regions of Spain developed their own variations of the dish. In Catalonia, for example, paella is often made with chicken and butifarra sausage. In Murcia, a Mediterranean region, vegetables like artichokes and peppers are added to the dish. Each variation reflects the local ingredients and cultural traditions of the region.

“Paella is a dish born of poverty, and it tasted great. It was so good that people kept making it, and then everyone started coming up with their own recipe.” – Chef Quique Dacosta

Today, paella remains a staple of Spanish cuisine and a beloved dish for people around the world. Whether you prefer a classic seafood version or a creative spin on the recipe, paella continues to evolve and delight with its vibrant flavors and rich history.

Essential Ingredients for Spanish Paella

To create an authentic Spanish paella recipe, you’ll need to have the essential ingredients that will bring out the traditional flavors of this classic dish.


The key ingredient in any paella recipe is the rice. It’s important to use a short-grain rice, such as the Bomba or Calasparra varieties, which can absorb more liquid and hold up better during the cooking process.


Seafood is a central element of the seafood paella recipe, and you can add a variety of seafood based on your preferences and availability. Classic options include prawns, mussels, clams, and squid.


Another crucial ingredient is saffron, which gives the paella its distinct yellow color and imparts a strong flavor.


Homemade broth, whether fish or chicken, is the best option to enhance the flavor of your paella recipe.


Sofrito, a mixture of onions, garlic, and tomatoes, is the base of the paella recipe and provides the foundation for the layers of flavor in the dish.


Seasonings like paprika and bay leaves add another dimension of flavor to your paella recipe.

By selecting and combining these ingredients in the right proportion, you can achieve the perfect balance and harmony of flavors in your Spanish paella.

Preparing Your Paella Pan

The paella pan is an essential tool for making this delicious Spanish dish. To ensure your paella turns out perfectly, it’s crucial to properly prepare your paella pan before cooking.

First, you need to season your paella pan. This process involves coating the entire surface of the pan with a thin layer of oil. Then, heat the pan over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the oil starts smoking. Remove the pan from the heat and wipe it clean with a paper towel. This will create a natural non-stick surface and prevent your paella from sticking.

Once your pan is seasoned, it’s important to handle it with care. Never use abrasive sponges or metal utensils as they can damage the seasoning. Instead, use a soft sponge or nylon brush and wooden or silicone utensils to protect the surface.

Finally, make sure your paella pan has even heat distribution. Avoid placing it on an electric coil or ceramic cooktop as they can produce uneven heat. Instead, use a gas stove or an outdoor grill for best results.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Spanish Paella

Impress your family and friends with our easy-to-follow Spanish paella recipe. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to make a delicious seafood paella from scratch, bursting with flavor and aromas that will transport you to the streets of Valencia.


Bomb rice2 cups
Seafood stock5 cups
White wine1/2 cup
Saffron1 teaspoon
Garlic, minced4 cloves
Tomato, peeled and chopped1
Red bell pepper, diced1
Onion, finely chopped1
Paprika1 teaspoon
Seafood mix (shrimp, squid, mussels, clams)1 1/2 cups
Olive oil1/4 cup
Salt and pepperTo taste


  1. Heat up the seafood stock and add the saffron. Set aside.
  2. In a paella pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and red bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the tomato and paprika. Cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan and stir it well to coat it with the sofrito (the vegetables and spices at the bottom of the pan).
  5. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates.
  6. Add the seafood stock and stir everything well together.
  7. Arrange the seafood mix over the top of the rice.
  8. Simmer the paella for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked and has absorbed all of the liquid. Move the pan around occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  9. Let the paella rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes and Tips

  • Use a bomba rice or another short-grain rice variety. Long-grain rice won’t absorb the flavors well.
  • If you can’t find seafood stock, use a vegetable stock or chicken broth instead.
  • Never stir the paella once you’ve added the rice and broth. This helps to develop the socarrat, the crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan.
  • You can garnish the paella with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

Tips for Perfecting Your Paella

Impress your guests by mastering the art of making paella with our expert tips and tricks. Here are some handy tips to help you create the best paella:

Achieving the Perfect Socarrat

The socarrat is what gives paella its unique flavor and texture. To achieve a perfect socarrat, make sure you add enough oil and spread the rice evenly across the pan. Allow the rice to cook undisturbed at the bottom of the pan until it forms a slightly crispy layer. You can test the socarrat by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. If you hear a crackling sound, you’ve achieved the perfect socarrat.

Choosing the Right Seafood

When it comes to seafood, fresh is always best. Use a variety of seafood such as prawns, mussels, and clams to add depth of flavor to your paella. If you’re using frozen seafood, make sure to thaw it properly before adding it to the dish.

Adjusting the Seasoning

The right seasoning can make all the difference in a paella. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Add salt, pepper, and saffron to taste. If you prefer a spicier dish, you can also add a pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper.

Using the Right Rice

The type of rice you use can make a big difference in the final result. For the perfect paella, use short-grain rice such as Arborio or Valencia rice. These rice varieties absorb liquid well and cook evenly.

Letting Your Paella Rest

Once your paella is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to develop and prevent the dish from being too watery. Cover the paella with a lid or foil and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

By following these paella tips, you can perfect your paella-making skills and create the best paella that will surely impress your friends and family.

Mastering the Art of Paella: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating the Perfect Spanish Rice Dish with Chorizo and Essential Ingredients

For an exceptional version of paella that captures the essence of traditional Spanish paella, consider this easy and versatile recipe. Begin by heating a large paella pan or skillet; the choice of pan is crucial for achieving the iconic socarrat. This great recipe calls for medium-grain rice, which absorbs the flavors of the paella valenciana beautifully. Add chorizo sausage to infuse the dish with its smoky and robust taste, creating a delightful contrast to the other paella ingredients. Instead of chicken, this version of paella introduces rabbit, adding a unique touch to the traditional paella dish made in Spain. While some may prefer seafood in their paella, using both rabbit and chicken provides a hearty and satisfying twist to this classic recipe.

To cook your paella, follow the recipe calls precisely. Use a seafood broth to enhance the flavors of the paella, ensuring that every grain of short-grain rice is perfectly seasoned. For those who love paella but prefer a vegetarian option, consider making another paella with an array of colorful vegetables and omitting the meat. The beauty of paella lies in its adaptability, making it a special dish for every occasion. Whether you find paella at a local paella restaurant or cook your paella at home, the large skillet to make paella is indispensable for achieving the signature texture and taste. The joy of eating paella comes from the communal experience of sharing a large paella pan with friends and family, savoring the complex flavors that go into this iconic Spanish dish.

Serving and Garnishing Your Paella

Now that your paella is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve and garnish it for a visually stunning and satisfying meal. One of the most iconic ways to serve paella is with a paella pan. Place the pan in the center of the table and allow your guests to dig in and serve themselves.

If you opt for individual servings, consider using shallow bowls or plates to showcase the colorful array of ingredients. For an extra touch of authenticity, use wooden utensils to add to the rustic allure of the dish.

Garnishing Your Paella

An essential aspect of any paella is the garnish. Use fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish. Lemon wedges are also a popular addition, as they help to balance out the richness of the seafood and rice.

If you really want to impress your guests, consider adding a unique touch to your paella with a creative garnish such as edible flowers or microgreens. The possibilities are endless!


In addition to garnishes, there are a variety of accompanying dishes and drinks that pair perfectly with paella. A crisp green salad or a variety of tapas can be served alongside the dish for a complete Spanish meal experience.

When it comes to drinks, traditional Spanish red and white wines pair well with paella. A light and fruity sangria or a refreshing glass of cava can also be enjoyed to complement the flavors.

Now that you know how to serve and garnish your paella, gather your loved ones and enjoy this communal and flavorful meal.

Paella Variations and Adaptations

Paella is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Here are some of the variations that you can explore:

Valencian Paella

The classic Valencian paella is made with chicken, rabbit, and sometimes snails. This dish is typically served at lunchtime and is often enjoyed by families or groups of friends.

Seafood Paella

For seafood lovers, a seafood-only paella is the perfect choice. This dish typically features an assortment of seafood such as shrimp, clams, and mussels.

Vegan Paella

Vegans can enjoy a tasty paella too! Swap out the meat and seafood for vegetables such as bell peppers, artichokes, and green beans.

Paella Mixta

A “mixta” paella combines both meat and seafood for a flavorful and filling meal. This dish typically features chicken, shrimp, and a variety of vegetables.

Black Paella

Black paella, or “arroz negro,” gets its distinct color from squid ink. This dish is typically served with seafood and a side of alioli (garlic mayonnaise).

No matter which variation you choose, paella is a dish that is sure to impress.

Wine Pairings for Paella

A great paella meal is not complete without a perfect wine pairing. Whether you’re savoring seafood or meat paella, we have some wine recommendations that will make your meal even more enjoyable.

White Wine

Wine TypeOriginFlavorsBest Paired With
AlbariñoSpainCitrus, floral, and mineral notesSeafood paella
Sauvignon BlancFranceHerbal, fruity, and grassy aromasVegetarian and chicken paella
VermentinoItalyLight-bodied with bright aciditySeafood and vegetable paella

Red Wine

Wine TypeOriginFlavorsBest Paired With
Tinto FinoSpainBold, fruity, and spicy notesMeat paella
Pinot NoirFranceEarthy, red fruit, and floral flavorsVegetable and seafood paella
SyrahAustraliaDark fruit, chocolate, and tobacco notesMeat and mushroom paella

Remember, wine pairings are subjective, so you can always experiment and find your perfect pairing. Cheers to a delicious paella meal!

 Make Paella

Indulge in the culinary journey of creating the best paella ever with this easy-to-follow recipe. Begin by selecting a high-quality paella pan, a crucial component for achieving the distinct texture that defines this traditional Spanish dish. For the perfect paella, choose a combination of medium grain rice and short grain rice, allowing each grain to absorb the rich flavors and aromas as the paella is uncovered during the cooking process.

This special paella recipe calls for a delightful blend of chicken, seafood, and chorizo, creating a harmonious symphony of tastes. Add the chorizo to infuse the dish with its smoky essence, complementing the savory notes of the chicken. As you cook the rice, the paella pan becomes a canvas for the art of paella cooking, where each ingredient becomes a vital part of the culinary masterpiece. Whether you’re preparing a traditional paella in Spain or crafting a vegetarian paella with an array of vibrant vegetables, this versatile recipe allows you to tailor the dish to your preferences. The magic of paella lies not only in the variety of ingredients that go into it but also in the shared experience of enjoying this iconic Spanish dish, making each bite a celebration of culinary craftsmanship.

Unveiling the Culinary Magic: Mastering the Art of Making Spanish Paella with the Right Ingredients and Tools

Discover the secrets behind crafting the perfect Spanish paella with our comprehensive guide. Learn which essential ingredients go into paella, and why having the right paella pan is crucial for success. From exploring the nuances of paella cooking to understanding the subtleties of paella ingredients, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to create an authentic and flavorful Spanish paella. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a cooking enthusiast, our step-by-step instructions and tips will empower you to make paella like a pro. Serve up a delicious and memorable experience with our Spanish paella recipe that captures the essence of this iconic dish.


Now that you have learned about the history, essential ingredients, and step-by-step guide for making an authentic Spanish seafood paella, it’s time to gather your loved ones and enjoy this communal dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Spain. Remember to follow our tips for perfecting your paella, from achieving the perfect socarrat to choosing the right seafood.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and adaptations of paella to suit your preferences and dietary restrictions. And to enhance the overall dining experience, don’t forget to pair your paella with the perfect wine.

With our recipe and expert guidance, you can confidently create the best paella that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Spain. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!


What is paella?

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish that originated in Valencia. It is typically made with rice, saffron, and a variety of ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables. Paella is known for its vibrant colors, rich flavors, and communal serving style.

What is the history of paella?

The history of paella traces back to its humble beginnings as a farmer’s meal in Valencia. Over time, it gained international recognition as a symbol of Spanish cuisine. Today, paella is enjoyed worldwide for its delicious flavors and cultural significance.

What are the essential ingredients for Spanish paella?

To create an authentic Spanish paella, you will need specific types of rice, seafood, seasonings, and other key elements. These ingredients come together to achieve the perfect balance of flavors and textures in your paella.

How do I prepare my paella pan?

Properly preparing your paella pan is important for even heat distribution and preventing sticking. Season your pan before cooking and follow our tips for caring for your pan to ensure optimal cooking results.

Can you provide a step-by-step guide to making Spanish paella?

Certainly! Our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of making a delicious seafood paella from scratch. From preparing the sofrito (base) to adding the rice, broth, and seafood, we’ll cover each stage of the cooking process.

What are some tips for perfecting my paella?

We’ve got you covered! Discover useful tips and tricks to elevate your paella-making skills. Whether it’s achieving the perfect socarrat or adjusting the seasoning, our expert advice will help you create the best paella possible.

How should I serve and garnish my paella?

Presenting your paella with flair is part of the experience. We’ll explore traditional serving methods, including the use of paella pans and communal sharing. Additionally, we’ll discuss various garnishes and accompaniments to enhance the overall dining experience.

Are there any variations or adaptations of paella?

Absolutely! Paella comes in different regional variations and adaptations. From classic Valencian paella to seafood-only versions or vegetarian alternatives, you can experiment with different styles based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

What are some wine pairings for paella?

Wine is a great way to complement the flavors of paella. We’ll share suggestions for both white and red wines that enhance the rich flavors of the dish and create a harmonious dining experience.

Authentic Spanish Paella

Indulge in the rich flavors of Spain with this Authentic Spanish Paella recipe. A vibrant and hearty dish, paella is a celebration of carefully selected ingredients and meticulous cooking techniques. From succulent meats to aromatic spices, each element harmonizes to create a culinary masterpiece that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine.
prep time
25 min
cooking time
30 min
total time
55 min


  • Paella Pan (or a wide, shallow skillet)

  • Cooking Spoon

  • Knife

  • Cutting Board

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons

  • Ladle


  • Bomb rice

  • Seafood stock

  • White wine

  • Saffron

  • Garlic, minced

  • Tomato, peeled and chopped

  • Red bell pepper, diced

  • Onion, finely chopped

  • Paprika

  • Seafood mix (shrimp, squid, mussels, clams)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper




For an authentic touch, consider using Bomba rice, a traditional choice for paella. Adjust the spice level by choosing mild or spicy Spanish chorizo. While rabbit meat is optional, it adds a unique depth of flavor to the paella. Allow the paella to rest for a few minutes after cooking to enhance its flavors. Experiment with seafood variations, such as adding mussels, clams, or shrimp, for a personalized twist.
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