Paella has bits of everything I love: rice, seafood, and most importantly socarrat: crispy crunchy toasted rice bits.

Have you ever been obsessed with a dish even though you’ve never eaten it? For me, that dish was paella. It was one of those food bucket list items – I don’t remember how or why I became so obsessed with having paella from its birthplace of Valencia, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that paella is so pretty and such an iconic dish. It’s so iconic that people around the world think of it as the quintessential Spanish dish, even though it’s actually more Valencian. I mean, Valencia is in Spain, so it’s all good to me.

paella |

Years ago, Mike and I went to Valencia and the first thing we ate was paella! We literally got off the train and went to a paella restaurant. On the way there, there were a bunch of Valencian orange trees that had some pretty tempting looking oranges but apparently the orange trees that line the streets of Valencia are not the same sweet ones that they use for juice. Anyway, the paella in Spain was as good as I imagined. So good that all of our meals in Valencia were either paella or Spanish churros dipped in chocolate.

The paella was all things good: juicy seasoned meats, tender-crisp beans, and the best part, saffron scented rice with crispy toasty rice bits. It was a dream come true.

paella recipe |

What is paella?

Paella, pronounced pay-EH-yah! is a rice dish made in a shallow, wide pan over an open fire. Paella means “frying pan” in Valencian. Traditionally, paella includes short grain rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, and saffron, but nowadays there are a huge number of variations, from seafood to vegetarian. I made a mixta paella here, which is essentially a mixed paella that has meat, seafood, and vegetables.

paella |

How to make paella

  1. Soak the saffron. This will release both color and aroma. Pop some saffron into a small bowl with hot water and set aside.
  2. Sear the proteins. Heat up some olive oil in your paella pan over medium high heat and give your proteins a quick sear: the chicken goes in skin side down and the chorizo gets browned. Shrimp gets a quick toss in before being removed so it doesn’t over cook.
  3. Sweat the aromatics. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add the liquids. Carefully add chicken stock and the saffron water and bring everything to a boil. Flip the chicken skin side up so it’s pretty.
  5. Add the rice. Time to sprinkle in the rice! Try to add it in a thin, even layer and use a spoon to spread it out if you need to. Let everything come to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid.
  6. Add the seafood. Nestle in the clams and add the shrimp back on top.
  7. Cook on low until the clams open up and the rice is al denote.
  8. Socarrat time! Turn the heat up to high for 1-2 minutes to create a crispy toasty crunchy rice crust.
  9. Rest and enjoy. Cover the paella with some foil and let rest for 5 minutes before enjoying.

cooking paella |

Paella Ingredients


Because paella is truly all about the rice, the rice is the most important ingredient. Bomba rice, from Spain, is the best choice. It absorbs 3 times as much liquid than regular rice giving it 3 times as much flavor when all the liquid is absorbed. Plus cooked right, it stays firm and al dente. You can usually find bomba rice at Whole Foods or online.

bomba rice |

Smoked Spanish Paprika

Smoked paprika comes in sweet and bittersweet, go for sweet smoked Spanish paprika. It adds smokiness, aroma, and color.


There’s a lot of controversy about what kind of protein goes into paella. If you’re not super concerned about authenticity you can customize your paella and put anything you want it. If you’re going with chorizo try to get a Spanish chorizo, which is dried and cured. But if you only have Mexican chorizo available, I think that’s okay too. Purists say that chorizo will overwhelm the other flavors, but we’ve had multiple paella in Valencia with (and without) chorizo, so it’s a personal choice. Other proteins you can use include chicken, pork, seafood, or really, anything you can dream of.


Most paella has vegetables in it, especially the paella we had while we were in Valencia. Usually it’s some sort of green bean, a variety that isn’t so common here in North America. You can sub in other green beans, add peppers, asparagus, artichokes, peas, olives, beans, chickpeas, really, it’s like the proteins, go wild!


A nicely seasoned stock as this is what’s going to add flavor to the insides of your bomba rice. That being said, if you’re salt adverse, I would do low sodium stock and then season afterwards. If you have the time, make a homemade seafood/shellfish or chicken stock, which makes it even easier to control the seasoning and flavor.


Saffron is what gives paella its gorgeous golden hue. The orange-red threads are earthy, floral, and add a distinct flavor. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. You only need about 1/2 teaspoon but it definitely adds to the overall flavor, so don’t skip out on it. Look for saffron threads that are deep red-orange and evenly colored. Saffron is sold in most large grocery stores and specialty food stores and of course, online.

saffron |

Paella pan

If you want the all important toasty rice bits, or socarrat, you’re going to need a paella pan. The width of a paella pan helps with rice distribution, ensuring that the rice cooks in a thin layer. A pan that feeds two is generally about 10-12 inches and a pan that serves eight is about 18 inches. The most popular pan sizes are 14 and 16 inches, which feed 4-6. Which size pan you get depends on how many people you plan to feed.

The wider the pan, the more people it feeds. They even have pans that are 4 feet wide! Years ago, around Christmas, Mike and I were in London and we saw two giant paella pans at Covent Garden. The saffron deliciousness wafting through the chilly air was so tempting so we decided to join the huge queue for a taste. I’m sure Hola Paella (now closed forever) wasn’t the most authentic paella in London, but it attracted a lot of attention and was a perfect snack to warm us up on a cold day.

paella pan |

What if I don’t have a paella pan?

If you’re wondering, can I use a cast iron skillet to make paella, the answer is yes! As long as you’re using the right rice, you can definitely use a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are somewhat wide and conduct heat well, making them great for making paella. Use the biggest and widest cast iron pan you have so you can spread your rice out.

Paella in a frying pan

If you have a craving for paella and you don’t have a paella pan or a cast iron pan you can make it in a frying pan. Spanish people might look down on you, but hey, you do you! I’ve definitely made paella in a frying pan in a pinch and it tastes good. You can use a non-stick or regular frying pan but if you’re using non-stick, make sure you don’t go too high on the heat. It really shouldn’t be a problem, especially with paella since you don’t use a huge amount of high heat anyway – keep it to medium high.

If you’re looking for socarrat in a regular frying pan, my tip is keep it on low heat for a long time, until the moisture cooks out and you get crispy bottoms. If you are going to try this in a frying pan, I recommend halving it because the recipe as per below will not fit in your standard 12 inch frying pan.

What rice should I use?

Paella should be made with Bomba or Calasparra rice, medium grain rices grown in Spain. Spanish rice is chubby and round, ideal for absorbing large amounts of liquid while still staying somewhat firm. You want your rice kernels stay separate and not creamy or mushy.

The rice really is the best part of a paella. I can eat loads and loads of that smoky, saffron flavoured rice and I have. I made a giant pan for Mike, myself and a good friend thinking there would definitely be leftovers (I used a pan that serves 6-8), but the three of us polished it off in one sitting. We totally fell into simultaneous food comas afterwards, but it was worth it. The best part was that there was more than enough socarrat to go around.

bomba rice |

What is socarrat?

Socarrat is the essential layer of crispy crunchy toasted rice at the bottom of the pan when you cook your paella just right. Most people consider it the best parts. It’s caramelized and toasty and nutty and has all the flavors of paella concentrated.

Paella FAQ

What are the different kinds of paella?

  • Valencian: The classic Valencia version with rabbit, chicken, lima beans, long beans, snails, and rosemary.
  • Seafood/paella de marisco: A seafood version with no meat. It tends to be a bit more liquidy because seafood releases a lot of delicious juices. It usually has prawns, mussels, calamari, and clams.
  • Mixed/mixta paella: A mix between Valencian and marisco with meat and seafood. It’s the most popular of all.
  • Paella negra: Immediately recognizable with it’s inky black rice. It’s made with squid ink and is a Spanish favorite.
  • Vegetarian/paella vegetariana: Loads of vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, and red and greens peppers. Sometimes you’ll find chickpeas and potatoes too.

Should you presoak the rice?

There’s no reason to soak the rice. Soaking the rice will make it more likely to be overcooked and mushy.

Do you stir while cooking?

Nope, no stirring required. Paella is not risotto and stirring will give your rice a creamy texture instead of the crispy socarrat you’re looking for.

Do you cover the pan when cooking?

Unlike other rice dishes, you don’t need to cover the pan. The rice can only reach its signature al dente texture if the moisture can escape. This also makes the best the crispy socarrat.

What is paella sauce?

In Valencia, no paella is complete without a side of paella sauce or garlic aioli. The creamy, garlicky sauce is reminiscent of mayo and goes perfectly with the smoky, flavorful rice. To make garlic aioli, place 1 cup neutral oil, 1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp dijon, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 1 clove garlic into an immersion blender cup. Use an immersion blender and blend until combined and thick. Season with salt to taste.

How to reheat

The best way to reheat paella is in a pan on the stove top. Take the leftovers out of the fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes before you reheat. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then spread out the paella. Let it crisp, stirring occasionally until it is heated through. You can also heat it up in the microwave, stirring and heating as needed, about 1-2 minute on high.

What else can I use a paella pan for?

You can use it for cooking anything that will do well with a wide, flat cooking surface. It’s perfect for searing meats, using as a roasting pan, or even stir-fry.

I hope you guys give this recipe a try.
smoky saffron rice and crispy bits forever,
xoxo steph

paella |

paella recipe |

Paella Recipe

Paella even has its own emoji!
Serves 6
4.68 from 134 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 30 threads saffron lightly crushed, about 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil high heat such as grapeseed preferred
  • 2 links Spanish chorizo sliced
  • 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs
  • 10-12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 small onion minced, about 1 cup
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3 medium tomatoes diced or grated, about 2 cups, see notes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 6 cups chicken broth no sodium preferred
  • 2.5 cups bomba rice
  • 1 red or orange pepper sliced into 1" strips
  • 12 clams

Special Equipment


  • Stir the saffron into 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl and let bloom for 15 minutes.
    saffron |
  • In a 16″–18″ paella pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and the chicken, skin side down. Add the the shrimp and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes, then transfer the shrimp to a plate, leaving the meats to sear in the pan.
    cooking paella |
  • Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and cook, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add the saffron and 4 cups of chicken stock. Flip the chicken so it’s skin side up and bring everything to a boil over high heat.
    making paella |
  • Sprinkle in the rice, distributing evenly, then add the peppers on top. Cook, uncovered, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 12-15 minutes. If the pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes to evenly distribute the heat. Once the stock is low enough, add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock.
    making paella |
  • Reduce heat to low, and top with the cooked shrimp. Nestle in the clams, hinge side down. Continue to cook, without covering or stirring, until the clams opened and the rice absorbs the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more. Turn heat to high for 1-2 minutes to create the socarrat. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before enjoying.
    paella recipe |


Paella is totally customizable so feel free to make this dish vegetarian, all seafood, or all meats.
You also can grate the tomatoes on the largest holes of a box grater. Be careful and discard the skin afterwards.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Paella Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 589 Calories from Fat 158
% Daily Value*
Fat 17.5g27%
Saturated Fat 2.5g16%
Cholesterol 112mg37%
Sodium 353mg15%
Potassium 368mg11%
Carbohydrates 83.8g28%
Fiber 2.8g12%
Sugar 3.1g3%
Protein 26.2g52%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. mango says:

    I have only somewhat been interested in Paella, but after reading this post, I’m definitely going to try it! Thanks!

  2. I haven’t made this in a while, and have made it with only seafood in the past, will definitely try with chicken and chorizo! Love that photo of the saffron!

    1. Vicente says:

      Do not lose the time, they will never know what is a real paella. A Valencian guy

      1. Winston Alvarez says:

        You Spanish people think you r the only ones that knows how to make Paella

        1. Karen says:

          Have you ever lived in Spain, particularly Valencia? Our daughter did. Mama made paella with rabbit and chicken. That was considered the authentic way! But many people capitalize on it-don’t criticize a country’s traditions!

        2. Aida says:

          5 stars
          I greatly appreciate the blooming of saffron and even how many threads! My family enjoyed this meal!

  3. Mrs. Hopper says:

    I love your blog. So I hope don’t upset you with my comment.
    But chorizo in a paella is prophanaty. Paella can be made with chicken and rabbit or with seafood, never together. And vegetables! All paellas should have vegetables.
    Sorry in Valencia, paella is our big dish, and this is rice with things, I’m sure it was delicious, but it’s rice with things.
    Anyway, thanks for your work

    1. Julie Peters says:

      Please! Paella varies from region to region and Valencia does not have the monopoly on paella nor how it should be made – my Mom who was from Fernancaballero made it with pork,chicken, shrimp, mussels and calamares when times were good! Less if times were tight. And paella with chorizo is absoultely wonderful!!! I personally make it with tomate frito, chicken breast, pork, shrimp and chorizo and instead of chicken broth use seafood broth. For my vegetable I use peas but green beans are tasty too. So to call any dish that doesn’t fall into your narrow scope of experience as “rice with things” is a little insulting.

      1. Felix G says:

        Well said Julie, to call any dish that doesn’t fall into your narrow scope of experience as “rice with things” is a little insulting. My father would make it with chicken, shrimp, lobster, chorizo, and would at times throw in fish. My grandfather who was a spaniard loved it.

    2. Carlota says:

      hehehe I agree with your comment. And yes, vegetables are really important in any rice!

    3. Lori says:

      That’s bull. I read a response on another paella review that used chorizo. The person said they had just come back from a 2-week trip to Spain, had paella at 6 different places spread all over the country including in the house of a local family, and that every single one used chorizo. I too get tired of people who insist that a dish is not “authentic” just because it is not done a certain way. Especially irritating are complaints that it is not authentic when the chef never even claimed it was authentic!

      1. James H says:

        5 stars
        Very true. Cars didn’t use to have air conditioning, but it sure was a huge improvement when they did. It’s ok to improve upon “authentic” things.

      2. Mike says:

        Well said !

  4. Every August we make one very like this at our friends’ cottage on Plymouth Long Beach, except we supplement the shellfish with a lobster! The lobster adds a great splash of color in the middle of that big pan. Maybe it’s not authentically Spanish, but if you want fresh and local fish for the dish, lobster’s what we’ve got!

  5. Maria says:

    My father was from Valencia and my mother from Alicante. Our family have cooked and eaten many paella’s. The beauty of this dish is that you make it with what’s regionally available and what you like. We always had it with chicken, pork, clams, mussels, shrimp, fresh string beans or peas and chick peas. It’s best made outdoors on an open fire to incorporate that “smokey” flavor. My children and their friends love to watch it being made (and eating it!) it is a very “social” meal. Makes for great memories.

    1. Everything looks very yummy.I love it

  6. yumgoggle says:

    A very festive meal, this is. Even the color is really enticing. I would love to try sometime but the complexity gives me the hesitations. You have presented the recipe however in so easy a manner that I am inspired to try this really soon…Thanks!
    Anyways, your phenomenal photos have caught our attention, we have been in the lookout for unique and interesting bloggers since we have launched our food photo gallery This will allow you to showcase all your great work and share it with our visitors. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there!

  7. Eileen says:

    I’ve never made paella, but that clearly must change! I totally want to make a big batch and eat it all week for lunch.

  8. Richard says:

    I love your blog and as usual it is a deliciously fun article.
    There are as many kind of paellas as regions (just like you say “customizable”), as families and as each and every member of a same family (in mine nobody makes it the same way with very different results )… Like couscous or meatballs recipes, everybody has its own…
    Other people (the ones with the “truth”) will ask “why didn’t you do the “sofrito”?” and so on and so on and so on… But in fact, there’s no “real” recipe…
    I’m sure yours was wonderful…

  9. Luis_San_Co says:

    NEVER add chorizo to a paella. That’s not even Spanish.

    1. Julie Peters says:

      We are talking about Spanish chorizo not Mexican chorizo…Completely different chorizo…

    2. exploitoholic says:

      The referenced recipe calls for the correct style of chorizo but the blog’s author (mistakenly IMO) switched to Mexican chorizo.

      I made the same mistake in my first paella, it was kind of a disaster. Sliced andouille or other cajun style sausage is a tasty and cheaper substitute for spanish chorizo.

      1. Tim Hallas says:

        4 stars
        The author actually said “ if your going to use chorizo, Spanish chorizo is the way to go but if you wanted Mexican chorizo is ok.“

  10. I love paella, and the bomba rice really makes a difference. And yes, eating it in Valencia is amazing, partly because most paella restaurants are by the beach so you get that ambiance with it. There are lots of paella purists out there (as you will note in the comments) but like you said, it really is a pan where you can make your own creation. And yes, I love the socarrat too (when it turns out)! ;-)

  11. Ouch that giant paella is killing me. Thank you for your ‘how to choose the proper pan’ to cook this type of food. It’s really helpful.

  12. olivia kim says:

    5 stars
    Wow, every dish looks amazing including this one. Keep up the good work and continue making us drool. ^^

    1. Leslie says:

      I am sure you have heard by now but in the true Valencia fashion – newspaper is added as the top (after the whole dish has come to a good rolling boil) heat is reduced (fire burned down at the exact appropriate time; even building the fire is an art!

  13. Sydney says:

    Should I have the lid on while the rice is absorbing the broth?

    1. Ingrid says:

      5 stars
      She is not claiming to have the “one and only, the greatest paella in the world”…off course
      everyone will have their own versions!
      If you blog to criticize… are missing the point!!!!!!!!!!!
      Great pictures!!!

    2. Leslie says:

      sorry replied to the wrong question.

  14. renee says:

    can you make an aioli please to go with the paella!

    1. Chris says:

      I love to eat and I can see no reason to not love paella!

  15. Dee says:

    Love your blog! Keep it up!

  16. carol says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m spanish, from Valencia, and this is NOT paella

    1. Sarah says:

      Please share a resource for us non-Valencians to understand how to make an authentic paella.

      1. Steve Price says:

        Apparently you have to be in Valencia when you cook your paella for it to be considered authentic. In addition only sixth generation plus Valencians can produce an authentic paella.

  17. 5 stars
    Nice photos! Guys didn’t you read the whole post? “**Paella is totally customizable so feel free to make this dish vegetarian, all seafood, or all meats.”Keep in blogging! By the way, the shrimps are the best part :)

  18. LadyLUX says:

    I used to work at a restaurant that made the best Paella ever! I haven’t had the courage to make it on my own but might just have to give this recipe a try. I’d love to ramp up the spiciness of this dish…any suggestions?


  19. Oh the Valencian paella is the best!!

  20. Jina says:

    5 stars
    My goodness, this is amazing, you are amazing – can’t wait to try all the recipes on your blog! Keep up the great work :)

  21. Harry Soo says:

    I love your pictures. You’re a very talented food stylist, cook, writer, and food photographer. I’m a fellow blogger who’s trying to learn how to take better food photographs as my photos are really bad. I was wondering if you also teach for a fee via email or in person.

  22. k says:

    Looks delicious

  23. jesper says:

    5 stars
    I was looking for a recipe for Paella. I’ve found it. And i found a great food blog. thanks.

  24. This is a good food blog. Albeit I can not eat each and every recipe but Paella. Thanks

  25. Smoothmoose says:

    Wow, great blog and photography. What’s going on with the hiatus though?

  26. Steph Green says:

    Ooooohhh, this looks delicious and the photos are fantastic, great job! I’ve stumbled on this page about trends in food and various market research related to the topic: Food sites are my favourite place to go on the web!

  27. Liz says:

    5 stars
    Oh, gosh.
    could you let me be one of your dinner member?
    Look soooo delicious!

  28. hi..
    This is a great blog. Recipes found here makes me wanna start cooking.


    1. Maricar says:

      Btw, Filipinos make the best paellas in Asia!

  29. 5 stars
    I love Paella! Fantastic recipe! Thanks.

  30. 5 stars
    I had many Paellas in Spain (and even a very good one in Amsterdam!), but I’m telling you none of them looked so amazing. What a fantastic picture! Even the (btw Spanish) boyfriend turned his had to have a look at it…

  31. Zoe says:

    5 stars
    Love these yummy recipes! I look forward to more!

  32. RenoKeoni says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! I cooked paella for my girlfriend and son tonight for a special Valentines dinner. I added scallops, carrots and greenbeans to your recipe. I grew up with a Hawaiian grandfather who loved to make paella and he always added the carrots and greenbeans. I am just now coming out of the food coma, and the family loved it.

  33. @AljhonMarkino says:

    I’m looking forward of cooking this dish in my kitchen.

    Thanks a lot for this recipe.


  34. Jasmin A says:

    5 stars
    I made the Mixed Paella and my goodness was it delicious. I highly recommend this recipe. The recipe produced food as good looking as the photographs!

  35. jollyomar says:

    I like to eat paella food, paella food generally made in simple rice but i like mixed paella or rice ,sea food, meat and vegetable.

  36. 5 stars
    yummmm i love it
    thank u for this great paella

  37. Carmen says:

    I am Spanish (since I was born!) and I’ve only seen using chorizo in Paella here in London. Original Paella does NOT include chorizo. Come on, think about it. We’re using fresh ingredients, fresh fish, expensive saffron… Why to mask the gorgeousness of these ingredients with the flavour of chorizo?

    1. Michael Baxter says:

      Because we like it.

  38. equusrider says:

    I spent part of my childhood in Madrid and paella was a favorite. Our maid made paella with chicken, pork, chorizo and snails. It was what she made for the kids when the parents were entertaining and serving steak. Lucky us!!! When we moved back to the states we substituted clams and shrimp for the snails. Valencia does not have the market on the only paella. It truly depends on the region and what is available. I grow saffron in my garden now because I love paella and I use saffron in many other dishes as well.

  39. Faisal Admar says:

    This is yummy! Going to try this!

  40. Looks delicious,Thanks a lot for this recipe.

  41. I don’t care about what other’s opinion is. I love Paella period. Haha. You’re so great at photography and cooking, hope I’ll be like you someday *wink* =)))

  42. Mushypeas says:

    I think this is a really good blog, but I agree, I am half Valencian-half Londoner and this rice dish traditionally started by adding what was available for the rice field workers at the time. So you can interpret this as freely as you like. But, if you wish to make a good quality Paella and true to the original one, then you must not add many of the ingredients above and specially not chorizo.

    My reason for this isn’t only to keep the authenticity, but also because of the greasiness that chorizo will instantly add to the rice, avoiding it from cooking to perfection and never the less the strong flavour that indeed masquerades the dish.

    I feel the same with the sort of chicken you might use, if you use breast it will become vey dry and therefore not appealing and the same for prawns, if you add them already peeled, they will become dry and tasteless. I understand many people do this for the comfort of not peeling them or because they find them repulsive but just ruins the prawns.

    Anyway, enough with my opinion, I managed to bore myself here.

    I feel other sorts of rice with other ingredients are either, arroces al horno, or may as well be called Spanish rices.

    GO GO Paella LOVERS!

    1. Surati says:

      I like your advice. I’ve made Paella 3 times in this past week, as I am gearing up for Catering Paella for 60 in one month and I want to make it correctly. As it is for my friends 60th Birthday, and she is Puerto Rican. Can’t mess it up . So I’m experimenting with the stock. The last time I made it I used bottled clam juice and a little chicken stock and a little white wine, and sweet paprika with just a little smoked paprika. I used basmati rice, but it doesn’t quite do it, so I ordered some Calasperra rice. I used andouille sausage – No thanks, it doesn’t blend well with the other flavors. Used chicken thighs, and prawns & clams – that’s the winning combination. I like lots of sweet red bell pepper and peas. Do you ever marinate the chicken before cooking ? Use any kinds of culinary herbs ? What kind of stock do you like to use ? I am open to suggestions –

  43. Elizabeth says:

    Am I supposed to cover the pan after I put the rice in and cook it without stirring for 12-15 minutes? What about when I reduce the heat to low and add the seafood?

  44. Abbie Sr. says:

    Very brave of you to try the variations. We use chicken thighs, Portugese chorizo and shrimp. Try shelling the shrimp and adding them 5-7 minutes before the finish of the dish. Just tuck them down in the rice and they will take care of themselves.

    1. Robert Farmer says:

      Personally, I prefer the Portugese chorizo also. It is made slightly differently from the Spanish and I think it less greasy … maybe that was just the brand tho.

      Anyway, you can put ANYTHING in a paella. My favorite is artichokes. Get the raw artichokes, cut them in fourths. at the V you’ll see the start of the little thistles. Cut diagonally thru the choke and what is left is pretty much edible. Treat the choke as a meat, that is, brown it after you’ve browned the pork and/or chicken. Add the chokes back in when you put in the rice.

      Also, about the “minced tomatoes”? If you’re going to use American commercial tomatoes, you should probably use canned, CRUSHED tomatoes. They taste better, no seeds and are a pot load easier. 1.5 cups of crushed tomatoes is about 3 large tomatoes.

  45. Paul says:

    5 stars
    Amazing post and blog all together. I never get tired of looking at the photography and I find it inspiring, intense, and in cases dramatic, always edgy and super cool. I love paella too. I’ve made it plenty of times. I’ve had it in Spain too… actually, it is hard to find paella made from scratch in restaurants there, there’s this company that makes them and sells them frozen to tons of places.. it’s kinda sad. But making paella is time consuming so I can see why this is happening there. In the US, if I want paella, very likely it will be made from scratch because there’s a least a 45 minute wait. But nothing like making it at home the way we like it :)

  46. MotherSquid says:

    AARRGGHH! I was about to begin this dish using a 16″ cast iron skillet. Pretty sure I may need to add one more important item before I begin, a proper Paella pan. Thanks the good advice, and for you beautifully styled, photographed & presented material. A++!

  47. Lorenzo says:

    well said Bravo CURIOUSTUMMIES
    let’s recap

    I think this is a really good blog, but I agree, I am half Valencian-half Londoner and this rice dish traditionally started by adding what was available for the rice field workers at the time. So you can interpret this as freely as you like. But, if you wish to make a good quality Paella and true to the original one, then you must not add many of the ingredients above and specially not chorizo.

    My reason for this isn’t only to keep the authenticity, but also because of the greasiness that chorizo will instantly add to the rice, avoiding it from cooking to perfection and never the less the strong flavour that indeed masquerades the dish.

    I feel the same with the sort of chicken you might use, if you use breast it will become vey dry and therefore not appealing and the same for prawns, if you add them already peeled, they will become dry and tasteless. I understand many people do this for the comfort of not peeling them or because they find them repulsive but just ruins the prawns.

    Anyway, enough with my opinion, I managed to bore myself here.

    I feel other sorts of rice with other ingredients are either, arroces al horno, or may as well be called Spanish rices.

    GO GO Paella LOVERS!

  48. 5 stars
    Wow the presentation is very attractive and most of the ingredients are not hard to find. But I was thinking what will I substitute for the saffron to make the dish as tasty as yours. I will definitely try your recipe if I’m ready. Thanks!

  49. 5 stars
    I am food lover person. Fantastic recipe!. I am going to make this today in my home.

    Anything Indian

  50. Laurie says:

    Love paella and I’m chuckling a bit at the “things” comment as I like a fatty pork sausage (kielbasa) in my paella…the pork plays well with the seafood and the chicken.

  51. What’s up, after reading this remarkable post i am too glad to share my experience here with colleagues.

  52. 5 stars
    We lived in Spain for 12 years and had plenty of paella meals with friends. Your’s looks beautiful and delicious! –like a Spanish mom whipped it up!

  53. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    We made this for dinner tonight. This is a terrific recipe

  54. trish says:

    Looks yummy!

  55. Pilar says:

    4 stars
    Why wasn’t all of the rice cooked evenly in my paella? It took a lot longer than the recipe said, I had to add extra broth but still had about 5 % not fully cooked…. What should I do next time?

    1. steph says:

      Is your pan a lot bigger than your burner? It may be due to uneven heat.

  56. Carlota says:

    I don’t want to disappoint your followers, but the official paella is not with sea food, is not with chorizo and is not with chicken. In theory the authentic paella is only with rabbit.
    But, whatever, who cares about the official! Actually the important thing about paella is the process of cocking the rice. And your is perfect! and, by the way, an interesting mix putting chorizo inside. I will try it!

    1. Manuel says:

      You should not say “official”, you mean original paella from Valencia. Now, the dish has LONG spread all over Spain and you have had all types of paellas for a long time, yes that includes the “mixta” with seafood, seafood only and the black paella, most available in Cataluña. Chorizo is also often used…and that is not new.

  57. tango says:

    5 stars
    Looks great!!! I’m making it now!!I’m using leftover shrimp from last night’s dinner. Also chicken,mussels, chorizo, smells amazing!!
    Thanks for sharing:)

  58. Michelle says:

    If you’re keen on trying something different, this is what i do for a seafood paella. When I buy the prawns, I buy them with the head on. I save the peel & head of the prawns and I boil them to make a broth. I use that broth (instead of chicken broth) and it has a wonderful seafood flavor to it. Enjoy!

  59. Ellie says:

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it look very good! I’m always interested in cooking new things, and I LOVE seafood!

  60. Ray says:

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite all-time dishes. The saffron makes all the difference.

    Did you know that in Madrid, there’s a street lined up with paella restaurants from different regions of Spain. The locals call it paella alley.

  61. Ami@NaiveCookCooks says:

    5 stars
    Ok I am crazy about paella and looking at this I am starving just after having an enormous dinner!!

  62. 5 stars
    This. Looks. Devine.

    I was in Barcelona over New Year’s Eve and was thoroughly disappointed with my paella experiences. Then I decided to give it one last try close to the coast, and oh my God – it was the tastiest paella I had ever had (and I have a Spanish mother-in-law who makes a pretty good Paella).

    I will have to try this version :)

  63. Tim McLeod says:

    5 stars
    Wow!!! this dish looks really great. Never mind about the postings of people who say it is not made with this or that. This dish has always been dictated of the area you came from in the old days of Spain. If you lived in the Mountains your dish was dictated with more live stock and bird type meats, more on flat lands it was meats and veggies, close to water it was more seafood, as time evolved and greater access to different produce people started doing mixtures with anything that walks, crawls, fly’s or swim and grows like vegetables. Cooking is all about trying new things and challenging your pallet. I have tested Paella dishes in many forms including the authentic and have loved them all. Keep up the good work and keep posting. You have just inspired me to start my own blog and share some of my favorite dishes. Don’t worry about the haters, people are sometimes afraid of change or to venture outside of there comfort zones. Oh and btw beautiful pics.

  64. lesabesa says:

    5 stars
    this was amazing and the recipe was very easy to follow. we ate it literally in 2 sittings, one right after the other. i really want to print it out, but don’t see a link or way to do that? thanks!

  65. Kelly says:

    Hi! This looks delicious. I’m trying to figure out how much time this takes to prepare and cook from start to finish? Anyone who has made this before have an idea?

    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi kelly,
      i say it would take about 1 1/2, depending on how quickly you are able to prepare the ingredients. the total cooking time is about 45 minutes to an hour. hope that helps!

  66. Christi says:

    5 stars
    I intend to cheerfully cook and eat rice with ALL THE THINGS then. This looks delicious and coincidentally lines up closely with paella I had in Madrid. Spain. Yes, I’ve had restaurant paella in Spain and chorizo was involved.

  67. Sheila norman says:

    5 stars
    This turned out to be really, really good. I didn’t have fresh peppers, so subbed in roasted peppers. I didn’t have chorizo and subbed mild Italian sausage, but threw in some red pepper flakes. Lastly, I added whole cooked shrimp and it still turned out to be fabulous!

  68. Phil says:

    I have made paella for many years, using a 15″ pan. How do I convert recipes from a 15″ to a 10″ pan? Thank you.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi phil,
      reduce all the ingredients by 1/3.

  69. Blanca says:

    I taste paella in Acapulco best rice and seafood I’ve ever had I will try to make it definitely????

  70. The debate about what ingredients should or shouldn’t be in paella will likely go on for generations. But keep in mind that originally, paella was made with water vole, and we don’t see a lot of people arguing for that in the “traditional” version of the dish. Paella Valenciana is delicious and should be respected, but there has to be room on the table (pun intended) for new innovations, too!

  71. Melissa says:

    I believe people are getting upset over the term chorizo. In spain Chorizo is usually sliced like a sausage and not the same as the chorizo we see in the US. And I agree I’ve had chorizo in paella in spain and all regions make paella with different meats and fish.

  72. Sunny says:

    5 stars
    Looks amazing

  73. Isabel says:

    4 stars
    Just made this, went down a treat. Great recipe. I wonder if you could be a little more specific about how much chorizo. I think I used too little possibly as it lacked depth of flavour.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi isabel,
      so happy you liked it! i would say at least 3-4 links :)

    2. Steve Price says:

      5 stars
      The tomatoes, onion, garlic and red bell peppers must be cooked to a soffrito. Let it carmelize just a touch. Your stock. I save my shrimp heads and shells snd saffron to make a stock boiling beside my paella. Both these techniques will kick up the flavor.

  74. Javier C says:

    Te sobra el chorizo y los frijoles.


    Initially I had Spanish paella in Torrejon de Ardoz. I ate it almost every Thursday for 3 yrs & continue to eat & cook it today. I use Spanish chorizo ONLY, no other will do. The shells from previously peeled shrimp is what I use for my broth. Whenever I use shrimp for any dish I always freeze the shells & it doesn’t lack in flavor. String beans chi chi beans peas & blanched peeled, seeded & quartered tomatoes on top. Americans are lazy & hate to have to peel shrimp so I shell them when I prepare it for my friends. I always use chicken breast meat & it has NEVER been dry. I place the mussels & clams on the very top & they steam open while the paella is finishng off. I don’t like dark meat which is why I use breast meat but I can eat it with drumettes. The skin was always on the legs whenever I ate it @ a cafeteria. Crusty bread with butter, a pitcher or 2 or 3 of sangria & everyone’s always more than satisfied. BTW, I’ve made it in a wok numerous times when I didn’t have a paellaeria. Who knew? Comes out perfectly with the crusty rice @ the bottom & the rest of the rice cooked to perfection, (al dente). Never had 1 complaint or leftovers. If for some strange reasons there were leftovers I would always have people show up @ my door the next day because (they just happened to be in the neighborhood). Always welcomed.


    I almost forgot about the scallops & I also liked to use a little dry white wine.

  77. Don says:

    Covering the paella with a kitchen towel or wrapping it in newspaper gives better results than foil which can be leave the rice soggy. I

  78. RonLu says:

    5 stars
    Best paella I have eaten is in Puerto Vallarta at the Barcelona.

  79. Phil Alvarez says:

    5 stars
    I’m Spanish and don’t care what you put in your paella, it’s all good. I do add peas, or baby lima beans, along with roasted red peppers. Kudos to the person using shrimp stock, that’s the secret to a full-bodied paella.

  80. Yolanda says:


    As a Spaniard, I must confess your paella looks like a real and authentic paella. The steps you followed to make it prove that you made a proper research to make sure how to make the original recipe.

    Although it is very true that there are plenty of different types of paella, personally, I would never add chorizo as it has got such a strong taste that it wouldn’t help you to differentiate among all the different flavours in a paella.

    As you mention in the explanation of the recipe, never soak rice in water before adding it to the paella pan, never.

    Congratulations for the outcome. It really looks so gorgeous!

  81. LK says:

    Do you add the saffron liquid or the drained saffron to the recipe?

    1. Stephanie says:

      you add both!

  82. Jungho says:

    5 stars
    Your paella looks good!
    One thing I’ve learned is that do not overcrowd the pan. You know, the whole point of paella is to make an evenly cooked thin layer of rice and maximize the socarrat to rice ratio. Your pan looks good for 4 servings.
    Please keep the great work!

  83. Michael Haskell says:

    5 stars
    I have been cooking and eating paella all of my life and to say there is one particular list of ingredients is ridiculous. In Spain there are hundreds and hundreds of recipes for paella. The most important thing about paella is the sofrito and the rice (it must be charred and caramelized on the bottom of the pan). It is also very helpful to cook over a wood fire outside as the smoke adds an element.

  84. Glenn says:

    I’m trying this recipe for 12 people this weekend. I assume since you don’t mention pulling the chicken of the bone, that it is served as is on the bone

    1. Stephanie says:

      you’re correct, it’s served on the bone.

  85. Jdogg says:

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe today, and it was really good! I didn’t see instructions how much salt to add, so I added salt during step #2 when browning the meat and sautéing the veggies and then again during step #3 before adding the rice. My 12-inch cast iron skillet wasn’t large enough to contain 2.5 cups, so I sprinkled in just over 2 cups rice and omitted about 1 cup of broth. I made the mistake of adding some broth during step #5, which made it difficult to to create the socarrat without overcooking the rice, so I decided to turn off the heat when the rice reached al dente. After five minutes of rest, the rice had a great texture and wasn’t too wet, but it didn’t have the desired crust at the bottom. So next time, I’ll nail the socarrat. But this time, I nailed the flavor and overall al dente rice texture. Thanks for delicious paella recipe!

    Some modifications: arborio rice and kielbasa sausage (I know–sacrilegious that I didn’t use bomba or Spanish chorizo, but I’m a busy woman, my market didn’t have either, and the paella still turned out very well).

  86. Mike Buss says:

    I’m throwing down a westcoast paella witch includes Dungeness crab, westcoast mussels, and sweet Chilliwack corn. The process is what makes in paella, not what’s in it!

  87. Debbie Zogaric says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe last night for 6 people. Added another chicken thigh. I followed the instructions exactly and it came our beautiful, flavorful and the right consistency! My neighbors were wowed! I used a 17” cast iron on the stove and used the large and small burner having to turn every 2 minutes like you suggested since there were hot spots. Only thing is when I turned up the heat to high the last couple minutes, I couldn’t get the soccarat. I was afraid to dry it out because the texture was perfect so I took it off the heat after about 4 minutes. Do you think it’s because I used cast iron vs a typical steel type pan? I do want to try this over our big green egg smoker next time and maybe that higher heat will do it.

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s probably because of the pan, the paella pans heat up faster so they can crisp up the rice. cast irons take a while to heat up higher but retain heat longer. you did the right thing by pulling it so it didn’t dry out :) glad you liked it!!

  88. Jose says:

    5 stars
    I followed your recipe and it turned out amazing. Everyone loved it. I seasoned my boneless chicken thighs and cut them in half the night before. Added sea salt, to taste, to the fish broth I made. I can’t wait to make it again, maybe chicken, chorizo, and mushroom.
    Thank you

  89. J.P. says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been making paella for years. This is, without a doubt, the best I’ve ever made.

  90. Tammy Leiner says:

    5 stars
    Incredible! I shifted it up a bit with a seafood stock vs chicken stock and used smoked sausage vs Chorizo.. I also added fennel and Aleppo pepper flakes in addition to paprika.. and finished it in the oven vs stovetop. (I don’t have a gas stove I also added the slightly cooked shrimp at the end on the 5 min foil-over.. was perfect! But I will try it on the grill next time – as my paella pan wasn’t flat and the center was a bit burned. Otherwise- awesome.

  91. Melissa says:

    Cooking this for dinner party tomorrow. Can I get it to a certain point a couple hours earlier? Add shrimp and heat up before serving? Or let rest in oven.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi melissa, you can let it rest/keep warm in the oven for a bit, but i wouldn’t hold it too long, maybe an hour max.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating