Skip to Content

Traditional Spanish Paella Recipe

Paella is one of the few dishes that can truly represent an entire country. It is one of the most popular Spanish dishes all over the world, and it should come as no surprise given how delicious it is.

Spanish paella is a dish that is eaten throughout the year, and you can find it in any restaurant in Spain. Different provinces and regions have their own version, and here we’ll focus on the Andalusian version.

If you want to learn how to make a traditional Spanish paella then continue reading, later I will share with you some tips so that you can make this recipe without problems.

Traditional Spanish Paella Recipe
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy via them, I’ll earn a small commission which helps me to keep this blog running. I received services for free for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Background of the Dish

spanish paella

The authentic Spanish paella is one of the oldest dishes in Spanish cuisine and has existed since approximately the 15th or 16th century. 

Each region of Spain has its own recipe with different ingredients, but the Andalusian paella recipe has seafood as its main ingredient.

During the Moorish period, saffron became popular throughout Spain, so coveted that it became gold.

Today saffron, either in flakes or powder, is used to give the characteristic yellow color to paella.

Pin for Later!

Are you looking for a Traditional Spanish Paella Recipe? There's nothing that better describes Spanish cuisine as Spanish paella does. This is one of the best seafood paella recipe and now you can do it yourself. The flavors will for sure take you back to your holiday in Spain. The seafood paella recipe is the perfect dish if you want strong seafood aromas combined with the special paella seasoning. This traditional paella is hearty and savory! #spanishpaella #paellarecipe #paella #seafoodpaella
Like it? Pin it!

Things You’ll Need for Traditional Spanish Paella

To make this traditional you will need two main ingredients; short-grain rice and seafood.

Thankfully there are many replacements that you can make to the ingredients but we’ll talk about them later.

For the equipment, you’ll need a paella pan, but if you don’t have one a large and deep saucepan will do the trick. 

Lastly, if you liked this recipe you should try and make other delicious Spanish recipes such as tortilla de patatas recipe, Andalusian spicy gambas al pil pil, and the classic Spanish chorizo Rice.

best seafood paella recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (370g) short-grain rice
  • 4 cups (950ml) of shrimp broth
  • ½ kg of squid
  • ½ kg of fresh prawns
  • 1 handful of seashells clams and mussels
  • 1 onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow saffron powder

How to Make Traditional Spanish Paella – Step by Step Guide

how to make spanish paella
  1. To start making the traditional Spanish paella recipe you have to clean and peel the prawns. Use the shells and head to make broth and then set aside. You can skip this step and use store-bought fish broth. Also, clean the squid and chop them in a round shape.
  1. After that clean the seashells with plenty of water to remove any sand residue.
  1. In the best paella pan you have or a very large and deep frying pan, sauté the onion, garlic, pepper, and tomato minced in small squares in olive oil. Add a little pepper and salt.
  1. Up next put the squid and then the seashells. Let them cook for a few minutes. You will see that a broth starts to form, this is fine.
  1. Add the 2 cups of rice and stir to mix everything. Then add 4 cups of the shrimp broth that you made earlier. If you don’t have enough, complete with water.
  1. Stir well. Add a teaspoon of yellow saffron powder to have the classic paella seasoning, and boil for about 3 minutes.
  1. Then add the fresh peas, the prawns, and the parsley, (previously chopped). Check the salt and pepper and add more if necessary, but be careful because seafood is already salty.
  1. After that, cook until the liquid is almost completely gone. At this time you can put some prawns with their shells. Lower the heat and cover.
  1. For the final step, cook for 15 minutes and taste the rice. If it’s ready, remove it from the heat and serve your seafood paella warm.

Substitution of Ingredients

paella valenciana

Even though the traditional paella from Andalusia is a dish made with seafood and rice, there are still hundreds of changes that you can make to the ingredients. 

I’m going to give you a couple of ingredients substitutions tips that will probably help you.

One of the big changes that you can make to the ingredients in this recipe is to remove the seafood and replace it with a different ingredient. 

For example, you can make a vegetarian paella, or a vegan paella, if instead of using seafood you use vegetables.

The vegetable that works better to replace the seafood is the marinated artichoke hearts, they have a pretty similar texture and you might even find them infused with seafood flavor. 

Other similar changes are making a shrimp paella or a paella Valenciana that is a chicken paella recipe.

If you are making a chicken paella, add more seasoning such as paprika, turmeric, etc. 

Lastly, try to use rice for paella. You might ask, what is paella rice? Well, that’s the bomba rice, also known as short-grain rice, but it’s hard to find outside of Spain. 

If you can’t find it, you can use medium-grain rice, and if not then long grain rice will do the trick too.

Tips on Serving Traditional Spanish Paella

shrimp paella

As well as other Spanish food recipes, this traditional Spanish paella is a dish that completely shines on its own and can be eaten at lunch or dinner.

As you can see in the paella definition, seafood is the protagonist of this dish, so you don’t need to add any topping to elevate this dish. 

You can use some clams with their shells to make your traditional paella look like an authentic coastal dish.

This dish is the star of the Spanish cuisine and if you want to give a go to other Spanish specialities, make sure to try our Carajillo Spanish coffee recipe.

How to Store Traditional Spanish Paella

How to Store Traditional Spanish Paella

Being a traditional paella, this dish is not liquid or has a lot of broth, so fortunately you can keep it for a couple of days in the fridge, or even freeze it. 

Just be sure to store it in a container with a lid, or in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent air from getting in.

In the refrigerator, it lasts up to 3 days, and frozen it lasts up to 30 days. Then you just have to heat it, either in the microwave, in the oven, or in a pan over medium heat.

Remember that this is the best seafood paella recipe, so if you can eat it fresh the same day that you make it, then that’s better!

Recipe Card: Traditional Spanish Paella

Yield: 4

Traditional Spanish Paella Recipe

Traditional Spanish Paella Recipe

Paella is one of the few dishes that can truly represent an entire country.

It is one of the most popular Spanish dishes all over the world, and it should come as no surprise given how delicious it is.

Spanish paella is a dish that is eaten throughout the year, and you can find it in any restaurant in Spain.

Different provinces and regions have their own version, and here we’ll focus on the Andalusian version.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (370g) short-grain rice
  • 4 cups (950ml) of shrimp broth
  • ½ kg of squid
  • ½ kg of fresh prawns
  • 1 handful of seashells clams and mussels
  • 1 onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow saffron powder

Instructions

  1. Clean and peel the prawns. Use the shells and head to make broth. Reserve it. Also, clean the squid and chop them in a round shape.
  2. After that clean the seashells with plenty of water to clean them from any sand residue.
  3. In a paella pan, or very large and deep frying pan, sauté the onion, garlic, pepper, and tomato minced in small squares in olive oil. Add a little pepper and salt.
  4. Put the squid and then the seashells. Let them cook for a few minutes. You will see that a broth starts to form, this is fine.
  5. Add the 2 cups of rice and stir to mix everything. Then add 4 cups of the shrimp broth that you made earlier. If you don't have enough, complete with water.
  6. Stir well. Add a teaspoon of yellow saffron powder and boil for about 3 minutes.
  7. Then add the fresh peas, the prawns, and the parsley, (previously chopped). Check the salt and pepper and add more if necessary.
  8. Cook until the liquid is almost completely gone. At this time you can put some prawns with their shells. Lower the heat and cover.
  9. After that, cook for 15 minutes and taste the rice grain. If it's ready, remove it from the heat and serve your seafood paella warm.

Notes

The best rice for paella is the bomba rice, also known as short-grain rice. If you can't find it, you can use medium-grain rice, but try to avoid using long grain rice. 

If you aren't a fan of seafood don't worry, there are other recipes of paella without seafood, such as paella with chicken, paella with chorizo, etc.

As well as other seafood paella recipes, you'll see that there are a lot of seafood items listed as ingredients.

If you can't find one of them don't worry, just use more of a different kind (for example, add more shrimp if you don't have squid).

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 246.8Total Fat 7.8gSaturated Fat 1.6gCholesterol 152.7mgSodium 415.4mgCarbohydrates 16.3gFiber 1.7gSugar 1.5gProtein 26.9g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @visit.southernspain on Instagram and hashtag it #visitsouthernspain



18 Best Boutique Hotels in Malaga, Spain
← Previous
20 Best Family Hotels in Malaga, Spain
Next →
Skip to Recipe