Paella: The Ultimate Spanish Recipe

All you need to know to prepare the typical Spanish seafood paella step by step

In this article, you will find the ingredients and steps to prepare it.

How to make paella

Spanish seafood paella is one of the most deeply rooted recipes and most often prepared in all families in Spain. When seafood rice is prepared at home, family and friends are invited to share this popular dish.

It is important to prepare a perfect sauteé, a homemade broth, which for this recipe would have to be a fish or seafood stock, and quality products, that is to say, seafood of good quality.

Apart from the quality of the seafood and having a fish stock, another of the key points to prepare paella is to make it in an iron pan. As much for vitroceramics as for induction kitchens, we can find a specific one for this type of recipe. If we use the appropriate pan, the heat is distributed evenly and we make sure that the rice is perfect.

What do we need?

For the paella recipe, it is important to have a metallic pan. It consists of a frying pan with two handles, instead of one, to support the entire weight of the rice. It has to be about 20 cm in diameter and not too deep, with edges of 5 to 15 cm depending on the diameter.

Depending on how many people you are preparing this recipe for, the size will vary. According to the number of diners, the paella has to have some dimensions or others. 

To preserve the paella pan it is advisable to wash it after use and dry it perfectly. Next, grease it with a little oil and a rag or absorbent paper. In this way, we prevent it from oxidating.

Before starting

Before starting to prepare the paella recipe, it is important to make some previous steps, so when we start to cook we have all the ingredients ready.

First of all, we must sauteé the onion and vegetables. We can use the same oil that we will use later to cook the paella.

Many people cook seafood first. Once cooked, they reserve it while cooking and then add it to the paella when the rice is boiling. This practice is not necessary since seafood only needs 2 minutes to cook, so simply adding it at the end of the recipe is enough to cook them. In this way, we avoid overcooking seafood.

We can also cook seafood with txakoli, as recommended by the Spanish cook Karlos Arguiñano. In order to cook them with this technique, we have to pour this white wine in a frying pan and add the mussels. We cover them and wait for them to open, a sign that indicates that they are ready.

Paella ingredients

To prepare a delicious seafood paella we don't need as many ingredients as we might think. To cook paella for 4 people we need:

  • 400 g Valencia rice
  • 600 g squid and cuttlefish
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 8 prawns
  • 4 Norway lobsters
  • 8 mussels
  • 1.5 l fish stock
  • Saffron
  • 1 spoonful of paprika
  • 4 tablespoons grated or crushed tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 140ml virgin olive oil
Making this paella recipe is easier than it seems. 


Seafood paella recipe step by step

To prepare a delicious Spanish paella, follow these steps:

1. Cook cuttlefish and squid

Heat a little olive oil in the paella pan and add the cuttlefish and squid. Don't overcook them. Otherwise, they will start to swell, by the water that they contain, and explode, and you could get burnt. However, it is quite common for this to happen. If we have not previously cooked the onion, do it before adding the squid and cuttlefish.

2. Sauté 

Once we have cooked the squid and cuttlefish for 2 or 3 minutes over low heat, we have to make a hole in the center and add the tomato. It is important to cook it enough, but not burn it. For this reason, do not sauté the squid and cuttlefish too much before adding it. As we have to cook the tomato for a long time, if the cuttlefish and the squid are too sautéed, they will cook too much and dry out.

3. Mix the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients we have in the paella and sauté over low heat. We have to stir frequently so that it does not stick and so that everything mixes. When everything is almost sautéed, add 3/4 parts of the chopped garlic and the sautéed onion, if we have pre-cooked it previously as advised.

4. Add the rice

Continue frying all the ingredients and add the paprika. Stir and add the rice. Sauté for 1 minute and add the saffron. If we don't have it, we can substitute it with food coloring. The heat has to be medium.

5. Add the fish stock

Add the rest of the ingredients and the fish stock, which has to be boiling. Add the remaining chopped garlic and raise the heat to the maximum. Season, trying to leave the broth a little salty, as the rice will absorb some of this salt.

6. Let the rice cook

Depending on the variety of rice that we have incorporated, we will cook it to the required intensity and during a determined time. If we have added Valencia rice, the cooking time is between 15 and 20 minutes. However, it is advisable to read the cooking instructions recommended by the brand.

7. Add the seafood

The last step to cook this seafood paella is, when the rice begins to appear under the broth, it is time to place the seafood and mussels on the rice quickly. Let them cook for a couple of minutes. The disposition of the seafood is in charge of our imagination and how we want to decorate the paella.

Spanish paella is one of the most delicious dishes to enjoy with family or friends. 


How to serve paella

Paella rice, like any other rice recipe, has to be served fresh and hot. It is important to let the rice rest once it is ready for 5 to 10 minutes so that the taste settles.

It is also essential not to overcook the rice. The fish stock must have been completely absorbed.

To present it, put a table mat on the table and place the paella on top. Serve it, and make sure to provide the same number of seafood pieces to everyone.

Some people may find it a sacrilege, but some others love adding a dash of lemon to the rice once it is served.


Check out the original article Receta de paella de marisco: cómo hacer este plato paso a paso at