How to Cook an Authentic Spanish Paella: A Step-by-Step Guide

Paella is a classic Spanish dish that has become a staple around the world. This hearty, one-pan meal is made with rice, saffron, and a variety of meats and seafood. While the recipe has many variations, there are a few key ingredients and techniques that are essential to making an authentic Spanish paella.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of making a traditional Spanish paella, step-by-step. From selecting the right ingredients to cooking the perfect rice, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!


  • 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups short-grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Step-by-Step Instructions:


Heat a large paella pan over medium-high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.


Add the chorizo sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.


Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until pink, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.


Add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.


Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes.


Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with the vegetable mixture.


Add the chicken broth, saffron threads, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine.


Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.


Add the chicken, chorizo, and shrimp back to the pan and stir to combine.


Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Tips for Success:


Use a paella pan if you have one. If not, a large skillet or Dutch oven will work.


Use short-grain rice, like Arborio or Valencia, for the best texture.


Don’t stir the rice too much while it’s cooking. This can make it mushy.


Use high-quality saffron threads for the best flavor and color.


Serve the paella with a side salad and a crusty baguette.


Now that you know how to make an authentic Spanish paella, you can impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Remember to use high-quality ingredients and follow the steps carefully for the best results. With a little practice, you’ll be cooking up delicious paella in no time!

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