You may be surprised to know that you don't need a lot of time or a special pan to make delicious Spanish Paella. Here's a terrific easy paella recipe that you can get on the table in an hour.
I always thought of paella as an exotic, difficult-to-make dish because my mother-in-law was my role model. She made paella that was so impressive I was in awe. She had the special special pan for paella and it would come out of the oven bursting with chicken, lobster, shrimp, sausage, and mussels. I have her recipe, and I promise to share it at some point in the future.
For now, life feels pretty hectic, so I am happy to announce that paella doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming, and you don't need a special pan.
Spanish Paella Fun Facts
- In Spain, where paella originated, it is a common weeknight dinner.
- Paella isn't defined by the seafood and meats it contains. In fact when it was created in the mid nineteenth century - by workers in the fields of Valencia, Spain - it contained whatever local ingredients were available - usually snails and rabbit.
- Saffron-infused short-grain rice and aromatic vegetables are what make paella paella. It's up to the chef to decide which types of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables to include.
- Paella was originally cooked over an open fire, imparting a nice smokiness to the dish. Smoked chorizo sausage and woody, smoky spices like paprika and rosemary make up for the lack of a wood fire.
How To Make Easy Spanish Paella
This easy paella recipe uses everyday, readily available ingredients and the whole dish is cooked in one pan.
- Lightly brown the chicken in the skillet. Transfer it to a plate, add the sausage, brown it for a few minutes and add it to the plate with the chicken.
- Sauté onions, garlic and rosemary, then add raw rice, spices, tomatoes and broth.
- Arrange chicken strips and sausages evenly in the pan and pop the pan in the oven for eight minutes.
- Add the shrimp and red pepper strips and return the pan to the oven for an additional ten minutes.
- Serve the paella hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley
I tested this recipe with bone-in thighs and with boneless skinless breasts. I have a slight preference for thighs. My kids prefer the boneless breasts. It's a matter of personal taste, so I decided to give you both options in the recipe directions.
I love this easy Spanish Paella recipe for a weeknight dinner. It all happens in one big pot. It can, and should, be eaten family style.
The pot comes out of the oven looking really good!
All you need to do is set it in the middle of the table on a trivet with a large serving spoon, and let everyone dig in.
If you like this type of tasty one-pan chicken and rice dinner, don't miss out on these other delicious Panning The Globe recipes:
Here's the recipe for Easy Spanish Paella. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave your rating and remarks in the comments. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Easy Spanish Paella Recipe
Delicious Spanish Paella with rice, chicken, shrimp and sausage, cooked in a skillet.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Oven baked
- Cuisine: Spanish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6-8 ounces smoked chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into ¼-inch discs.
- 1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced crosswise into 2-inch wide strips. or 6 chicken thighs with bones, skin removed.
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cups arborio rice, rinsed of excess starch
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (my favorite is Swanson's)
- 12-14 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1-2 roasted red peppers from a jar, sliced into strips or sliced pimientos from a jar.
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional garnish
Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Heat oil (1 tablespoon) in a large oven-proof skillet (at least 12"). Cook sausage, stirring, over high heat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Season chicken with salt (1 teaspoon) and black pepper, to taste. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add chicken and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Transfer chicken to the plate with the sausages. (for thighs, season as above and brown for4 minutes per side).
- Lower heat to medium-low, add onions and cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic (1 tablespoon) and rosemary (1 teaspoon) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice, Saffron (rubbing it between your fingers so it breaks up as it falls into the pan), paprika (1 teaspoon), tomatoes (1 cup), and salt (1 ½ teaspoons). Stir to combine. Pour broth (3 cups) over the mixture. Add chicken strips and sausages evenly around the pan, pushing them down into the rice so just their tops are showing through. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 8 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove pan from the oven. Decorate the top with strips of red pepper and raw shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp lightly with salt and smoky paprika. Return the skillet to the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes longer, until shrimp and chicken are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley, if you like. Serve hot.
Keywords: easy skillet paella recipe with shrimp, chicken and sausages
[Published May 2013. Updated February 2019 with added nutritional information and tweaks to the written post]