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 with chicken, shrimp and sausage, that cooks in one pan and is ready 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 paella pan and her paella came out of the oven enormous, colorful, and 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.
Before we talk about how to make this easy paella, I want to share some fascinating facts about paella that will give you a better appreciation of what this dish is all about.
What is Paella?
- Paella is a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, aromatics, and any combination of chicken, seafood, sausages or other proteins, cooked and served in a large shallow paella pan or in a skillet.
- Paella isn't defined by the seafood and meats it contains. In fact when Paella 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.
- In Spain, where paella originated, it is a common weeknight dinner.
- 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.
Now that we know what paella is, let's get down to the business of cooking it!
To make this paella, you'll need these basic ingredients: chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp, arborio rice, chicken broth, canned diced tomatoes, yellow onions, garlic, rosemary, jarred roasted peppers or pimientos, saffron, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
For best results, have all the paella ingredients sliced, diced and set out before you start sautéing because once you start cooking, this recipe moves fast. Here's an overview of how to cook this paella. See the recipe card below for exact amounts and precise directions.
How To Make Easy Spanish Paella
This easy paella recipe is cooked in two stages. The first stage involves sautéing and is cooked on the stovetop. Then the paella is finished in the oven.
- First sauté the sausages and then the chicken strips, and set them aside on a plate.
- Next, use the same pan to sauté the onions, garlic and rosemary for a few minutes, and then add the raw rice, spices, tomatoes and broth to the skillet, and stir to combine.
- Arrange the chicken strips and sausages evenly in the pan, in a decorative pattern (see the photo below right).
- Bring the mixture to a boil on the stovetop and then pop the pan into the oven to partially cook the paella, for just eight minutes.
- Pull the pan out of the oven and add the red pepper strips and raw shrimp, and then return the pan to the oven for a final 8-10 minutes.
What kind of chicken is best for paella?
I tested this recipe with bone-in thighs and with boneless skinless breasts. Both are delicious though I have a slight preference for thighs, while my kids prefer the boneless breasts. It's a matter of personal taste, so I included both options in the recipe directions.
How to serve it
I love making this easy Spanish Paella recipe for a weeknight dinner. It all happens in one skillet. 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.
A green salad is the perfect accompaniment for paella. If you want to make a multi-course Spanish meal or have a paella party, start with a refreshing bowl of gazpacho and serve the paella with salad, crusty bread and wine or sangria.
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:
- Indian Chicken Biryani
- Jollof Rice with Chicken
- Tachin Joojeh: Persian Layered Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Plov
- Arroz Con Pollo
Be sure to follow Panning The Globe on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest delicious updates.
Here's the easy Spanish paella recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Easy Spanish Paella
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 1x
This delicious Spanish Paella is easy enough for a weeknight - a whole delicious meal in cooked in one skillet.
- 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, using a fine mesh strainer
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika plus more to season the shrimp
- 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/200C
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large (12-inch or more) oven-proof skillet. Sauté sausage over high heat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper, to taste. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, add chicken strips and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Transfer chicken to the plate with the sausages. (if using thighs, sear for 4 minutes per side).
- Lower heat to medium-low, add onions and cook, and stir for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic (1 tablespoon) and rosemary (1 teaspoon) and cook, stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and add the saffron by rubbing it between your fingers so it breaks up as it falls into the pan, add the paprika (1 teaspoon), tomatoes (1 cup), and salt (1 ½ teaspoons). Stir to combine. Pour in the broth (3 cups).
- Arrange the chicken strips and sausages evenly around the pan in a decorative pattern (see photo in the post), pushing them down into the rice so only their tops are showing through. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil and then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 8 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove pan from the oven and arrange the strips of red pepper (or pimiento) and raw shrimp, on top. Sprinkle shrimp with a few pinches of salt and a few pinches of smoked paprika. Return the skillet to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes longer, until shrimp and chicken are cooked through.
- Sprinkle parsley over the paella and serve hot.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Oven baked
- Cuisine: Spanish
Keywords: Quick and easy skillet paella recipe with shrimp, chicken and sausages
[Published May 2013. Updated May 18, 2022 with a video and new photos. The same delicious recipe!]
Thanks for the Spanish paella recipe.
This is one of my favorite sites for recipes. I’ve tried several since discovering this and each recipe produced a wonderful dish. This paella was no exception. Delicious, with great additions, and fun to make. Thanks for an approachable recipe!
We are making this for guests tomorrow night - hoping we do it well! Are we OK leaving out the shrimp (we have fish allergies) and just including chicken and sausage? Anything else you would add? And I sound ridiculous, but I am also not a fan of peppers, if I leave them out, is there anything else I should add? Excited to try it!
Hi Laurel. Sure you can leave out the shrimp and peppers. Do you like artichoke hearts. You could add those on top - halved marinated artichoke hearts - instead of the shrimp. I think they would be delicious. You could also add some match stick carrots instead of the peppers. That would look really pretty and I bet it would be delicious! Let me know how it turns out!!
I need to make this in bulk (like 2 separate 9x13 baking dishes/pyrex). Can I cook/sauté as per directions over the stove (doubling ingredients), then transfer to 2 9x13 pans? Will it come out the same and do I need to change any cooking instructions?
Your plan sounds good! It should work well!!
i would like the paella recipe that has the chicken and sausage, but also more seafood other than shrimp. i have made before and it was a hit with my family. now i'm wanting to make for our christmas get together. the recipe i used before called for mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, crab or lobster and boneless chicken thighs and sausage. also it called for rice, pimento and peas. if you could me i would appreciate it. my family is really looking forward to this dish for christmas.
Elsa Quevedo Cervantes
This is not a paella. Paella is from Valencian Comunity. Paella never is made by saucisses or fish, is tipical from the huerta, kitchen-garden. This is an invent. an "arroz con cosas" "rice with choses" but not paella.
Pedro Pica Piedras
Elsa, as long as a paella is cooked in an authentic paella pan, and it is made with Bomba or Calaspara rice, Spaniard Saffron, a little bit of smoked sweet paprika, then one can call it a paella and not an "arroz con cosas." Just because a paella is cooked outside of Spain does not mean we can't call it a paella. I do agree there is a difference between an authentic paella and a paella, but please, let us call our rice dish a paella if we choose to do so as it makes us happy to share such a treasured dish from your country (I'm assuming you are Spaniard and I'm almost positive I'm right), and be happy instead of critical.
Hi guys! this recipe is really awesome and easy to cook!
I recently saw Paella at a farmer's market - a man was making huge pans of it and lines of people were just observing and waiting to get a plate! It was very impressive. Thank you for a beautiful and simple recipe - can't wait to try it!
This looks amazing! I love paella and will definitely try this. I would like to add some other seafoods as well. Just printed it out!
Beautiful...almost too beautiful to eat!
Cannot wait to try this! Quick question regarding tomatoes, they are in the directions, but not the ingredients... How many? Every recipe I have tried has been GREAT and I am looking forward to this one! (Bobotie, french onion tart, linzertorte, brussel sprouts, matza ball soup shakshuka, etc!)
Thanks, this website has been fabulous!
Thanks so much for letting me know about the tomatoes! It's fixed now. I'm so glad you've enjoyed a bunch of my recipes and I hope the paella turns out great for you.
All the best, Lisa
Thanks for transporting me back to my trip to Valencia and Barcelona during my junior semester abroad. I had never tasted a rice/seafood dish so savory - I literally ate it everyday! I'll definitely have to try this.
I love it too!
Thanks for this recipe! Much less time consuming and laborious than the one I have. Love Love Paella!