An authentic (ish) Spanish paella that works every time.

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Step 1: You Will Need

a paella pan

(or a big frying pan would do)

This one is 12" across, and makes enough paella for 6 people.

NB: To feed more people you need a bigger pan, because later on it gets pretty full.

Step 2: And Saffron

Which is reputed to be more expensive, pound for pound, than gold.

Which is a pity, because we need a good lot of it.

Thankfully, if you hunt around you can get a box of genuine Mancha saffron (like the pic) - enough for half a dozen paellas - for about two quid. UK residents can google SPICESWAREHOUSE.COM.

Step 3: Some Suitable Music

Today we'll be using Yasmin Levy's Mano Suave, a heady blend of Spanish, Jewish and Arabic influences. Although a bit melancholy, it goes really well with paella.

(We will get to the recipe soon I promise.)

Step 4: Gather Up Your Ingredients

1.5 pts stock (one and a half pints = about a litre)
2 tbspns olive oil
2 chicken breasts cut in pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 each red, green & yellow pepper
200g jar Seeds of change tomato puree with basil
12 oz paella rice (about 3/4 of a packet)
4 oz frozen peas
5 oz chorizo, sliced
bag of mixed prawns, mussels, etc

Step 5: What Ingredients to Choose

I'm using some sexy Spanish rice my niece brought back from Andalucia, but you can use any suitable rice.

BUT it must be the round grain type suitable for paella - not long grain or Basmati or anything like that.

I've got four coloured peppers - the colour is part of the attraction of the finished dish.

I'm using Marigold to make my stock - but you can use any light stock.

I'm using a 200g jar Seeds of change tomato puree with basil - but you can use any tomato passata or puree you like. If you have luscious ripe plum tomatoes where you live like we don't :-( you can use fresh ones deskinned and chopped.

I'm using a pack of frozen mixed seafood: this gives you a mix of prawns and squid and mussels and things without having to buy huge amounts of each.

I've got some cheapo German chorizo* this time. Mistake. I'll get proper Spanish next time. Buy a proper sausage and chop it - don't mess with that chopped stuff you get on deli counters: it tastes of nothing.

  • Say it this way: CHOREETHO - ch as in church and the Spanish z is always 'th'. Don't make yourself look silly by saying CHORITSO or KORITSO.

Step 6: OK - Let's Get Cooking

Defrost shellfish & frozen peas.
Make 1.5 pints stock. Add a good-sized pinch of saffron strands. Leave for 30 mins.

Step 7: Fry Chicken

Heat 2 tbspns olive oil in a paella pan
Cut chicken breasts into pieces.
When oil reaches right temp, fry chicken for 15 mins till golden brown.
Use a spatter guard!!!

Step 8: Fry Onions

Chop garlic. Chop onions.
Remove chicken pieces when they are golden brown and reserve them.
Fry garlic and onions for 5 mins (sorry - forgot to take pictures of that bit!)
Chop peppers. Add to pan. Cook for 10 mins. Turn down heat.

Step 9: Add Tomato

Add a jar of Seeds of Change tomato & basil puree. Cook 5 mins.
Chop chorizo.

Step 10: OK, Get Serious - This Is the Bit Where You Can Go Wrong

Turn up heat. Add stock. Bring it to rolling boil.
Add rice.

You MUST put the rice into BOILING liquid: if you don't it may not cook through properly.

Stir it in a bit, and cook 5 mins.

Step 11: Looks Nice Already, Doesn't It?

Stir in 4oz peas and chorizo. Turn down heat.
Add chicken.
Simmer 25 mins, stirring occasionally.

Step 12: Add Shellfish

Add bag of shellfish and its liquid.

Stir it in a bit.

Cook 15 mins more.

Step 13: Finish Off

Turn off heat.
Cover and leave to rest 5 mins.
Sprinkle chopped parsley over
Serve to waiting punters.

Step 14: How the Dish Will Look After You've Served Up the Food...

None left.


It happens every time.


Step 15: One Thing I Forgot to Say...

Just a small thing.

What you have just made is NOT a paella - sorry about that. It is un arroz.

A true paella is:

i) made outdoors
ii) made by a man
iii) never stirred

But who cares? It tastes just as good.

One more small thing: this is only one version - there are hundreds different all over Spain. So feel free to be creative - add in any old stuff you've got lying around. Try this basic version first though.

Here's the whole recipe as a pdf. Actually, you could have just downloaded the pdf at the beginning and skipped the rest. Still, the pictures were fun, weren't they?

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      29 Discussions


      7 years ago on Step 4

      Haaaayyy Gringo! How come you put rice in your paella?

      Where I come from in Tierra del Fuego we NEVER NEVER NEVER put rice in our paella.

      I notice you also use saffron. This is a complete NONO!

      Other ingredients you should leave out include stock, olive oil, chicken, onion, garlic, peppers, tomato, peas, and seafood.

      Also we don't learn to read in my country. We like to shoot our mouths off without reading anything first.


      7 years ago on Step 4

      ¡Arroz de Calasparra! de mi tierra, a 30 km de mi ciudad, el mejor arroz bomba del mundo, pero es carísimo. Por cierto, ¡No uses chorizo! No le pega para nada al plato.

      Calasparra's rice! from my country, 30 km from my city, the best bomb rice in the world, bu it's super expensive even in Spain. And DON'T USE CHORIZO OR ANY KIND OF SAUSAGE! you will kill the recipe if you use it.

      2 replies

      Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

      USE CHORIZO OR ANY KIND OF SAUSAGE you will kill the recipe if you don't use it.

      Or, to put it another way, as indeed I already have - sigh! -

      "this is only one version - there are hundreds different all over Spain. So feel free to be creative - add in any old stuff you've got lying around."


      Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Chorizo NO!
      I'm a member of the International League to take off the Chorizo in the Paella (ILTOCiP) and in Spain we NEVER found chorizo in Paella...
      But in a lot of "spanish" restaurants around the world, we found huge quantities of chorizo in paellas...

      Joe Byers

      10 years ago on Step 10

      Your recipe looks good. I like to "dry" toast the rice in a little oil and garlic, before i use it. The rice seems to do better for me, but I have to be careful not to burn it. Also, I have tried to use the so called "saffron" that I have found in some hispanic groceries. However, you really need the real Spanish azafran. You are right. It is expensive.


      10 years ago on Introduction

      Hello! Your recipe is useful, quite simple and with easy to find ingredients. I like you 'musical' touch wih step 3, great to make it even more fun! Let me comment saying that I would not use onion, would not mix seafood and chicken in the same recipe and would use some green beans like Step 15 is fun and also very true! Check a recipe I wrote some time ago
      Great job doing the instrutable, thanks!


      11 years ago on Step 13

      Hi, good instructable! a spanish living in Spain, I would say I have never seen chorizo in a paella, same for the parsley... Basically, there are two ways in doing a paella: - The one I think is the most "tradicional" is first stirring the vegetables, then adding and stirring the meat, then adding water and let them boiling for a while (until the water takes the flavour out of the ingredients). Then, adding the rice (the rate being 2 1/2 of water for 1 of rice). - The second is basically the same, the difference being you stir vegetables, then adding the meat, then adding the rice, stir it all, then (and LAST) adding the water. This way the rice become less "sticky" but the flavour remains in the vegetables, meat, etc...not in the rice (via the water). I hope I have been some sort of a help. Please, forgot my poor english. Jordi. Cantabria (Spain)

      6 replies

      Reply 10 years ago on Step 13

      Hola Jordi!!! otro español por aqui!!! Man I get astonished on the different PAELLA recipes around here... That´s not paella... it may look like it, but man, don´t call it so... - Paella pan, might be better not rusty (don´t want to think "that" in the naked panis dirt...) - for a good stock, please use chiken legs, the heads of the shrimps, the rests of the veggies (skin and ends of the onion, the stick part of the peppers, just green and red, please..., if you mush the garlic cloves, dont throw the rests of it to the bin, place them in the stock...) - the correct order is, after cooking well the chiken legs, clean them (use just the meat) and skin and bones go back to the stock.... Use Extra or Virgin Olive Oil (ONLY) heat and fry (low fire) the chicken, add chopped onion, peppers, and eventually other veggie (can be peas) -as onion gets sort of transparent, add the saffron (or in extreme case, change it for CURCUMA) - Mix well (may add a tb. spoon of tomatoe extract or pure, just that) - if desired, some squid rings, octopus diced, mussels, shells... will come in now. Stir again for about 2 mins, no more... -Add rice... YESS in dry... Add the rice and mix untill it all gets the colour. Personally I prefer the long grain, parbolized rice, which is the REAL paella one... -Add the stock and mix a little bit so it gets even all the ingredients. As it was boiling it will start boiling almost immediately... -Now DECORATE... Use your imagination to place the shrimps ON TOP, some red or green peppers (long thin slices) mussels (with shell) and shells. Please do not "sprinkle" them, place them nicely. -Put fire to the max, and STAY THERE... When you see the water goes under the rice take a few grains of rice and taste if is already soft. It probably will be half done, so replace stock untill rice gets just slightly under it Wait. Don´t even look at a clock. Just listen. It will come a moment that the water is almost gone, and only oil will remain at the very bottom. At this moment the rice "starts clapping", I mean it sounds like clapping. That is the point of serving. If you want a little of burnt bottom, just hold the fire high for some moments more, and will get the so called SOCARRAT... Put a moisty cloth on top of it, after turning off fire, and call your guests to table. The time they get there and sit will be enuff for the paella to "sit" Take it to the table, and Buen Provecho... And No Chorizo EVER... u may use some pork sirloin, or chops, diced..., can use rabbit too and other things (except CHORIZO)... lol


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      Erm.. how many instructables have you published, my friend? Looks like a big fat zero from here. So instead of dissing mine, why not do something constructive of your own? If you don't like it - make a better one!


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      I just did it. No pics. Is above this. Not having a car, does not mean that you cannot drive. Not doing an instruct, tho, does not mean I cannot make paella. Also doing 1000 instructs on "how to make a paella" makes you cook... Sorry to have bothered you, pal... Comments can be negative too, do you expect only GOOD ONES? Gimme a break...


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      "From: ymagination

      I just did it. No pics. Is above this."

      Yeah, but mine's in English.



      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      Oh, by the way To remove the rust in your pan, rub it with some thin water sandpeper. TO avoid your non tefloned pans to rust, just oil them after washing and drying them good. Use any cooking oil, some drops, a good spread, uniformly all over your pan, and then to your storage place... Be well :-D


      Reply 11 years ago on Step 13

      Hola, Jordi! Thanks for that. Like I said, "this is only one version - there are hundreds different all over Spain. So feel free to be creative - add in any old stuff you've got lying around." But thanks for the Cantabrian version!


      11 years ago on Introduction

      Unfortunately for US citizens, I've found hard chorizo to be difficult to find. For some reason the chorizo here is the consistency of greasy toothpaste (still tasty, but not the same). I lived in the Vizcaya province of Spain for two years (deep in Basque country), and the paella there was absolutely fantastic, and the festivals would often have paella cooking in pans a meter or more in diameter. I've got to give this recipe a try. One thing: lots of paella I've had also includes peas as a predominant ingredient. Have you tried that? I imagine one could simply dump in however much they wanted to into this recipe.

      6 replies

      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      Yes - peas are included. Normally, of course, I eat them with honey...

      If chorizo is hard to find or poor quality I think you could use any good spicy sausage really. Maybe in the US you can get some Mexican varieties? If not, you could check out your local deli and use whatever is good in your region. (That's what the Spanish do!)

      Or maybe someone wants to put up an instructable on how to make your own spicy sausage?!

      On second thoughts, here is a recipe I nicked from

      Chorizo (Mexican Sausage)
      This spicy and flavourful staple of Mexican cuisine can be enjoyed formed into patties and fried or crumbled and added to other dishes. Traditionally, chorizo is made in links; however, it is almost always removed from the casings before use. The home cook will find it simpler and easier to make it in bulk. Refrigerated, chorizo will keep for at least a week. You may freeze it for up to 3 months.

      • 4 dried ancho chillies
      • 4 dried Anaheim or New Mexico chillies
      • 2 pounds pork Boston butt, with fat, coarsely ground
      • 1 medium white onion, minced
      • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
      • 10 garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press
      • 2 teaspoons dried leaf oregano (preferably Mexican)
      • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
      • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
      • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
      • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
      • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

      Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove stems and seeds from the chillies; cut each chilli in half with scissors and flatten the pieces.

      Place the chillies, in a single layer, on a baking sheet, and roast for 5 minutes, being careful not to let them scorch, the purpose being to remove any moisture from the dried pods. Break the chillies into pieces and place them in a blender; pulse until chillies are uniformly ground.

      Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. See to it that all the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.

      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      Side note, DON'T use mexican chorizo, under any circumstances. I believe they use a different spice set when they make it, including chipotle. The end result is your paella will taste like barbecue (believe me I've made this mistake). Worse comes to worse, just leave out the sausage. I've only ever had sausage in my paella state-side anyway...


      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      Wouldn't you want your paella to taste like bbq? Isn't it traditionally cooked over a wood fire? I was considering adding Chipotles for just that smoked flavor when I am limited to inside cooking,


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      Yes... we cook paella in wood fire, but we don't cook spicy like mexican food, or typical bbq salsa. only put paprika and saffron. the most important is vegetables and meat because it make "caldo"(sorry... the water in a soup...) and it is the taste...


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      Spice taste isn't traditional but... Good, I am from Valencia, but my family is from Teruel(in mountain) and I had seen a lots of paellas. In spanish there are a lot of variety of vegetables and farm animals and in each community make the paella with their product, if you are in the beach you put seafood but if you are in the mountain you put "hunted meat"(i don't know how it say, meat of hunted animal in forest...). I say you:"the base of paella is:good olive oil, make a fried with meat/fish and vegetables then put water and rice and boil it to there aren't water..." and the colour is saffor. it's so easy.(it isn't need the bbq, you can do it in gas, but the pan must be 5-8 cm high...) sorry my english