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4.64 from 11 votes

Simple Paella Recipe

This versatile and simple Paella recipe is easier to make than you think. We've gathered the research and tips for you to confidently create this impressive Spanish classic.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings (change as needed): 6
Author: Cheryl


  • 2 cups Spanish rice e.g. Bomba, Valencia, Paella (if can't find, use Arborio rice)
  • 2 pinches saffron threads Note 1 (less than 1/2 tsp, loosely packed)
  • 1/2 pound fresh Chorizo sausage, Note 2 (about 2 sausages)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped 1 small-medium onion
  • 1 cup red pepper, finely chopped 1 small pepper
  • 3 teaspoon minced garlic 3 medium cloves
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, drained (1 28-ounce can)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined keep tails on if you like


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken broth (plus 1/4 -1/2 cup more if needed)
  • you will also be adding 1/4 saffron-soaked water


  • 1 large lemon, halved
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley


    °Soak the rice in water and set aside for 15 minutes.
    °Soak the saffron threads in 1/4 cup warm water and set aside.
    °Chop the onions and red pepper finely (or use a processor).
    °Drain the tomatoes and set aside.
    °Measure the remaining seasonings and liquids.
    °Microwave green beans in covered dish for 4-5 minutes until tender. Rinse in ice cold water to shock them and maintain a bright green color.
    ° Have peeled, deveined shrimp ready to go.
  • COOK CHORIZO: (Skip this step if using dried chorizo already cooked.) Spray a small saucepan with oil. Pierce churizo sausages in a few places with a fork and place them in pan. Heat to medium high. Cook for 2-3 minutes to brown. Add enough water to almost cover sausages, lower heat to medium and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from pan and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. They will finish cooking with the rice.
  • SAUTE VEGGIES THEN ADD RICE: Heat olive oil in large sided pan (14-18 inches). Add onions and pepper and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, paprika, sugar, chili flakes (if using) and salt and pepper. Stir well for 2 minutes until mixture is pasty. Drain rice, then add it to tomato mixture. Stir until well coated, about 2 minutes.
  • ADD LIQUIDS, CHORIZO AND COOK: Add wine, broth and saffron-soaking liquid. Add chorizo. Stir to settle everything in pan evenly. Do not stir again. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to Low (about 3 or 4 out of 10). Cook rice, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes, moving pan around for even cooking, Rice will be almost but not quite cooked. If it appears to dry after liquids are absorbed, add 1/4 cup extra broth.
  • ADD SHRIMP: Lay shrimp on top of rice and partially press into rice. Cook for 5 minutes uncovered. Turn shrimp over. Add green beans. Cover with foil or a pan cover and cook another 5-7 minutes until beans are warmed through and shrimp are cooked (they will turn pink and be slightly translucent inside but mostly opaque).
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Bottom of rice will be crispy. This is called Socarrat. If you want it crispier, you can try increasing the heat for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the rice. Taste and adjust seasonings, squeezing on half a lemon and adding more salt and pepper if needed. Stir everything together. Sprinkle on parsley and serve with extra lemon wedges.


  1. Saffron: The best quality saffron has deep red or orange threads (not pale). 
  2. Chorizo sausage: instead of cooking the sausage, you can buy dried chorizo (already cooked). In this case, slice it into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds and add it toward the end when the rice is cooking as per the recipe. 
  3. Make Ahead: All the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time e.g. chopping, peeling shrimp, cooking the beans, draining the tomatoes. You can also cook the Chorizo (if you didn't buy it cooked), then the onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes ahead. The final paella dish can also be kept covered in a warm oven (about 160F) for an hour or two.
Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 312mg | Sodium: 1543mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1715IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 7mg