Seafood Paella is an easy, delicious and flavorful seafood recipe that you can make at home. With fresh shellfish, mussels, and other seafood this meal is packed with flavor!
I used to stray away from difficult or time consuming recipes, but now I enjoy them. I think I just appreciate the different steps required in a recipe and the time it takes to make food right. And although I hate clean-up, I don’t have a problem getting out different pots and pans in order to get something just right.
My family and I love seafood dishes. Some of our favorites include Seafood Pasta and Coconut Shrimp Curry , this Linguine with Clam sauce and more!
Seafood is a great alternative to beef and chicken, and is just as versatile. This seafood paella recipe takes some extra time to make, but the finished dish is worth it!
What is Paella?
“Paella comes from the countryside around Valencia, where it began as a humble dish for workers in the orchards and vegetable fields. They simmered what ingredients they could find—tomatoes, beans, rabbit, snails—in a wide pan over the cuttings of orange trees before adding rice to absorb the flavors and make a filling midday meal. From there, paella drifted into villages and then cities and eventually became Spain’s national dish.
Paella is at its best cooked at home, made with traditional, shortcut-free technique and served the moment it’s ready to an appreciative crowd. Nothing in Spanish cooking compares to carrying a massive pan of golden-brown rice out to the table, or the pleasures of digging into one. And while paella has a lot of details to sweat and rules to follow, the most important is simple: There is no such thing as a version for just one person. As one aunt in the family village in rural Valencia says, “Paella is really just an excuse to gather people.” Source: Saveur.com
Paella can be made using a variety of meat, poultry, or seafood. I love this Paella Valenciana, made using chicken, and adapted a lot of his cooking tips and techniques. I highly recommend watching this YouTube video.
I do also highly recommend using a paella pan if you have one. Initially, I would use a cast iron skillet or other low, wide pan but you really do need a paella pan for this recipe and now you can purchase one from just about anywhere. The more you practice making paella, the easier it will be to make!
The one thing I will stress is purchasing quality ingredients (saffron and paella rice) and seafood. Spend the money and get some great, quality seafood. Fresh or frozen. It doesn’t matter. It makes all the difference!
Seafood Paella Recipe Notes
This recipe requires some extra steps because I like to steam my mussels separately and then add them on top of the paella. It’s perfect for a family dinner or for entertaining. This is the most requested dish that I make and bring to parties and potluck dinners!
I hope you give this Seafood Paella recipe a try – it is incredible!
- A paella pan is recommended. You can purchase these from anywhere online.
For the paella:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 lb. fresh squid cleaned, and sliced into rings
- 2 cups fresh tomato chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 to 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 pinch saffron threads*
- 2 cups Spanish paella rice**
- 4 to 5 cups chicken stock or seafood stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 oz fresh shrimp peeled and deveined; tails on or off
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes cut in half crosswise
- fresh parsley finely diced for garnish
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
For the mussels:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 shallots minced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ pound mussels scrubbed and de-bearded (about 12)
- 1 cup chicken of seafood stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or ½ cup water
For the paella:
- Using your paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and sauté until softened, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in the squid and toss and cook in the pan with the onions and garlic for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes only. Squid cooks very fast. Anything too long and it will become too rubbery. Two minutes over high heat is plenty. Next, remove all the squid from the pan and onto a plate. You will add back into the pan at the end. Cooking it at the beginning adds a little flavor to the onions and oil.
- Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste, mix together and season with some salt and pepper. (For the saffron: get a 1/2 cup of water and add in the saffron. This helps to loosen the saffron when it enters the paella and will help it spread better throughout the paella to give it better color.) Add in the smoked paprika into the pan and pour the saffron water all over, mixing well, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. While that is cooking, using a separate small saucepan, bring the chicken stock and wine to a low simmer. Alternatively, you can add directly into the pan but simmering separately first and then adding is preferred.
- Next, add in the rice into the paella pan and stir well until all of the grains are coated with the tomato sauce mixture and the rice is evenly distributed around the pan. Gently add the simmering stock and white wine mixture to the pan evenly over the rice. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to a light boil, and season with more salt.
- Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. If it looks like you need more liquid to help your rice cook, you can add just a little more chicken stock to the rice, half way through cooking. If you do this, pour evenly over the rice and then make sure the rice is still evenly distributed over the skillet.
- As your paella is cooking, remember to keep mixing around the pan (from the outside in) so it doesn't stick to the bottom as much. A little sticking is ok (and some people really enjoy the really cooked bits stuck to the bottom) but you just don't want it to burn. While the rice is cooking, prepare the mussels.
For the mussels:
- Using a large sized saucepan or small pot, warm the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, waiting until the butter has melted. Add in the minced shallots and garlic and sauté until the shallots are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the mussels into the saucepan and pour in the chicken stock and wine or water. Immediately cover the pan with the lid for about 5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, lift the lid and check the mussels. Nearly all of the mussels should be open by now. If not, cover and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. You can mix the mussels around in the saucepan to get the sauce nicely distributed over them. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened after this time. Do not consume any mussels that have not opened.
- Just before the rice is almost finished cooking, arrange the raw shrimp and tomatoes evenly over the rice and let cook. After the shrimp start to turn pink, flip them over and cook the other side. You want to cook the shrimp until they are just pink. Do not overcook. Add the cooked squid back into the pan. Mix, taste everything and season with more salt if needed.
- Arrange the open mussels on top of the seafood paella, drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the top of the paella if desired, garnish the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges. Enjoy immediately.
A Note For The Cook
We just made this paella again last night and added some fresh scallops as well. Feel free to add the seafood you want. If you realize at the end that you need more liquid to continue cooking the rice, add in the liquid from the mussels.
For the shrimp, you need to purchase raw shrimp. Don’t buy the shrimp that is pink, that has already been cooked and is generally there to purchase for shrimp cocktail. When purchasing mussels, most grocery stores do all the cleaning and debearding for you. However, if you need to do it yourself, click here for a great resource for how to clean and debeard mussels.
This seafood paella looks great! You are 100% right, fresh ingredients make all the difference. Paella is one of my favourite dishes and I´m lucky enough to eat it quite often here in Spain at my in-laws house, they make a really delicious one too 🙂
The whole time-consuming recipe thing is fun if nobody is distracting you. Every now and then, I’m home for a golden hour when my kids aren’t, and then I love spending time doing things that take time and detail. But if they’re around, all bets are off!
This paella looks so good. I always love getting it at tapas places around here, but your version looks even better!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
I’m not much for time-consuming recipes during the week, but I love experimenting more on the weekends. This seafood dish looks amazing, Alice! Seafood is a favorite of mine, so this sounds like the perfect meal!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I am with you, Alice, I don’t mind recipes with a lot of steps… they added layers of flavors always seem worth the extra effort. I loooove paella and yours looks beyond fabulous! Love that you don’t need a paella pan for this! Perfection, if you ask me!! Pinned! Cheers to a fabulous day!
P.S. Omaha Steaks has Shrimp?? whaa? Awesome! 😉
I like easy meals, but I definitely do not mind spending time to make something like this 🙂 Love this paella, it looks mouthwatering! Pinning to try it!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) says
I desperately need a pot of this!
Jen | Baked by an Introvert says
This paella sounds wonderful, Alice. Especially since it’s made with all fresh ingredients. They really do make all the difference.
This seafood paella sounds incredible, Alice! I think all the fresh ingredients and extra steps are completely worth it to get the full flavor! Love the Wild White Shrimp from Omaha Steaks in here too! Looks so comforting and delicious!
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
This is such a gorgeous dish! I can totally appreciate those more time consuming recipes, too — sometimes it’s nice to just spend a couple of hours in the kitchen whipping up something incredible spectacular!
Amy @Very Culinary says
Lazy…er…easy is my middle name. But I would definitely EAT this would reckless abandon. HA. I’;l save it for a weekend when I’m feeling ambitious! LOVE seafood!
This is so beautiful!! I love seafood and wish the hubs was in line too! I will have to just make it for myself 🙂
PERFECT! I love the idea of steaming the mussels separately. I’m so hungry now!!!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
I had no clue that Omaha Steaks sold seafood too! Alice – this paella looks wonderful -totally worth the extra steps indeed!
Emilie @ The Clever Carrot says
I’m a huge paella fan. It’s such an impressive dish! And fresh is what it’s all about for sure, or at least frozen fresh, with no preservatives! This looks amazing. Going on my list to make soon!!
Ryan @ Feed by Round Pond says
I am a huge fan of paella – with the combination of seafood and the slight smattering of spicy sausage, it’s just a perfect dish.
Jennifer Farley says
I think I’ve always found more complicated recipes enjoyable because the extra steps make the entire process somehow more.. zen. I throw myself into it more. Cleanup is definitely a hassle, but there’s just an art to dishes like paella. This looks wonderful.
Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says
You know what? I’ve never actually MADE paella before! I’ve eaten my fair share, and LOVE it. This has inspired me to give it a try! Pinned!
I’m all for taking the extra steps when the results are worth the effort, and this dish definitely looks like it is! I love seafood and paella, and this dish looks just mouthwatering, Alice! 🙂
Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven says
I have NEVER had seafood paella before, and you know what? That just needs to change right now! You seriously nailed the “whoaaaa” factor of this dinner, Alice!!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen says
This looks really great, Alice! I love seafood paella, but I’ve never made it at home, mostly because I was kind of intimidated by the whole process. But it’s such a flavorful and impressive dish, that I think I need to try it soon! I didn’t know Omaha Steaks sold seafood. I’ll have to go check that out!
I have always thought paella looks so fun to make. This looks amazing!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
It’s so true, quality seafood definitely makes a difference! It’s been so long since I’ve made a paella. This looks beautiful, Alice!
Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch says
I am craving this – seriously craving this, Alice! Look so delicious!!!
Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says
Oh my this looks like a show-stopping dish! I just came back from Spain a few weeks ago and your seafood paella looks better than some of the ones we had there 🙂
Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living says
Paella is one of my all time favorites – this looks amazing!
Matt Robinson says
This looks incredible, Alice! I’m sl glad my boys like seafood and this is so worth the time. Love it.
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says
I love paella! This looks amazing, Alice. I’m definitely going to have to try your recipe out. Would make a fantastic family dinner!
Amy | Club Narwhal says
Alice, I used to be the same way with complicated recipes and now I’m like, BRING IT! 😉 I adore paella and have never made it at home–you totally convinced me to try!
I go back and forth on time consuming recipes, I try to do one or two a week and then have everything else be quick and easy. My Mom makes homemade paella all the time, and it’s been on my list for forever, yours looks SO delicious!! All that seafood!
My wheels are turning – this would be so fun to make over the holidays with my family. A little glass of wine, some holiday music = day made. Thanks for sharing such a gorgeous recipe, Alice!
Meghan | Fox and Briar says
I studied abroad in Spain and I had every intention of making tons of Paella when I got home and you know what? I never did. I love that you made it in a cast iron skillet instead of a paella pan. Now I don’t have to go out and buy another pan! Pinning this!
Hi Meghan, thank you!! Just make sure you keep watching it! The paella is just as delicious made in a cast iron skillet but can stick to the bottom a little if you don’t watch it! 🙂 I hope you try this! We loved this recipe!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love paella and this looks crazy good with all that gorgeous seafood!
Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says
Yes, yes, yes! LOVE paella! Not only is it delicious, but it’s such a gorgeous dish! I’m also a big seafood fan, but oh man that rice is just stunning – soaking up all of those incredible flavors! Pinning!!
GiGi Eats says
I have always wanted to try making this with CAULIFLOWER RICE!!! I still need to cross it off my cooking bucket list!
Pamela A. Spears says
Looks yummy!! Can’t wait to try it.
La Marcha Restaurant in Berkeley says
Paella is such a feast for the eyes, not just the tastebuds! All that fresh seafood is so appealing, and the fresh parsley you sprinkled on it just sends it over the top! Gorgeous.
This does look delicious! Has anyone found that putting squid in while cooking rice renders it tough? When I make calimari it requires just a couple of minutes to cook otherwise it’s tough to chew—like rubber bands?
Hi Esther! I haven’t had that problem but you can certainly add in the fresh squid at the end when you add in the shrimp!! Enjoy!