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Perfect Spanish Seafood Paella

Embark on a flavorful Spanish journey from your own kitchen! Get ready to explore the rich culinary heritage of Spain through the art of homemade seafood paella. This traditional masterpiece holds the key to unlocking a world of vibrant flavors and captivating aromas.

Kristen, one of the owners at STG, recently returned from a research trip in Spain as did fellow luxury travel advisor Rachel Soleil Lerch. They spent time learning how to make seafood paella. While you dream of your next trip to Spain, or actively plan one with the STG team, enjoy this authentic Spanish recipe.

Above, Kristen snapped a picture of chef at Hacienda de Orán. This was a fabulous excursion thanks to our partners at Tailored Spain and Index Select.

History of paella

Originating in the rice-growing areas on Spain's Mediterranean coast, the dish is especially associated with the region of Valencia. Paella takes its name from the word paellera, the utensil in which it is cooked. This is a flat round pan with two handles; paella is traditionally eaten from the pan.

Originally cooked by Valencian farmers with whatever they had on hand, the main ingredients include rice, saffron, chicken, and vegetables (onions, peppers and tomatoes). It can also include snails, shrimp, clams muscles.

Tools - with links to Amazon

  • Paella pan (linked here) or a medium sized skillet (linked here)

  • Knife and cutting board (linked here)

  • Trivet for serving (linked here)


  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled and then loosely measured

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 6 ounces mild dried chorizo sausage, sliced into thin half-moons

  • 3 cups short-grain rice, such as Spanish Bomba rice or Italian Arborio

  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup frozen green peas

  • 1 pound large (21-24 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails left on

  • 1 pound mussels, rinsed and scrubbed

  • 1 pound littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish


Step 1: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (375°F), or light a charcoal grill and let burn until the charcoal is covered with gray ash.

Step 2: In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the saffron and salt. Turn off the heat and let the saffron steep for at least 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

Step 3: In a 12- to 14-inch stainless steel skillet or cast iron pan, heat the oil over medium heat on top of the stove. Add the onion and red pepper, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and chorizo.

Step 4: On a table next to the grill, set the skillet with the sofrito, the rice, tomatoes, infused stock, salt, peas, shrimp, mussels, and clams.

Step 5: Set the skillet with the sofrito on the grill. Add the rice, and cook, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the rice is coated with oil and lightly toasted. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, and peas. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

Step 6: Spread the rice evenly over the bottom of the pan. Close the grill cover and simmer the rice without stirring for 15 minutes, or until the rice absorbs most of the stock. If the mixture looks dry, pour about 1 cup of hot water over it, but do not stir.

Step 7: Nestle the mussels and clams into the rice with the hinge sides up so they release their juices into the rice. Arrange the shrimp around the shellfish.

Cover the pan with foil, close the grill and cook for 6 to 10 minutes longer (depending on the heat of your grill), or until the rice and shrimp are both cooked through and the mussels and clams are open. (Discard any shellfish that remain tightly shut once everything else is cooked.)

Step 8: Slip a spatula under the rice and check to see if you have achieved the elusive golden brown socarrat. If not, set the pan over the heat, uncovered, for a few minutes to lightly caramelize the bottom.

Step 9: Sprinkle with parsley, bring the whole pan to the table for serving, and enjoy your homemade seafood paella!

No grill? Cook this inside!

Cook the paella through step 6 on top of the stove. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the seafood (step 7), cover the pan tightly with foil and finish cooking in the oven for 6 to 10 minutes or until the rice and shrimp are both cooked through and the mussels and clams are open. Check to see if the bottom has browned and, if not, set the pan over medium heat for a minute or two to allow the bottom layer of rice to caramelize.

Ready to experience this authentic Spanish dish on the coast of Spain? Click here to begin planning your next adventure with STG.

Until the next bon voyage, adiós!

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