How to Make the Best Paella

Hey Friends – I hope everyone had the best weekend! After an epic bachelorette party in the Bahamas last weekend, I am still in recovery mode. We had the most incredible time soaking up the sun, drinking rum out of coconuts, and dancing/karaoke-ing the night away. It was better than I could have hoped for, but unfortunately on the flight home I was slapped with the worst flu I’ve had in a long time. So this past week has been spent drinking ginger lemon tea, sleeping a lot, and binge watching Netflix. I hate when you’re sick and your taste buds are all messed up! I’ve been dreaming of all the yummy food I’ve wanted to make but I just haven’t felt it this week. But I did want to share this incredible Paella we made a couple weeks ago that I am still dreaming of. This is the first time we’ve ever made Paella and I can’t believe we haven’t been cooking it the whole time! SO GOOD, SO GOOD. 

It’s actually a lot  simpler than I thought it would be! Make sure you let your rice sit though and get a caramelized crust on the bottom. Those little brown bits makes the dish even better! 


-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
– 1 large onion chopped
– 6 cloves garlic minced
– 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
– 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
– 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
– 1 tbsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or Sriracha
– 2 tsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp saffron
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 lb large shrimp
– 1 lb mussels scrubbed and soaked
– lobster tails (optional) I know these can be pricey!
– fresh parsley for garnish
– 1 lemon cut into lemon wedges

What to do 

  1. In a large paella pan or skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and add sausage to the pan. 
  2. While the sausage is cooking, add in the onion, sprinkle with salt and let cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Then add in your garlic and cook for another minute before tossing in your chicken pieces.  
  3. Once the chicken has starting browning, stir in your tomato paste and let that cook down for another 2-3 minutes. 

  4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir well. Add the broth, hot sauce, smoked paprika, saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together and then just let the mixture sit and cook for 10-15 minutes without stirring. You want to create a caramelized crust on the bottom of the rice. Be careful not to burn it! Gently take a spoon every so often and push a small portion of rice to the side to check the bottom. The rice should absorb most of the liquid at this point but not all of it. 

  5. Turn down the heat just a little and arrange the shrimp, mussels and lobster tails over the rice, cover with a lid again and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mussels open up. Keep an eye on the lobster tails to make sure they don’t overcook. You could also cook the lobster in the oven separately with garlic butter which is what we did!

  6. Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.


  1. January 22, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I LOVE paella! It’s one of my favorite things to eat, and to make! I just got more saffron threads, too. Time to break out the paella pan! That shrimp looks divine.

    • Hillary Harper
      January 23, 2018 / 4:33 am

      The saffron definitely makes it! I can’t believe how just a few little threads flavors a huge pan!

  2. January 22, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    The Bahamas trip sounds nice, minus the flu! I have never tried paella, will have to give it a try one of these days. The pictures sure make it look good.

    • Hillary Harper
      January 23, 2018 / 4:33 am

      You’ll definitely have to give it a try!

  3. January 22, 2018 / 9:29 pm

    I went to a holiday party where the caterers brought paella, and it was so impressive. It seemed intimidating to make it yourself, but this post makes me reconsider!

    • Hillary Harper
      January 23, 2018 / 4:34 am

      I thought it would be a lot more difficult, but as long as you trust the process and don’t stir too much and monitor the heat you’ll produce an amazing paella 🙂

  4. Melissa Chee
    January 22, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    This looks delicious! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe

  5. January 23, 2018 / 6:45 am

    This looks amazing. I’ve been wanting to make paella for some time now. I’ll have to start here!

    • Hillary Harper
      January 25, 2018 / 12:29 am

      Thanks Jenni! You should definitely try it 🙂 So satisfying to make at home!

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