How to make Quick and Easy Paella

During an adventure-filled journey that led me through the heart of Spain’s rich landscapes and into the arms of its passionate culture, I stumbled upon a dish that seemed to capture the very soul of this vibrant country: Paella. This encounter, fueled by the mingling scents of saffron threads, the sight of jumbo shrimp sizzling alongside, and the subtle heat of cayenne pepper, left an indelible imprint on my gastronomic memory. The dish was a masterpiece of flavors—each spoonful a testament to Spain’s love affair with the sea and land, woven together in harmony. Driven by an insatiable desire to bring this experience home, I embarked on a quest to master this iconic dish. It was not just about following a recipe; it was about recreating a moment, a taste of Spanish euphoria. After several trials, blending tradition with a dash of innovation for a quicker and easier approach, I finally perfected my version of Paella. Now, with immense excitement and a dash of pride, I am eager to share this ‘Quick and Easy Paella’ recipe, hoping to transport you to those Spanish shores, if only through your palate.

Quick and Easy Paella

The introduction to "Quick and Easy Paella" shares a personal journey of culinary discovery, tracing back to an unforgettable visit to Spain, where the author first encountered the iconic dish of Paella. This experience ignited a passion for Spanish cuisine, particularly for its ability to encapsulate the vibrant Spanish culture and landscape through a blend of simple yet rich ingredients like saffron threads, jumbo shrimp, and cayenne pepper. Inspired by the melody of flavors and the joy of sharing food that characterizes Spanish dining, the author embarked on a quest to demystify the preparation of this quintessential dish. After several experiments and mastering a quicker and easier version that does not compromise on taste or authenticity, the author is now keen to share this adapted recipe with others. The hope is to bring a piece of the Spanish coastal experience into the kitchens of those eager to explore global cuisines, creating a bridge through food that connects cultures and palates across distances.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 people
Calories 658 kcal


  • 1 pan


Saffron Broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces chorizo sausage


  • In a pan over medium heat, steam, and mix preserved shrimp shells and two teaspoons canola oil.
  • Saffron should be stirred into the shells, and chicken broth should be added.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large oven-safe skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. In a hot skillet, cook chorizo strips.
  • Continue cooking the garlic into the chorizo combination until moist.
  • Over the rice, place the seafood in a thin layer.
  • Sprinkle with salt, parmesan, and cayenne pepper, and place pepper slices around as well as between shrimp.
  • Cook the rice paste for 20 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • Cook, often stirring, until the rice is soft, the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice has caramelized.
Keyword jumbo shrimp, saffron threads

Cooking tips about Quick and Easy Paella

Seafood Paella

  • Choosing the Right Rice: Opt for short-grain rice varieties like Bomba or Calasparra if available, as they absorb liquid well while maintaining structure. If these specific types are not accessible, Arborio rice, commonly used for risotto, can serve as a suitable substitute.
  • Saffron Is Key: Saffron provides the characteristic color and a significant portion of the traditional flavor profile of paella. Even though it might seem like a splurge, a little goes a long way. Use saffron threads sparingly, ensuring they’re well-distributed throughout the dish to impart a beautiful golden hue and rich flavor.
  • Properly Cooking the Protein: Whether you’re using jumbo shrimp, chicken, or rabbit, ensure that each protein is properly cooked before incorporating it into the rice. For seafood like shrimp, sear them until just pink and then set aside to add back in towards the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming tough.
  • Sofrito Base: Create a rich sofrito by sautéing onions, garlic, and tomatoes as the foundational flavor base of your paella. This mixture should be cooked down until it’s deeply concentrated, which will add a robust flavor to the rice.
  • Even Heat Distribution: If a traditional paella pan (paellera) isn’t available, use a wide, shallow skillet to ensure even heat distribution. The key to a good paella is developing the socarrat – the crispy rice crust on the bottom. To achieve this, resist the urge to stir the rice once it begins to simmer.
  • Liquid to Rice Ratio: Follow the recommended liquid to rice ratio closely, typically twice as much liquid as rice, but adjust based on the rice type and your stove. Too much liquid and your rice will be soggy; too little, and it will be undercooked.
  • Seasonings and Warmth: Alongside saffron, don’t hesitate to incorporate smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves to infuse warmth and depth into the dish. Adjust these seasonings to suit your taste but remember that the strength of flavors like cayenne can significantly impact the dish’s overall heat.
  • Vegetable Add-ins: Peas, bell peppers, and artichokes are all excellent additions that can add color, texture, and additional layers of flavor to your paella. Add these according to cooking times needed to ensure they are perfectly tender when the paella is done.

Serving suggestions about Quick and Easy Paella

Quick and Easy Paella

  • Family-Style Presentation: Serve the Paella directly from the pan it was cooked in, allowing guests to marvel at the array of colors and ingredients. A large, traditional paella pan not only adds authenticity to the presentation but also invites communal dining, embodying the spirit of Spanish meals.
  • Wine Pairing: Complement your Paella with a Spanish wine that matches the dish’s richness and complexity. A crisp, dry white wine like Albariño or Verdejo can refresh the palate and balance the savory flavors of the paella. For red wine lovers, a young Rioja can provide a fruity and slightly spicy complement.
  • Lemon Wedges: Offer fresh lemon wedges around the pan. A squeeze of lemon juice over the paella just before eating enhances the flavors, adding a bright, acidic note that contrasts beautifully with the richness of the rice and seafood.
  • Simple Side Dishes: Accompany the paella with simple, light side dishes. A mixed green salad dressed with a vinaigrette or sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil can offer a refreshing balance to the hearty main dish.
  • Rustic Table Setting: Reflect the rustic nature of paella in your table setting. Use natural materials such as wooden boards, terracotta dishes for side dishes, and linen tablecloths. Decorate with elements inspired by the Spanish countryside or seaside, such as wildflowers in small vases or seashells scattered across the table.
  • Soft Lighting and Music: Enhance the ambiance with soft, warm lighting and Spanish music in the background. Flamenco guitar music or any lively Spanish tunes can help set the mood, making the dining experience more authentic and enjoyable.
  • Dessert Pairing: Finish the meal with a light, refreshing dessert like lemon sorbet or a selection of Spanish cheeses served with quince paste. This will cleanse the palate and round off the meal beautifully without overshadowing the rich flavors of the paella.

Top 5 FAQs about Quick and Easy Paella

Spanish Paella | RecipeTin Eats

  • What is Quick and Easy Paella? Quick and Easy Paella refers to a simplified version of the traditional Spanish dish, paella. This adaptation focuses on capturing the essence and flavors of the classic recipe—saffron-infused rice combined with a variety of proteins like jumbo shrimp—and condenses the cooking process to make it more accessible for home cooks without sacrificing taste or authenticity.
  • Which rice is best for making Quick and Easy Paella? The best rice for paella is a short-grain variety that absorbs liquid well without becoming mushy. Bomba or Calasparra rice is traditionally preferred for authentic paella. However, for a quick and easy version, Arborio rice can be a suitable and more widely available substitute, ensuring the right texture and flavor absorption.
  • Can I use chicken or other proteins instead of seafood in Quick and Easy Paella? Yes, you can easily adapt the recipe to include chicken, rabbit, or even vegetarian options like artichokes and beans instead of seafood. The key to Quick and Easy Paella is flexibility, allowing you to use the ingredients you have on hand while still achieving a delicious result. Just ensure that whichever protein you choose is properly cooked before integrating it into the rice.
  • How important is saffron in Quick and Easy Paella, and is there a substitute? Saffron is crucial for imparting the characteristic golden color and depth of flavor associated with paella. While it is a pricier spice, a little goes a long way, and its unique taste is difficult to replicate. If absolutely necessary, turmeric could be used for its color, but keep in mind that it will not mimic the distinct flavor profile that saffron provides.
  • What’s the secret to achieving the socarrat in Quick and Easy Paella? The socarrat, a crispy crust formed at the bottom of the pan, is sought after in traditional paella and can be achieved in the quick and easy version by cooking the rice undisturbed on higher heat towards the end of the cooking process. Ensure even heat distribution by using a wide, shallow pan and resist the urge to stir the rice. Monitor closely to prevent burning, looking for a toasted, not charred, bottom layer.

The exploration of Quick and Easy Paella has been a journey of discovering the balance between simplicity and authenticity, perfectly reflecting the vibrant spirit of Spanish cuisine. This delightful adaptation not only preserves the essence of the traditional paella with its rich flavors of saffron, the succulence of jumbo shrimp, and the warmth of cayenne pepper but also introduces a modern ease to its preparation. By navigating through the challenges of cooking such an iconic dish in a manner that suits our fast-paced lives, we’ve succeeded in capturing the joy and communal essence of Spanish dining. Quick and Easy Paella emerges not just as a recipe but as an invitation—to embrace the culture, the flavors, and the celebratory nature of sharing a meal that is deeply rooted in Spanish tradition. As we bring this chapter to a close, let us carry forward the lessons learned in balance, flavor, and joy, ensuring that the art of creating Quick and Easy Paella continues to enrich our tables and our lives, offering a taste of Spain to all who gather around.


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