Spanish Seafood Paella

This traditional Spanish seafood paella recipe is an elegant rice dish made with mussels, clams, shrimp, chorizo and a rich saffron-scented broth.

Did you know that Paella is the national rice dish of Spain?

The best seafood paella is generally made with chorizo, Bomba rice, saffron and a Sofrito that’s comprised of a slowly cooked mixture of garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes and saffron. Sofrito can also be used to flavor stews, soups and pasta dishes.

Most of the flavoring in a good Paella recipe also comes from smoked paprika. Then, you can add almost anything to this dish, such as seafood, chicken, and any kind of meat that you prefer.

A lot of times you’ll see seafood paellas that are brightly colored and screaming yellow. That is just the saffron. However, the best paellas get their flavor and coloring from the smoked paprika. So it’s fine to have your colors look a little more “rusty.”

Roasted piquillo peppers are another important ingredient in this dish. Piquillo peppers are a bittersweet pepper that are less sweet than standard red bell peppers. You can buy them jarred on Amazon, or prepare them fresh. If preparing them fresh, you’ll need to roast them, take the skin off, remove the seeds, and then julienne them into strips.

This recipe for Seafood Paella is made with scallops, mussels, clams, and shrimp. We’re going to top it off with a saffron aïoli, which is also known as a saffron rouille. This is comprised of mayonnaise, saffron, harissa paste and sometimes puréed potato.

Be sure to buy a real paella pan for this recipe. You can buy an authentic Spanish Paella pan on Amazon for less than $20. I recommend the Vaello Campos La Valenciana brand, made with polished steel.

Always quickly wash and dry your paella pan after each use, and put a thin layer of oil on it to preserve its integrity and keep it well seasoned.

Seafood Paella Ingredients

Although the amount of ingredients may seem intimidating, this seafood paella recipe is quite easy to prepare. Measure out all of your food in the beginning so you’re ready to assemble the dish.

Four of the key ingredients in Spanish Paella are saffron threads, Spanish chorizo, Bomba rice and paprika. If you don’t want to invest in three types of paprika, one sweet smoked Spanish paprika will do.

Here’s your shopping list:

How to make Spanish Seafood Paella

To prepare this delicious seafood paella, you can speed up the process by par-cooking your rice. For best results, use Spanish Bomba rice, which is a short-grained white rice.

Next, combine the rice with the paprika, peas, peppers and scallops. Add a little bit of salt and pepper, and mix it up until combined.

Cooking the Paella

Place your paella pan over a medium flame. Add the sofrito (onions, tomatoes and garlic) into a non reactive pan and cover halfway with olive oil. Sprinkle the saffron threads on top. Cook until very soft and well combined.

Add the chorizo and saute briefly, until the chorizo is lightly browned. You don’t want too much heat. It’s going to cook fast, because the pan is thin.

Once the chorizo has rendered its fat and the onions start to brown, add the rice mixture to the pan. Stir and mix well. Let the rice cook on the bottom so that the paella will have a little bit of a crust.

Next, add the chicken stock along with a few more strands of saffron.

Check your seasonings by tasting the broth. You’re going to get a heavy dose of smoked paprika, but these flavors will settle as the dish cooks.

Once the broth is almost to a boil, add the clams, mussels, and shrimp to the rice mixture. Always put the seafood in with the hinge side down so that the clams open up and you can see the interior.

Finishing the Paella

Cover the pan with foil and let it finish cooking in the oven at about 500 F.

When you remove the paella from the oven, after about 10 minutes or so, you’ll see that the shellfish have opened and the smell is incredible!

To finish the dish, add a few dollops of the saffron aioli on top, along with a little bit of minced parsley. Enjoy!

Spanish Seafood Paella Video

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Spanish Seafood Paella

Spanish Seafood Paella

Recipe by Jason Hill –
This traditional Spanish seafood paella recipe is an elegant rice dish made with mussels, clams, shrimp and a rich saffron-scented broth. Invest in a paella pan to increase the "wow" factor. This recipe comes from Chef Greg Stillman.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4


Paella Pan



  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 10 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads

For the Paella

Saffron aioli

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Make the Saffron Aioli

  • Mix together the ingredients until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

Make the Sofrito

  • Mix together the ingredients and set aside 1/4 cup for this dish. Reserve the rest for pasta, soups, stews or other dishes.

Prepare the Paella

  • Place the sofrito into the paella pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle the saffron threads on top and place over medium heat. Cook until very soft and well combined.
  • Add the chorizo and peppers briefly, until the chorizo is lightly browned.
  • Add the peas, sofrito mixture, chicken, scallops, rice and paprika. Mix in the pan until well combined.
  • Add the chicken stock (or saffron broth), barely covering the rice. Bring the pan to a boil Cover with aluminum foil or a lid.
  • Place the paella pan into a 375 F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is ¾ of the way cooked.
  • Add the shrimp, mussels and clams to the rice, arranging it attractively.
  • Re-cover the pan and cook another 10 minutes, or until the rice and seafood are cooked.
  • Remove from the oven. Top with garlic aioli and serve.
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Keyword rice, seafood, shellfish
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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