Classic Spanish Seafood Paella Recipe

This classic Spanish Seafood Paella Recipe is a saffron-infused medley of delicious seafood  and arborio rice, a perfect one pot meal to feed a crowd and works with whatever protein or seafood you have on hand.

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easy paella recipe

Why You’ll Love This Spanish Paella Recipe

This recipe was shared with me by my mother-in-law. And just like many recipes that have been passed down generation to generation, it’s one that has never previously been written down, and is filled with ingredients that have been measured with hearts and not spoons.

I watched her make it several times, and took stock in not only writing down paella ingredients but also measurements.

The best part about making a seafood paella or any paellas is that it works with just about any protein or seafood you have on hand.

The key paella ingredients are the Spanish rice and saffron, and all other ingredients are really up to you. You can add any seafood you like to this recipe, or skip any seafood that you don’t like. Additionally, you can also add chicken. Here is what we typically add to our family paella.

Ingredients to Make Spanish Seafood Paella

  • red bell pepper
  • onion
  • canned diced tomatoes 
  • sweet paprika garlic cloves 
  • Spanish rice
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh lemon juice extra lemons to serve after
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon saffron threads
  • chicken broth
  • jumbo shrimp
  • mussels 
  • clams 
  • salmon 
  •  jumbo scallops
  • lobster tail*
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How to Make an Authentic Spanish Seafood Only Paella

We are a bunch of seafood lovers so I load this classic style paella dish with all the seafood I can find. From small white fish to jumbo scallops, crab legs, shrimp and mussels and clams.

To start, add olive oil to a skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add canned tomatoes, and spices. Allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes.

Next, add the rice. Then slowly pour the broth over the rice gently pushing the ingredients into an even layer.

Bring the rice to a boil. Do not stir the rice mixture.

Allow the mixture to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is almost ready.
Next add the shrimp, salmon, mussels, clams and crab legs and lobster tail to the pan, nestling the seafood into the rice gently.

Close the lid and allow the seafood to cook thoroughly, about 5 minutes.

If everything does not seem cooked, lower the temperature but continue to cook the paella on low heat adding more broth as necessary.

TIP: Serve a lemon wedges and olive oil with your paella,  so everyone can finish their paella to their taste.

easy paella recipe

Seafood Paella Recipe

This authentic paella recipe comes together beautifully with seafood medley nestled in saffron and spanish rice. Add scallops, shrimp, salmon, mussels and clams, or lobster tail to this classic recipe for a delicious one pan seafood rice dish.


  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Spanish rice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lbs shrimp
  • 1/2 lbs mussels
  • 1/2 lbs clams
  • 1/2 lbs salmon
  • 3-6 lbs jumbo scallops
  • 1-2 lobster tail


  • To prepare paella, combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, scrub mussels and clams, and clean all other seafood and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sautè 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice, two more garlic cloves and chopped parsley, and broth mixture. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add seafood to the pan nestling everything into rice mixture.Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture. Cook until seafood is cooked and shells open; discard any unopened shells. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, and olive oil.

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