This easy chicken and seafood paella is my take on a classic Spanish paella. This one-pan rice dish is packed with juicy chicken drumsticks, chorizo sausage, plump mussels, calamari rings and prawns, and is simply bursting with flavour.
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Summer on a plate
There’s something about paella that simply screams summer. Perhaps is memories of past Mediterranean holidays, or maybe it’s the yellow saffron that brightens the dish up so much. It might even be the flavours and aroma of smoky paprika and pungent garlic. Whatever it is, this chicken and seafood paella chases away the winter blues and transports you to a far-away sunny land.
I think you’ll love this dish as much as I do.
- Paella is so easy to make. Just brown the sausage, chicken and onions, then add the rest of the ingredients and leave it alone until it transforms into a delightful Mediterranean feast.
- It’s all cooked and served in one pan, which means minimum washing up – always a bonus in my book.
- If you are in a hurry, then this easy paella is a godsend. There’s only 15 minutes of prep and the rest of the time it’s hands-off while the dish cooks itself.
- Paella on its own makes a delicious family supper, but add a few slices of garlic bread and a fresh green salad, and you have a dish that will impress the most discerning of dinner party guests.
What goes into paella?
For this easy chicken and seafood paella, you only need a few ingredients.
Let’s take a look at each of them. You can get exact quantities on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Chicken – I used chicken drumsticks – you can use chicken thighs or even sliced chicken breasts if you prefer.
Mixed seafood – I normally buy a bag of frozen cooked seafood and keep it in the freezer. Then I can just take out the amount I need for any recipe. It’s so convenient to have on hand and only needs to be warmed through to be ready to eat. The seafood mix I use has shrimps (or prawns), mussels and calamari rings in it.
Chorizo sausage – traditional paella does not contain chorizo, but I find that a few slices enhance the flavours of the dish. I like to fry it first so the paprika-flavoured oil in the sausage can be released. You can leave it out if you prefer.
Chopped tomatoes – chopped fresh tomatoes break down and disintegrate into the paella, leaving just their flavour. If you only have canned tomatoes, you can use these too, but an entire can would overpower the other flavours. If you must use canned tomatoes you will only need half a can.
Onions – onions add a touch of sweetness, I prefer to use white onions, but red onions would work just as well.
Red pepper or capsicum – the flavours of red pepper really complement this dish and go perfectly with paprika and garlic.
Frozen peas – (not shown in the photograph) – these add pops of sweetness and colour to the dish.
All the rest
Rice – paella is normally made with short-grain rice, but I have chosen to use long-grain basmati rice. You can use any rice that remains separate after being cooked. Don’t try to use arborio rice. This rice contains too much starch and will stick together once cooked making the paella stodgy.
Saffon – saffron provides the vibrant colour of this dish. You only need 3 or 4 small strands which should be soaked in a tablespoon of water before being added. This is optional – you can leave it out if you prefer.
Paprika – adds the classic smoky taste to this to the paella. You can use either smoked paprika or unsmoked paprika – the choice is yours.
Garlic – I use crushed garlic from a jar so that I can control the amount of garlic that I add. Cloves of garlic differ in size so it is difficult to say how many to add. Use your own judgement on this.
Chicken stock – (not shown in photograph) – if you don’t have fresh chicken stock, you can easily make your own by dissolving one chicken stock cup per one cup of boiling water.
Seasoning – salt and pepper to taste.
How do you make paella?
There are only a few steps involved in making this easy chicken and seafood paella.
- Fry the chorizo in olive oil to release the paprika-flavoured oil from the sausage.
- Brown the chicken in the same pan.
- Fry the onions, red pepper, tomatoes and garlic until the onion is translucent and the peppers are softened.
- Mix the rice in and stir well to coat with the flavoured oil.
- Add the rice and stock, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 5 minutes until the rice starts to absorb some of the stock.
- Now add the chicken and chorizo back to the pan, cover and leave over a low heat until the liquid has been almost absorbed and the rice is soft (about 10 minutes)
- Add the seafood and frozen peas, cover and leave for another 5 minutes until heated through.
- Serve as is, or for a more substantial meal, add slices of garlic bread and a fresh green side salad.
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Can I freeze chicken and seafood paella?
Unfortunately not. The reason for this is that the seafood in the paella was previously frozen, and shouldn’t be refrozen.
Can I make it in advance?
Yes, you can make this paella up to 2 days in advance and once cooled, store covered, in the refrigerator.
To use, reheat in a saucepan, or in the microwave, until piping hot and serve immediately.
That said, this dish is best eaten freshly prepared.
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If you enjoyed this chicken and seafood paella, you may also enjoy these other easy meals:
- Easy Creole jambalaya with chicken, chorizo and shrimp
- Garlic chicken traybake with rice
- Pad Thai noodles with chicken and shrimp
- Homemade hamburger helper with tomatoes and mushrooms
- Salmon and broccoli pasta in a creamy dill sauce
- Octopus stew – Spanish style
Easy chicken and seafood paella
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 8 medium chicken drumsticks or thighs
- 6 ounce (180g) frozen cooked seafood mix (defrosted) approximately 1½ cups
- 3 ounce (90g) chorizo sausage sliced
- 1 mediium onion diced (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 medium red pepper / capsicum seeds removed and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup (200g) white basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (from a jar) or 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 2½ cups chicken stock make with stock cubes
- 1 pinch saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for browning meat and onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice the chorizo sausage thinly.
- Peel the onion and cut into approximately ½" dice.
- Rinse the red pepper, remove the seeds and inner membrane and cut into thin slices.
- Rinse the tomatoes and cut them into approximately ½" dice.
- If using fresh garlic, peel the cloves and mince finely.
- Put the saffron in 1 tablespoon of water to soak.
- Dissolve 2½½ chicken stock cubes in 2 cups of boiling water.
Make the paella
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the sliced chorizo sausage gently for 3 minutes until it starts to release its oil. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the chicken drumsticks to the same pan and fry gently until browned all over (about 5 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the diced onions and garlic to the same pan and fry gently for until softened (about 3 minutes).
- Add the sliced red pepper and diced tomatoes, cover the pan with a lid and leave on a low heat for 3 minutes until the peppers have softened and the tomatoes have broken down and released their juices.
- Add the rice, paprika and saffron. Stir well to coat each grain of rice the pour in 2 cups of chicken stock.
- Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the rice is half cooked. Check the rice, if there seems to be too little liquid, add the remaining ½ cup of stock. Then return the chorizo to the pan and arrange the chicken drumsticks on top.
- Replace lid and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is completely cooked through. See notes.
- Add the frozen seafood mix and the peas and allow to simmer until the seafood and peas have warmed through.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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