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Best Spanish Seafood Paella

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Best Spanish Seafood Paella combines shrimp and scallops with paella rice, saffron, veggies, and a tomato broth. Perfect for seafood lovers, this dish is healthy and packed with flavor!

Overhead shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, in a large flat paella pan, with a large serving spoon scooping.

Mike and I traveled to Spain and Portugal in early 2015, and experienced our first ever paella while there. Mike couldn’t get enough of it, and ordered it almost everywhere we went. They normally made it with some type of seafood, and a variety of vegetables.

We are true foodies, and while I’m a little slower to try new things, Mike was eating ALL the seafood (even some of which we didn’t recognize). The wine was absolutely divine, and the bread. The BREAD!

I described our trips in the following posts (Madrid, Lisbon, and Barcelona), and would LOVE to go back. Someday.

Overhead shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, in a large flat paella pan, with a large serving spoon scooping.

Big Green Egg Paella

Shrimp and Scallops Paella is one dish that I usually prepare on our outdoor grill, mostly because of the size of the pan. I purchased two of these paella pans on amazon, so I could make two batches at once for a larger group. Our Texas weather also allows us to grill outside almost all year long. But you can totally make paella on your stove top, even using a regular saucepan.

Ingredients needed for the BEST Spanish Seafood Paella:

  1. The basics – Olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Veggies – Thinly sliced onion, red and green bell pepper, and minced fresh garlic.
  3. Spanish Ingredients – Paella Rice and Saffron are both harder-to-find ingredients, which is why I usually order them. Both of these ingredients make this dish uniquely Spanish and should NOT be skipped or substituted!
  4. Tomato Flavors – Rotel and tomato paste are the perfect combo here for flavor. We use HOT Rotel for extra heat, but you could use the mild version.
  5. Chicken broth – I use lower-sodium broth.
  6. Seafood – We use shrimp and scallops in our paella, but you could use a variety of whatever you like. Shrimp and scallops are added in the last five minutes of cooking, so this should be considered when using other seafood.
Overhead shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, in a large flat paella pan, with a hand lifting the pan.

How to make the BEST Spanish Seafood Paella:

  • Prep ahead. Slice the onions and peppers, mince the garlic, and prep the seafood. If buying frozen seafood, make sure they are thawed. I usually make sure the shrimp is peeled and deveined, so I only need to pull the tail off.
  • Start grill. Heat an outdoor grill to about 400 degrees. If cooking inside, just use a large stock pan.
  • Cook veggies. Add the olive oil to the paella pan, and then the onions and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper, and close lid. Stir occasionally until veggies are slightly softened.
  • Add rice, garlic, and saffron. When veggies are softened, add the paella rice, garlic, and saffron. Stir, and close the lid again. You are just browning the rice here and letting the saffron flavor absorb into the veggies.
  • Add tomatoes and broth. Next, add the Rotel and tomato paste. Mix well, and then slowly add chicken broth. The paella pan will fill up. Cover the pan with some tin foil, and close lid. Let the mixture cook until the liquids are almost fully absorbed into the rice and the bottom of the paella starts to develop a dark crust, about 20-25 minutes or so.
  • Add the seafood. The final step is the add the seafood, shrimp and scallops in this case. Stir it into the mixture, and then cover again with foil. Close lid and let the seafood cook, about five minutes or so. Be careful to avoid over-cooking the seafood.
  • Serve. Serve immediately with some freshly ground black pepper and lemon slices.
Overhead shot of the uncooked paella rice and the saffron on top.
Overhead process shot of the paella cooking on the grill, right after the raw seafood is added.

Tips for making EPIC paella:

  1. Prep all your ingredients in advance. Slice the veggies, peel and devein the shrimp, measure out the rice, and so on.
  2. Carry all of your ingredients outside to the grill. OR make it inside on the stovetop.
  3. Cook at medium high heat – at around 400 degrees.
  4. Let the rice mixture simmer, covered with foil, until ALMOST all the liquid is cooked out.
  5. The seafood will only take about 5-6 minutes, so watch closely to prevent over-cooking.
  6. If made correctly, the paella should have a brown, crisp layer at the bottom.
Close-up shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, showing one side of the paella pan.

Paella is pronounced “puh-yay-a”. One of the fun parts of making paella is saying it. Over and over again. Mike and I love to really emphasize the YAY part. In turn, our boys love to roll their eyes at us. Which makes it even more fun to say. (You get the picture.)

What to serve with Seafood Paella:

Paella can be a complete meal, but I have some ideas for simple side dishes to accompany it.

How about dessert? Like this Easy Oreo Ice Cream Pie or Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies!

Close-up shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, showing the shrimp, peppers, and rice.

Make this seafood next: Baked Asian Salmon in Foil

xoxo ~Sue

Overhead shot of Spanish Seafood Paella, in a large flat paella pan, with a large serving spoon scooping.

Best Spanish Seafood Paella

Best Spanish Seafood Paella combines shrimp and scallops with paella rice, saffron, veggies, and a tomato broth. Perfect for seafood lovers, this dish is healthy and packed with flavor!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Spanish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 344kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion – sliced thin
  • 1 whole red bell pepper – sliced thin
  • 1 whole green bell pepper – sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic – diced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 1 ½ cups paella rice
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish saffron – or more, to taste
  • 10 oz. Rotel – we use HOT, but you could use regular for less heat
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds large, raw shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound scallops – cut into bite sized pieces

Instructions

  • Prep ahead: Thinly slice the peppers and onion and mince the garlic. Peel and devein the shrimp, and cut the scallops if needed.
  • Heat up paella pan on your outdoor grill to medium heat (or you can make it on your stovetop). Add olive oil and then add peppers, onions, salt and pepper to taste. Stir frequently, in between opening and closing the lid.
  • When vegetables start to soften (after 5-6 minutes), add paella rice and saffron and continue cooking, stirring frequently. You are just browning the rice here.
  • Add chicken broth, Rotel, and tomato paste, and stir. Cover pan tightly with foil, using gloves or some towels. 
  • Let simmer for 20-25 minutes until liquid is almost fully absorbed and the bottom of the paella is starting to develop a dark crust.
  • Add shrimp and scallops (and a little more salt and pepper) and stir. Cover again with foil, and continue cooking until seafood is just cooked through, approximately 5-6 minutes. Be careful to NOT over-cook the shrimp and scallops.
  • Serve immediately, with slices of lemon.

Video

Notes

Tips for making EPIC paella:
  1. Prep all your ingredients in advance. Slice the veggies, peel and devein the shrimp, measure out the rice, and so on.
  2. Carry all of your ingredients outside to the grill. OR make it inside on the stovetop.
  3. Cook at medium high heat – at around 400 degrees.
  4. Let the rice mixture simmer, covered with foil, until ALMOST all the liquid is cooked out.
  5. The seafood will only take about 5-6 minutes, so watch closely to prevent over-cooking.
  6. If made correctly, the paella should have a brown, crisp layer at the bottom.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 299mg | Sodium: 1845mg | Potassium: 584mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 23.4mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 3.9mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

6 Comments

  1. Michelle W says:

    I have made this wonderful dish so often that I made it without looking at the recipe! A family fave!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Michelle! So glad your family is still enjoying this recipe! 🙂

  2. I was so excited to try something so out of my normal cooking comfort zone! My kids don’t like seafood (unless it is fried- ugh) so they weren’t thrilled! Ha! Ha! But my hubby LOVES scallops! He really enjoyed the dish and had 2 bowls of it for dinner! Thanks for loaning me the special pan! Your directions about having everything ready before you start cooking really helped! I never use my grill except for steaks, burgers or chicken so this was really fun to try! I am going to make it again with chicken for my non-seafood loving kiddos because we all liked the flavor of the rice and veggies!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Cathy! We are huge seafood lovers here, but I know it would work with chicken as well. 🙂

  3. Be Bold. Be Different. This recipe is awesome and so much fun!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes to this!!

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