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Seafood Paella Recipe

This easy Seafood Paella is a traditional rice dish packed with shrimp, shellfish, smoked sausage, and colorful veggies. Best of all, this popular Spanish recipe is super easy to make at home!

A white braiser filled with rice topped with clams, shells, mussels, shrimp, sliced sausages, and peas.


Paella might just be the ultimate seafood dish. Originating in Valencia, Spain, it’s a very old peasant dish that can be made in many different ways depending on the meats and veggies that are in season. But, no matter how you make it, it almost always features saffron and rice cooked with plenty of spices and seasonings and whatever leftovers you have on hand. Seafood paella is especially popular stateside, with a medley of favorites like scallops, shrimp, chopped fish, and calamari, to name a few.

What Is Paella?

Traditional paella, a dish that began as the sustenance of farm workers, has evolved into a rich culinary tradition rooted in Valencia, Spain. Cooked in a wide, shallow cast iron pan—aptly named “paella” after the Valencian dialect for “pan”—this dish is a testament to the resourcefulness of its origins.

Paella rice serves as the canvas for a mix of flavors, including ocean-fresh seafood like shrimp and lobster tails but also other times it can include Spanish chorizo, chicken thighs, beans, and even rabbit. The recipe’s adaptability can cater to any palate, whether you’re following a traditional seafood paella recipe or experimenting with meats and seasonal vegetables. Infused with saffron and simmered in a mixture of white wine and seafood stock, paella is a taste of Spain’s rich history and the versatility of its cuisine.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Getting ready for this paella recipe seafood style means grabbing some shellfish, a bit of smoked sausage, and a handful of other key ingredients. Let’s get everything prepped and dive right in!

  • Olive Oil: For sautéing.
  • Shrimp: Use any size, and they need to be peeled and deveined.
  • Seasonings: Smoked paprika and crumbled saffron threads add a smoky, sweet note.
  • Onion: Yellow onion is my go-to, but any type of onion is fine to use.
  • Sausage: You’ll need a smoked pork sausage, like Andouille. Smoked Spanish chorizo sausage is an excellent alternative.
  • Red Bell Peppers: I use red and green peppers, but you can use any color. 
  • Garlic: Minced or pressed.
  • Rice: Use short grain rice like Arborio or Bomba Rice. 
  • White Wine: You can sub with chicken broth and stir in a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice.
  • Seafood Stock: If unavailable, use chicken stock.
  • Clams: I used manila clams, scrubbed and purged.
  • Peas: Fresh or frozen green peas add a pop of color and sweetness.
  • Mussels: The mussels should be scrubbed, rinsed, and their beards removed.
  • Parsley: Chopped, fresh parsley finishes the dish perfectly.

How to Make Seafood Paella

This recipe is so rewarding to make! There are a few steps and processes involved, but the overall cooking method is easy. Try this one for special occasions or a favorite holiday. 

  1. Cook the Shrimp: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a paella pan or large skillet. Season the shrimp with paprika, salt, and pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove shrimp and set aside.
  2. Cook Sausage and Aromatics: Add more oil and cook the diced onions, then add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Add peppers and cook until tender. Stir in the saffron and garlic.
  3. Add the Paella Rice: Stir in the rice (unrinsed) to the skillet; season and toast for 3 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add seafood stock, boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add Seafood and Peas: Add clams, open-edge up, reduce heat, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and mussels, and return the shrimp; cook for 10 minutes without stirring.
  5. Bake: Move the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the clams and mussels open.
  6. Serve: Let stand for 10 minutes covered, then garnish it with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Spanish paella in a white braiser. Photo includes arborio rice topped with clams, shells, mussels, shrimp, sliced sausages, and peas.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Paella Pan Options: Ideal choices are a paella pan, braiser, or a large 14-inch to 16-inch ovenproof frying pan like a cast-iron skillet.
  • Seafood Varieties: Feel free to use a range of seafood such as shrimp, shellfish, fish, lobster, scallops, calamari, or oysters.
  • Alternative Proteins: For a seafood-free version, try chicken, turkey, rabbit, duck, or pork, using chicken broth instead of seafood broth.
  • Vegetable Flexibility: Common veggies include bell peppers, onions, garlic, and peas, but feel free to add tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, or artichokes.
  • Rice: There are a few rice varieties you can use in Paella and they include calasparra rice, Arborio rice, any short-grain rice, or even medium-grain rice will work. To avoid mushy rice, accurately measure the water and rice, avoid covering during cooking, and minimize stirring once the rice and liquid are added.

Serving Suggestions

Authentic Paella is an easy one pot meal that is great served all on its own, but I love to add a side dish.

Seafood paella in a pan with rice topped with clams, shells, mussels, shrimp, sliced sausages, and peas.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

To store Paella, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, place the desired portion in a covered skillet, adding a splash of water or broth if it looks dry. Cook on low until heated through, stirring occasionally for even heating. Don’t overcook.

More Favorite Seafood Recipes

Spanish paella in a white braiser: arborio rice topped with clams, shells, mussels, shrimp, sliced sausages, and peas.

Spanish Seafood Paella

Katerina | Diethood
Spanish Seafood Paella is a vibrant rice dish packed with juicy shrimp, a variety of shellfish, rich smoked sausage, and tender vegetables. It's an authentic fiesta of flavors in every bite!
4.77 from 13 votes
Servings : 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 8 to 12 ounces raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 6 ounces smoked pork sausage, sliced and cut into half-moons, (I use Andouille sausage)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 cups short grain rice, I use Arborio Rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 1 pound manila clams, scrubbed and purged*
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a paella pan OR in a large 14-inch ovenproof frying pan set over medium-high heat.
  • Season the shrimp with half the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Add the shrimp to the heated oil and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until no longer pink. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside; keep them covered.
  • Add remaining olive oil to the pan and stir in diced onions; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the sausage slices and cook for 2 minutes or until the sausage starts to brown.
  • Stir in the peppers; cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft and caramelized, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook for 20 seconds.
  • Add rice to the pan, season with remaining salt, a crack of black pepper, and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour in the wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan; cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the seafood stock; bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir, and then add in the clams, open edges facing up. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes
  • Stir in the peas and mussels, open edges facing up. Return shrimp to the pan and continue to cook for 10 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 10 more minutes, or until clams and mussels have opened up and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from oven and cover the pan with a lid or foil. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Remove foil, garnish with parsley, and serve.


  • Paella Pan: You can use a paella pan or a braiser or opt for a versatile 14-inch or larger ovenproof skillet, such as a cast iron skillet.
  • Seafood Selection: The recipe is flexible with seafood choices – consider shrimp, various shellfish, lobster, scallops, fish, calamari, or even oysters.
  • Non-Seafood Options: If you prefer not to use seafood, alternatives like chicken, turkey, or pork are great, paired with chicken broth.
  • Vegetable Options: Staples like bell peppers, onions, garlic, and peas are great, but you can also experiment with tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, or artichokes.
  • Rice Cooking Tips: To prevent your rice from becoming mushy, ensure the correct measurement of rice and water, refrain from covering the pan during cooking, and limit stirring after adding rice and liquid.
  • Purging Seafood: Most clams, mussels, and oysters you buy at the grocery store have been purged already. You will rarely need to purge your clams if you bought them at a supermarket, but it’s always a good idea to double-check.


Calories: 569 kcal | Carbohydrates: 65 g | Protein: 24 g | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g | Trans Fat: 0.01 g | Cholesterol: 82 mg | Sodium: 1871 mg | Potassium: 607 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 1286 IU | Vitamin C: 44 mg | Calcium: 113 mg | Iron: 6 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: clams recipe, mussels recipe, paella rice, recipes for seafood, seafood paella
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24 comments on “Seafood Paella Recipe”

    1. I’d recommend using a larger pan, but this also depends on whether you’re serving the Paella as the main course or as a side dish. A 14 to 16-inch pan is suitable for serving 6 to 8 people, but if you’re serving it as the main meal, then that size is good for about 4 to 5 people. I have a paella pan that’s 28 inches, but I use that only when we have a big party.

  1. I made this dish the other day, I like it but I’ll change the rice to a medium grain because the short was too guey, I’ll try again because I love seafood this way for a full meal.

  2. It was good! I had to put a lot more liquid in as the rice was still hard but otherwise overall a very flavourful an delicious dish.

  3. Oh my goodness! I love Paella. But it’s so complex to make it at home. This one sounds like an easy recipe to follow

  4. This looks quiet the meal! I will be making this very soon for my family and I know they will love it!

  5. This is a beautiful paella! I’ve always been a little intimidated by cooking clams and mussels at home, but your tips made me brave enough to try. I’m so glad I found this recipe!

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