Paella, Simple Summer Fare

Rising temperatures and backyard parties means – it’s paella time!

So often in the States we think of paella as a gourmet dish meant to be eaten on special occasions or when fine dining. In reality, a paella in Spain is a casual meal eaten outdoors, served at summer festivals and enjoyed as simple midweek meals.

The paella originated in the countryside of Valencia, España, where rice fields were (and are) in abundance. Local farmers and peasants raised chickens, rabbits and collected snails.

After making a rich and nourishing broth, the rice and local meat were combined creating the first paella cooked over an open fire.

This simple peasant’s dish has since influenced the entire world and is now made in many different variations.

All photos by Diana Bauman

A real and traditional paella is made using only a few seasonal ingredients and meant to highlight the rice. The rice is really what makes a paella.

As long as you have a good quality rice and a few other ingredients, you’ll be on your way to an amazing rice dish.

Recipe: Simple Spanish Paella with Chicken and Roasted Red Peppers

This is a traditional Valenciana paella made in a simple modern way. Started on the stove top and finished in the oven.  It’s a breeze to make and as long as you have a few good quality ingredients, you can’t go wrong.

You can whip this up in about 30 minutes and serve it to guests on your patio with a cold gazpacho and chilled sangria.  The presentation is stunning and the flavors meld beautifully.

Simple Spanish Paella with Chicken and Roasted Red Peppers

This is a traditional Valenciana paella made in a simple modern way. Started on the stove top and finished in the oven. It's a breeze to make and as long as you have a few good quality ingredients, you can't go wrong.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 402kcal
Author: Diana Bauman


  • 2 cups short grain white rice Spanish Calasparro or Italian Arborio
  • 4 cups chicken broth preferably homemade
  • 1 whole chicken cut into sections
  • 10-15 threads saffron
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 large ripe tomato diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or diced
  • 1 Roasted red pepper sliced, to garnish on top
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • In a large skillet (cast iron will do here), heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides. 6-8 minutes per side. Set aside.
  • While the chicken is frying, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and add the saffron. This will release the colour of the saffron to the stock. Keep it at a simmer until ready to pour over the rice.

The Sofrito - Every paella starts with a "sofrito", which is a saute of peppers, onions and garlic fried in a tomato sauce.

  • In a paella or stainless steel pan, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the green peppers and garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomato and simmer until the juices have reduced.
  • Add the rice and saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  • Add one cup of broth at a time, stirring to mix and distribute the ingredients evenly. Add enough broth to cover the rice by 1/4".
  • Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste and again make sure to distribute the rice evenly in the pan. That's it... Do NOT stir the rice again.
  • Place the chicken on top of the rice and add the roasted red peppers as well.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the broth.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  • The paella can be served directly from the pan.


Do NOT skimp on these 4 ingredients:
  • Short grain rice
  • Pastured free-range chicken
  • Good quality chicken broth - preferably homemade
  • Saffron - for colour. if you don't have it, then skip it!
It's essential to have all of your ingredients prepped ahead of time. This will ensure a quick and easy meal.
Since many don't have a paella pan, you can make this in a shallow stainless steel pan. Avoid using cast iron as it retains too much heat.


Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 996mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 54.4mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 5.3mg


Buen Provecho!

Tell me, have you ever made or eaten a paella? Did you like it? What are your favorite meats or seafood to include?

About Diana

As a first generation American, Diana shares her family’s traditional Spanish and Mexican recipes at her blog, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. As a mami and urban homesteader she also writes about her faith, family, organic gardening, raising backyard chickens and preserving the harvest.

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  1. My family love seafood paella! My mother cooked it for us on a special occasion. And it was always a hit. Thank you for sharing your Paella recipe. It’s simple and look very delicious too.

  2. Steve @ HPD says

    Looks great and the directions are impeccable … except for one thing! Saffron, for color? Mon dieu!

  3. I adore paella but have never found a recipe simple enough to inspire me to try it myself LOL – though I agree with Steve – saffron is for much more than color, no? Having some in my cupboard means maybe I’ll be able to try this asap!

    • I’m so glad you have found this to inspire you to try it! That’s what I was hoping for. I should explain myself on the saffron. Yes, saffron most definitely lends itself to flavor. A hard spice to explain, really. However, in a paella, it’s really used more for color than flavor. You see, there are so many flavors going on in a paella, that the taste of saffron really gets drowned out. Actually, many people in Spain will use a mock saffron, called colorante, just to give it the yellow color. Although I do use it since I always carry saffron, I wrote to skip it if you don’t have it since it can be very expensive in the states.

      I do make a simple rice or risotto with a couple of ingredients and then add saffron… so delicious!!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!!


  4. I had my first Paella at a “fancy” restaurant a few months ago. As soon as I tasted it I thought this is good but I bet it can be made better and with more love at home. This recipe certainly fits the bill. It looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I must say- this one looks really good, and perfect for today since I didn’t knew what to make for dinner. lucky I was passing by… 🙂

  6. Amazing! I’ve never seen such a well-detailed and explained recipe for paella! Most seem to use shortcuts or seem to complicated.

  7. this looks delish and very simple to make b/c all the ingredients are usually available right there 🙂

  8. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to try paella-can’t wait to do this!

  9. sophiayong20 says

    This just looks so delicious. I love paella! And your recipe looks very easy and I do agree with Ella that the ingredients are just there. The ingredients needed are very simple. Simple yet the paella looks very gorgeous.

  10. I always thought of paella as something that was complicated. Never realized how simple it was. Will definitely have to give it a try!
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Wow very nice i never thought i can make this paella so delicious and my kids telling me that the next day if i can make again..thanks for sharing this it really help for me.

  12. christine says

    Sounds super simple. I think I’m going to give it a try, but because it’s warm today, I think I’m going to test it out by sautéing on the stove and then throwing it all, chicken included, in the rice cooker! Here’s hoping. I love that thing!

    • christine says

      Actually, does this work with brown rice? Is it one of those recipes that requires white rice? I think I only have brown in the house. Hmmmm…. (Also, I obviously will just be using chicken breasts. I don’t have a rice cooker that can cook a whole chicken. That would be something!)

  13. I’m a paella freak, I make it once a month on the grill in the summer. Will try your recipe.

  14. Awesome Paella Diana! Authentic Calasparra rice is very important for the Paella to cook properly, find authentic Calasparra rice at or through their Amazon Gourmet storefront.

  15. oh my goodness, this paella sounds over-the-top delicious. Wow. Thanks.

  16. I must say- this one looks really good, and perfect for today since I didn’t knew what to make for dinner. lucky I was passing by… 🙂

  17. Thanks for this recipe. I love paella but have never cooked it because my husband doesn’t like seafood. I can’t wait to try this recipe with chicken!

  18. You’ve simply got to love paella, preferrably packed with seafood.

  19. 5 stars
    Love this site!! thanks for sharing that aweome reipes! this recipe is really awesome and easy to cook, anyway if you don’t have much time or the skills to cook just go to and get your paella to go!

  20. 5 stars
    Hi! I’m spanish , from Valencia exactly. My dad bakes a paella por the family every weekend. That recipe is so good , and it’s like the once we bake here! Greaaat 😉 hope you like it

  21. Hi Diana, Do you need to cover the paella pan when you put it in the oven to cook?

  22. ElizaBeth Link says

    I do not see anywhere how many this recipe is supposed to serve????

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