Chicken & Shrimp Paella recipe 

Paella (pronounced "pie-a-ya") is a traditional Spanish rice dish that originated in Valencia and traditionally used rabbit, vegetables and seafood.

This recipe is an adaptation of that and uses chicken and shrimp instead.

This dish reminds me a lot of jambalaya because of it's looks and ingredients but without the Cajun flavor.

chicken and shrimp paella

This is best cooked in a traditional paella pan which is wide and flat that allow the rice (also called bomba or Valencia rice and available at specialty stores) to slightly toast on the bottom of the pan.

Cooked over charcoal or on a gas grill is best since you can add a little smoky flavor with chips or smoking pellets which is easily absorbed by the rice.

This recipe can seem time consuming the first time you make it but I think that's because you partially cook one ingredient - set aside - cook another, etc. 

After you make it a second time it seems to go much faster.

Also, some purists say that traditional recipes don't contain chorizo sausage.  Well, I like the taste of it so I include it.  So there.

› Chicken & Shrimp Paella

Serves: 4 - 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Indirect Heat: 450F - 500F

What you'll need:

  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs - cut in 1" cubes
  • 1 lb peeled, de-veined shrimp, thawed if frozen
  • 1 chorizo sausage cut into 1/2" discs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (if needed)
  • 1 green pepper - cut in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 Spanish onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 2 cups paella rice (also called bomba or Valencia)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with liquid
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon cut into 8 wedges

For the spice blend:

  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf crushed
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 15" paella pan (or cast iron pan)
  • smoking chips or pellets, hickory or apple (optional)

spice shrimp for paella

Step 1:
Cut the chicken into 1" cubes. 

Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag and add 1 tablespoon of the spice blend and shake well to cover all the chicken and refrigerate until needed.

Place the thawed shrimp in another resealable plastic bag and add 1 tablespoon of the spice blend and shake well to cover all the shrimp, refrigerate until needed.

cooking chicken in paella pan

Step 2:
Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the pan to sear the chicken.

When the oil is hot add the chicken pieces and stir until evenly browned on all sides, about 6 - 8 minutes. 

Once browned transfer the chicken to a bowl and keep covered.

onion green pepper paella pan

Step 3:
Add the chorizo, onion and green pepper to the pan. 

Season with salt and pepper and close the grill lid. 

Stir occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. 

Add the garlic and the remaining tablespoon of spice blend to the pan and cook another 1 minute.

making paella on bbq grill

Step 4:
Add the canned tomatoes and liquid to the pan and stir well to de-glaze the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. 

Add the rice and stir well to completely coat with the tomato mixture.

Add the broth and stir well to combine.  Make sure the rice mixture is in an even layer across the pan. 

Do not stir the rice from this point on.

how to cook paella on bbq

Step 5:
Place the reserved chicken and any accumulated juices evenly over the surface of the rice. 

Close the grill lid and let the paella come to an active simmer for 10 - 12 minutes. 

Rotate the pan on the grill now and again to evenly distribute the heat.

seafood paella on the grill

Step 6:
Once most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice grains have swelled place the reserved seasoned shrimp evenly over the surface of the paella, nestling the shrimp down into the mixture slightly.

Close the lid and cook just until the shrimp have cooked and turned orange and opaque and the rice is tender but al dente, about 10 - 12 minutes.

cooking chicken and shrimp paella on the grill

Remove the pan from the grill and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with reserved lemon wedges.


mixta grilled paella

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Chicken & Shrimp Paella