How to Make Paella?

How to cook paella is a recurrent question, and depending on the type, paella instructions can vary. 
However, the core methods are two, based on when we add the water: before or after the rice

For example, the Valencian style requires adding the water first to make the stock in the meantime, while in most of the rest of the types, we usually pour the stock (previously prepared) after sauteing the rice for while.

Furthermore, the steps and timings can vary depending on the cook. I usually let the liquid gets almost totally absorbed by the rice to straightaway lower the heat. Then, it’s just a matter of waiting 15min. As simple as it sounds.

How do you make Spanish paella?

Time needed: 1 hour.

Difficulty: easy

Spanish paella can be done in many different ways, so the process can be different. Furthermore, as I said, every paella type has its own methods and it can vary depending on the cook. Here you have the easiest method I’ve found for a meat-based paella (actually, my family method)

  1. Prepare the stock (how to make chicken stock for paella?)

    You can boil a chicken´s carcass or meat bones, onion and carrot

  2. Heat up the pan

    Over medium heat, add the oil until it gets quite warm

  3. Add the vegetables

    Stir and soften.

  4. Add the meat

    Put aside the vegetables or take them out from the pan. Then, add the meat until browned

  5. Add the tomato 

    Grated or puree, and stir while it soft fries. (Put the meat aside before, if preferred)

  6. Put the rice in. Learn more about how to cook paella rice.

    Stir until it gets oil coated. The rice should be half of the stock.

  7. Mix everything in

    Stir for a little while

  8. Pour the stock and bring it to a boil

    Including salt and saffron. Stir for the last time

  9. Let it boil (About 15 min)

    Just until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid

  10. Turn the heat to the minimum and cover the paella pan

    So cover and let it cook for 15 minutes

  11. Turn off the heat

    Wait 5 min, serve and enjoy!
    Paella Recipe

Cooking Paella Rice

Cooking paella rice is something I learned from my mum and grandma. However, after many paellas in which I ended up the cooking of the rice constantly tasting it and with a lot of insecurity, I’ve learned an easy and reliable technique so that the rice in paella finishes right at it should, neither hard nor overcooked.

It is applicable to all types of paella and despite it may not be perfect at first glance, after some practice, you will see how effective and easy it is to apply.

Then, I’m sure the paella will be great for you and you will be successful at the table.

Cooking paella rice

Time needed: 35 minutes.

As I said, you can make paella rice cooking easy by following my rice cooking method

  1. Medium-high heat for about 10-15 min

    Pour in the very hot broth (just the double than rice) and stir together with the rest of the ingredients. Taste salt, and add a pinch more if necessary, bearing in mind that the rice broth must be slightly salty, as it loses some salt in the absorption of liquid that makes the grain.

    At this point, we should not stir anymore. Otherwise, the rice will spread its starch and the paella rice will become a rice dough. Leave it on medium-high heat for approx. 15 minutes (maybe less, depending on the heat), taking care that the fire spreads evenly throughout the paella. If necessary, move the paella to spread the fire evenly.

  2. Low fire for 15 minutes

    After the first 10-15 minutes of the previous stage, the stock should be almost evaporated. Then, we will lower the heat to the minimum and keep it about 15 min. Now it will be time to try the cooking status of the rice.

    If we observe that the grain is still very hard in the center and the perimeter of the paella, cover the paella with aluminum foil to retain the humidity. If it is almost done, wait about 10 more minutes to cover the paella.

  3. Resting time for 5 minutes

    Turn off the heat and don’t uncover the paella pan. Just be patient and wait for 5 more minutes. After this time, the rice should be ready.

How long does paella rice take to cook?

So, the paella cooking time is about 35 minutes (whole process): 15-20 for cooking with medium-high heat, 15 min very low heat and 5 min of rest, but this time is not dogma Thus, it will depend on many factors:

  • Type of rice
  • Water type
  • Heat
  • Altitude
  • Etc

So, you should try the grain meanwhile it cooks to adjust the timing.

It is very important to try and practice often until you get the ease of the technique, that is, gain confidence and get rid of your nerves. Don’t despair, it’s worth a lot and it sure won’t fail.

FAQ about cooking paella rice

How many grams of paella rice per person?

100g is the standard quantity per person (0.51 US cups). However, it will depend on how hungry you are or how much you are able to eat. I usually eat way more than 100 grams if the paella is good. Learn more about paella rice here <

How to make paella rice crispy? The “socarrat”

Just turn the heat to the max for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. You have to be careful, though, because overpassing the limit of crispiness you will burn it, which is not nice. Learn more about paella rice here <

Can you boil paella rice?

You don’t need to boil it in advance, because it is boiled within the cooking process. Learn more about cooking paella rice here.


Can you reheat paella rice?

Yes, but carefully because over-heating will ruin paella rice (rice will become a dough). What I usually do is heating it in the microwaves for 2-3 min at minimum power possible. However, another option is reheating the rice in frying pan or a casserole.
Learn more about cooking paella rice > here < and find tips and my easy-but-great cooking method.

How long does paella rice take to cook?

This will depend on the paella recipe, but generally, cooking a paella it takes around 50-70min long. Find your favorite recipe and know the process and timings. Learn more here!

How much liquid for paella rice?

Paella usually needs double liquid (water or stock) than rice. E.g. for 100g of rice, you would need 200g of liquid. However, it will depend on the type of paella and the variety of rice. Learn more here!

Learn more about paella:

What is la paella?

Where is paella from?

What Ingredients Are In a Paella?

How to Pronounce Paella

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