The Chicken Paella Recipe of
the Average Spanish Family

(Paella de Pollo)

By Edu Valor / Author - Spanish Chef

This chicken paella recipe is one of my favorites. I enjoy the enhanced taste of chicken combined with rice. As one of the cheapest paellas, it probably is often prepared by Spaniards.

In our family, we had this one either on a Wednesday or a Sunday. My mother sometimes had her little twist. She added gambas (shrimp) and/or calamari (squid). Whichever was in the freezer.

Sounds like a paella mixta doesn't it? It was out of this world! However, I think for a paella mixta there should be more variation in the proteins part.

I'd make sure to include clams and perhaps fish. A recipe like this would call for a little acidity too, making it a different recipe.

Anyone can make chicken paella and I enjoy easy-to-make dishes that are also delicious. Whenever it was on the menu, we looked forward to lunchtime.

Spanish chicken paella on a plate with a glass of white wine. A tasty and economical chicken paella.

Some of you may be concerned with the type of rice. Don't be! I made this one at home with long grain rice and it is still delicious.

Just mind the cooking times. Some round-grain rice can turn into mush when cooked too long.

I was never too concerned about using long-grain, non-sticking rice. It works and people love it!

Ingredients for 4 Servings

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 18 minutes for the Bomba rice, approx. 45 minutes to 1 hour total.
*Measurements in metric and USA Imperial system. For British/Canadian measurements please use the metric conversion calculator.

Using a different rice may change the cooking time. The info is usually on the packaging.

  • chicken, cut and seasoned
  • 350g/12.5 oz bomba rice (or similar)
  • 1L/34 fl oz chicken broth
  • 200g/7 oz tomato cubes or puree
  • 2 spring onions, chopped in rings
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, short strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, short strips
  • 1/2 tsp Jerez vinegar (regular or wine vinegar works too)
  • 150g/5 oz peas
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 75ml/2.5 fl oz olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 pinch of saffron (or 1/2 tsp yellow food dye) 

Let's Make a Real Chicken Paella Recipe!

  1. Pour oil in the pan and sprinkle some salt over it. 
  2. Brown the meats well on medium fire. It should be crispy brown. 
  3. Turn fire to medium-low. Push the meats to the sides of the pan and add the tomato, garlic, paprika and vinegar. Sauté until the tomato juice evaporates. This is important taste wise! Some chefs brown the tomato sauté.
  4. Add the red and green peppers. Stir everything a few minutes.
  5. Pour the broth, stir to combine and taste. Bring to a boil and add the rice. Spread the rice with a spatula.
  6. Immediately add the saffron, spring onions and peas. 
  7. Taste the broth again. Add salt if necessary.
  8. After 10 minutes, turn down the fire to medium-low and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. If you want the socarrat, insert a narrow spatula until you hit the bottom of the pan. Is the rice browned underneath? If not, raise the fire to high and cook for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  10. Turn off fire and cover the pan with aluminum foil (or a lid). Leave it for 5 minutes.

With chicken and rice as extremely common ingredients around the world, I would call the chicken paella recipe even more international than the authentic paella.

Spanish chicken paella in a pan and white wine.Chicken paella is a very common dish in Spain.


  • Sauté the tomato with garlic and paprika well. It'll enhance the taste.
  • Adding the salt in the beginning will limit browning of the pan as well as oil splatters.
  • Another rice than Bomba may have different cooking time and water/broth amount.
  • Taste before adding the rice.
  • The vinegar is there to enhance the flavors. It adds punch!
  • Use meat with bone, it adds taste.

What You Will Need

  1. A paella pan for 4 servings*
  2. A paella burner*
  3. Spatula
  4. Meat knife
  5. Paring knife
  6. Cutting board
  7. Measuring beaker

*The paella pan with burner can be replaced with an electric paella pan for indoor (or outdoor) cooking. Never use a gas burner indoors!!

A Cheap and Easy Family Dish

Families are often minding their budget every month. Affordable ingredients to make daily meals can go a long way as daily meals make a good part of our expenditure. 

Dishes like this Spanish chicken paella recipe are nutritious, good and budget friendly. Nothing but benefits!

I consider my family a modest one. We were not rich in the '70s and '80s (we still aren't), but we managed — partly thanks to the guisos, pasta, and rice dishes. A lot of them didn't require much attention when cooking.

Low-cost ingredients were easy to come by, even back then. They helped my parents manage their monthly budget.

Edu's Authentic Spanish Paella Recipes