Paella Valencia / Paella Valenciana

– Authentic Paella Recipe –

paella valencia sits on a counter waiting to be served

Potentially one of the most misunderstood Spanish recipes of all time, Paella Valencia (or Paella Valenciana as it’s known in the region and throughout Spain and Valencia) is an authentic Spanish rice dish that is made with just 10 humble ingredients.

Vegetable Recipe | Rice recipe | Authentic Spanish recipe | Easy Dinner Recipe | Spanish Cuisine | Mediterranean Cuisine | One-Pot Recipe |High in Fiber | High in Protein

Serving:

4 people

Ready in:

 1 hour

Skill level:

Moderate

Serve with:

Allioli and fresh bread

About This Recipe

Potentially one of the most misunderstood Spanish recipes of all time, Paella Valencia (or Paella Valenciana as it’s known in the region and throughout Spain and Valencia) is an authentic Spanish rice dish that is made with just 10 humble ingredients. 

The ‘Paella Valenciana receta’ is something of a closely guarded and highly respected recipe for many within the Valencia region. So, before you go stuffing your paella with sausage, seafood, or even (gasp) chorizo, it’s best to brush up on what makes this an authentic Spanish recipe! 

To Valencians, it is their version of paella that is the one and only version and nothing else is worthy of the authentic Paella Valenciana name. Other dishes with different ingredients are simply labelled as ‘arroz con cosas’ (rice with things).

A striking picture of the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Valencia, España

Want to explore more Valencian cuisine and recipe ideas?

Check out our Valencia regional foodie guide here!

What you’ll need to make Paella Valenciana

Serves 4 people. 22-inch (56cm) paella pan

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (2.7 fl. oz/80 ml) ideally good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1/2 a whole chicken (Approx 1200 grams or 2.6 lbs) chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/2 a whole rabbit roughly 2 lbs (900 grams), cut into the same size chunks as the chicken. 
  • 2 tomatoes, grated. 
  • 10 ounces green beans (285 g) of flat green beans.
  • 1/3 lb of butter beans (150 g). In Spain, we use garrafón.
  • 1 pinch saffron about 10 threads. 
  • 14.1 oz rice (400 grams) of a variety of paella rice (bomba, Senia, or Calasparra). 
  • 1.5 tbsp salt.
  • 9 cups of water (72 fl. oz/2,130 ml). Paella rice varieties have about a 2.5-3:1 water/rice ratio.

Equipment Needed

  • Gas ring to suit size of paella pan
  • Paella pan (22-inch/56cm paella pan suits 4 people)

The great paella survey

Locals fed up with the many culinary crimes made upon their humble dish have laid down the law of making the ultimate Paella Valenciana recipe. They even went to the extremes and conducted a survey to pinpoint the exact appropriation of the authentic Paella Valenciana recipe

The study concluded that the ingredients needed to make the ultimate Paella Valenciana are: rice, water, olive oil, salt, saffron, tomato, flat green beans, lima beans, chicken, and rabbit.

If you’re disappointed not to see any seafood make the list, don’t worry, we’ve got an awesome seafood paella recipe right here!

A street scene showing a traditional paella shop selling a rnage of paella pans and cokking items

Equipment – Do I need a paella pan to cook Paella Valencia?

The short answer is yes you do. 

To make this dish authentically, you’ll be using a paella pan and cooking it on the coals of a fire, but modern paella chefs use gas rings to maintain an even flame to all areas of the pan. 

One thing that’s certain, a paella pan is required to make Paella Valenciana. Attempting to make it in a large pot or saucepan is a definite no-no and will likely result in rice porridge. This authentic paella recipe is all about following tradition so if you’re serious about following the exact recipe, invest in a good-sized paella pan.

What size pan do I need to make Paella Valencia?

Of curse, this depends on how many you’re feeding. Paella Valencia is laid out over the pan so that it is only around 5-6mm thick (1 grain of rice high), so you’ll need at least a 12-inch (30cm) pan for 2-3 people. 

Here’s a paella pan size guide:

  • 4 people : 22-inch (56cm) pan
  • 6 people: 30-inch (76cm) pan
  • 8 people: 36-inch (91cm) pan
  • 10 people: 44-inch (111cm) pan
A alrge pan of paella valencia sits on an open fire and bubbles with stock

How to make Paella Valenciana (step-by-step)

Step 1 – Prepare the meat

  • First, on a medium-high heat, sprinkle some salt around the paella pan and add some of the olive oil to the pan. 
  • Add the chicken meat first and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the rabbit meat. Cook both of the meats turning them occasionally until golden brown (around 15 minutes). 
  • Once done, move the meat to the edge of the paella pan.

Step 2 – Cook the beans 

  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, be careful not to burn them, and once done, move them to the side of the paella pan. 
  • Next, add the butter beans to the center of the pan and cook for around a minute.
  • Next, add the grated tomato and saffron threads and cook for a few minutes.

Step 3 – Add the rice 

  • With the heat still on medium, slowly reintroduce the meat and beans, taking care not to break up the beans as you move them into the center of the pan. 
  • Add the rice in a straight line dividing the paella pan in half. 
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the pan along the line of the rice and then gently mix all of the ingredients together and distribute evenly over the pan, the ingredients should not be more than 6mm high and spread evenly over the entire pan. 

Step 4 – Add the water

  • Next, before adding water, carefully check what rice to water ratio is required for your preferred brand of rice. Paella rice varieties have about a 2.5 – 3:1 water to rice ratio depending on the brand and type of rice you plan to use. (In other words, for every one cup of rice, you’ll need 2 ¼ cups of water). 
  • Add 9 cups of water (or whatever you measure for your rice brand) evenly over the other ingredients and turn the heat to high. Bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn down the heat to low and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. 
  • During the simmering process, do not stir or touch the paella ingredients while cooking. Season lightly with some salt (to taste). 
  • The rice is ready once the broth is completely gone. You’ll hear some cracks from the rice and start to see the edges crisp up slightly and go dark.
  • To make the desired saccorat, once you hear the rice cracking, crank up the heat to full for 1-2 minutes, or as soon as you smell burning.

Step 5 –  Allow the paella to rest, and serve! 

  • With the heat turned off, cover the entire paella pan with parchment paper (or a large dishcloth). 
  • Let the paella rest for 10 minutes. This will help the saccorat crisp up while keeping the rice perfectly cooked. 
  • Serve immediately!

More Rice and Pasta Recipes from the Valencia Region

Seafood paella

Seafood Paella

– Paella de Marisco –

An orchard paella is cooking in a traditional paella pan.

Orchard paella

Paella huertana | Vegetarian Option

A large pan of fideua de marisco is topped with some golden shrimp

Fideua De Marisco

Valencian noodle dish made with seafood

Close up shot of squid ink spaghetti with baby squid

30-minute Squid Ink pasta

Spaghetti-based black ink pasta recipe

Arros Caldros cooking in a large pot with a wooden spoon on the side

Arros Caldoso

Arròs caldós | Valencian Stew

A close up shot of a tower of fideua pasta that is stained with squid ink and topped with baby squid

Fideua Squid ink Pasta with Allioli

Valencian favorite Fideua Negra

A alrge pan of paella valencia sits on a counter top

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A large pan of paella valencia sits on a counter top

Paella Valencia / Paella Valenciana - Authentic Paella Recipe

Byron
Potentially one of the most misunderstood Spanish recipes of all time, Paella Valencia (or Paella Valenciana as it’s known in the region and throughout Spain and Valencia) is an authentic Spanish rice dish that is made with just 10 humble ingredients.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Resting time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, main meal, rice
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, one-pot, Rice, spanish, Valencia
Servings 4 people
Calories 608 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 22-inch (56cm) paella pan (for 4 people)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil 2.7 fl. oz/80 ml ideally good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1/2 a whole chicken Approx 1200 grams or 2.6 lbs chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/2 a whole rabbit roughly 2 lbs 900 grams, cut into same size chunks as the chicken.
  • 2 to matoes grated.
  • 10 ounces green beans 285 g of flat green beans.
  • 1/3 lb of butter beans 150 g. In Spain, we use garrafón.
  • 1 pinch saffron about 10 threads.
  • 14.1 oz rice 400 grams of a variety of paella rice (bomba, Senia, or Calasparra).
  • 1.5 tbsp salt.
  • 9 cups of water 72 fl. oz/2,130 ml. Paella rice varieties have about a 2.5-3:1 water/rice ratio.

Instructions
 

  • Method

Step 1 - Prepare the meat

  • First, on a medium-high heat, sprinkle some salt around the paella pan and add some of the olive oil to the pan.
  • Add the chicken meat first and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the rabbit meat. Cook both of the meats turning them occasionally until golden brown (around 15 minutes).
  • Once done, move the meat to the edge of the paella pan.

Step 2 - Cook the beans

  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, be careful not to burn them, and once done, move them to the side of the paella pan.
  • Next, add the butter beans to the center of the pan and cook for around a minute.
  • Next, add the grated tomato and saffron threads and cook for a few minutes.

Step 3 - Add the rice

  • With the heat still on medium, slowly reintroduce the meat and beans, taking care not to break up the beans as you move them into the center of the pan.
  • Add the rice in a straight line dividing the paella pan in half.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the pan along the line of the rice and then gently mix all of the ingredients together and distribute evenly over the pan, the ingredients should not be more than 6mm high and spread evenly over the entire pan.

Step 4 - Add the water

  • Next, before adding water, carefully check what rice to water ratio is required for your preferred brand of rice. Paella rice varieties have about a 2.5 - 3:1 water to rice ratio depending on the brand and type of rice you plan to use. (In other words, for every one cup of rice, you’ll need 2 ¼ cups of water).
  • Add 9 cups of water (or whatever you measure for your rice brand) evenly over the other ingredients and turn the heat to high. Bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat to low and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • During the simmering process, do not stir or touch the paella ingredients while cooking. Season lightly with some salt (to taste).
  • The rice is ready once the broth is completely gone. You’ll hear some cracks from the rice and start to see the edges crisp up slightly and go dark.
  • To make the desired saccorat, once you hear the rice cracking, crank up the heat to full for 1-2 minutes, or as soon as you smell burning.

Step 5 - Allow the paella to rest, and serve!

  • With the heat turned off, cover the entire paella pan with parchment paper (or a large dishcloth).
  • Let the paella rest for 10 minutes. This will help the saccorat crisp up while keeping the rice perfectly cooked.
  • Serve immediately!

Notes

Paella Valenciana-Nutrition facts

Paella Valenciana-Nutrition facts

Nutrition

Serving: 150gCalories: 608kcalCarbohydrates: 41.6gProtein: 55.5gFat: 23.2gSaturated Fat: 5.1gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1457mgPotassium: 696mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1.6gCalcium: 51mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Authentic, chicken, high carb, high fiber, high protein, one-pot, one-pot recipe, paella, paella valencia, rabbit, spanish, Spanish cuisine, Traditional recipe, valencia

Paella Valenciana – Cooking Tips and FAQs

 

Why is Valencia Famous for paella?

Historically, rice has always played a significant role in shaping the Valencian cusine that is found in the region today. The Valencia region has the perfect climate for growing rice and has a long history of being the primary rice growing region in Spain. 

What’s the difference between Paella Marisco and Paella Valenciana?

A paella marisco is typically made with seafood ingredients such as prawns (gambas), mussels, langostinos, and clams. Paella Valenciana ingredinets are made with bomba rice, green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, or duck, green beans, and seasoning. Occasionally, a Paella Valenciana will also include snails. 

How many types of paella are there?

There are 4 types of paella that are most commonly served in Spain;

  • Paella Valenciana (Rabbit, Chicken, and beans)
  • Paella Marisco (Seafood paella)
  • Paella Mixta (Combination of meat and seafood)
  • Paella Huertana (Orchard Paella or Vegetarian Paella)

What is the most popular paella?

In Spain, the Paella Valenciana is considered the most popular and traditional paella. Foreigners often enjoy the paella marisco (seafood paella) during the summer months. 

What is the most important ingredient in paella?

Rice is undoubtably the most important ingredient when making a paella. Paella rice is more round and has a high absorbent ratio when compared to other rice varieties such as long-grain rice. Two popular types of rice are Bomba rice and Calasparra rice that are reserved for making paella and Spanish rice dishes. 

What paella pan size do I need to cook a paella?

Paella pan size guide:

  • 4 people : 22-inch (56cm) pan
  • 6 people: 30-inch (76cm) pan
  • 8 people: 36-inch (91cm) pan
  • 10 people: 44-inch (111cm) pan

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