Chicken Paella

3 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Chicken Paella is inspired by my bestie, Ange. Angie and I go way back – like, back when we both had questionable haircuts, wore questionable clothes, and back to the time when dinosaurs 🦖roamed the earth. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve been best friends for over two decades now. Our friendship has been through thick and thin, and we’ve shared many life-changing experiences. But the most recent milestone in our friendship is our newfound love for food and recipe-sharing, and Paella!

Why You’ll Love Chicken Paella

This Chicken Paella recipe is inspired by the real deal but is a little simpler to make for a family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 dinner. The flavors are still deep and aromatic and the texture is out of this world: crispy rice at the bottom, tender rice on top, and studded with flavorful veggies and juicy pieces of chicken thigh. Every bite is unique, flavorful and delicioso!

How to Prepare Chicken Paella

🔪 Start by cubing 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts with a sharp knife.

🫑 Now, dice the bell pepper and onion and mince the garlic.

🍗 Now, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

🥑 Next, in a big pan on the stove, heat up your oil of choice on medium-high heat.

🔥 Add the cubed and seasoned chicken pieces and sear on each side for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly golden.

🧅 Now, remove the chicken from the pan and add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic.

🔥 Sauté for about a minute and add a tiny splash of broth just to loosen that flavor.

🧂 Next, add paprika and salt to taste and then stir.

🍚 Now, add the rice and stir, then add the tomato sauce and stir again. Now add your semi-cooked chicken breast cubes back in. Top it off with the vegetable broth and then stir again.

🔥 Next, add a pinch of saffron (optional) and then let it all come to a boil.

🥘 Now, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover it the pan and and let it cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is soft and most of the liquid has absorbed.

🌿 Finally, garnish with parsley or green onion.

⏲️ Let the dish rest for 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Nonna’s Tip🥘

The key to this Chicken Paella is to let it rest for up to 10 minutes after you take it off the heat. This really allows all those wonderful flavors to meld together perfectly and for the rice to fully absorb the liquid.

Chicken Paella

Variations and Substitutions for Chicken Paella

  1. I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken thighs 🍗 in this Chicken Paella recipe, but it’s totally up to you.
  2. Jasmine and long grain rice 🍚 are my preference, but you can add any rice variety you like.
  3. You can definitely experiment with different proteins in this recipe. Traditional variations include chorizo, 🍤 shrimp or mussels.

Similar Recipes

Best Served With

Common Questions

Can I use any chicken cut in this recipe?

I like the tenderness and juiciness of the chicken thighs here, but you can certainly use chicken breast instead.

How do I get that crispy bottom on the paella?

The key to a crispy bottom is using a large pan. By using a large pan, there’s more surface area and the rice can spread out and get beautifully crisp on the bottom while staying tender on top.

Is saffron necessary in this Chicken Paella?

Saffron is definitely a traditional spice in Spanish paella, but it’s not so common in most of our kitchens, and it can be quite expensive! It’s used for its unique flavor and color, but I say it’s optional in this recipe adaptation. The paprika and tomatoes will help give this Chicken Paella its signature color.

can I make this dish with other proteins instead of chicken?

Absolutely have fun with the protein options in this recipe. Traditional variations include chorizo, shrimp or mussels.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

You definitely can make this vegetarian by adding in shrimp or mussels instead of chicken (if your diet includes fish) or omitting the meat altogether. I haven’t tried this, but perhaps tofu cubes would work in this recipe. Please comment if you’ve tried this variation and let me know!

Chicken Paella

Chicken Paella

This Chicken Paella recipe is inspired by the real deal but is a little simpler to make for a family dinner. The flavours are still deep and aromatic and the texture is out of this world: crispy rice at the bottom, tender rice on top, and studded with flavourful veggies and juicy pieces of chicken thigh. Every bite is unique, flavourful and delicioso!
3 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, any variety, more or less
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, or 6 skinless boneless thighs, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 6 clvoes garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, to taste
  • additional salt to taste
  • 1.5 cups jasmine rice, any variety you prefer
  • 1.5 cups plain tomato sauce, or can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth, or chicken broth
  • pinch saffron , optional
  • parsley/green onions for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a big pan on the stove on medium high heat, heat up the oil of choice. Add the cubed and seasoned chicken pieces and sear on each side for 1 to 2 minutes or until light golden.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for about a minute and add a tiny splash of broth just to loosen that flavor. Add paprika and salt to taste and stir.
  • Add the rice and stir, the tomato sauce and stir again, and add your semi-cooked chicken breast cubes back in. Now top it off with the vegetable broth and stir again.
  • Pinch of saffron is optional, let it come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover it and let it go for 25 minutes or until the rice is soft and most of the liquid has absorbed. Garnish, let it rest for 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 1452mg, Potassium: 921mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 2539IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Love This Recipe?
Share your pictures or videos of you making my recipes by mentioning #themodernnonna on all socials ❤️

Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

3 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 Comments

    1. Hi Andrea, try cooking a bit past the 25 minute mark and you should see all the liquid absorbed.

  1. This was so delicious! Easy to make and I substituted half of the paprika with hot paprika which gave it some good zest. Make this!