Paella: a magical rice and meat dish full of exotic flavors, its aroma fills the air and makes you salivate in anticipation. Originally a dish made in Valencia, using chicken, rabbit, snails, and fresh beans, this much-loved delicacy has evolved over the years to become a delicious seafood, chicken, and vegetable combo! Although paella may have changed over time, one thing is for sure: each recipe is as delicious as the next!

The beauty of paella is that there is no right or wrong recipe. In fact, recipes will vary from local to local, with some still making their mother's and grandmother’s recipes to others who put a completely new twist on it themselves. Recipes also change depending on the season or place, with locals using fresh garden produce or holiday leftovers to inspire new dishes!

Don’t you think this is amazing? One original recipe that has exploded to make so many unique paella dishes? We do! Here at Eatwith, we are fascinated by traditional and authentic food, so to help you make paella like our expert locals in Spain, here are our exclusive tips and tricks!

Recipe basics: how to make paella

1. Prepare the Stock

Heat the stock in a separate stock pot and add your desired seasoning. You can keep it simple with crushed saffron and a splash of white wine, or add your own herbs such as rosemary or thyme.

2. Prepare the Paella Pan

Heat the paella pan over a medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and add in your preferred ingredients.

3. Cook the Paella

Fry your pre-seasoned chicken or rabbit meat (whatever is in season) until it begins to brown. You can then add ingredients such as garlic and onions, which you sauté until they are translucent, followed by chorizo, which you would cook until heated, and then add in your rice. Stir all ingredients until they are well coated with oil, adding in paprika and grated tomato while cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

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Next, add in the hot stock and bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan. Maintain a nice simmer while the rice cooks, only checking (not stirring!) that the rice has absorbed a good amount of liquid. When the rice has absorbed a good amount (approximately 20 minutes) but the paella still has a soup-like appearance, add in your mussels or clams and nestle them in the rice.

4. Make the Socarrat!

Once the rice is cooked, this is when you need to add in your remaining ingredients. While adding shrimp or prawns, along with piquillo peppers, artichoke hearts, green beans, beans or peas, the rice will caramelized on the bottom of the pan creating the delicious Spanish delicacy ‘socarrat.’ You know you are getting this right when you hear a crackling sound that smells sweet rather than burnt.

5. Serve Your Masterpiece

Set the paella aside and cover for 10-15 minutes. When ready, garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges to serve.

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Tips from Eatwith Hosts: How to Make Paella

Armed with a paella recipe, you may think you’re ready to take over the culinary world! However, when you come to cook it, you may realize that there is more skill to it. To help you make it just like the locals do, here’s some advice straight from our hosts at Eatwith!

Use only seasonal or high quality ingredients

The Spaniards absolutely love fresh and quality ingredients, they say that it is the key to giving a dish a rich texture and flavor. If you’re unsure about which meat or vegetables are in season, head down to your local farmer’s market and ask around. Trust us when we say it’ll be worth it!

For a full foodie experience in Barcelona, indulge in a Spanish cooking class and market tour where locals show you how it’s done!

Use the correct rice

Our hosts recommend Bomba rice to use in a paella. After all, rice is an essential part of the dish so getting it right is crucial! This type of short grain rice soaks in the flavor and holds its shape; the perfect rich for a paella.

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For the full paella experience, head to Madrid for a fun and simply exquisite cooking class.

Add hot (not cold) Stock!

This is a really important step in making the perfect paella, as keeping the temperature consistent when you’re cooking will ensure that all the flavors blend together to create that unique taste. By keeping the stock on a low heat in a separate pan, once you add it and mix in the rice a few times, all the ingredients will be deliciously combined!

Want to try a traditional Spanish paella with a fellow foodie? Our local host Julio will not disappoint you while in Madrid.

Use the right pan

A proper paella pan will get you that authentic Spanish dish! Yes, something as simple as this can make a world of difference. Plus, paella pans are non-stick, so all of that delicious socarrat that forms a crust on the bottom of the pan won’t go to waste!

For the ultimate Spanish experience, checkout Anna and Nacho's unforgettable cooking workshop to learn how to make  for an unforgettable paella and sangria!

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Become a Paella Chef in Barcelona!

So you’ve got your recipe and local tips under your belt, now it’s time to become a paella chef for real! The good news is, we have the perfect experience for you to try out your newfound skills in the beautiful city of Barcelona.

In this local experience in the heart of the city, learn how to make the best paella you will ever have in an intimate group with local chef Nicole. Using seasonal produce in this hands-on cooking class, you will help to make a delicious meal together, from preparing ingredients in the kitchen, to cooking the paella in a huge pan on the rooftop terrace. In this incredibly social experience, learn, laugh, and enjoy some amazing food with stunning views of Barcelona.

Looking for other experiences in Barcelona? Our host Zara offers acooking class full of paella and champagne!

So what do you think? Could you make a paella as good as our expert Spanish hosts? Or would you rather take pleasure in learning to cook and experience the food like the locals do in one of our experiences? Whichever your prefer, you can be sure that a well made paella dish won’t disappoint!

With some of the best food in the world in Barcelona, discover your favorite dish with Eatwith now or explore the world further with our other local hosts.