Make Chicken Paella in Under an Hour

A Spanish dish from the Valencia region, paella is named for the cooking vessel itself: a round, shallow pan made of carbon steel that heats quickly and evenly. A good paella pan helps develop the socarrat, or crispy layer of rice crust on the bottom that's the most prized part of the dish. A large skillet will work as well if you don't have a paella pan. Look for short-grain Bomba or Valencia rice at specialty markets. Be aware that risotto rice like Arborio won't work here, since paella rice isn't meant to be creamy.

Chicken Paella recipe in a skillet for serving
Photo: Victor Protasio
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 8 (6 ounce) skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion

  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked Bomba rice

  • cup dry white wine

  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock

  • 2 cups frozen green peas

  • 1 red bell pepper, torn into pieces

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Lemon wedges


  1. Stir together lemon rind, juice and saffron in a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a 13- to 15-inch paella pan or skillet with lid over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add 4 chicken thighs to pan; cook, skin side down, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; repeat with remaining 4 chicken thighs. Add onion, thyme and garlic to pan; cook, stirring often, 4 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice mixture, stock and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Nestle chicken, skin side up, into rice. Cover and reduce heat to medium; simmer until rice is just al dente, about 18 minutes. Uncover pan.

  3. Add peas and red pepper pieces. Increase heat to medium-high; cook until rice begins to brown on the bottom and edges of pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley; serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

459 Calories
18g Fat
38g Carbs
40g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 1 chicken thigh and about 1/2 cup rice mixture
Calories 459
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 40g 80%
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Sodium 569mg 25%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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