If you’re looking for a way to spice up your one-pan dinner rotation, this easy chicken and chorizo paella is the perfect recipe for you. With crispy chorizo, perfectly cooked chicken, caramelized garlic, and a saffron rice base, you’ll be coming back to this beginner-friendly paella again and again. If you’re a fan of my lemon chicken and rice skillet, I know you will LOVE this dish.
Table of Contents
The history of Paella is rich and the opinions about what should (and shouldn’t) be included are strong. My version of this chorizo and chicken paella has a nod to its Spanish roots while incorporating easy-to-find and easy-to-cook everyday ingredients.
Stage 1: brown the chorizo and chicken. Take your time doing this! The little bits of chorizo and chicken left behind on the pan will only make for a tastier finished dish.
Stage 2: brown the garlic and onion. Stir often to make sure you get an even browning, but this stage must not be skipped. If you’re in a rush, I recommend you turn the heat up to build a char faster rather than skip ahead to the rice stage before you’ve built the garlic and onion flavor out.
Stage 3: cook the rice. While it sounds simple (and it’s actually easy to do) this is where it all comes together. You’ll first “toast” the rice by tossing the dry rice into the pan with the onions and garlic. Then, add in the tomatoes, broth, saffron, pepper, and salt. Stir it well, scraping up the browned bits of chorizo and chicken with the caramelized garlic and onion.
This 3-part cooking method makes for an incredibly delicious final meal without anything being over or under cooked.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s easy – because this is a dish that is steeped in culture and tradition, it definitely feels a little bit out-of-reach for the typical home cook. This recipe breaks it down so that anyone can enjoy it, though!
- It’s delicious – if you’ve had paella before, you know that the flavors are incredible. If you haven’t had it, make this recipe, and we guarantee you’ll be hooked!
Chicken and Chorizo Paella Recipe Ingredients
You’ll be able to find the ingredients for this recipe at just about any grocery store! While chorizo may look different, depending on where you are in the country, you should be able to find some version of it. Find ingredient notes (including substitutions and swaps) below.
- Chorizo – the chorizo in your grocery store may not look exactly like mine here, and that’s okay. Chorizo in bulk or sausage-style are both very acceptable swaps. If you still can’t find anything, you can swap the chorizo for your favorite not-precooked link pork sausage.
- Saffron – saffron is a little bit pricey, but if you can swing it, grab it. Ideas for substitutes below.
- Chicken broth – any broth will work here! It doesn’t need to be chicken. If you have a veggie stock, beef broth, or seafood stock on hand, use it. Goodness knows I’ve even used water in a pinch and it all turned out just fine.
A full ingredient list with exact amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Ingredient Modifications and Variations
- Use a different cut of meat – the sky is the limit here! You can swap in chicken breasts (though make sure you pre-cut them into 1-inch pieces), chicken tenders (no need to pre-cut), and pork tenderloin.
- Use different rice – if you can’t find arborio rice, swap for any short-grain white rice. Carnaroli, jasmine, and even a sushi rice can all work.
- Substitute the saffron – if you can’t find saffron (or it’s breaking the grocery budget), substitute the pinch of saffron threads by sprinkling in 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika (sweet paprika is even better, if you can find it).
How to Make Chicken and Chorizo Paella
This paella only takes an hour and is really easy to pull together. Don’t worry if you don’t have a paella pan – they’re great but not necessary (more on that in the FAQ section, if you’re interested). Follow along below for the full how-to.
Step 1: Heat a paella pan or large skillet or medium high heat. *Note: if you’re using a paella pan, it does not take long for it to reach temperature. One hot, brown the chorizo for about 5 minutes per side, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Step 2: Add the chicken thighs to the pan and cook for 6-7 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest.
Step 3: Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for 3 minutes until fragrant.
Step 4: Add the rice to the pan with the garlic and onions and stir to toast for 2 minutes.
Step 5: Add the broth, salt, pepper, saffron, and tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed.
Step 6: Add the lemon juice, peas, and lemon zest to the pan and stir to combine.
Step 7: Slice the chicken into strips, then add the chicken and chorizo back into the pan, nestling the meat into the rice mixture. Heat over low heat for an additional 10 minutes, or until the meat and peas are warmed throughout.
Step 8: Stir in a handful of fresh chopped parsley, serve, and enjoy!
How to Serve
Serve your paella on its own or alongside a simple arugula salad if you want to add another veggie to the mix.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover paella in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to reheat it, simply pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or warm it in a skillet over medium heat for 7-8 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paella actually means “frying pan” in Valencian! That said, this style of a large, shallow, two-handled thin metal frying pan has become one-in-the-same with the meal that hails from the same region. If you hop into any kitchen supply store, you can ask to be pointed in the direction of a Paella pan. While you can find them made in all kinds of material (stainless, enameled, carbon steel) carbon steel is the most traditional. These pans are typically thin, wide, and shallow. They heat up quickly and are ideal for searing large amounts of proteins, browning veggies, and pan-cooking rice evenly. They also make a lovely presentation at meal time!
Do you need one? Not necessarily, you can still make this paella in a large frying pan or saute pan. That said, if you think you may fold paella into your weekly or monthly meal rotation, I encourage you explore your options.
This is the paella pan I own!
While saffron is a hallmark seasoning of paella if you can’t find saffron (or it’s breaking the grocery budget), substitute the pinch of saffron threads by sprinkling in 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika (sweet paprika is even better, if you can find it).
Yes! You can really add any kind of meat that you want – simply cook it, then remove it and add it back to the pan during step 7, just like we did with the chorizo and chicken thighs.
A nice fruity red wine would be delicious with this paella dish. If you’re looking for a party-worthy beverage, sangria would also be a great option!
If you tried this Easy Chicken and Chorizo Paella or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!
Easy Chicken and Chorizo Paella Recipe
- 1 pound chorizo, links, sliced diagonally into 1-inch slices
- 1¼-1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1, 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- Pinch saffron threads
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
- Heat a paella pan or large skillet or medium high heat. *Note: if you're using a paella pan, it does not take long for it to reach temperature.
- Brown the chorizo, about 5 minutes per side, then remove from the pan. Add the chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice and stir to toast for 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, salt, pepper, saffron, and tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed.
- Add the lemon juice, peas, and lemon zest to the pan and stir to combine.
- Slice the chicken into strips, then add the chicken and chorizo back into the pan, nestling the meat into the rice mixture.
- Heat over low heat for an additional 10 minutes, or until the meat and peas are warmed throughout.
- Stir in a handful of fresh chopped parsley, serve, and enjoy!