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Looking for a great dish for entertaining? This Grilled Paella recipe is perfect for parties and full of zesty Spanish flavor.

Grilled Paella Recipe
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Paella is one of our most special meals. I instantly fell in love with this traditional Spanish dish while studying in Madrid several years ago. Inspired by an interest in Spanish cooking (fueled by both chef José Andrés and this show), we decided to give our own a try a few years ago, and were surprised to meet with great success!  Since then, we’ve made a point to have a paella on special occasions, especially in the summer. In fact, I get a little nostalgic thinking about the times I’ve shared them with friends and family. Keep reading for this grilled paella recipe!

Want to cook it on the stovetop — or a fire? Try our Classic Spanish Paella or Open Fire Paella.

Why make paella?

Though we’ve mainly reserved paella for special occasions, we’ve recently realized the concept itself is actually very simple. Throw some veggies in a pan, add some rice and broth, and cook quickly until crispy and delicious!  It looks rather fancy and does require a few special ingredients. But if you have the means and interest, it’s totally worth it – and we’ve developed a method that is not overly labor intensive. (We actually made one in about 40 minutes the other night!)

And the flavor? Suffice it to say the earthy flavor of the saffron and pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) is totally unique, and unlike anything I can describe.

How to make this grilled paella recipe

For this grilled paella recipe, we sprang for a bit of seafood. We occasionally treat ourselves to fish, seafood, or meat on special occasions, and a dinner with new blogger friends seemed like a good excuse.  If you can, try to buy quality seafood from a vendor that you trust. You also can skip the seafood altogether, or substitute with some chickpeas or other legume for a vegetarian paella.

Grilled Paella Recipe

Paella is all about community and enjoying eating together. The method for this grilled paella recipe works for any standard grill. We’ve also tried over the open fire with good results: here’s our Open Fire Seafood Paella. It’s a wonderful option for a summer evening around the grill!

Paella variations

And the ingredient possibilities for grilled paella are endless – try any veggies that are in season, or any type of seafood, chicken, or sausage. Just make sure to sauté the meat a bit longer than the time listed for the seafood below. We also loved the shiitake mushrooms we included in this paella – they soaked up the flavor perfectly!

Grilled Paella Recipe

Paella ingredients

Saffron is traditionally used in paella, and is the world’s most expensive spice – it’s actually made from the stamens of the crocus flower!  The cost might prohibit you from trying it, so feel free to substitute with turmeric as necessary. However, it’s a great gift idea (ours is courtesy of a brilliant idea of Alex’s mom).

Pimentón or smoked paprika is key to the recipe; you can find it at most grocery stores. It’s a version of paprika that’s smoked over a wood fire, and it infuses a smoky nuance to any dish. Here’s more about smoked paprika and more recipes that use it!

If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate summer with loved ones, give our grilled paella recipe a try! Let us know if you do in the comments below.

Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!

Looking for paella recipes?

If you’re looking for other paella recipes, here’s a few we love that work for different occasions:

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Simple Grilled Paella

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x


Looking for a great dish for entertaining? This grilled paella recipe is perfect for parties and full of zesty Spanish flavor.


  • 15-inch paella pan or any large, shallow, flameproof pan (stainless steel or aluminum preferable)
  • 12 mussels or clams
  • 12 high-quality deveined shrimp (or substitute cooked chickpeas for a vegetarian version)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 head cauliflower or any vegetables of your choice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • 5 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Arborio (short grain) rice
  • 1 pinch saffron (substitute 1 teaspoon turmeric)
  • 2 tablespoons pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Heat a grill to medium high heat.
  2. Prepare the ingredients: Scrub the mussels or clams; place them in a bowl with the shrimp. Slice the zucchini and mushrooms; chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Add the vegetables to a bowl. Mince the garlic, then add it to a small bowl with the olive oil. In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato puree and broth. In a another bowl, add the Arborio rice, saffron, pimentón, kosher salt, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper.
  3. Assemble the paella: Bring the bowls of ingredients and the paella pan to the grill. Prior to cooking, add about 15 briquettes to the fire to keep the temperature up. Place the pan on the grill and add the olive oil and garlic; cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seafood; cook for about 2 minutes, flipping the shrimp once. Pour in the rice and spices so that they cover the pan. Add the broth and puree mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Let the paella cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cook uncovered on a charcoal grill or with the cover down on a gas grill. Make sure not to stir, since this when the magic happens (the crust on the bottom is the most important part of a traditional paella). Also be careful that is does not burn; it cooks fairly quickly.
  5. After removing from the heat, let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Spanish

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Smith says:

    Thank you so much for this technique! I adapted your recipe to use more traditional Spanish paella vegetables and added chorizo, but your directions were wonderful. It also took me 30 mins on the grill, like someone else mentioned. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for a simple way to make paella. It took me back to my study abroad year. Thank you!

    1. Alex says:

      So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback on the timing too. :)

    2. Sonja says:

      You are so welcome — I’m glad it worked out for you! Where did you study abroad? I studied in Madrid and it has a huge place in my heart…as do most of the cities in Spain :)

  2. Tiana says:

    I made this the last night using a 16inch electric skillet since I don’t have a grill and I must say, it was fantastic!! Took about 30min for all of the broth to evaporate but that may have been because I used yellow squash as the extra vegetable and used scallops and spicy sausage instead of muscles and clams!

    1. Alex says:

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Paulo Fickel says:

    Sou chef de cozinha no Brazil, onde cozinho somente com frutos do mar, de modo especial paella. A paella de vocês é maravilhosa. Parabéns!

  4. kita says:

    This paella does look like a special treat indeed! Who could resist a great paella and fresh off the grill – mouthwatering.

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