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Easy paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage

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Paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, Spanish cuisine, Spanish recipes, jambalaya

I used to think that paella was a highly complicated dish involving saffron threads, numerous ingredients, complicated mix of meats and seafood, and some secret spices. Well, turns out nothing could be further from the truth! It’s one of the easiest meals I have ever prepared!

Paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, Spanish cuisine, Spanish recipes, jambalaya

All you do is basically throw all the ingredients together with spices, and that’s it! And I only used 2 pans: 1 skillet for cooking the meats and combining everything, and 1 pan for cooking (boiling) orzo (or rice). Pretty easy and clean for such a sophisticated looking dinner, if you ask me! Also, paella is great for utilizing any leftover chicken, shrimp or sausage – you can just throw those leftovers from last night’s dinner right in! 🙂

Paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, Spanish cuisine, Spanish recipes, jambalaya


I did simplify this dish a bit, by omitting saffron (which is expensive and can take a long time to cook and release the flavors). Instead, I added other colorful spices, such as sweet smoked paprika and red chili powder! As a result, my paella did not suffer a bit without saffron! Be sure to add only 1 teaspoon of each spice (paprika and chili powder) initially and then add more, if you desire more spiciness. Also, add just a touch, a pinch of turmeric – only for color purposes, but make sure not to add too much, because turmeric has a very strong flavor that will overpower other flavors.

Paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, Spanish cuisine, Spanish recipes, jambalaya

You can use either orzo (rice-shaped pasta) or rice here. If using orzo, I like to reserve some cooking water from cooking orzo and then add a little bit of it back into paella to make it juicier! Paella is much better when it’s juicy vs. dry!

Paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, Spanish cuisine, Spanish recipes, jambalaya

Never thought that paella would be something I could cook midweek after work, but it’s easy enough to pull it off! And, it’s so tasty and bursting with flavors! Absolutely, one of my favorite dishes lately!

Easy paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Easy paella with chicken, shrimp, and sausage


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 or 5 spicy sausages, cut into small slices
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubed pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound shrimp (20-30 shrimp), deveined and peeled, with tails still on
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (start with 1 teaspoon and add more if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon red chili powder (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • a touch of turmeric, for color
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups orzo or rice (use rice for GLUTEN FREE version)


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced sausage, sliced chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, covered. Add chopped red bell pepper and green bell pepper, stir in with sausage and chicken, cover, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, on medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp just turns red. Add chopped green onions. Add spices (sweet smoked paprika and red chili powder), add just a touch of turmeric for color. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep the skillet covered. The shrimp and green onions will continue cooking slightly when covered and off heat – without overcooking.
  2. Cook 2 cups of orzo or rice in a sauce pan according to package instructions. Drain, reserving a good amount of pasta/rice cooking water.
  3. Add drained orzo (or rice) into the skillet with shrimp, chicken and sausage. Mix everything well, so that olive oil, juices from spicy sausages, and other cooking juices and spices coat orzo or rice. Add some reserved water from cooking orzo/rice to make paella more juicy vs. dry. Keep adding more water to achieve the desired consistency of your paella – I think the juicier it is, the better. Add more salt and pepper if needed.



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{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Julia @Vikalinka October 2, 2013, 3:25 am

    Lovely take on paella, Julia! You are right it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s peasant food in Spain and they really don’t fuss over it but there is something in the combination of chicken, chorizo and shrimp that makes me “mind-blowingly” good!

  • Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com October 2, 2013, 4:48 am

    Love your version of paella – love the simple 3- spice list of chili, turmeric ands moked paprika!

  • [email protected]'s Recipes October 2, 2013, 7:11 am

    Your twist of paella looks even better than the traditional one. Yum!

  • veganmiam.com October 2, 2013, 7:34 am

    You’ve probably read my earlier posts that I was traveling in Valencia, Spain. It is known for its seafood and paella – I have been looking forever to find a proper vegan paella dish – but I didn’t want to take the efforts since some locals may assume vegetarians eat seafoods, which is not true. I have seen snails (quite sad) in these paella dishes, and I thought it was a bit gross. Have you tried the traditional one with these?

  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You October 2, 2013, 8:43 am

    I loooooove paella!!! This easy one is the dish that everyone would like to have for both lunch and dinner. So yum!

  • [email protected] October 2, 2013, 9:44 am

    I haven’t eaten paella in ages! Looks so delicious and comforting Julia!

  • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking October 2, 2013, 10:31 am

    I was definitely in your camp – the paella is waaay too complicated for me camp! But this looks managable! Beautiful photos, per usual! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Ashley October 2, 2013, 11:37 am

    I need to give this a try! I made a paella a year or so back that was just so ehh. Kinda turned me off for a bit there. But now I want to make some paella! This sounds delicious.

  • Laura Dembowski October 2, 2013, 11:45 am

    So cool that you used orzo instead of rice! I love cooking with turmeric. It is so healthy.

  • [email protected] October 2, 2013, 7:25 pm

    Such a nice paella! One of the things I like about this dish is it’s so easy to vary it – whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand will probably work. Nice job with this – thanks.

  • Juliana Walters October 2, 2013, 11:16 pm

    I have 2 lbs. of shrimp in my freezer right now, and my husband would probably faint if I told him we were going to have three meats for dinner! Beautiful Dish!

    • Julia October 4, 2013, 3:11 am

      Ha-ha! Sounds like a perfect dinner to me – with three meats in one meal! 🙂

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker October 3, 2013, 12:11 am

    Wow, that looks amazing Julia! A bowl of this sounds so comforting right now… Pinning! 🙂

  • cquek October 3, 2013, 4:02 am

    I’ll definitely be trying these!

  • Tash October 3, 2013, 5:39 am

    Another lovely dish Julia! I have always had a fond spot for paella and love it when it has lots of seafood in it (particularly mussels), too, but they can be a real faff to prepare, where as prawns are much easier and full of flavour. 🙂

    • Julia October 4, 2013, 3:10 am

      Yes! I love paella with mussels, but I didn’t have any. And yes, prawns are much easier to deal with and they are also much meatier than mussels. 🙂

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu October 3, 2013, 9:32 am

    Yes. This. Every single one of the ingredients–this is my kind of dinner, and even though it’s only 6:30 am, I kind of want to get in the kitchen and make it for breakfast!

  • [email protected] October 3, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Loving your version of Paella. Fantastic!

  • Daniela October 3, 2013, 5:44 pm

    Another great dish from your blog ,Julia.
    Love this paella with a twist, it seems easy to prepare and looks soo yummy!
    Your pictures are always beautiful but this time you surpassed yourself, they are gorgeous!

    • Julia October 4, 2013, 3:10 am

      Daniela, thank you – you’re so sweet. 🙂

  • Heather Lampman October 3, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Why didn’t you peel the shrimp? I find nothing more annoying than shrimp shells when I want to use a fork rather than my hands……

    • Julia October 4, 2013, 3:04 am

      Oh yes, it’s peeled and deveined. Only the tails are left on the shrimp – leaving the tails on is actually a pretty common and popular technique for cooking shrimp. This way, you can just grab a shrimp by its tail and eat it. Lots of people prefer it that way.

  • Heather Lampman October 3, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Why didn’t you peel the shrimp?

    • Heather Lampman October 3, 2013, 6:07 pm

      ?????? No negative comments ???????

  • Liz October 3, 2013, 6:25 pm

    I love this quick paella recipe! I typically make Julia Child’s version, but it’s definitely not speedy. You’ve made me VERY hungry 🙂

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 3, 2013, 7:37 pm

    Looks delicious!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen October 5, 2013, 8:01 am

    Gorgeous paella, girl! Love that you put your twist on it for a total speedy prep and cook time! Must make this dish soon. Would be nice served over quinoa, too, I imagine. Thanks for sharing, Julia! Pinning!

  • Louisa [Living Lou] October 24, 2013, 11:07 pm

    This looks like such a great dish and a simple recipe. Will have to give this a try! Beautiful photos as well 🙂

  • Kimberly June 21, 2014, 7:01 pm

    This recipe is a winner! I had to change out a few ingredients, but I admit, I couldn’t stop eating it! The changes I made were the following:
    -I used gluten free corn orzo pasta, cooked just al dente, drained and rinsed
    -I used one yellow and one orange pepper, diced
    -2 shallots, minced
    -2/3 of a large white onion
    -one package of pancetta, chopped, instead of the sausage (browned with the chicken)
    -two small swordfish steaks, instead of shellfish (added at the end to the mixture, but before the orzo)
    -one or more cups white wine, added after browning the chicken/pancetta to deglaze the pan
    -1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
    Some of the changes were allergy related, others based on what was in the fridge and pantry. Thanks for the idea-I wanted to make paella, but didn’t have the rice on hand for it. Yummy!

    • Julia July 7, 2014, 8:46 pm

      I really like your changes! So many ways to prepare paella! I want to try making it with pancetta, chicken, and fish next time, too!

  • mel June 23, 2014, 4:47 pm

    Can you substitute green onion with yellow onion?

    • Julia July 7, 2014, 8:43 pm

      Yes, you can, by adding the chopped yellow onion earlier, together with red bell pepper and green red bell pepper, so that it has time to cook through. I like green onions better because they don’t have a strong flavor, and you don’t even have to cook them much. And, they look pretty!

  • Torrey August 7, 2015, 6:25 pm

    just made this for dinner…very tasty! I had shrimp and sausage defrosted so I just used the two of them, no chicken. Very easy to make. Will definitely make again with the chicken added.

  • autumn March 21, 2016, 6:42 pm

    just made this according to the recipe. it was really good and easy. i will make it again.

  • Katrina April 9, 2016, 8:25 pm

    Saffron at Trader Joe’s is only $5.99! They have paella rice and it’s typically cooked with all of the food. This is a good beginner recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  • Kelley R. August 10, 2016, 3:57 pm

    I made this dish because my children, who are home from college, said they miss eating the paella that was being served at their schools. I’ve never had it before but have always heard it was very difficult to make. I found this recipe to be very well written and easy to follow. It finished making it and my children were delighted. It was soooo delicious. Thanks so much!!!

  • Kay Geaneas September 7, 2016, 12:11 am

    The paella looks delicious.

  • Alyse Shinaver October 10, 2016, 8:50 pm

    I just made this for dinner and it came out so good. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • Mark March 18, 2017, 8:02 pm

    I’m making this right now, and am looking forward to eating it soon. One comment: if you prepare the rice according to package instructions, there is no reserved liquid to add to the final meat/rice mixture.

    • Julia March 29, 2017, 1:04 am

      That’s true. I was using orzo (as the ingredient list mentions: orzo or rice), which is type of pasta that looks like rice. So, the reserved water was referring to what is left from cooking orzo. But for rice, just add extra water to the final meat/rice mixture, if needed.

  • Mo Fad June 17, 2017, 8:08 pm

    I made this paella tonight. I subbed a quarter of a yellow onion for the green onion and added some cayenne pepper for more heat. It turned out great!

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