Paella Valenciana: A Traditional Valencian Paella

Paella Valenciana
Miyo/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Soak Dried Beans: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
717 Calories
25g Fat
42g Carbs
80g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 717
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 225mg 75%
Sodium 981mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 80g
Vitamin C 21mg 104%
Calcium 152mg 12%
Iron 13mg 73%
Potassium 1841mg 39%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Valencia is a region on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, which is known for its rice dishes. There are as many versions of paella as there are cooks in Spain, but Paella Valenciana is the traditional version of Valencia’s signature rice dish including rabbit, chicken, and snails.

Because authentic paella pans are so large, they are not suitable for cooking on top of a standard burner since they exceed 10 to 12 inches. You'll need a 17-inch paella pan to prepare this recipe. To provide even heat over the large surface, use a round kettle barbecue or ​gas paella burner.

Dry beans must be soaked in water for 8 hours so you should soak the white beans overnight and drain the liquid before cooking. Alternatively, you can substitute quality canned beans. Just be sure to rinse and drain thoroughly before using.

If artichokes are not in season or you cannot buy them fresh, use a 16-ounce can of artichokes, drained. Frozen or canned snails can be purchased specialty grocery stores. If you are preparing the ingredients ahead of time, refrigerate them until you are ready to start cooking.


  • 1 1/4 cups dried white beans

  • 1 small whole chicken, or 8 drumsticks

  • 1 small rabbit

  • 2 medium artichokes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, more as needed

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 medium tomatoes, quartered

  • 24 medium snails, cleaned

  • 4 to 6 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups medium grain rice

  • 1 pinch saffron

  • 2 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Soak the beans overnight. Drain liquid before cooking.

  3. Cut the whole chicken into serving-size pieces; use a meat cleaver to cut the chicken into pieces small enough to easily mix while sautéing.

  4. Do the same for the rabbit.

  5. If you are using fresh artichokes, trim tops of leaves and cut off bottom stem. Cut artichokes into quarters, length-wise. If you are using canned artichokes, drain the artichokes. Set all vegetables aside.

  6. Light the barbecue. When the coals on the barbecue are covered in white ash, cooking can begin. If using a gas paella burner, light the burner. Assemble all the ingredients on a table near the barbecue or burner, so that you can stay in the area and monitor the cooking.

  7. Place the pan on the grate and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and allow the pan to heat.

  8. When hot, sauté the onion, garlic, and tomatoes in the olive oil. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.

  9. Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken, snails, and rabbit. Cook, stirring constantly—about 15 minutes.

  10. Add the white beans and stir.

  11. Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan until hot.

  12. Add the rice in the form of a cross. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil.

  13. Crush saffron threads with fingers and add saffron to the saucepan of broth and stir.

  14. Slowly pour enough broth into​ the pan until contents are just covered.

  15. Add the green beans and spread evenly over pan. Allow to simmer, cooking rice and beans. Add more broth if necessary.

  16. When rice is cooked, remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil, allowing paella to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  17. Serve and enjoy!

Making Other Varieties and Better Paellas

Cooking paella does take some technique so if this becomes a favorite dish it is worth learning how to cook a perfect paella. You may also want to try different varieties, such as Paella de Marisco, a seafood paella or a vegetarian recipe