Craving paella for dinner tonight but not keen on spending that much time cooking on the stove? Your slow cooker can do the work for you! A slow cooker, while time-consuming in terms of cooking time, requires little effort to use. You can add all the ingredients to your paella recipe and leave it to cook.
While it may not be a traditional kind of paella, slow cooker paella still retains the rich flavors Spanish recipes are known for. Read below to learn how to make the best slow cooker paella recipe.
Which Rice Should I Use for Paella?
Bomba, commonly known as Valencia rice or Rice de Valencia, is the best grain for paella. Calasparra is a great substitute. If both varieties are unavailable, you can use Arborio or brown rice instead. You can also use Orzo — though since it’s not short-grain rice, it has a different cooking time and you’ll have to adjust the recipe accordingly.
Using Bomba can add a bit of authenticity to the dish, but any other short-grain variety could work.
How to Cook Slow Cooker Paella
If you’re looking for a delicious rice recipe with minimal to no effort, this slow cooker paella is for you! Tender chicken, shrimp, and Spanish chorizo, which is not to be confused with Mexican chorizo, is the main focus of this slow-cooker paella. Most ingredients used, such as onion, garlic, parsley, peas, tomatoes, etc. are readily available in your local grocery stores. The rice and chorizo, however, might take a bit of looking.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook on high to medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browned. If the chorizo is becoming too burnt, remove it.
In the slow cooker, add the browned chicken chorizo combination with a slotted spoon in a single layer. Add in rice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, 2 tsp paprika, and other spices. Combine the chicken broth and white wine in a mixing bowl and add to the slow cooker.
Combine, cover, and cook on high for 112 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cover and add shrimp and frozen peas to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes or until shrimp is pink and peas are warmed through.
Once the crockpot paella is cooked, season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges or top with parsley and serve warm.
If you want a low-carb version of this dish, you can substitute grains with cauliflower rice. Just make sure you stir it in in the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
Make sure you use low sodium chicken broth in this crockpot paella. Spanish chorizo contains enough salt on its own and using regular broth might make the chicken and chorizo paella too salty.
Aside from chicken thighs, you can also use tender chicken breast. Make sure to cut the chicken breasts into 1” pieces before adding them to the slow cooker paella. You can also substitute the meat with another seafood like clam or mussels or remove it altogether to make this dish a shrimp and chorizo paella.
If Bomba is unavailable, you can use any short-grain rice.
Plenty of leftover chorizo paella? You can store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove for a few seconds and stir before serving.
If you don’t have any Spanish chorizo, you can use salami or any other sausage you can find. Poach the sausages first and add a bit of smoked paprika before using them in this recipe.
While cooking on the stove might require a bit of trial and error, using a slow cooker makes preparing this dish super easy! After cooking, you can serve this delicious dish with lemon wedges, crusty bread, and your favorite white wine for a classy or romantic dinner date with your significant other. You can even prepare it the day before, just ensure you use the low heat setting so the paella doesn’t dry out.
Want to test your culinary skills further? Read our blog for more recipes.
Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.