Mexican Paella is a delicious rift on the classic Spanish rice dish.
Our easy “Paella Mexicana” recipe is a meat & seafood lovers dream, featuring pork ribs, chicken thighs & drumsticks and fresh seafood like shrimp.
We love serving this Mexican Paella recipe as an entree in the summer with fresh guacamole and a thirst quenching tequila cocktail.
You’ll love forking through a steaming plate of Paella Mexicana featuring flavourful ingredients like saffron, olive oil, chicken thighs & drumsticks, pork ribs, shrimp, onion, garlic, plum tomatoes, sweet paprika, sweet bell pepper, and short grain rice.
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What Is Mexican Paella?
Paella is a rice dish originally from Valencia.
The famous Spanish recipe takes its name from the wide, shallow pan used to cook the dish on an open fire, “paella” being the word for a frying pan in Valencia’s regional language.
As a dish, it may have ancient roots, but in its modern form it is traced back to the mid-19th century, in the rural area around the Albufera lagoon adjacent to the city of Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.
Paella Valenciana is the traditional paella of the Valencia region, believed to be the original recipe, and consists of round grain rice, bajoqueta beans, rabbit, chicken, snails, sometimes duck and garrofó (a variety of lima or butter bean) cooked in olive oil and chicken broth.
The dish is often seasoned with whole rosemary branches. Traditionally, the yellow colour comes from saffron, but turmeric can be used as a substitute. Artichoke hearts and stems may be used as seasonal ingredients.
Since Paella now has a worldwide appeal, many home cooks and chefs create rifts on the original Spanish recipe to showcase a unique taste of their own culinary traditions.
Paella Mexicana, also known as Mexican Paella, is similar to Spanish Paella in preparation but in our rendition includes pork ribs, chicken drumsticks and shrimp.
We love serving this easy Mexican Paella recipe with guacamole and a refreshing margarita.
Travel to Mexico by Cooking Paella Mexicana at Home
I love traveling to Latin America.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Mexican Paella recipe. I’ve embarked on culinary adventures at local restaurants in Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
In Mexico, I’ve forked through steaming bowls of Paella Mexicana at restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Merida, Chichen Itza and Playa del Carmen.
Mexican Paella is a meat and seafood lovers dream. We suggest serving the hearty main course with fresh lime wedges, guacamole and your favourite tequila cocktail.
After enjoying your first forkful, you’ll realize why a Paella Mexicana is a must-try when visiting Mexico!
Where To Eat Mexican Paella
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Mexican restaurant that serves Mexican Paella.
Haven’t traveled to Mexico before? It may be helpful to first sample Paella Mexicana at a local restaurant to better understand how it is served. You’ll get an idea for the best meat to rice ratio, variety of seafood to include and side dishes to accompany the rice dish at the table.
In Toronto, the best Mexican restaurants that may offer Paella Mexicana include El Rey, La Carnita, Playa Cabana, El Catrin, Campechano, El Trompo, Fonda Lola, Hot Mess Tex Mex, Rosalinda, Reposado Bar, Grand Electric and Milagro.
My Family Loves Mexican Paella
I love cooking Mexican food for my friends and family.
I first made this Mexican Paella for my family on a sunny summer day, which we enjoyed al fresco on our backyard patio.
I knew my parents would love this Paella recipe because they love chicken, pork, seafood, rice dishes like risotto and Mexican food.
Since the recipe makes a large amount of food (for 6 hungry adults) it’s the perfect dish to prepare when company is coming. Or if you’re serving less mouths the leftovers make for easy lunches throughout the week.
We love to serve Mexican Paella with fresh salsa, guacamole and craft beer or tequila cocktails.
Our Mexican Paella recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Bell Peppers are an incredible source of vitamins C and A, which support your skin and immune system. They also provide beneficial carotenoid compounds such as beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.
Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.
Mexican Paella Recipe Cooking Tips
Paella Mexicana is a delicious entree featuring Mexican flavours adapted from the classic Spanish recipe.
- We suggest cooking the dish in a large nonstick skillet with a lid to ensure the rice steams evenly.
- We’ve used saffron threads in this recipe but you can substitute with a little ground turmeric to give the dish an attractive yellow colour.
- We’ve used chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs in this recipe but you could also use chicken legs, chicken wings or break down a whole chicken.
- We’ve used pork ribs in this recipe but you could also use add Mexican chorizo sausage.
- We’ve used red onion in this recipe but you can substitute for Spanish cooking onions, white onions or sweet Vidalia onions.
- We’ve used 3 plum tomatoes in this recipe but you could substitue with a large beefsteak tomato or canned diced tomatoes.
- We’ve suggested using yellow or orange sweet bell peppers but you can also use a red bell pepper.
- Be sure to use a short grain paella-style rice for the most authentic experience. Long grain rice like jasmine or basmati will not do!
- We suggest cooking the shrimp with the shell/tail on as it adds flavour to the paella while it’s cooking. You can always remove the shells and tails from the shrimp before serving to your guests to make eating the dish less messy.
What To Serve with Mexican Paella
There’s nothing more satisfying than forking through a steaming plate of Mexican Paella.
The hearty dish serves 6 adults so we suggest preparing it when company is coming or if you have a large family. If you’re cooking for a smaller group enjoy leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
If you’re hosting a Mexican-themed dinner party you might want to serve our Paella Mexican recipe with:
- Air Fryer Nachos
- Chipotle Mexican Bean Soup
- Cheesy Vegetarian Antojito
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Chicken Fajita Tacos
- Mexican Sweet Potato Rice
- Tommy’s Margarita
- Mexican Mule Tequila Cocktail
- Mexican Vegan Cucumber Radish Salad with Chipotle Peanuts
- Albondigas al Chipotle Smoky Mexican Meatballs
- Salsa de Huevo Vegetarian Mexican Scrambled Eggs
You May Also Enjoy These Rice Recipes…
- Adas Polo Persian Lentil Rice
- Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Vegan Curry Leaf Rice with Cashews
- Sartu Di Riso Italian Baked Risotto
- Khao Pad Sapparod Thai Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
- Vegetarian Gorgonzola Risotto al Radicchio
- Crispy Roast Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Vegan One Pot Indian Thakkali Tomato Biryani
- Spicy Gukbap Korean Rice & Beef Soup
- Turkish Mint Yogurt Corbasi Soup
- Romanian Soup Ciorba de Perisoare
- Spicy Pork Bibimbap Recipe
How To Make Chicken Pork & Shrimp Mexican Paella
Chicken Pork and Shrimp Mexican Paella
- French knife
- Large Skillet with Lid
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 tsp Saffron Threads
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 Chicken Thighs
- 3 Chicken Drumsticks
- 8 oz Pork Ribs (approximately 4) cut into individual ribs
- 1 Red Onion minced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 3 Roma Plum Tomatoes chopped
- 2 tsp Sweet Paprika
- Kosher Salt
- 1 Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper chopped
- 2 cups Short Grain Rice
- 400 g Raw Shrimp (head on shrimp in the shell)
- 1 cup Guacamole
- In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to boil. Add the saffron, turn down the heat, and simmer until the liquid is a deep gold, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, and working in batches to prevent crowding, add the chicken and pork and cook, turning often, until browned on all sides, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 2 tbsp oil and the onion. Stir often while adding the garlic, followed by the tomatoes, paprika, 1 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 6 minutes.
- Return the chicken and pork to the pan, add the bell pepper and reserved broth, and turn up the heat to high. When the liquid starts to boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the meat is no longer raw, about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the rice evenly into the liquid making sure it is mostly submerged then turn up the heat to high. When the liquid starts to boil, turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Stir the shrimp into the rice and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, the rice is cooked through, and the shrimp is fully cooked, 15-20 minutes longer.
- Remove from the heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with guacamole.
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