Smile Politely

Rice Cooker Paella

With the recent acquisition of a rice cooker to our kitchen, we thought we should experiment and see what our new toy can do. Sure it cooks rice fine, as it should. But can it do more?

The answer is “absolutely.”

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish usually made in large quantities. When I make paella in a pan, I usually have to be careful when I put the ingredients in the pan in order to avoid overcooking some of the more delicate ingredients. My big question with the rice cooker was how it will handle cooking everything at once. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried as the gentle steaming didn’t overcook the vegetables as I had feared.

Since rice is the key ingredient in paella, choosing the right rice is important. We’ve tried just about every type of rice we can get our hands on, but eventually settled on arborio rice, which is usually used for risoto. Another key ingredient is the sausage. We’ve tasted really good paella in Mexico with chorizo sausage, but we’ve found that the vegetarian version called “soyrizo” (available at Schnucks, next to the tofu) flavors the broth just as well (and is a lot better for you). We love seafood, so we like to load our paella with lots of whatever is available. Although this is not required, a nice visual touch is clams in the shell. Sure, it’s a little harder to eat, but the presentation makes up for it.


Rice Cooker Paella
(Preparation time: 45 minutes; serves 6)

  • a few strands of saffron
  • 1 cup hot water (for soaking saffron)
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cube fish bullion
  • 3 oz soyrizo sausage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, deveined, tail removed
  • 2 fillets tilapia, chopped (about 10 oz)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 12 clams
  1. Soak saffron in 1 cup of hot water
  2. Saute chicken thighs in a little olive oil, set aside to let cool
  3. In a large sauce pan, saute onions in olive oil until wilted
  4. Add garlic and sautee for another minute
  5. Add 2 cups water, bring to boil
  6. Add saffron water, fish bullion, carrots, soyrizo sausage, salt, pepper, bring to boil again
  7. Pour sauce pan ingredients into rice cooker
  8. Chop chicken thighs into medium sized chunks
  9. Stir in the chicken, rice, zucchini, green peppers, shrimp, tilapia, peas, tomatoes, clams
  10. Cook until rice cooker goes off
  11. Let steam in rice cooker another 15 minutes

More Articles