Home ยป Dinner ยป Seafood

Paella Soup

This paella soup recipe is flavorful and delicious: chock full of meat, seafood, veggies, wine and broth. All of the ingredients together will make your taste buds sing.

Close up of a beige crock with two shrimp, chorizo and orzo soup

I didn’t even know that paella soup was a ‘thing’. I got the idea because I love paella, but didn’t want it with rice. Not that I don’t like it with rice, I just wanted something different. So, I thought to myself,

“Let me make a soup version of paella and instead of the rice, I’ll add orzo.”

I thought I was being so clever.

Well, it turns out that I’m not so original. There are other recipes out there like this, but I love how flavorful and delicious this recipe is.

My sister Nancy and I used to go to Cape Cod together on mini-vacations. We loved to visit this one restaurant that served the best paella I’ve ever had. Over the years, I tried to duplicate it, but I’ve never been able to. Until now.

I’ve gotten pretty close to my memories of what that Cape Cod paella tasted like, but in soup form.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click the link and buy something. You can read my disclosure here.

Helpful tips

  • For this soup, I like using shrimp that is on the big side; I recommend 16 – 20 per pound.
  • I make this soup with boneless and skinless chicken thighs but if you prefer breast meat, go for it.
  • Defrost the shrimp at least ten minutes before starting the recipe. It takes around 5 minutes to defrost them and up to 5 minutes to take the shells and tails off and to devein them if necessary.
  • Here’s how to defrost the shrimp: Place a colander in the sink and place the frozen shrimp inside. Run cold water over the shrimp and use your hands to separate them. I do this over and over during the five minutes until they are thawed.
  • Cut up the chicken into 1.5 inch chunks.
  • Cut the chorizo in slices first and then in quarters. Even though most chorizo has an edible casing, I always peel it off.
  • Start cooking the vegetables right before you start cooking the shrimp and chicken. So you will need more than one sauté pan plus the Dutch oven. But if you don’t mind the extra time, you can get away with one sauté pan and the Dutch oven.
  • You can either use the saffron threads whole or crush them with a mortar and pestle, your choice.
  • I like a lot of orzo in my soups, so I used 1.5 cups. But if you like a soupier soup, just use one cup.
  • If you choose to only use one cup of orzo, omit the cup of water.

How to make paella soup

Pre-step

Get a Dutch oven or medium to large stockpot and two sauté pans.

Step one

Gather the vegetables – onion, carrots and celery. (A)

Step two

Defrost the shrimp, take off the shells and devein them. Cut the chicken in 1.5 inch chunks and cut the chorizo in slices and then quarters. (B)

On the left - onion in front of a board with carrots and celery. On the right - chopped chorizo, shelled shrimp and cut up chicken thighs in bowls

You will be cooking the chicken and shrimp at the same time as the vegetables. Once they are done, just set them aside.

Step three

Heat the sauté pans on medium. Once they are heated up add butter to one pan and olive oil to another.

Add shrimp to the butter pan and chicken to the other.

Step four

Sauté the shrimp for 5 minutes or until they become opaque. (C)

Step five

Sauté the chicken for 8 minutes tops. You don’t want to cook the chicken fully as it will finish cooking in the soup. (D)

On the left - sautéed shrimp in a pan and on the right - sautéed chicken in a wok

Step six

Gather the rest of the ingredients – a dry white wine, dry sherry, chicken broth and saffron threads. (E)

Step seven

While you’re preparing the chicken and shrimp, heat the Dutch oven on medium. Add olive oil and once that’s heated, add the carrots first. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the onion, celery and chopped vegetables, salt and a little pepper and sauté them for 10 minutes. Make sure the carrots are getting soft. If it needs more time, add 5 more minutes.

Step eight

Add wine, sherry, garlic paste and saffron threads. (F)

On the left - Sauvignon blanc, sherry, chicken broth and a red pan. On the right, onions, carrots and celery in a pan with garlic, saffron, wine and sherry

Step nine

Add partially cooked chicken, 48 ounces of chicken broth, (if you are using a larger quantity of orzo) – a cup of water , orzo (G) and chorizo. (H)

On the left - chicken broth and orzo added to the pan and on the right - chorizo added for the soup

Step ten

Raise the heat under the pan to medium/high and once the soup comes to a slight boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 10 minutes. (Or until the orzo is done.)

Step eleven

Add the shrimp and let it simmer for 2 more minutes.

Gather some soup crocks and slice up some fresh bread.

A red Dutch oven filled with the soup filled with shrimp, chicken and chorizo. There is crocks and bread in the background

All that is left is to ladle some in a bowl and eat it all up.

Overhead view of two crocks filled with a soup with lots of meat and orzo

I mention in the helpful tips that if you like a soupier soup, you can decrease the amount of orzo to 1 cup. Here’s the original photo that shows what it will look like.

A bowl of soup in a brown bowl

I hope you enjoyed this paella soup recipe.

Other popular soup recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Overhead view of a crock with handles with the soup in it. There are two pieces of shrimp, chicken and chorizo showing

Paella Soup

This soup is hearty, flavorful and so delicious that you'll want it often. It even tastes better as leftovers and freezes well.
5 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: paella soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 277kcal

Ingredients

Vegetables and Broth

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 carrots (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • .25 teaspoon pepper
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • .25 cup sherry
  • .50 teaspoon saffron threads (heaping – either whole or crushed)
  • 3 teaspoons garlic paste (or 3 cloves – crushed)

Meats

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (cut into 1.5 inch pieces – you can substitute 2 boneless breasts if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound shrimp (shells off and deveined)
  • 8 ounces chorizo sausage (casing removed and sliced and quartered)

Pasta

  • 1.5 cup orzo (for a soupier soup – decrease to 1 cup – see notes)
  • 1 cup water (omit if you are using only 1 cup of orzo)

Instructions

  • Heat a medium stockpot on medium heat
  • Add 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Add carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add onions and celery, salt and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add broth, white wine, sherry, garlic paste and saffron and bring to a slight boil

At the same time as you start the veggies

  • Heat two sauté pans and add 1 tablespoon of oil in one, and butter in the other
  • Add chicken to the olive oil pan and shrimp to the butter pan
  • Sauté shrimp for 5 minutes stirring every 30 seconds or so until they become opaque, remove from pan and set aside
  • Turn chicken every few minutes and sauté for 8 minutes maximum – you will not cook the chicken all the way through
  • Add chicken, chorizo and orzo to the broth and once it comes to a slight boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes
  • Add shrimp and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Ladle some in a bowl
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
See all my favorite tools and gift ideas at my Amazon Store page!Check out Elaine’s Amazon Store!

Notes

Helpful tips:
  • For this soup, I like using shrimp that is on the big side; I recommend 16 – 20 per pound.
  • I make this soup with boneless and skinless chicken thighs but if you prefer breast meat, go for it.
  • Defrost the shrimp at least ten minutes before starting the recipe. It takes around 5 minutes to defrost them and up to 5 minutes to take the shells and tails off and to devein them if necessary.
  • Here’s how to defrost the shrimp: Place a colander in the sink and place the frozen shrimp inside. Run cold water over the shrimp and use your hands to separate them. I do this over and over during the five minutes until they are thawed.
  • Cut up the chicken into 1.5 inch chunks.
  • Cut the chorizo in slices first and then in quarters. Even though most chorizo has an edible casing, I always peel it off.
  • Start cooking the vegetables right before you start cooking the shrimp and chicken. So you will need more than one sauté pan plus the Dutch oven. But if you don’t mind the extra time, you can get away with one sauté pan and the Dutch oven.
  • You can either use the saffron threads whole or crush them with a mortar and pestle, your choice.
  • I like a lot of orzo in my soups, so I used 1.5 cups. But if you like a soupier soup, just use one cup.
  • If you choose to only use one cup of orzo, omit the cup of water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 1161mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2665IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
Get new recipes in your inbox!Click here! to sign up for our newsletter

Originally published in February of 2017.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




32 Comments

  1. This is such an fantastic variation Elaine and i love…love the title, pretty awesome indeed!

  2. It’s always sad when a loved restaurant closes. Glad you made this and shared it. Soup is definitely something i need right now with this snowstorm!

  3. That sounds so tasty and looks beautiful, I have a feeling the name would make my Spanish friends head explode but that wold be funny to watch ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I am on an anti inflammatory diet – wondering if I can sub brown rice for orzo and take out the sherry or sub that.

      1. Maria, you can definitely substitute brown rice. What I would do is cook it separate from the soup and just add it before you serve it. And you can take out the sherry. Not sure what you would substitute it with other than maybe a non alcoholic sherry?

  4. Wow, this is such a great idea. I love paella but have never thought about making paella soup. So creative!

  5. What a brilliant idea! The restaraunt I do marketing for has a paella style dish and its so fabulous but in a soup form sounds actually even better!

  6. I love this idea for paella soup! I just made a paella a few days ago, and while I love it, sometimes it feels a bit heavy to me. Making it into a sound really lightens it up!

  7. Such a great idea to make paella into a soup. So colorful and full of flavor too. It’s totally soup season and this is a winner.

    1. Thanks so much Debra. I adore seafood, especially in a soup. Hubby even likes this even though he’s not a fan of shrimp or chorizo. ๐Ÿ™‚ Must be the combination.