Bella’s Instant Spanish Paella

Yes it is crazy to think that you can prepare Spanish style paella in your electric pressure cooker. So all of you who have an Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot you may want to give this recipe a try.

Does this recipe replace the traditional method of making paella? No it does not. My preference would be to conducting a cooking class or inviting friends over and using my giant paella pan. People would be taking turns seasoning, adding ingredients and stirring. we would be enjoying some Spanish wine and laughter. But in todays world of the pandemic I am unable to teach my traditional cooking classes, and I am not doing my normal entertaining. I have been trying to convert some of Bella’s great recipes to be used with an electric pressure cooker or air fryer. So for you paella lovers with crazy busy schedules please try this super easy paella recipe and let me know what you think.

ADVISE: Please have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. This paella and seafood cooks very quickly, you do not want to over cook any part of this, so have all your ingredients set out, organized and ready to go!

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Bella’s Instant Spanish Paella

All the great flavors and ingredients of a Spanish Paella prepared in your electric pressure cooker.



1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup dry red or white wine  

3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

8 threads of saffron

1 teaspoon Spanish sweet or spicy pimenton (paprika) or 1/2 and 1/2

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

2-3 ounces chorizo finely chopped ( I use Boars Head it is a Spanish style dried pork sausage that is aged and looks like salami)

2-3 cloves garlic minced

¼ medium to large yellow onion diced

2 celery stalks finely diced

2 carrots peeled and finely diced

1/4 red bell pepper finely diced

1/2 cup fire roasted tomatoes

8 jumbo shrimp or prawns 

10 – 12 mussels cleaned and de bearded

lemon wedges & fresh parsley to garnish


4 – 6 small clams 

2 – 4 scallops

2 lobster tails


Seasoning: In a small bowl mix your seasonings, salt, pepper, smoked paprika ( sweet & spicy) & saffron. I like to layer flavors as I cook.

Select the saute or browning function of your electric pressure cooker. When the inner pot gets warm add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter; when the butter is melted add the garlic, carrot, celery, onion, red pepper and chorizo cook, stirring often, about 4 – 5 minutes. Sprinkle some of your seasoning. If the veggies look like they are getting dry, give another drizzle of olive oil.


Stir in the arborio rice, saute with the vegetable blend. If it looks dry give a swirl of olive oil. Sprinkle some of the seasoning into the rice. Add the wine, tomatoes and broth. Place the lid on and make sure the pressure knob is set to sealing. 

Select the manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 4 minutes. When the timer goes off, immediately and carefully turn the pressure knob to venting.  While the rice is cooking sprinkle some of your seasoning on the shrimp or prawns. 

When the pressure is released remove the lid and nestle the prawns and mussels on top. Place the lid back on, have the pressure knob adjusted to sealing and manually set to high pressure for 2 minutes.

When the time is complete, immediately and carefully turn the pressure knob to venting. Once the pressure is released remove the lid. ( if you do not perform an immediate and manual pressure release your rice and seafood will be over cooked).

Remove the mussels and the prawns and place them on a plate. Add the additional butter and stir through the paella. Taste and add more of the seasoning if desired. 

You may serve the paella in a paella pan, garnish the top with the mussels, prawns, sprinkle with minced parsley and place lemon wedges. Give a nice drizzle of EVOO.

You may also plate the paella in individual pasta bowls and garnish as above.



If using clams, you can place them in the pressure cooker with the mussels.

If using scallops, I prefer to cook those stove top in a screaming hot pan and garnishing my paella with the scallop. I am a scallop snob after preparing thousands of them at Bella Bistro, and I do not prefer them cooked in a pressure cooker.

If using lobster tails follow the instructions for my 2 minute lobster tail, season the lobster with the paella seasoning and add them to the pressure cooker with the mussels and prawns.

  • Author: Chef Shelly