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Spanish arroz negro or black paella recipe

We are back with another type of paella, but in this case, we are going to be talking about the strangest one…The black paella or also known in Spanish as Arroz negro. We know you probably have many questions: What is it? Why is the rice black? How does it taste like? Well, don´t worry because we will be answering those questions and of course we will also tell you all about the recipe for black paella.

What is Black paella?


The black paella is a Spanish dish that can also be known as “Arroz negro” in Spanish, “Arròs negre” in Valenciano, or also as squid ink paella. It´s mainly characterized for its black color, which added to its strong flavor makes it be by far the strangest paella in all Spain.

But…Why is the rice black? That has an easy answer. Although the way of cooking this dish is almost the same as the seafood paella, in this case you also need to use the squid ink. You can buy it apart, but it generally comes with the squid you have bought for the recipe.

What does black paella taste like?


Be patient, we will tell you about the recipe in a second! Before that, let us warn you that although for us and many other people, black paella is delicious, the truth is that it´s a dish with a very strong flavor.

As we said at the beginning, the recipe is very similar to the seafood paella, but the squid ink doesn´t only change the aspect, it also changes the taste. Spanish locals are more used to strong flavors and that´s why they love it so much, but this dish doesn´t succeed so much with tourists.

How to make squid ink paella?

Now that you know a little bit more about this popular dish from the Valencian Community, let´s start learning the black paella recipe.

Arròs negre ingredients 🥘

  • 200 grams of shrimps
  • Around 500 grams of squid or calamari
  • Between 2 and 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 teaspoons of grated tomato
  • 1 tbsp of squid ink
  • 400 grams of “bomba” rice (short-grain rice)
  • 4/5 cups of water or seafood stock
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • Salt (Don´t be shy)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Lemon (Optional)

Paella negra nutrition facts

  • Paella negra calories: 412
  • Fat: 13g
  • Protein: 14g
  • Carbs: 59g
  • Total time 🍳: 1 Hour

Spanish paella Negra recipe 👨‍🍳

  • 1. Turn on the paella pan to a medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 2. Place the pealed prawns or shrimps and the squid until they start getting a darker color.
  • 3. Place the garlic cloves for a minute (Don´t let them burn!)
  • 4. Continue adding the sweet paprika and the grated tomato and stirring it all together.
  • 5. Now it´s time for the rice, combine it with the mixture so it absorbs the flavor.
  • 6. First serve the squid ink and when it´s well spread add the stock or water.
  • 7. Intensify the heat to the maximum for about 7-10 minutes and let it boil. Meanwhile add a great pinch of salt.
  • 8.To finish you can cover it with foil and turn the heat to the minimum for another 5 minutes.
  • 9. Uncover it and in case you want add the lemon on top of it.
  • 10. Your arroz negro recipe is ready! Enjoy it!

Eat the paella negra with aioli!


Here is an extra tip to make your black paella dish taste even better. Although not many people do it, it´s quite common in the Valencian community (where aioli is served in almost every single lunch). Just take a spoon and add aioli to your dish, mix it all together and you will se that it tastes delicious.

Of course, this is optional, most of the people believe that the sauce of the paella is more than enough, but we advise you to at least try it.

Origin of arroz negro


There is not much information about the origin of the Spanish black rice paella. What we know for sure is that the way it´s cooked in Spain it was first created in the Valencian Community, being more concrete, in a rural area.

Other people say that there were different black rice recipes that were made for Chinese emperors many years ago. Actually, the dish was prohibited for normal people who were not part of the noble class. But of course, these foods are way different than Spanish paellas.

Enjoy the best black paella recipe!

That´s all you need to know about the black paella with squid and shrimp. As you have seen, is not a complicated dish at all, so you can easily make it at home.

Hope you enjoyed reading the recipe for arroz negro, and if you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know.

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Best Spanish Paella recipe ⭐️ (Learn how to make arroz negro)
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