top view of a pan of seafood paella
The Absolute Best Type Of Rice To Utilize In Paella
In addition to a large, round, and shallow two-handled pan, you'll need a certain type of rice to create a great Spanish paella with a crisp, caramelized crust at the bottom.
The crust that forms is called socarrat, and its key ingredient is starch. You'll need short-grain, starchy paella rice to absorb the flavorful liquid — specifically, Bomba rice.
Bomba rice is perfect for paella because of its high starch content and ability to absorb as much as three times its volume in liquid without becoming dry, crumbly, or mushy.
Instead of splitting lengthwise, Bomba grains plump and expand, creating a seal that forms a socarrat at the bottom of the paella pan once the broth has evaporated.
If you can't find Bomba, there are other suitable Spanish short-grain varieties to use in its place. Senia, Bahia, and Calasparra absorb a lot of liquid but tend to get creamy.
Other sturdy, non-perfumed medium- or short-grain rice varieties will also work instead, including domestic Calrose rice. Avoid using long-grain rice for your paella.