Arroz Negro Paella Recipe

Black rice is a recipe loved by many Spanish food lovers. Its striking black colour and powerful flavour leave no one indifferent and adding a little aioli to every bite makes it a real flavour explosion.

Read on if you want to learn how to prepare black rice at home and surprise your guests.

What is black rice?

Black rice is a typical Spanish recipe. The black colour comes from squid ink, a natural food colouring used in Spain for centuries. Black rice is usually cooked with a fish base and accompanied by seafood such as squid or prawns. It is also common to accompany black rice paella with aioli, which each diner adds to their dish according to their taste.

The rice is the most important thing

Although the seafood that usually goes on top of the rice is what attracts the most attention, don't be fooled, the most important ingredient in any paella is the rice. The rice in a paella should be perfectly cooked al dente, but not dry or undercooked and not creamy like a risotto. And above all, it must absorb all the flavours of the other ingredients, such as the spices, the stock and the sofrito.

The rice for paella should be short-grain, round rice. The best variety and the one used by all master rice cooks is bomba rice, a Valencian variety that was on the verge of disappearing due to the high cost of cultivation in relation to its production.

Buy bomba rice >>

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g fresh baby squid, you can also use two tins of Espinaler premium baby squid
  • 400 g bomba rice
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 125 ml dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon squid ink
  • Salt


Heat a tablespoon of oil in a paella pan or large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped squid and sauté for about 2 minutes, remove the squid and set aside. 2. In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil and butter, add the onion and garlic and fry very slowly for about 5 minutes or until tender. 3. Add the squid and rice and simmer until the rice is slightly translucent. Add the white wine and continue stirring. Once the white wine has been incorporated into the rice, add the first ladle of hot fish stock and a good pinch of salt. Lower the heat so that the rice does not cook too quickly on the outside. 4. Add the squid ink and continue adding ladlefuls of fish stock, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove the black rice from the heat, cover the paella pan with a kitchen towel and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

As I mentioned before, this rice is usually served with aioli to accompany it. You can buy an excellent alioli in our online shop or you can learn how to prepare it with our recipe How to make a smooth alioli?

In the Paella section you will also find all the essential ingredients to prepare a paella such as arroz bomba, paella pan, sofrito, etc.