This recipe for seafood paella says to add mussels, prawns, squid and monkfish to the paella pan 5 minutes before finishing, stir and then cover with a lid.

I made this twice and I have never been able to cook the seafood in 5 minutes. The mussels will still be closed, and prawns doesn't look red throughout. On the second try, I let it cook a bit longer and overcooked the seafood, which shrunk into a very small size.

How can I tell if the seafood is done? How long do I generally have to cook seafood for in a covered paella dish?

  • 2
    Gordon Ramsay knows British and French cuisine, but not Spanish. If a paella recipe calls for stirring, look for another one. Mar 16, 2013 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


When I make a paella I never cover it, I find it keeps in too much moisture. My uncovered method is to put the fish in and cook for 10 minutes. If my mussels are small I will usually wait 2-3 minutes before putting them in, bu for "standard" mussels 10 minutes seems to work well. I use a low-medium heat on a large burner.

  • You're right, 10+ minutes work well. I am still covering it though.
    – Legendre
    Mar 26, 2013 at 22:35

I put the mussels in before the rice.

Harder fish like conger eel cutlets / cat fish for example that will hold together at the same time. Also the really quite small whole prawns because the add a great fish flavour to the dish.

Check out this recipe my dad taught me

Other fish that are more flakey put in near the end 5-10mins. if you're fish isn't cooking in 5 minutes it's too big! cut it into smaller pieces.

Things like large prawns, and squid literaly spring on top in the last 5 mins otherwise they're tough and rubbery.

Trust me I've made a few paellas in my time!! : )

  • Prawns and squid cooks in 5 minutes? I don't know, the last time I tried my prawns didn't cook in 5 minutes. (awesome picture by the way!)
    – Legendre
    Mar 16, 2013 at 23:30

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