Seafood Rice Skillet

$8.70 recipe / $1.38 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.62 from 21 votes
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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m having fun exploring the new Trader Joe’s in New Orleans. I asked everyone on Instagram to share their favorite products with me so I could sample the best the store had to offer and one item that was suggested multiple times was their frozen seafood paella. While the paella wasn’t bad, I was a little underwhelmed, and after glancing at the ingredient list I knew I could make something similar at home. And that’s how this super easy Seafood Rice Skillet was born.

Seafood Rice Skillet garnished with lemon wedges and parsley, viewed from above with a wooden spoon on the side.

Inspired by Paella, but NOT Paella.

Why is mine a “skillet” and not a paella? Well, for multiple reasons, but the main reasons being that

A) I did not use saffron ($$$)

B) I used long grain rice, and

C) I made it in a skillet and not a paella pan. I like to change recipes to work for me and these changes were made to fit my budget, ingredient availability, and cooking style. But guess what? This Seafood Rice Skillet is still amaze-balls. Not a term I normally use, but totally fitting here.

What Kind of Seafood Can be Use for This Seafood Rice Skillet?

I used the frozen seafood mix from Trader Joe’s (shrimp, scallops, and calamari), but if you can’t find something similar near you, you can totally use just shrimp alone. If you can find a seafood broth, or maybe a little clam juice, you can sub some of that in for part of the chicken broth and have this be even more seafood-y.

What Kind of Rice Should I Use?

This recipe was written using long grain white rice, but using short grain is more in line with paella. If you happen to have short grain rice, you can use that in place of the long grain, but make sure to adjust the broth to rice ratio to match the directions on the package.

A bowl of Seafood Rice Skillet garnished with lemon wedges and parsley, a gold fork on the side

Alright, ready to see this super easy and impressive skillet meal??

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Seafood Rice Skillet

4.62 from 21 votes
Seafood Rice Skillet is a nod to seafood paella using easy to find ingredients and equipment. Impress your dinner guests with this easy and impressive dish!
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 50 mins


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.22)
  • 1 onion ($0.25)
  • 2 cloves garlic ( $0.16)
  • 1 red bell pepper ($1.00)
  • 1/2 Tbsp turmeric ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice ($1.12)
  • 3 cups chicken broth* ($0.41)
  • 1 cup frozen peas ($0.48)
  • 1/2 lb frozen seafood mix ($4.00)
  • 1 fresh lemon ($0.59)
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped ($0.20)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, dice the red bell pepper. Add the diced bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes more.
  • Add the uncooked rice, turmeric, smoked paprika, and cayenne to the skillet. Stir to combine. Pour in the chicken broth, stir briefly, then place a lid on the skillet.
  • Turn the heat up to high and bring the broth to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, add the frozen seafood and frozen peas. Fold the seafood and peas into the skillet, then replace the lid. Let the seafood and peas cook over low heat until the shrimp turn pink (about 5-10 minutes). Stir once half way through to check the seafood buried in the rice for doneness.
  • Once the seafood has finished cooking, top the skillet with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Squeeze the lemon juice over top of the seafood rice just before eating.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*I used Better Than Bouillon to make my chicken broth and it contains enough salt to sufficiently season the dish. If using a low sodium broth, you may need to add a touch of salt.


Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 516kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 19gFat: 9gSodium: 1178mgFiber: 5g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Love skillet meals? Check out my Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet, Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet, or Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet

Front view of a bowl of Seafood Rice Skillet, gold fork on the side

Step by Step Photos

Sauté Onion and Garlic in a deep skillet

Begin by dicing one onion and mincing two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion are soft and transparent.

Diced Red bell Pepper added to sautéed onion in skillet

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice a red bell pepper. Add the bell pepper to the skillet and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more.

Rice and Spices added to skillet with bell pepper and onion

Add 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, 1/2 Tbsp turmeric, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

Stirred Rice and Spices in skillet with wooden spoon

Stir until everything is well coated in spices.

Chicken Broth added to skillet

Add 3 cups of chicken broth to the skillet, place a lid on top, and turn the heat up to high. Let the skillet come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Frozen Seafood Blend

This is the seafood blend that I used. It’s a mix of shrimp, scallops, and calamari. I used half of this bag, or 1/2 lb. If you can’t find something similar to this, you can use just shrimp.

Cooked Rice with Frozen Seafood and Peas added on top in skillet

After simmering on low for 15 minutes, most of the broth should be absorbed by the rice. Add 1/2 lb. of the frozen seafood mix and 1 cup frozen peas. Seafood cooks very quickly, even from frozen, so you don’t want to add it before the rice is cooked. Over cooking seafood makes it very tough.

Cook on Low with lid on to heat through

Fold the seafood and peas into the cooked rice, place the lid back on top of the skillet, and let it cook over low heat for another 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque. You may need to stir once halfway through to check the doneness of the shrimp buried in the rice. 

Top skillet with Parsley and Lemon Wedges

Once the seafood is cooked through, top the Seafood Rice Skillet with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Close up of a bowl of Seafood Rice Skillet with a gold fork scooping a bite.

Squeezing fresh lemon over the top of your bowl really gives this dish a nice fresh POP, so don’t skip it! :)

Overhead view of the Seafood Rice Skillet garnished with lemon wedges and parsley

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  1. This was a surprise, we thoroughly enjoyed it and will be using the rice recipe with a lot of different things. Thank you so much it was absolutely something to repeat!

  2. I’ve attempted to make this dish twice and both times the rice has been undercooked. Any suggestions on how I can fix that problem? Other than that it smells great, but hasn’t been edible.

    1. Hi Curly, without being there while you cook, it’s difficult to say what is going wrong. But, I’m guessing you could be dealing with a couple of issues. Make sure you are using long grain white rice. Brown and wild rice have longer cooking times and different ratios of rice to liquid. Also, make sure the pan remains covered through out the cook. The more that steam escapes, the less cooking liquid you have, and the less your rice will cook. Also, make sure you lower the heat as soon as the liquid comes to a boil. If you cook at high heat the whole time, it’s just as counter productive as cooking with the lid off. Hope that helps! XOXO -Monti

  3. I was combing through the comments to see if anyone asked about fresh seafood instead of frozen, but nothing.
    At what point would you add the seafood if using fresh instead of frozen?

    1. I’d probably add it at about the same point. Seafood cooks very quickly, so you wouldn’t want to add it any sooner.

  4. Hi. I would love to try this recipe. What can I substitute chicken broth with.

    Thank you :)

  5. This rice came out GREAT! I purchased the seafood mix at my local grocery store which was okay, but I added more shrimp to the rice as well. 

    Thank you for sharing and I will definitely be making again!!

  6. Hi Beth, Just tried this and it came out great, my wife loved it. I went and bought your app and was looking for this recipe on budget bytes, so I can’t post my photo. Anyway thanks for the recipes I’ll definitely try more.

  7. I really love this recipe but the only thing I did differently was I use smoked paprika (only because that is what I have and didn’t want to go and get regular paprika).   I couldn’t stop eating!  Thanks for this.