Dutch Oven Paella for Camping

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I first had paella while hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. After a long day of hiking, Paella was the most delicious meal! This is the perfect camping version of paella cooked in the dutch oven.

A delicious paella cooked in the dutch oven while camping

Dutch oven cooking is so much fun. Everything always seems to taste better when cooked outside over a fire, right?

This camping dinner recipe is easy and very impressive. I think you’ll be surprised by how delicious it is for how simple it is to make.

Dutch oven paella cooked over a campfire.

What is paella?

Paella is a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, and seafood. Traditionally it’s cooked in a large shallow pan.

I wanted to try and make a camping version of paella using my dutch oven.

Traditional paella has a variety of seafood such as shrimp, clams, and lobster tails.

In order to keep things simple and practical for a camping meal, this paella recipe has the shrimp, and instead of a large shallow pan for cooking, this recipe is cooked in the dutch oven.

Cooking over a campfire with a dutch oven

What Gear You’ll Need

While this paella recipe really is quite simple, it does require a few specific camp kitchen items that you might not always pack.

Dutch Oven

For this dutch oven recipe, ideally you want to use a 12-inch dutch oven, but you might be able to fit it in a deep 10-inch dutch oven as well!

I have a Lodge 12-inch dutch oven and this meal fits perfect! I also have a 10-inch Camp Chef dutch oven and that’s great too.

Cast iron dutch ovens are perfect for campfire cooking and it’s essential for this camping dinner idea.

Metal Tongs

A good pair of metal tongs will have a lot of uses when cooking at camp. In this recipe, I use them to handle and flip the meat and mix all the ingredients in the dutch oven.

Mine are long enough to allow me to cook over the fire without having to be too close to it. They also can withstand the hot temperatures in the dutch oven.

Open Fire Gloves

Open fire gloves are a must-have if you want to cook with cast iron over a campfire. The temperatures you’re dealing with are hot, and fire gloves allow you to handle the dutch oven and move the fire grate around while keeping your hands and forearm protected.

FURTHER READING >> Car Camping Kitchen Essentials


How to Make Paella in the Dutch Oven

Start a small campfire in your fire pit and let some of the wood burn down to create hot coals to cook on.

Dice the pepper and onion, and slice the chorizo into bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the garlic.

Carefully place the dutch oven over the hot coals on the fire.

chicken in the dutch oven
Cooking the shrimp and chorizo for this paella recipe

Add the oil to the dutch oven and add in the chicken thighs.

The chicken thighs should sizzle when they hit the dutch oven.

If they don’t, add more small pieces of wood to the fire to keep it hot underneath the dutch oven. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the dutch oven and set aside.

Add the shrimp and chorizo to the dutch oven. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the dutch oven and set aside.

Adding spices to the paella recipe for camping
Adding rice to the dutch oven

Add the diced peppers and onions to the dutch oven with the oregano, and paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.

Add in the rice. Mix for 1 minute.

Then add in 1 cup of water, saffron, the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), and the bouillon cube. Mix well.

Adding a can of diced tomatoes and the rest of the paella ingredients
Adding cooked chicken back into the dutch oven

Add the cooked chicken thighs, shrimp, and chorizo on top of the rice mixture in an even layer. Cover with the dutch oven lid, vent closed.

At this point, you don’t need the heat under the dutch oven to be as hot.

Remove a few of the campfire coals if needed, and/or raise the dutch oven up above the coals. I used the campfire grate to get the dutch oven above the fire a little bit so it wasn’t so hot.

Adding chorizo and shrimp back into the dutch oven
A serving of paella for a delicious camping dinner idea

If the heat is too hot, you risk burning the food on the bottom of the dutch oven. You want the liquid to simmer, not vigorously boil. Cook for 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid.

After 30 minutes, remove from the heat and sprinkle fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon on top. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

  • Make sure you read the recipe fully before you start. Have all your ingredients organized and ready to go so that you’re not scrambling to find things when you need them!
  • You want to be able to get the dutch oven nice and hot for cooking the chicken and shrimp.
  • This recipe doesn’t work with just briquettes (I’ve tried). I’ve found that they don’t get hot enough, so a small campfire is the way to go. Make sure to pack the fire gloves so it’s easy and safe to cook.
dutch oven paella

Dutch Oven Paella for Camping

This paella recipe is surprisingly simple and absolutely delicious as a camping dinner.
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Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients
 

  • 1 Tbsp oil (olive oil or avocado oil)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lb boneless (skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 Spanish chorizo sausage link
  • 1/3 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice* (arborio)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 2-3 saffron threads
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 cup of water
  • flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
  • 1 lemon (for garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Start a small fire in your fire pit and let some of the wood burn down and create hot coals to cook on.**
  • Dice the pepper and onion, and slice the chorizo into bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the garlic. Make sure all other ingredients are organized and ready to be used.
  • Carefully place the dutch oven over the hot coals from the fire.
  • Add the oil to the dutch oven and add in the chicken thighs. The chicken thighs should sizzle when they hit the dutch oven. If they don’t, add more small pieces of wood to the fire to keep it hot underneath the dutch oven. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes on each side. Using metal tongs, remove the chicken from the dutch oven and set aside.
  • Add the shrimp and chorizo to the dutch oven. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the dutch oven and set aside.
  • Add the diced peppers and onions to the dutch oven with the oregano, and paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add in the rice. Mix for 1 minute, and then add in 1 cup of water, saffron, the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), and 1 bouillon cube. Mix well.
  • Add the cooked chicken thighs, shrimp, and chorizo back into the dutch oven on top of the rice mixture in an even layer. Cover with the dutch oven lid, vent closed.
  • At this point, you don’t need the heat under the dutch oven to be as hot. Remove a few of the campfire coals if needed, or raise the dutch oven above the fire by resting it on a grill or grate. You want the liquid to simmer, not vigorously boil. Cook for 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid.
  • After 30 minutes, remove from the heat and sprinkle fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon on top. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*Do not use brown rice.
**You want to be able to get the dutch oven nice and hot for cooking the chicken and shrimp. This recipe doesn’t work with briquettes (I’ve tried). They just don’t get hot enough to cook the chicken properly, so a small campfire is the way to go. Make sure to pack the fire gloves so it’s easy and safe to cook.
Tried this recipe? Mention @amandaoutside on Instagram or leave a review!
Shrimp, chicken, and chorizo paella recipe for camping dinner

More Dutch Oven Recipes:

These are some of the other popular camping dinner ideas on the blog:

I hope you love this dutch oven camping meal as much as we do!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about this recipe.

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2 Comments

  1. Could this be adapted for a cast iron skillet on a camp stove? How would you suggest doing this?

    1. I don’t think this would work in a skillet because there wouldn’t be enough room for all the ingredients, and you really want a lid to keep the steam in, or else it would dry out and burn. I think you could try making this in a large pot with a lid over a camp stove. Instead of simmering over the fire, you would just simmer over a low temp on the camp stove. I haven’t personally tested this, but I think it would work.