Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes

Some say that Valencian rice dishes are like having “the universe on a plate” due to their various flavors and presentations.

This is because rice cultivation has been very important in the Valencian Community, influencing its cuisine, making it one of the stars of some of our most popular dishes. Therefore, it is no coincidence that “Valencian rice” is part of various cuisines, including Argentine, Colombian, Cuban, Uruguayan, and Filipino.

Traditional valencian rice dishes

Recipes for “Valencian rice” are replicated worldwide, although with notable differences.

For example, Valencian rice in Bolivia is a popular dish that includes chicken and vegetables, while in Chile it is made with a varied selection of seafood.

In all cases, the rice is left dry and saffron is used to impart its characteristic colour.

However, if you are in Spain, you won’t hear about Valencian rice but about “Valencian paella,” possibly our most international dish, which also allows for many variations.

The “traditional” recipe is made with rice, chicken, rabbit, flat green beans, garrofó (a type of bean), water, olive oil, and saffron, but duck paella is very typical in the Albufera area.

In the region’s inland areas, meatballs or pork ribs are often added, along with vegetables like artichokes, and in the province of Alicante, it is common for the paella to include peppers or ñora (a type of pepper).

Rice Beyond Paella

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 1

In addition to paella, if you come to Valencia you can enjoy delicious rice dishes made with meat, fish, or vegetables.

Here are some of them:

Lobster Rice

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 2

Rice with lobster is one of the most popular rice dishes on the Spanish coast. It includes lobster, shrimp, and prawns and is usually served “caldoso” (brothy).

Black Rice

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 3

Another of the most well-known fish rice dishes is black rice, which gets its color from cuttlefish or squid ink. It is always served dry (without broth) and requires a good sofrito, a good fish broth, and a selection of shellfish and seafood for its preparation.

Arroz “a banda”

Arroz a Banda

This is very popular throughout the Valencian Community. It is a “sailor’s” dish that used to be made with “morralla”, i.e., fish that were difficult to sell in the markets due to their number of bones or appearance.

The main curiosity of this rice is that it is not one dish, but two: on one hand, the fish broth is served with potatoes, and on the other, the dry rice is served with alioli (garlic mayonnaise).

Rice with Crust (arroz con costra)

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 4

This dish is typical of the province of Alicante. It is made with all kinds of meats (primarily rabbit and pork) and is prepared in a clay pot and baked. Just before the rice is fully cooked, the surface is coated with beaten egg. The result is a stew with a golden top layer that gives it a unique flavour.

Oven-Baked Rice (arroz al horno)

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 5

This is one of the best examples of sustainable cooking. To prepare it, the leftovers from a stew are used (along with rice, you’ll find chickpeas, blood sausage, or the peculiar meatball, as well as tomatoes and garlic). Normally, it is served in a clay pot. For this reason, in some villages, it is known as “cassola.”

Arroz “del senyoret” (Gentleman’s Rice)

Arroz a banda

This dry rice dish has the peculiarity that all its ingredients are peeled so that when eating it, we do not have to peel either the fish or the seafood, and we do not have to get our hands dirty. Originally from Alicante, it is known in some restaurants as “blind rice” because it can be eaten with your eyes closed.

Arròs amb fésols i naps

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 6

This is typical of the regions of La Safor, La Marina Alta and Baja, La Ribera, or l´Horta. It is usually cooked in large containers and is popular for meals with many diners. Its main ingredients are white beans, turnips, beef, lamb, pork, and rabbit meat.

If you want to try one of these delicious rice dishes, we advise you to come to Valencia and we will recommend you the best places.

You can also learn Spanish in our intensive courses and meet people from all over the world. Contact us.

Información de contacto
Política de privacidad / Privacy policy

Latest news


With our courses you can improve your oral expression and learn in a fun and enjoyable way how we are Spanish.

What do our students think of our Spanish courses?


These are some of the opinions of our students. You give us the prizes!

Traditional Valencian Rice Dishes 8
Emilie Esposito Avatar
Emilie Esposito
I chose the school for a last minute trip in Valencia (booked Saturday for a start on Monday) based on a quick Google search and was amazed by the classes and the activities organised after class. Probably a third of the students were working professionals and I didn’t feel « too old » as there were quite a few students older than me!
leer más
Claire Rice Avatar
Claire Rice
I am a retired language teacher (at high school and university level ) and as such I feel I can offer a qualified opinion on the teaching method of the Taronja staff. I am pleased to give it 5 stars. All lessons were well prepared, engaging and fun. All staff members were supportive yet challenging. I was pleasantly surprised not to feel my age as a handicap among students largely much younger than me. I had fun with them and met many other older students as well. As to the activities offered by the school, there were so many of them that you could pick and choose. My husband (studying at a different level than mine) and I, did exactly that. We didn't go to all but enjoyed what we had chosen. We enjoyed the cooking class, the songs, the movies, the Saturday excursion. I saw a critic among the reviews concerning a bull fight and I thought that was totally out of line. If you disagree with an offered activity that is part of the culture you are supposedly trying to learn about, just don't go. But don't blame the school for offering other people with different values than yours a chance to experience that activity! Anyway, we had such a good experience that we are seriously thinking about going back to study in Taronja next spring for a couple of weeks at least. Well done Taronja staff, the whole team, teachers, office staff, organizers. We loved the school, we adored Valencia. We will be back. Thank you all so much!
leer más
Hana Zemcik Avatar
Hana Zemcik
Had a GREAT time and improved my spanish a LOT in Taronja. The lecturers were pros and the out-of-school program was very entertaining. Without doubt, I recommend Taronja and Valencia (y)
leer más
Julia Zisman Avatar
Julia Zisman
I would like to thank everyone for the experience! I really needed to improve the grammar, and I think this school was the first one where I could really feel some improvement (even though I was there for only two weeks). And they have many nice activities, so, you'll always have interesting options for how to spend your time outside the classroom. Another nice thing about the school is that they change the time of your classes during the high season (which is summer), so, you'll be able to have mornings and evenings free depending on the day. You also get to have classes with different teachers, cause they change every week, and then during one week you'll have two different ones. So, that's good too. Nice school! Definitely worth considering if you are thinking of learning Spanish in Valencia.
leer más
sandra15x9 Avatar
sandra15x9
I spent 3 months at the Taronja School and had the best time ever! I started from scratch but the school and its methods taught me Spanish very well. You can make a lot of friends through the activities and experience a lot of culture for a small price. I'd recommend going there for your Spanish studies as well as for the fun.
leer más
Giada Angeli Avatar
Giada Angeli
Taronja no es una escuela, es una familia! �
leer más
MauroDel58
5 star rating
Scuola di spagnolo a Valencia Sono tornato alla Taronja School a Valencia e come la prima volta ho ritrovato ragazzi motivati simpatici, divertenti e molto originali ma anche molto professionali, efficaci e ben organizzati.
E’ stata di nuovo una bella esperienza … grazie ragazzi!!!
leer más
tigerb736 Avatar
tigerb736
5 star rating
Intensive course for 3 weeks I went to Taronja as an almost beginner in Spanish and after three weeks I think I’ve made such an improvement but I’ve also learnt so much about different cultures and I think it has been an amazing experience.
I stayed in one of the school’s shared apartments with 4-5 other students from the school all of different nationalities and we were from the age of 18-26 and that was one of things that made my time there so special because you make such deep special bonds with other people in the same situation as you.
Over the three weeks the teachers were so engaging and welcoming along with the interns. There were multiple times where after activities we’d go to a bar or get some food and you felt so welcome and they were all so enthusiastic. In lessons each teacher found a different way to make sure you were taking in everything and the lessons were always fun. They also had a massive focus on conversation which was so helpful.
At the school there was such a range of ages and nationalities but I think we all came together really well through all of the amazing activities. My favourites were the excursions and the paella parties but all of them are worth doing as they improve your Spanish and give you opportunities to meet new people.
Thank you so much Taronja for the experience
leer más
Instagram

Instagram Taronja School