Arroz Negro - Spanish Black Rice Recipe

Arroz negro - a glistening, black squid ink paella-style recipe - makes a memorable dish. You can make it with pan-fried fresh squid, or if you prefer to keep all the ingredients in for a storecupboard treat, then use great quality Spanish tinned squid in ink

The slow cooking of the tomatoes together with umami-rich anchovies gives a real depth of flavour at the start of the dish - you could even make the tomato base in steps 2-4 in advance, and keep it for a couple of days in the fridge, or in the freezer - to make a quick and easy weeknight meal.

The black squid ink arroz negro rice recipe serves four generously (it just fits in a 4-person paella pan!). However it is easy to double up the amounts, and with the help of one of our bigger paella pans it is a real crowd pleaser.

What can I do with leftover black rice?

That might be the best bit! Cool any extra black rice quickly, and then refrigerate as soon as possible - rice should never be left at room temperature for any period of time, and ideally leftovers would be used the next day.

Then make arancini-style deep fried crispy arroz negro balls! 

arroz negro balls fried

How to make arroz negro arancini-Style balls?

If you've used fresh squid, you might need to chop up pieces a little smaller. However, the tinned squid pieces are small enough to make the balls easily. 

  • Just shape a few tablespoons (around 50g) of chilled rice mixture into a ball. It's easiest if you wet your hands first.
  • Then roll in plain flour, beaten egg and finally panko breadcrumbs.
  • Deep-fry at 180°C for around 5-7 minutes until dark golden-brown on the outside. Drain on kitchen paper. 
  • Serve with the garlic-saffron aioli recipe below. 

bite saffron spanish rice arancini

Tested by Nicola 20th July 2020

Ingredients for Arroz Negro Serves: 4

 Garlic & Saffron Aioli


Method for Arroz Negro Recipe

  1. If using fresh squid, heat the olive oil in a skillet or paella pan, and flash fry the squid for two minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the squid and place it on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil - once cool, refrigerate until use. If using tinned squid, just move directly to frying the onions in the oliveoil. 
  2. Add the onions, and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes until they have softened and turned translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and anchovies.
  3. Turn up the heat and cook for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Turn the heat down and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sauce starts to turn a deep red colour.
  5. Add the paella rice to the paella pan, stir into the tomato sauce and turn up the heat. When the grains of rice are too hot to touch, add the white wine to the pan, and stir.
  6. In a separate pan, heat the fish stock and stir the squid/cuttlefish ink into the liquid. Pour all of the stock into the paella pan at once, and simmer on a medium heat, without stirring it.
  7. After 10 minutes, give the rice one thorough stir. Add the squid (either the pan-fried fresh squid, or the tins of squid in their sauce), and then turn down the heat for a further 10 minutes. Keep checking the rice. If before the time is up, it is looking dry, add 100-200ml water to loosen it. 
  8. After 10 mintues of low simmer, the stock should be absorbed. Serve warm with aioli (recipe below).
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Method for Garlic & Saffron Aioli

  1. Grind the saffron to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Add 1 tbsp cold water and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the pureed garlic, a good pinch of salt and egg yolk. Mix well and transfer to a larger bowl.
  3. Mix together the two oils and slowly drizzle into the egg yolk mixture, whisking steadily. It will start to emulsify after adding 75-100ml oil. Continue whisking in the remaining oil.
  4. Season with a good amount more salt to taste and refrigerate until use. 
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Shop all Spanish ingredients, and try our Valencian fideua paella recipe.

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  • Hi GermanBib, so glad you like this recipe!

    Helena @ Sous Chef on

  • I am so happy when I saw the Black Squids Ink! I don’t believe what I’ve read but very happy and I purchase this straight away as I’ve been looking everywhere since I live in UK! Finely I can cook my favourite dish Squids with Black Ink and Chilli with lemongrass yay 😀
    Thank you and I can’t wait to try when they’re come.

    Wiratni Hopkins on

  • Wow! This could be one of the most helpful things on the matter I’ve ever come across. Many thanks for your hard work.


    GermanBib on

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