Arroz Negro Spanish Black Squid Ink Rice

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Smells and flavours can bring back happy memories of holidays. When I find an exceptional dish on holidays, I like to try and recreate it. Sometimes the dishes are way beyond my technical skill but some I can manage by learning how to use some new ingredients and new cooking techniques.

Arroz Negro is a Spanish black rice dish that I have tasted several times but have never tried cooking. Then I found out that it is not that difficult to cook so here is my recipe to recreate it at home.

Arroz Negro is a Valencian rice dish distinct by its black colour from squid ink. It is sometimes cooked with squid, mussels, prawns and other shellfish.

On the surface, it sounds like a simple rice dish but Arroz Negro has several layers of flavours from the onions, the squid and shellfish used and the fish stock.

This is my simplified version of the recipe by using bought in fish stock. You can make your own fish stock if you have the ingredients and the time.

About Olive Oils from Spain

Did you know that every other bottle of olive oil sold in the world comes from Spain? With over 260 varieties of olives, they are the largest producer and manufacturer of olive oil in the world. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid and is a healthy oil due to its high content of oleic acid, polyphenols, antioxidants.

Cooking with Olive Oil

For cooking, olive oils resist high temperature better than other oils and has a more stable structure up to 180 °C. You find out more and get some great recipes using olive oil here:

Arroz Negro Spanish Black Squid Ink Rice

A really flavourful Spanish rice dish flavoured with fish stock and gets its colour from squid ink. Easy to cook and really impressive.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 600 g Squid or cuttlefish cleaned and cut into small pieces
  • 300 g Spanish Calasparra rice or short grain rice
  • 1.5 litres hot fish stock
  • 500 g large prawns with the shells on optional
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet pimenton
  • 3-4 sachets of squid ink
  • 2 to matoes chopped or half a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml Olive Oil from Spain


  • Using a heavy based flat bottomed pan or a paella pan if you have it, heat up the pan and add some olive oil. Saute the squid with some salt and keep moving it to prevent from sticking.
  • When the squid has taken on some colour remove and set aside.
  • Add more olive oil and fry the onions and peppers and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until tender and the onions are caramelised.
  • Add garlic and the sweet pimenton. Keep stirring for about a few minutes until the garlic is soft.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the rice, and stir to coat with the squid mixture for a few minutes before adding the fish stock.
  • Combine the fish stock and squid ink and add to the rice, keep stirring on a low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. The timing depends on the type of rice and volume. Stirring this occasionally will stop the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning. This will take about 20- 30 minutes.
  • A few minutes before serving, add back the squid and prawns and stir in to cook. You can reserve some on the side to decorate if you wish. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • An alternative way to prepare the prawns is to marinate them in some olive oil, pimento, garlic and salt and pepper and pan fry them on medium heat and serve on top of the rice.
  • Dish it into pretty bowls and drizzle with more Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain and serve immediately.
  • This dish is sometimes served with Alioli garlic mayonnaise and wedges of lemon.


1. Spanish rice is different as it tends to absorb about 3 times more liquid and still keeps its firm consistency.
2. Squid ink is available in sachets from most good fishmongers.


This recipe was produced in Association with Olive Oils from Spain.


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  1. Squid Ink Risotto is very popular here in Dubrovnik, where we are holidaying right now. My daughter has ordered it twice already! I will bookmark and pin this for making for her when we get home. Or, as she is 18 and a good cook, she can make it for us. 🙂

    1. It was my first time using squid ink and this turned out to be a really easy and tasty recipe. It looks so dramatic too.