Skip to main content

Fried calamari: Learn to make everyone’s favorite appetizer at home

This fried calamari recipe is so easy to make, you may never order it off a menu again

Person cutting lemons on plastic cutting board
Angelica Parisi / Adobe Stock

Who doesn’t love deep-fried calamari? It’s one of those things that’s ordered and then disappears in seconds, no matter who’s at the table. But have you ever thought to make this dish at home? While squid isn’t as easily found as say, something like salmon, it’s growing more and more common in most grocery stores, and usually for a pretty great price. Not only that, but it’s extremely simple to make, is done in minutes, and will impress everyone around your dinner table.

The Tasting Table / Facebook

Fried calamari recipe

We love this recipe for its simplicity and lack of pretension. Just be sure to make a huge batch because this will go fast! This simple recipe is courtesy of The Tasting Table.

What you’ll need to make fried calamari

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned and dried with tentacles, tubes cut into ½-inch thick rings
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)

Recipe steps

  1. In a medium bowl, pour buttermilk over the squid, mixing well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, and flour.
  3. Remove squid from the refrigerator, shaking off excess buttermilk from each piece.
  4. Toss the squid in the flour mixture, coating each piece evenly.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Line a sheet pan with paper towels and set it near the skillet.
  7. Fry the squid in small batches until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove and set on a prepared sheet pan, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Repeat with the remaining squid, making sure the oil comes back up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit before frying each batch.

Fried calamari tips and tricks

  • Be sure your oil is at 375 degrees Fahrenheit before frying your squid. Any cooler than that, and the oil will soak into the breading, giving your calamari a greasy, wet consistency. If your oil is too hot, on the other hand, the outside will burn, but the squid will be raw on the inside.
  • Be careful not to overcook your squid. While a slight overcooking is forgivable for certain ingredients, squid is not one of them. If you aren’t careful, they can quickly turn into deep-fried rubber bands.
  • Season your calamari immediately after it comes out of the oil. When the oil is still damp, the seasoning will stick much better than if you wait a few minutes.
  • Calamari doesn’t sit well. It’s best to eat this dish as soon as it’s finished. But we really doubt that’ll be an issue.
Half peeled garlic bulbs
Mike Kenneally / Unsplash

Other seasoning to use when making fried calamari

Besides salt and pepper and lemon, there are other options when seasoning your homemade fried calamari. Here are some ideas:

  • Paprika and more: Blend the salt and pepper with paprika or blend it with garlic powder, onion powder, or cayenne pepper.
  • Lemon and more: For added flavor with the lemon, chop up fresh parsley or oregano to make a tastier seasoning mix.
  • Spicy kick: If you like things hot, add some chili flakes, red pepper flakes, or even sriracha to your seasoning.
  • Asian-inspired taste: For an Asian-inspired twist, use a blend of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds.
  • Smoky flavor: Smoked paprika or chipotle powder can add a nice smoky flavor to your homemade fried calamari.

No matter what seasoning you choose, be careful not to overseason the calamari, as you don’t want to mask the delicate flavor of the seafood.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
How to grill chicken correctly for a tender, delicious barbecue
Looking to ace that grilled chicken recipe this summer? Here's how
Chicken drumsticks on grill

It's grilling season. It's time to stock up on charcoal, pellets, and propane and get ready to enjoy some quality outdoor time with your friends and family. Aside from burgers and brats, chicken is also a grilling go-to for those guests who require a healthier option.

The difference between burgers and brats and the delicious white meat is that chicken can be tough to get right on the grill. We've all had a piece of grilled chicken that was drier than shoe leather. This quick guide on how to grill chicken will help you every step of the way through the process of grilling up tender, moist, and delicious chicken.
The tools of the trade

Read more
Learn how to make perfect grill marks every time
Perfect grill marks are shockingly easy to achieve with these easy tips
Steak on the grill

Let's be honest — when it comes to grilling, a lot of the fun is in the show. It just wouldn't be a proper backyard barbecue without all the hubbub that comes once that grill is ignited. The sounds, the smells, the caveperson astonishment and pride when it comes to all things fire-related. The whole thing is rather dramatic. And part of putting on a good show is, of course, a picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy, beautifully charred, and cross-hatched piece of meat. Be it a steak, pork chop, burger, or eggplant, no grilled entree is complete without the cosmetic upgrade of gorgeous grill marks.

Chances are, though, if you've ever attempted these beautifully blackened lines in your backyard, you know just how tricky they can be. So you may have just tossed in the tongs and forgotten the whole thing. And who could blame you? The truth is that grill marks don't make a huge difference in flavor. With all the cooking methods, tricks, and techniques used today, the technique of how to make grill marks is actually something of a lost art. But damn, they're sexy. And if you can get them just right, you'll be sure to impress your guests at your next cookout. So we're here to help with a few tips and tricks for how to get those perfect steak grill marks and make your barbecue show one worth watching.
How to make perfect grill marks

Read more
How to cook soft-shell crab at home
We got a Michelin-starred chef to show us the proper way to cook soft-shell crabs
Soft-shell crab La Torque

Soft-shell crabs are one of our favorite seafood delicacies. Whenever we see it on a menu, we jump at the chance to order the succulent crustacean, because it isn’t a super common item.

A soft-shell crab is a blue crab that has molted its hard shell. In the spring, the start of soft-shell crab season, crabbers collect the crustaceans and monitor them closely. As soon as they molt, the crabs are removed from the water and packed before the shell can harden.

Read more