Deep Fried Calamari Recipe

Fried Calamari

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We might just preach all day long about healthy eating, raw salads, low-calorie party dishes, etc, but at the end of the day, we all love fried! So, When invited over to a potluck party, my favorite dish to take is some kind of appetizer or a tantalizing side, which disappears in no time. But trust me, I try to take a healthy item most of the time. Be it some delicious Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, Italian Pasta Salad, Calamari Salad, Crab Salad, or this Fried Calamari, my sides are always a win-win.

People usually think Calamari is a fish, but it is a squid, which is more like an octopus, but relatively inexpensive. You can find frozen calamari tubes or whole squid at local grocery stores. You can make the recipe with the rings, bodies, or tentacles, whichever you like. Although it might be a restaurant-style appetizer, it is so easy to prepare even a beginner can pull off this. For those who are not familiar, the Fried calamari closely resembles the Prawn Tempura in terms of taste and texture.

Why would you like Deep-Fried Calamari?

  • It is a quick and easy-to-prepare appetizer.
  • You can serve it at any potluck dinner, Poolside Bar-b-Cue meal, or festive dinner.
  • You can also make it in an air fryer to make it a low-calorie dish.
  • It is a High-protein meal fit for growing children.
  • You can make and freeze the calamari rings and fry them when required.
  • It is a healthy lunchbox item.
  • You can make it Gluten-free by using rice flour instead of AP flour.

Fried Calamari Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen Calamari tubes
  • 1 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cornflour
  • ½ cup milk 2%
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Qts Grape seed oil

Ingredient Notes

Calamari and squid


For this recipe, I will advise my readers to purchase frozen calamari rings. This will reduce the washing time and also the mess! However, if you do purchase whole squid, you need to thoroughly wash and clean it. After washing it under cool water, remove the head and tentacles from the body and discard them. Clean any impurities from the inside of the body and remove its clear film. Slice up the body into even-sized rings. You can also use tentacles for the recipe.

AP flour and cornflour

A mix of these two forms the coating of the fried calamari. It makes the squid crispier and golden in texture. Remember to season the flour well to make the calamari flavorful.


Milk is required to soak the calamari rings. Not only does it help to stick the flour coating to the calamari but also eliminates the typical fishy smell.

Seasonings and Grape seed oil

Seasonings like oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper give flavor to the calamari. You can also use garlic powder or fresh chopped green chilies.

As compared to animal fat, Grape seed oil is an unsaturated fat and a healthy option for deep-fried items. You can use Sunflower or canola oil as well.

best fried calamari

Tips to Make the Best Deep-Fried Calamari

  • If you are using whole squid, make sure you cut the rings in equal thickness to ensure an even frying.
  • Before frying, ensure that the oil is hot enough to get the calamari perfectly fried. Too hot oil can burn the squid, and cool oil will make the calamari end up soft and rubbery. If possible, use a kitchen infrared thermometer and bring the oil’s temperature to at least 325°F before frying.
  • You can coat the Calamari and freeze it before frying. However, do fry only when you are ready to serve. The calamari is crispiest and tastes best when fresh.
  • Serve the fried calamari rings with tartar sauce, lemon aioli, or marinara. Condiments enhance the squid’s flavor.
  • Use commercially prepared buttermilk instead of milk to enhance the flavor. It will also slightly tenderize the calamari rings.

How to Make the Deep-Fried Calamari?

Calamari and squid

Step one: Prepare the Calamari

If you are using frozen calamari rings, you don’t need to wash or clean them. However, if you are using a whole squid, wash it first with cool water and discard the unneeded parts. Clean it thoroughly. Cut it into ¾-inch wide rings.

In a mixing bowl, pour buttermilk or mix plain milk with kosher salt. Soak the calamari rings in the milk mixture for at least 30 minutes. Keep them in the refrigerator.

Step two: Prepare the coating mixture

Meanwhile, take a mixing bowl and mix in the AP flour, corn flour, baking powder, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

coating calamari for frying

Step three: Coating the Calamari

After 30 minutes of refrigeration, take out the calamari. With the help of a pair of tongs, carefully take out each ring and dip it in the coating mixture.

Coat all the calamari rings, making sure the mixture coats the rings evenly.

Meanwhile, heat grape seed oil or neutral fry oil in a frying pan. Check with the help of a kitchen thermometer that the temperature is around 335-350°F.

frying calamari

Step four: Deep Frying

Lift the coated rings and carefully place them in hot oil.

Fry for 4 to 5 minutes or until the rings become golden brown and crisp.

Remove on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Fried Calamari on a paper towel in a bowl
Fried Calamari

Optional (Air frying)

If you want to keep it low in calories, you can always use an air fryer to fry the Calamari.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.

After coating the calamari rings with flour, place individual rings on the air fryer basket. Make sure that no rings overlap one another, or it will not cook evenly.

Spray the rings with the help of nonstick cooking spray.

Fry in the air fryer for about 4 minutes. Flip the sides with the help of the tongs and fry for another 3 minutes.

Dish out on a serving Platter.

Fried Calamari

Step 5: Serving

When the calamari is done, set it on a serving platter.

Squeeze lemon juice before serving.

Serve with tartar sauce, lemon ravioli, or any other condiment.

How to store Calamari?

Never have I ever seen some leftover fried calamari, because it is so delicious it ends up completely. However, if you have leftovers, you can put them in an airtight container and palace them in a refrigerator. Calamari remains good in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

How to Freeze Calamari?

Calamari can be frozen after marinating and coating it with a flour mixture. You just need to fry it before serving.

However, in case you need to freeze leftover fried Calamari, you can put them in a freezer-friendly container and freeze them for up to 2 months.

Reheating Instructions:

The best method to reheat calamari is to re-fry it. If it is coming out of the refrigerator, simply refry in hot oil for 2 minutes. However, the Calamari might not be as crisp as the freshly fried one.

If it is coming out of the refrigerator, allow it to thaw for a few minutes and then refry it in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes. The texture will not be as crisp as the fresh batch, but it will taste good.

Alternative Ingredients you may try for Variation

Try using seasoned buttermilk instead of regular milk. Buttermilk adds a richer flavor and tenderizes the calamari too.

If you are not into using buttermilk, coat the calamari in a flour mixture first. Next, dip the flour-coated calamari in an egg mixture. Finally, coat with Panko breadcrumbs. This coating sequence also leads to a crispy and golden calamari.

Instead of black pepper and oregano, you can also use red chili powder, chopped green chilies, and cumin powder to make the calamari even more flavorful.

Fried Calamari on a paper towel in a bowl

Best Deep Fried Calamari Recipe

Adalynn Ward
Looking for a crisp, delicious, and healthy appetizer? Look no further, because Fried Calamari rings are just what you need on your starter platter. Quick, easy, and restaurant-style appetizer in just afew minutes!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Refrigeration 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Side Dish
Servings 6 persons


  • 1 lb frozen Calamari tubes
  • cup All-purpose flour
  • cup cornflour
  • ½ cup  milk 2%
  • ½ cup baking powder
  • ¾ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Quarts Grape seed oil
  • 1 lemon

How to Make?

  • Thaw the frozen Calamari tubes and slice them into rings of ¾ inch thickness.
  • In a mixing bowl, pour ½ cup milk and stir in the kosher salt.
  • Dip the calamari in this milk and allow it to refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder.
  • Remove the calamari rings from the milk mixture and toss them into the flour mix. Make sure to coat all the rings evenly.
  • Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan on medium flame. Use a pair of tongs to gently put the calamari rings in hot oil.
  • Fry for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
  • Remove on a paper towel. Place on a lined wire rack and put in a warm oven until all the calamari has been fried.
  • Dish out on a serving platter and squeeze some lemon juice before serving.


Serving: 85gCalories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 6.6gProtein: 15.2gFat: 6.5gSaturated Fat: 1.6gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 260mgPotassium: 237mgVitamin C: 3.6mgCalcium: 33.2mgIron: 0.9mg
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Hello!! My name is Adalynn I love to eat, travel, and eat some more! I am married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful little girl whose smiles can brighten anyone’s day!