Best Crispy Fried Calamari Recipe

Warm spice meets spicy mayo in this Minneapolis chef's recipe

This calamari, which gets dredged in a sweet cinnamon coating and served with spicy mayo as a counterpoint, is the perfect example of the Argentinian-Italian seafood-focused cuisine you'll find at Martina in Minneapolis. The only downside at chef Daniel del Prado's Linden Hills showstopper of a restaurant is the decision paralysis you'll inevitably face when reading the menu—just rest assured that it's impossible to go wrong.

Recipe adapted from Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis MN

Cinnamon Fried Calamari
5 from 40 ratings
Learn how to make crispy fried calamari with spicy mayo at home, with this recipe for a cinnamon-coated version from Martina in Minneapolis.
Prep Time
Cook Time
to 4 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
  • For the Toasted Chile Oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • For the Spicy Mayo
  • 1 cup Kewpie mayo (or any other storebought mayo)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup toasted chile oil
  • For the Calamari
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds squid
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped pickles (such as giardiniere)
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Salt, for serving
  • 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced, for serving
  • Cilantro, for serving
  1. Make the toasted chile oil: Combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Heat on low heat until the chile flakes release a toasty aroma and darken, being careful not to burn. Immediately transfer to a blender or crush in a mortar and pestle until it reaches a puree-like consistency.
  2. Make the spicy mayo: In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, ground chile flakes and rice wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the toasted chile oil and stir until incorporated.
  3. Make the squid: Bring a pot filled with about 3 inches of oil to 350°F. Meanwhile, thoroughly sift all the dry ingredients for the calamari to combine. Mix about 2 cups of cleaned and sliced tubes of squid, plus some tentacles, into the dredge mixture. Add the pickles and let sit for 60 seconds to let the dredge adhere to the squid.
  4. Fry the squid for 90 seconds, then place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with lime wedges, salt, serrano peppers, cilantro and the spicy mayo.
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