Crispy And Crunchy Fried Calamari Recipe

Enjoying delicious appetizers doesn't have to be limited to nights out at the restaurant. Thanks to recipe developer and food photographer Cecilia Ryu, you can whip up a platter of crispy fried calamari from the comfort of your own kitchen. With a short ingredient list, minimal prep, and speedy cook time, you'll be munching on this crunchy seafood treat before you know it. The longest step involved is a hands-off chilling period in the refrigerator. 

Ryu highlights this feature and shares, "What I like most about this recipe is that it comes together very quickly." The procedure is pretty straightforward, and Ryu provides tips for success, noting that there are "a couple of things to be aware of in this recipe." If you're as much of a fan of calamari as we are, you'll want to read on for the step-by-step instructions to make your own batch of crispy golden goodness.   

Gather the ingredients for this crispy fried calamari recipe

You'll probably already have most of the ingredients at home, but you might not have 1 pound of squid tentacles and tubes lying around. To speed up the process, Ryu suggests buying pre-cleaned squid. You'll also need 1 cup of buttermilk, which Ryu says, "plays an important role." She elaborates, explaining that "buttermilk is used to tenderize the squid and also helps the breading stay in place." For the breading, measure out 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. You'll also need 2 ½ to 3 cups of canola oil for frying.

To serve the calamari, Ryu recommends freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and marinara sauce for dipping.

Start by prepping your squid slices

Depending on the state of the squid you purchased, it first needs to be cleaned and dried. Next, slice the tubes into rings about ½-inch thick. Set out a medium-sized bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Add the squid slices and give them a good mix so that they are properly coated. This soaking step will improve the overall texture of the final result so make sure that they are covered in liquid. Now, refrigerate the bowl for 30 minutes, though Ryu says that a longer duration is also fine.

Coat the squid in the flour mixture

While the squid is soaking in buttermilk, set out a second medium-sized bowl. Add the flour, salt, and black pepper and give everything a good stir. When the squid has sufficiently soaked, take the bowl out of the refrigerator so you can coat the squid slices in the flour mixture. 

Ryu emphasizes, "Be sure to tap off any excess buttermilk before putting into the flour mixture." She explains that if not, the breading will be too thick and you might end up with the opposite of what you want: mushy calamari. Bit by bit, shake off the liquid and add the squid to the flour mixture, ensuring that every piece is coated.

Heat the oil and fry the squid in batches

Next up, it's time to heat the oil for frying. Set a large skillet or thick pot on the stovetop and add in the oil. Turn the heat to medium and wait until the temperature comes to 375 F. Any lower and you won't get that crispy crunch, and you risk burning the calamari if it's much hotter. Prep your work station by lining a sheet pan with paper towels to soak up some of the excess oil.

Avoid overcrowding your pot by adding the squid a few pieces at a time. Fry each batch for 2 to 4 minutes, until the breading becomes a nice golden brown. Tongs or a spider strainer are the best utensils for transferring the fried calamari from the pot to your lined pan. Before moving on to the next batch, Ryu highlights that "it's important that the oil comes up to temperature when frying," and warns that "if the oil isn't hot enough, the coating will be soggy." When all the calamari is fried, season it with salt to taste.

Serve your crispy fried calamari

This isn't the kind of appetizer that works well at any temperature; be sure to serve your crispy fried calamari piping hot. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top and follow Ryu's advice: "Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon and dip in marinara sauce. Perfection!" Other delicious dipping options include tzatziki or spicy mayo.

This recipe makes four appetizer portions, so adjust it accordingly so you don't have any leftovers. Fried calamari is best enjoyed immediately.

Crispy And Crunchy Fried Calamari Recipe
5 from 49 ratings
You don't need to go to a restaurant to enjoy crispy, crunchy calamari — make it at home!
Prep Time
Cook Time
fried calamari with lemon
Total time: 18 minutes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound squid (cleaned and dried with tentacles, tubes cut into ½-inch thick rings)
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • marinara sauce, for dipping
  1. In a medium bowl, add the buttermilk and the sliced squid, mixing well so that the pieces are well-coated.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and black pepper.
  4. When it is time, remove the squid from the refrigerator and shake off the excess buttermilk from the slices.
  5. Add the squid to the flour mixture in batches, tossing well to ensure each piece is properly coated.
  6. Pour the oil into a large skillet or heavy pot and heat it over medium until it reaches 375 F.
  7. Line a sheet pan with paper towels and set it near the skillet.
  8. Working in small batches, fry the squid for about 2 to 4 minutes until it is golden brown.
  9. Using tongs or a spider strainer, remove the squid from the oil and transfer it to the lined sheet pan.
  10. Make sure the oil comes back up to 375 F before adding the next batch of squid and continue until it is all fried.
  11. Season the fried calamari with more salt if needed.
  12. Serve hot with lemon wedges and marinara sauce for dipping.
Calories per Serving 598
Total Fat 36.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 266.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 596.5 mg
Protein 24.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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