Fried Calamari Recipe

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This is the best Fried Calamari Recipe ever, they are tender in the inside and crispy fried to golden brown perfection.

I’ve always loved getting calamari as an appetizer, but sometimes it’s a bit chewy and difficult to eat. A friend served this at our weekly girl’s get together and it was perfect, delicious and tender.

Fried Calamari Recipe
Crispy Yet Tender Fried Calamari

From the taste and texture, I presumed she either found a special type of calamari to serve, bought something pre-made and just reheated or found a special time-consuming recipe to make it so good.

It was none of those things. In fact, it was so easy, she was almost reluctant to tell me her secret. She simply marinated the calamari in buttermilk and fried them in seasoned flour to make them not just tender but also delicious.

Fried Calamari Recipe
Fried Calamari Recipe

Not only was the fried calamari excellent, but she also served it with a lemony aioli sauce and a side of fresh cut lemon that was divine. I’ve always dipped in tartar sauce or marinara sauce, but this sauce was light and added to the experience.

I managed to get the recipe from her for the sauce too. Wow, both are so easy that I’m now serving these every chance I get. We had an end of summer party where everyone brought a dish.

Some of my friends asked that I have these on the menu, so I asked Jennifer if she was going to bring them or should I.

Fried Calamari Recipe
Squid Calamari

Since she was kind enough to give me this scrumptious recipe, I let her be the heroine and bring them, but we floured and fried them right at the party, setting up a little serving area.

I provided a fresh lemon and she had already prepared the lemony aioli. I had a small fry baby cooker she used and Jennifer’s station was the hit of the party.

The trick when frying was to prevent overcrowding in the fryer and only prepare a small amount at a time.

Other Favorite Recipes:

Fried Calamari Recipe
Fried Calamari with Aioli

Fried Calamari Recipe

Fried Calamari Recipe

Your rating: 5
14 ratings
Category: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian, Mediterranean

Marinating the squid in buttermilk defeats the rubber band effect some fried calamari tends to have.

Fried Calamari Recipe


1 hour
1034.17 kcal
  1. 1 lb calamari, bodies sliced into 1/2 inch rings, tentacles left whole
  2. 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 2 tsp paprika
  5. 2 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp black pepper
  7. 1 tsp garlic powder
  8. 1 tsp cayenne
  9. 1 tsp red chili flakes
  10. oil for frying
  11. chopped parsley for garnish
  12. lemon wedges to serve
    Lemon aioli:
  1. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  2. zest and juice of 1 lemon
  3. dash of Tabasco
  4. salt and pepper to taste


15 minutes
45 minutes
Ready in
1 hour
  1. Prepare lemon aioli by whisking together mayonnaise & Tabasco.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Soak calamari in buttermilk for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
  5. Combine flour with seasonings from paprika - red chili flakes.
  6. Dredge calamari in seasoned flour, tossing evenly to coat.
  7. Carefully drop a handful of the calamari into the hot oil.
  8. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  9. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper lined baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with remaining calamari.
  11. Sprinkle parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges and lemon aioli.


Why buttermilk instead of eggs? The acidity in the buttermilk helps keep the calamari tender and helps create a lighter, crispier batter. So, adding eggs or breadcrumbs is not necessary.

Nutrition information

Calories per serving: 1034.17 kcal
Fat per serving: 79.8 g
Saturated fat per serving: 8.46 g
Carbs per serving: 47.71 g
Protein per serving: 32.88 g
Fiber per serving: 3.15 g
Sugar per serving: 6.79 g
Sodium per serving: 982.58 mg
Trans fat per serving: 0.22 g
Cholesterol per serving: 367.2 mg

50 thoughts on “Fried Calamari Recipe”

  1. Pingback: Friday Favorites + Whipping Post Tote Giveaway (2 Winners!) - Iowa Girl Eats

  2. Denise Oliver

    A delicious recipe!! I love how tender the calamari rings turned out to be.. They are so yummy, yet so simple to and easy to make at home.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. My kids love them as well as my husband. Totally perfection, not too spicy.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Eloise Morrison

    Uggh… I messed the first batch of my calamari rings ๐Ÿ™ but after the second try, they were perfect. I tweaked and added some cayenne and spice herbs.. tasted delicious. This will be our regular appetizer on Friday night.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Crispy, tender, mouth-watering calamari bites.. No calamari fan should miss this one.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  6. This is my first time to re-create this calamari at home and it turned out so delicious and super tender inside.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  7. Susana Roesler

    i love this recipe, the only change I made was to dredge the calamari in cajun spice coating and some salt. Serve with spicy mayo for dipping.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  8. Ophelia W. Donoho

    I’m obsessed with these appetizers..never thought making these at home could be so easy. I will use the buttermilk trick.. thank you for sharing!!

    Rating: 5 / 5

  9. These are so crispy ring of squids..I love it!! However, I would like to add more cayenne pepper next time and add sriracha to the buttermilk – its’ only me ๐Ÿ™‚ because I love strong flavors and spice. Overall, big thumbs up ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  10. This recipe will be going into regular rotation…. these are so delicious, crispy yet tender ring bites.. Cant go wrong with the extra crispiness. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rating: 5 / 5

  11. I love calamari and always order these appetizers in the restaurant, but puzzled why 10 rings of calamari cost $$!! So, I thought, recreating them at home would save me dineros… The result? your recipe is the best calamari I ever tasted.. they are so crispy and tender. I tried frying them though instead of baking. YUMMY!!

    Rating: 5 / 5

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  13. Jessica Wertz

    You cant go wrong with this recipe. Simply marinate, coat in seasoned flour and deep-fry and presto, you’ll get a tender, juicy & crispier calamari.. Thanks for sharing.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  14. Jennifer Francis

    I love this calamari recipe, so juicy and tender due to marinating them overnight.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  15. This is so delicious. I marinated a little longer and it was so tender, I did finished the whole plate ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rating: 5 / 5

  16. I just made this calamari as described and I deep-fried a little longer which gave the crispiness to the flour coating but tender in the inside. Yummy!!

    Rating: 5 / 5

  17. @Brittany,
    Yes, you can marinate the calamari rings in buttermilk overnight.

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  19. @Jesicca,
    Grapeseed oil for a high heat saute.
    Canola oil for frying or deep-frying.

  20. Tried this tonight. The sauce was delicious! However some batter was struggling to stay on the squid. What am I doing wrong!?

  21. This sounds amazing and I know so many people who would eat this up in a heartbeat. So I will pass this recipe on to them.

  22. Calamari is my favorite! I’ve always avoided making it at home, because I know how easy it is to overcook it. This looks so simple, though! I am going to pin this to try it soon!

  23. The minute I saw the recipe I pinned it before reading your post. When I see calamari I think of my mamma making them for my papร  — it was one of his favorites. The only thing that’s a challenge is finding of fresh calamari. My mouth is watering just looking at the seafood. BTW– we use buttermilk a lot for marinating purposes. It’s excellent.

  24. Fried makes everything delicious and I absolutely love the mixture you have used for coating the calamari. I am vegetarian, but I can definitely use the exact same ingredients to fry up some zucchini or cauliflower. Love the lemon aioli as the dipping sauce.

  25. I always skeptical of cooking calamari thinking that it will become chewy. But your recipe sounds delicious and easily doable. I am going to try it. Let me see I can get hold of fresh squid. These are ultimate party dishes love those lemony avioli dip . yum

  26. I’ve never been a huge fan of calamari, but I think I would really like this recipe. They look so yummy! Saving for later!

  27. I haven’t heard about calamari, but I would definitely taste it if I ever made this from your recipe

  28. My absolute comfort food is deep fried calamari with tartar sauce. I would give anything to have that now… Unfortunately I don’t get them here… This is so going to make me hunt for some. This looks so good.

  29. I loveeeeee calamari! Seafood restaurants for me aren’t complete w/o this. And oh, the photos make it more appetizing!

  30. What a great recipe for a party! I bet there were queues of people lining up to try this. Freshly made anything is always a hit – but then you went with the lemon aioli, and knocked it out of the park!

  31. @Ali Rost,
    Thanks for the great tip Ali, I’ll try that one next time ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. What beautiful food photography! I have a friend who make the best Fried Calamari. Her tip for making sure the flour doesn’t come off of the squid while it’s frying? It should be quite dry when you’re dredging it. You can spread them out on a paper towel (similar to patting chicken dry) or do what she did, which is to just give each handful of squid a thorough squeeze before dredging to get rid of excess water. x

  33. Yum! I order for appetizer when I go have dinner at restaurant. I never made it home. I’m going to bookmark this post and try it home for myself! Thanks for inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

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