Italian Fried Calamari

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Italian Fried Calamari (aka calamad in our Italian home or calamari fritti) is one of our favorite family appetizers traditionally made every Christmas Eve as part of the 7 Fishes.

Fried calamari is in the squid family of seafood and can be found fresh or frozen.

As a little girl, I would watch my mom every year clean and cut up the squid for the holiday and usually prepare it stuffed simmered in tomato sauce which is another delicious recipe you may try called Stuffed Calamari.

Later on, in years we adapted the tradition by making this crunchy coating calamari which is fried, and we even made a sauteed in spicy butter version along with the stuffed calamari for the holiday.

Everyone loves this in our family dipped in a hot marinara sauce sprinkled with grated cheese and hot pepper flakes.

Fried calamari is a relatively recent addition to the American menu and only rose to prominence on American menus in the late 1970s.

For this delicious printable recipe scroll down to the bottom of this post.

fried calamari

calamari fried with marinara and grated cheese on top

Coating for the Calamari

Fried squid (fried calamari, calamari) is a dish in Mediterranean cuisine.

It has a seasoned floured coating. A deep-fried squid, fried for less than two minutes to prevent toughness.

It is served with marinara sauce, plain or with salt and lemon on the side, recipe below.

This coating is versatile for any kind of seafood you prepare.

The rings and tentacles can be purchased already cleaned frozen or fresh but frozen must be blotted dry

This recipe has a crispy floured coating that fries perfectly to a golden brown crunch and served with your favorite dipping sauce, preferably for us Marinara Sauce in the recipe card below.

flour mixture for coating calamari to fry

Easy Ingredients for Homemade Fried Calamari

  • flour
  • cornstarch
  • seasoning herbs and spices (see recipe card below for a complete list)
  • oil for frying
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • dipping sauce or marinara tomato sauce

calamari in oil deep fried

Other Seafood Suggestions

  1. scallops
  2. shrimp
  3. cod or other white fish

this is squid fried with a flour coating and a white dish of marinara sauce for dipping

More Seafood Recipes

Italian Christmas Eve Seafood Recipes

Best Fried Fish Recipe Coatings

Stuffed Flounder with Shrimp and Crab

deep fryer calamari

Pin for later

Calamari Tips

Our secret to not having soggy calamari is the addition of cornstarch in the recipe.

Soak the squid in milk for at least 2 hours, it takes the fishy taste away and also helps adhere to the coating.

Quick-cooking means tender squid, maintaining a steady temperature, and frying the squid for just a few minutes.

Italian Fried Calamari

Italian Fried Calamari

Yield: 8
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 12 MinTotal time: 27 Min
This appetizer is made with fresh octopus rings or tentacles and coated with a crispy fried seasoned flour. Delicious dipped in marinara sauce.


  • 1 pound clean Squid/Calamari with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rings or strips, leave tentacles whole or cut in half. Be sure to blot dry.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • milk for soaking the squid for 2 hours
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large plastic bag or pie plate
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese for garnishing
  • Dipping sauce suggestions: hot sauce, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or tomato marinara sauce
  • 1 cup fresh marinara sauce recipe below.


  1. Soak squid in milk for 2 hours then drain.
  2. Pour enough oil into a heavy large frying pan, or electric frypan or these can be oil sprayed and air fried to reach a depth of 3 inches.
  3. Note: I don't recommend baking them ( calamari tends to get rubbery if overcooked.)
  4. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees
  5. Mix the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bag or add to a pie plate.
  6. Working in small batches, shake the squid into the flour mixture to coat.
  7. Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute per batch.
  8. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  9. Place the fried calamari on paper towels to absorb oil.
  10. Sprinkle with lots of grating cheese.
  11. Serve with marinara sauce and fresh basil.
  12. Marinara Sauce
  13. 2 pounds of plum tomatoes cleaned and put in a food processor, leave a little chunky.
  14. 2 minced fine cloves of garlic plus 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  15. salt and pepper to taste
  16. 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, oregano, and parsley
  17. 4 fresh basil leaves
  18. Cook tomato down for around30 minutes with all herbs except fresh basil.
  19. Add the basil to the bowl after the sauce has cooked.



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

Italian fried calamari, Calamari fried and seasoned, flour-coated calamari,7 fishes, calamari appetizer
fish recipes, seafood recipes, 7 fishes recipes, octopus recipes, fried seafood recipes
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for later

this is a pin for later on how to make fried calamari

Recipes We Love


Seafood Chowder

Seafood Marinara

Baked Haddock with Shrimp Salsa

Baked Codfish with roasted vegetables

this is pasta and fried calamari

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2020.


  1. Oh we have SO much in common coming from Italian families. What is better than this on Christmas Eve (besides all the other fish)!!

  2. hey, what time do we eat....great looking squid...

  3. That looks like perfectly crisp calamari! I would love to be at your house around Christmas - what a feast.

  4. You gave me a great idea for an appetizer to my party next week....Okay--heading out to the asian store and grab these squid babies..ciao!

  5. Beautiful calamari, you just made me realized I haven't had those for a longtime! now I really want some, eventhough it's 7am!

  6. Yay, I'm so glad you're posting your feast of the fishes recipes! I love a lightly breaded calamari too. Who doesn't love a good feast? ; )

  7. mmm, i love calamari! yours looks perfectly fried.

  8. This is how we make it, it's my very favorite way to make calamari, this is a great coating recipe...I love the way the tentacles get all crisp.

  9. thank you all for a giving me those compliments they are all greatly appreciated!

  10. We love calamari, and yours look absolutely beautiful! I have never made calamari at home, but now I may!

  11. WOW looks divine! crisp, tender, crunchy, juicy ... We're not Italian but we're having seafood just because it makes so much sense in Summer in Australia and it's the best of seasonal here then - berries and cherries for dessert *smiles*

    Thanks for sharing - found you from twitter @frombecca

  12. Your calamari is so inviting, but alas I need to watch out on my cholesterol level!

  13. Aunt Fay made these on Christmas Eve - I am loving this. Yours looks so delicious - I want to eat at your home.

  14. This is one for my favorites too! I'll be preparing 8lbs of this on Christmas eve! Never used the corn starch with the flour.

  15. Hey Pisan! I'm glad you're doing Calmari! My boyfriend's Dad is Sicilian but he wants sausage for Christmas Eve so my traditional 7 fishes was shot down, but I got a baccala salad on the menu! Ciao!

  16. It's been so long that I've had it fried that I've forgotten about that form.....................I could practically taste those treats just looking at them.

  17. Fried calamari was one of my papà's favorites. I'll never forget the first time he finally was able to eat calamari in this country after having gone so long with out them. It was a celebration. Fried calamari is are so good as long as you don't overcook --who wants fried rubberbands, right? Your calamari look perfect.

  18. They look so crisp and fingerlickingly good!

  19. My family would devour this quickly!!!! They love it, I've never made it but should now after seeing this! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. My family is going to love this! The flavors are perfect and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  21. So crispy and so much fresher than ordering it out at a restaurant!

  22. Whenever my husband sees calamari on the menu, he's got to order it! But we've never been brave enough to make at home until now! Your recipe was easy to follow, and the calamari came out crispy and fresh. So good!

  23. We do love fried calamari in our house, such a great appetizer. Like the tip about soaking in milk.

  24. Really delicious recipe. I love it yummy!!! It's really awesome


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia