Fried Calamari (Calamari Fritti)

Fried calamari recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 pound
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
708 Calories
26g Fat
87g Carbs
36g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 708
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 450mg 150%
Sodium 271mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 87g 32%
Dietary Fiber 9g 30%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 112mg 562%
Calcium 128mg 10%
Iron 6mg 36%
Potassium 810mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Squid is a very popular food in Italy, and it comes in many shapes and sizes with many different names: calamari, calamaretti, totani, and seppie.

Calamari are small squid, and when they are served battered and fried, they are one of the most classic Italian summer seafood dishes. These are crisp golden rings of tender squid that people eagerly squeeze lemon wedges over and then quickly eat them while they're still hot—and before everyone else gobbles them up.

Tips for Perfect Fried Calamari

It's important to buy very fresh squid and to fry it quickly at high heat to prevent the squid, which is naturally meltingly tender, from becoming tough and rubbery. Cooking calamari for just the right amount of time is important for attaining the desired texture.

How to Serve Fried Calamari

Calamari are usually served quite simply with just lemon wedges and a light sprinkling of sea salt. However, you can also serve them with a dipping sauce, such as cocktail sauce, garlicky aioli, a simple tomato sauce, or spicy ketchup.

This recipe would pair well with wines, such as a dry white wine, a rosé, or Aperol spritzes, for a lovely summertime antipasto or aperitivo. It's also great finger food for a cocktail party. Although it looks impressive, it's actually super quick and simple to make.

"The fried calamari was delicious and easy to prepare and cook. The flavor was mild—the calamari was tender, not tough or chewy, after about 2 minutes at 350 F. They would be fabulous with aioli or marinara sauce for dipping." —Diana Rattray

Recipe Test: Italian Fried Calamari
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound (450 grams) squid rings, squid bodies sliced into 1/2-inch rings

  • 3 cups peanut oil, or enough to reach 1 inch depth

  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups semolina flour

  • Fine sea salt, to taste

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for fried calamari
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Rinse the squid pieces in running water and pat completely dry with paper towels.

    Rinse squid and pat dry with paper towels
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. In a large high-walled, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high, heat 1 inch of oil to 350 F, or until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil browns, about 30 seconds.

    Heat oil in pot
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Place the all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Place the semolina in a small bowl.

    Calamari, all-purpose flour, semolina, and beaten eggs
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Dredge the calamari rings in the flour, shaking them to remove excess. Dip the floured rings in the egg and then in the semolina.

    Calamari rings dredged in semolina
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Fry dredged calamari in several batches to avoid overcrowding, until crisp and lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

    Frying the calamari
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Using a fine-mesh spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

    Place fried calamari on paper towels
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately with lemon wedges. Enjoy.


  • Use any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point for deep frying. Peanut oil is an excellent choice for calamari, as is refined coconut oil.
  • Be careful not to overcook as your calamari can become chewy.
  • Use whatever type of sauce you enjoy the most, whether it be a cocktail sauce, ketchup, tartar sauce, or rémoulade.

What to Serve With Fried Calamari

Serve calamari as an appetizer with dips or as a main dish with sides. Add one of these side dishes or dipping sauces to your menu.

How to Store Fried Calamari

  • Refrigerate fried calamari in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, transfer the cooled calamari to a zip-close freezer bag or airtight freezer container and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
  • To reheat leftover fried calamari, preheat the oven to 375 F. Arrange the calamari on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet. Bake until hot, 10 to 12 minutes.