Grilled Squid (Calamari)

Grilled Squid (Calamari)

The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Skewer Soak: 30 mins
Total: 52 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 pound
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
184 Calories
5g Fat
20g Carbs
20g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 264mg 88%
Sodium 186mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 97mg 486%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 521mg 11%
*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.)

Although many think that squid is the same as calamari, the truth is that calamari is just one type of squid while what's properly referred to as squid in culinary circles is another. They're technically two different animals, but the differences are slight. In cuisine, their names are commonly used interchangeably, but the truth is that squid present tougher meat, and calamari are wonderfully tender. Even if they're both delicious, if you can get your hands on fresh calamari, don't miss out on the chance to prepare this beautiful recipe with it, although squid will also yield a flavorful result. In this easy recipe, reposted with permission from The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book, the calamari is flavored with olive oil and lemon juice and then quickly grilled to tender perfection.

Many home cooks avoid preparing squid because of the infamous rubbery texture, but the secret to perfect squid lies in the speed and temperature of cooking. Squid must be either cooked fast over high heat or slow-cooked to achieve the right tenderness. Anything in between results in a chewy mess. Squid is a great ingredient and a nutritious one too: a 100-gram serving of raw squid has barely 92 calories but an impressive 15 grams of protein and beneficial levels of copper, selenium, and vitamin E. If you're looking for great sources of protein but want to keep an eye on your caloric intake, squid is the perfect choice.

Beautiful when raw, a properly prepared sashimi of squid is a flavorful bite. Easily found in the frozen aisle of most supermarkets, calamari can also be bought fresh. Serve these beautifully grilled squids as an appetizer or make them part of a main dish when adding them to a green salad or atop garlic pasta.

"Prep for the grilled squid was easy and cooking was quick—only 2 minutes on the hot grill! The squid bodies were tender with an excellent flavor and not as chewy as I expected, while the tentacles were chewy but tasty. Kitchen shears worked well to cut the squid." —Diana Rattray

grilled squid/calamari/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound squid, cleaned

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Put the skewers in a container, cover with water, and soak for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the squid.

    Grilled Squid (Calamari) ingredients

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  2. Prepare a high (500 F to 600 F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Rinse the squid under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

    pat dry Squid (Calamari) with a paper towl

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Cut the squid bodies lengthwise down one side and open flat.

    Cut squid bodies lengthwise down one side and open flat

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  4. Cut the tentacles in half if too large.

    Cut tentacles in half if large

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  5. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

    combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  6. Add the squid bodies and tentacles to the bowl, tossing to evenly coat.

    squid tossed with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  7. Thread the squid bodies lengthwise onto skewers so they lie flat.

    Thread squid bodies lengthwise onto skewers

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  8. Thread the tentacles onto separate skewers.

    Thread tentacles onto skewers

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  9. Grill, turning once, just until opaque, about 2 minutes.

    grill squid on the squid

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  10. Remove the squid from skewers and pile them on a platter.

    Grilled Squid (Calamari) on a plate, lemon wedges

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  11. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

    Grilled Squid (Calamari)

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Sauces for Grilled Squid

Although the grilled calamari are a treat just with lemon wedges and parsley, there are a few delicious sauces you can add to the mix. Here are our easy-to-make favorites:

  • Spicy Marinara: Don't underestimate the power of jarred pasta sauce. Use one cup of your favorite marinara and add chili flakes to taste. Heat over medium heat, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 15 minutes so the chili flakes release their flavor and serve as a side sauce to the calamari.
  • Herby Dressing: Blend 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1 cup of cilantro leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. This herby sauce is great when drizzled on top of the calamari.
  • Garlic Sauce: Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 4 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives. This is a pungent sauce and it's delicious on top of crusty bread with a couple of calamari on top.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate leftover grilled squid in an airtight container within 2 hours and consume within 3 days.
  • To freeze cooled grilled squid, transfer it to a freezer container or zip-close bag. Label with the name and date and freeze for up to 2 months.
  • The oven is the best way to reheat grilled squid. Arrange the squid on a rack in a rimmed baking pan and brush with olive oil. Heat in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes, until hot.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Squid, Raw. FoodData Central. United Stated Department of Agriculture.