Greek Marinated Octopus in Oil and Vinegar

Marinated octopus
Foodcollection / Getty Images
Prep: 0 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Marinate Time: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
601 Calories
12g Fat
15g Carbs
101g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 601
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 327mg 109%
Sodium 1566mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 101g
Vitamin C 27mg 136%
Calcium 366mg 28%
Iron 33mg 181%
Potassium 2147mg 46%
*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.)

In Greek, marinated octopus in oil and vinegar, known as χταπόδι ξυδάτο, is pronounced khtah-PO-thee ksee-THAH-toh.

Octopus is a great favorite in Greek cuisine as an appetizer or meze, side dish, or main course and this marinated version is particularly tender. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect the 4 1/2 pounds called for in this recipe to cook down and be enough for 6 servings.


  • 4 1/2 pounds octopus, fresh or frozen and thawed

  • 3 1/2 ounces water from the pressure cooker

  • 3 1/2 ounces good-quality wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle

  • Ground Greek oregano (rigani), for garnish

Steps to Make It

Clean the Octopus

  1. Under running water, remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity.

  2. Remove the beak, at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife. (If you're squeamish, wear rubber gloves.)

Boil the Octopus

  1. Place the whole octopus in a pot with enough boiling water to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat, and drain. When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn't all come off, that's all right.

Pressure Cook the Octopus

  1. Place the octopus in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, seal, and when pressure is reached, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

  2. Use quick pressure release, remove the octopus, and drain in a colander. Save the cooking water in the pressure cooker.

  3. When the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized morsels. (Cut thicker parts into pieces 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long, and thinner pieces up to 3 inches long.)

Make the Marinade

  1. Place the octopus pieces into a bowl with 3 1/2 ounces cooking water saved from the pressure cooker, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mix well. This should be enough to completely cover the octopus; if it doesn't, make a little more marinade. 

  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 to 6 hours before serving.

Serving the Octopus

  1. To serve, remove the octopus from the marinade (which may become slightly gel-like), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano.

  2. As a side dish, marinated octopus goes well with fakes (lentil soup), perhaps some cauliflower, and Greek olives. As a meze (appetizer), it's perfect with ouzo.