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A dipped fried calamari in tartar sauce with a piece of dill


Calamari is a crowd pleaser! This easy fried calamari recipe with video will show you how to make calamari perfect every single time. Zested up with a secret way to up the flavors!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword calamari, calamari recipe, calamari with tartar sauce, how to make calamari, what is calamari
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 1666 kcal
Author Mahy



  • 1 qt oil , for crying (canola or peanut oil)
  • 2 lb squid , cut into rings (fresh or frozen)
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic sauce https://www.twopurplefigs.com/garlic-sauce/
  • 1 tablespoon of minced herbs (your choice)


  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 2 Tbsp parsley and dill , minced
  • 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes (+/- depending on spice level)


  • Tartar Sauce


  1. Pat dry the squid.

    A hand holding a plate of sliced squid rings showing what is calamari
  2. Place the milk, garlic and herbs in a bowl. Soak the squid in the milk bowl to tenderize.

    Squid rings in a buttermilk or milk mixture soaking to tenderize before coating and frying
  3. And place the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper in another bowl.

    the seasoned flour in a bowl fro dredging the calamari
  4. Take the squid rings out of the milk mixture and dredge into the flour mixture making sure to coat it really well.

    breaded calamari in the flour mixture.
  5. Remove the rings and fry them for 2-3 minutes or until cooked.
  6. In a small bowl mix all flavoring ingredients together.

    A bowl with the flavoring of calamari including lemon zest, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and herbs
  7. Immediately sprinkle some flavoring over the fried and still hot calamari

    A hand sprinkling the flavoring over hot calamari right out of the oven
  8. Serve with tartar sauce

    A hand dipping the fried calamari in tartar sauce

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes


  • Tenderize the Squid. Soaking is so important! Read more on the soaking section above.
  • Coat in Flavored Flour. Seasoning the flour makes a difference! Make sure to coat the squid very well before frying.
  • Careful on the oil. So the trick is to fry them in small batches and not let them drink so much vegetable oil. In fact, frying them for just 2 minutes is quite enough—more than that they will become oily, and even worse—they will become rubbery.
  • It’s the same concept with shrimps, the more you cook them the gummier they become. And to fix that, you’ll need to overcook them with plenty of fluids for a while so they soften up a bit. But no matter how they soften up, they never have the same texture as the perfectly 2 minute cooked ones.
  • Don't overcook or undercook your calamari. Keep your oil temperature steady between 350º and 365º to avoid overcooking or undercooking the calamari. If you have an oil thermometer, use that to determine when to dump it into the fryer.
  • Test oil without a thermometer by dropping a piece of the battered calamari into the oil. If it starts sizzling and bubbling right away your oil is good to go.
  • How to maximize flavor. The trick to infusing so much flavor into this zesty calamari is to actually sprinkle the herbs and spices on them after they’re fried and while still hot. This way they absorb so much flavor and taste lighter and fresher than if they were just fried.
  • My favorite way to zest them up is with a mixture of lemon zest, herbs, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. This tiny final step really makes your calamari stand out. So by all means don’t skip it, and by all means, feel free to use your favorite spice/herb combo!
  • How to get crispy fried calamari. Before frying, let your floured rings sit for just a couple of minutes in a strainer or colander. This gives the calamari and flour time to mesh with each other. Otherwise, you will lose the coating in the fryer.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1666 Calories from Fat 1449
% Daily Value*
Fat 161g248%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 45g
Monounsaturated Fat 100g
Cholesterol 354mg118%
Sodium 174mg8%
Potassium 469mg13%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 222IU4%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 85mg9%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.