How to Make Calamari From Scratch

I regret not making calamari at home sooner, as it's very easy, way better than anything you'd get from the frozen section at the grocery store, and you can decide on whatever dip you want

Follow this step-by-step recipe to make calamari at home

Some things are just better when they’re made from scratch—and making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary or taste preferences.

I honestly never thought to make calamari at homelet alone from scratch. It seems like such a pub/restaurant thing to me. Now I regret not doing this sooner, as it’s very easy, way better than anything you’d get from the frozen section at the grocery store, and you can decide on whatever dip you want. It’s perfect for game day or as an appetizer for any social gathering.Calamari ingredientsChristine McAvoy


  • Approximately 225 grams squid/calamari rings (If you can’t find it pre-cut, it’s easy enough to do on your own. Click here for instructions.)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (optional, for marinating)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika (more, if desired)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional, for spice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
  • 2 tsp milk
  • Neutral oil
  • Lemon
  • Parsley
  • Cocktail sauce (or desired dip)


There are many methods to frying the calamari. I used my air fryer set to 400 degrees. You could fry in a neutral oil at about 375, or bake them if desired.

  1. Clean squid to be sure you don’t have any sand or other bits left over (depending how your squid comes prepared).
  2. Optionally, marinate the squid in buttermilk for about an hour.
  3. Prepare three bowls: One large bowl with the flour, and your choice of spices. I used Old Bay, paprika, salt and pepper and a small bit of cayenne. In a second bowl, place the egg, whisked with the 2 teaspoons of milk. In the third bowl, place the breadcrumbs. You can either have the spices in the flour or the breadcrumbs—or both.
  4. Places the calamari in the bowl with the flour and toss them until they are well-coated. Then, one by one, dunk them in the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs and set aside until ready to fry.
  5. If using an air fryer (or baking), lightly coat the calamari in a neutral oil and then place them in the fryer, being sure not to overcrowd them.
  6. Fry for about 4 minutes and then turn them over (carefully!), and continue for another 2 minutes. They will be done when they’re crispy brown, but not too dark. Do not overcook or they will be chewy.
  7. Place on a wire rack until all the calamari is cooked, and then plate with sliced lemon, and sprinkle some parsley on top. Serve with desired dip. I used cocktail sauce, but next time I’m going to make a garlic aioli.