Fresh calamari is tenderized in buttermilk, seasoned with garlic and paprika, and fried in crispy panko breadcrumbs. Full with flavor and irresistible!

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One thing I can’t stand is a rubbery, tough piece of squid when I have calamari. Especially when I’m paying good money to eat it. So I make it at home. I may be one of those millennials killing the restaurant industry. Oops.

I love a good fried calamari. It’s gotta be breaded well, be super crispy and crunchy, the squid nice and tender. This recipe, I would say, is the best calamari recipe ever. When I want to go all ‘Italian restaurant’ on my family, these satisfy our need for our favorite appetizer before getting into some serious pasta work like our recent fave, bolognese on tagliatelle. Yum.

Even Greyson loves when I fry up calamari, he always asks for some the moment it gets set onto the paper towels. His little toddler hands start popping up over the counter reaching for the plate with a quickness!

I tenderize the squid in buttermilk overnight, because nothing is worse than a tough, rubbery ring of calamari. And with the breading I use flour, baking powder to kind of lighten it and keep it crispy aaaand….panko! Yes, panko breadcrumbs give it an extra crunch and don’t do the whole over-heavy coating that normal breadcrumbs can give you.

Fry it up good in oil about 350 degrees F for a couple of minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, it’s around the medium setting on your stove. And let drain! Last thing anyone wants is a super greasy piece of seafood, so drain those suckers in one layer on a paper towel-lined plate. Get a second plate if necessary.

Serve it with marinara sauce or sweet chili sauce, like they do at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I promise it’s a match made in heaven.


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Fried Calamari
Prep Time
1 hrs 5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Britt Anne
  • 1 lb. squid bodies cut into 1/2 inch rings
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  1. Place calamari into a large bowl and pour buttermilk over it. Let rest for 1 hour to overnight to tenderize.
  2. Preheat oil in a large pot or deep fryer set to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Make sure it's at least an inch deep, but no more than 1/2 the pot full.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the flour, panko, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk well to combine.
  4. Take the calamari out of the buttermilk and directly into the flour using a fork or tongs. Use a separate fork or tongs to dredge the rings and coat them well in the seasoned flour. Place them on a plate in one layer.
  5. When oil is up to temperature, gently place rings into the oil. Do not over crowd, this will cause the temp to go down and the calamari to become greasy. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the rings are golden brown.
  6. With a slotted spoon or spider, scoop up calamari and let them drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat steps 4-6 until all the calamari is finished.
  7. Serve hot with aioli, marinara, or sweet chili sauces.

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