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A pile of fried calamari sitting on a piece of crumpled brown paper surrounded by lemon wedges and a small bowl of marinara sauce.

Fried Calamari

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American / Italian, Italian
Keyword: how to fry calamari, how to make fried calamari, Italian appetizer recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Marinating time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 24 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 386kcal
Don't you just love fried calamari with marinara? So do we. Get some squid from your seafood shop, and quickly fry these gems up. Let the calamari marinate in the buttermilk for 4 hours or overnight to create the perfect texture and taste!
Print Recipe


  • Deep fryer, or sturdy skillet and a candy thermometer


  • 1 lb squid tubes and tentacles, or frozen rings (thawed)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornmeal yellow, finely ground
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder optional
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Marinara sauce warmed, for serving


  • Cut the squid bodies (tubes) crosswise into ½-inch wide rings and leave the tentacles whole. Place them in a glass bowl and cover with buttermilk. Place in the refrigerate to marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
  • Heat your deep fryer to 350°F, or pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1 to 2 inches into a large skillet. Heat to 350°F.
  • On a platter, shallow bowl, or pan, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, baking powder, and garlic powder (if using).
  • Drain the buttermilk from the calamari. Place the calamari back in the bowl. It's okay if some of the buttermilk remains. Dredge the pieces (rings and tentacles) through the flour, shaking off excess, and place them on a large platter or cutting board. Do this in batches and clean your fingers (or fork) from time to time if becoming clumpy.
  • Working in batches, carefully add the coated calamari to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use a basket or slotted spoon to remove them and place them on a platter lined with paper towels. If desired, keep the fried calamari in a low-temp oven to keep them warm while you continue frying.
  • Serve at once with warmed marinara sauce and lemon wedges.



Fresh squid can be found in the seafood section of many well-stocked supermarkets.  We get ours at Whole Foods.  You can also find frozen squid rings in the seafood frozen area of most markets.  Be sure to allow the rings to thaw first.  This can be done quickly by running cool water over them in a colander in your sink.   
The fried calamari is great served piping hot, but also good served warmed, and even still addictively delicious once it has cooled off.   It can sit out at room temperature for a couple of hours. 
The marinara sauce can be made several days in advance.  It also freezes wonderfully and can be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 1mg