Fried calamari is a dish prepared by coating squid in a flour batter and deep frying it.

Fried Calamari

What is Fried Calamari?

Fried calamari is a dish prepared by coating squid in a flour batter and deep frying it. It is a popular seafood dish in the Mediterranean countries of Europe and Asia, as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. The name comes from Italian, and means ‘fried squid’.

  • Though squid and calamari are the same, the latter is often used in an attempt to give a more upscale feel to the food.
  • This squid dish is often served with sauce on the side or a wedge of lemon for added flavor.

Some of the most popular calamari dishes are:

  • Rabas (Spain)
  • Kalamarakia (Greece)
  • Ilayaki (Japan)
  • Calamari Ripieni (Italy)
  • Pla Muek Yang (Thailand)
  • Chipirones en su tinta (Spain)
  • Mực một nắng (Vietnam)
  • Ojingeo Chae Bokkeum (South Korea)
  • Ika Nigiri Sushi (Japan)
  • Kalamar Tava (Turkey)

Origin of fried calamari

Calamari has long been enjoyed in different dishes in the Mediterranean region. Fried calamari is considered to be an Italian dish. It originated on the coastlines of Italy and quickly spread through the region. Fried calamari is traditionally consumed with salt and lemon on the side. Furthermore, it has also been traditionally consumed as a fried dish in several other countries including Greece, Japan, India, Korea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal. 


Nutritional profile for fried calamari (1 cup):

Fried calamari is rich in micronutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Additionally, it has calcium, magnesium, selenium, folate, choline, vitamin A, lutein, and vitamin K in decent quantities. Regular consumption of this squid dish may assist in lowering cholesterol. Also, fried calamari contains essential fatty acids, which assist in maintaining cardiovascular health and promoting fetal growth. However, as this food is fried, it is best to consume it in moderation alongside a balanced diet and exercise.

Commercial production

The world’s main exporters of squid are Thailand, China, India, Spain, and Peru. It is believed that squids may have a role in sustainable fishing in the future. To prepare fried calamari, the squid is first cleaned and sliced into rings. Then, it is marinated in buttermilk or salted milk and refrigerated for about 30 minutes. After that, the marinated calamari is coated in a mixture of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder and allowed to sit for a few minutes. The final step is to deep fry the squid, drain the oil, and serve with a side of salt and lemon or any other sauce.

It is best to consume this dish fresh as reheating may change the texture of the squid.

Fried calamari recipes

There are different recipes for fried calamari, depending on their origin. Here are a few recipes to try:

FDA regulations

There are no limits to the fishing and no seasonal restrictions on squid fishing in the US, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The FDA provides guidance for the seafood industry including regulations and food safety information, which applies to fried calamari.


Tanaka, K et al. “Effects of dietary shrimp, squid and octopus on serum and liver lipid levels in mice.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry vol. 62,7 (1998): 1369-75. doi:10.1271/bbb.62.1369, 

Mouritsen, Ole G, and Charlotte Vinther Schmidt. “A Role for Macroalgae and Cephalopods in Sustainable Eating.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 11 1402. 7 Jul. 2020, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01402,