air fryer calamari

Tender and Flavorful: Air Fryer Calamari

If you are looking for a healthier way to make fried calamari, this air fryer calamari recipe is perfect for you! Made with a small amount of oil, the calamari turns out crispy and delicious. It’s a quick and easy appetizer that will satisfy your cravings without the guilt. With the help of an air fryer, you can enjoy tender squid rings in just minutes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Air frying calamari offers a healthier alternative to deep frying, as it requires less oil.
  • An air fryer delivers crispy calamari in a fraction of the time compared to traditional cooking methods.
  • Preparation involves soaking the calamari in a buttermilk mixture for added tenderness and flavor.
  • The calamari rings are coated in flour, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs for a satisfying crunch.
  • Using an air fryer eliminates the need for messy oil splatters and reduces overall calories.

The Benefits of Air Frying

Using an air fryer to make calamari offers several benefits. Firstly, it eliminates the need for deep frying, which means no more messy oil splatters. Secondly, air frying requires less oil than traditional frying methods, making it a healthier option. By using an air fryer, you can cut down on calories without sacrificing taste. Lastly, air frying is a more cost-effective option compared to deep frying, as it uses less oil per recipe.

With air frying, you can indulge in your favorite crispy calamari recipe without the guilt. The hot air circulation in the air fryer creates a crispy exterior while maintaining the tenderness of the calamari rings.

Not only does air frying reduce the amount of oil used, but it also reduces the cooking time. Instead of waiting for a pot of oil to heat up, the air fryer preheats quickly and cooks the calamari rings evenly in just minutes.

  • No messy oil splatters
  • Healthier option with less oil
  • Reduces cooking time

Comparison: Air Frying vs. Deep Frying

Air Frying Deep Frying
Taste Retains flavor with a crispy texture Rich, but heavier and greasier
Health Uses less oil, reducing calories and fat Requires more oil, increasing calories and fat
Cleanup Easy cleanup with no messy oil Oil splatters and requires disposal
Convenience Quick preheating and cooking time Longer preheating and cooking time
Cost Less oil used, reducing cost per recipe More oil used, increasing cost per recipe

Preparing the Calamari

Before cooking the calamari, it’s important to prepare it properly. Start by cutting the calamari into ½-inch thick rings or using pre-cut squid rings. Then, soak the calamari in a buttermilk mixture for 30 minutes to an hour. This helps to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Next, prepare the breading by setting up three dishes:

  1. All-purpose flour
  2. Beaten egg and milk
  3. Mixture of panko breadcrumbs, oil, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and black pepper

Coat the calamari rings first in flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture.

air fryer calamari

Calamari Preparing Steps:

  1. Cut the calamari into rings or use pre-cut squid rings
  2. Soak the calamari in a buttermilk mixture
  3. Prepare three dishes with flour, beaten egg and milk, and breadcrumb mixture
  4. Coat the calamari rings in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs

For a better understanding of the calamari preparation process, refer to the following table:

Ingredients Quantity
Calamari rings 1 pound
Buttermilk 1 cup
All-purpose flour 1 cup
Large eggs 2
Milk 2 tablespoons
Panko breadcrumbs 1 cup
Oil 2 tablespoons
Paprika 1 teaspoon
Old Bay seasoning 1 teaspoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon

Cooking the Calamari in an Air Fryer

Now that you have prepared the calamari, it’s time to cook it in the air fryer. This cooking method will give you crispy and delicious air fried calamari rings without the need for excessive oil. Here’s how:

Step 1: Preheat and Lightly Grease

Start by preheating your air fryer to 400 °F. This ensures that the calamari cooks evenly and becomes perfectly crispy. While the air fryer is preheating, lightly grease the air fryer basket with a small amount of oil. This will prevent the coated calamari rings from sticking and help them achieve a golden brown color.

Step 2: Arrange the Calamari Rings

Once the air fryer is preheated, it’s time to place the breaded calamari rings in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure not to overcrowd the basket as this can prevent proper air circulation and result in uneven cooking. If you have a large batch of calamari rings, cook them in multiple batches for the best results.

Step 3: Cook and Flip

Set the cooking time for 6-8 minutes. Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the calamari rings, so keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking. Approximately halfway through the cooking time, flip the calamari rings using tongs or a spatula. This ensures that both sides of the rings become crispy and evenly cooked.

Remember, air fryers cook food faster than traditional ovens, so it’s essential to monitor the cooking process closely to achieve the desired level of crispiness. Once the calamari rings are crispy and golden brown, they are ready to be enjoyed!

Next, let’s explore some tips and variations to further enhance your air fryer calamari experience.

Tips and Variations

Take your air fryer calamari to the next level with these tips and variations. Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free option or want to add some extra heat, these ideas will elevate your crispy calamari recipe.

Gluten-Free Option

If you’re following a gluten-free diet, you can easily make this calamari recipe suitable for your needs. Instead of using panko breadcrumbs, opt for gluten-free breadcrumbs. These can typically be found in the gluten-free section of your local grocery store or can be made at home by processing gluten-free bread.

Spicy Kick

If you enjoy a bit of heat, you can add some spice to your air fryer calamari. Consider sprinkling chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper into your breadcrumb mixture before coating the calamari rings. This will give your dish a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with the crispy texture.

Using an Oven

If you don’t have an air fryer or simply prefer to use an oven, you can still achieve delicious results with your calamari. Preheat your oven to 500°F and place the breaded calamari on a greased baking sheet. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning the rings over halfway through to ensure even browning. While the texture may be slightly different compared to air frying, you’ll still enjoy a flavorful low carb calamari appetizer.

Tips for Air Fryer Calamari Tips for Gluten-Free Calamari Tips for Low Carb Calamari
Use a light coating of oil on the calamari rings for even crispiness. Look for certified gluten-free breadcrumbs or make your own by processing gluten-free bread. Swap out all-purpose flour with almond flour or coconut flour for a low carb alternative.
Flip the calamari rings halfway through cooking for even browning. Consider adding grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb mixture for extra flavor. Add a pinch of garlic powder or dried herbs to the breadcrumb mixture for added taste.
Serve the air fryer calamari with lemon wedges and marinara sauce for dipping. Toss the calamari rings in a mixture of cornstarch and water instead of flour for a gluten-free coating. Experiment with different seasonings, such as smoked paprika or Cajun seasoning, for flavor variations.

Get creative with your air fryer calamari, and enjoy a personalized twist on this crispy squid appetizer. Whether you’re catering to dietary restrictions or simply want to try something new, these tips and variations will inspire you to take your calamari to the next level.

Reheating and Storing Leftover Calamari

If you have any leftover cooked calamari, it’s important to know how to properly store it to maintain its texture and flavor. Follow these guidelines for reheating and storing cooked calamari to ensure it stays delicious:

Storing Cooked Calamari

Before storing cooked calamari, allow it to cool down at room temperature. Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container, ensuring it is sealed tightly. Refrigerate the cooked calamari for 3-4 days to enjoy it within a short period.

If you have more than you can consume within the next few days, freezing is a great option. Calamari can be frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the cooled cooked calamari in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, removing any excess air to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date to keep track of its shelf life.

Reheating Fried Calamari

There are two methods for reheating frozen fried calamari: using an air fryer or an oven. Both methods will help bring back the crispy texture and heat the calamari through.

  1. Reheating in an Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400 °F. Arrange the frozen calamari in a single layer in the air fryer basket, without overcrowding. Cook for approximately 8 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the calamari is heated through and crispy.
  2. Reheating in an Oven: Preheat your oven to 450 °F. Place the frozen calamari on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through, until the calamari is heated through and crispy.

Whichever reheating method you choose, make sure to check the internal temperature of the calamari before serving. It should be piping hot to ensure it is thoroughly reheated.

reheating fried calamari

Now that you know how to store and reheat leftover calamari, you can enjoy this tasty dish anytime without worrying about food waste. By following these simple steps, you can savor the flavor and crispiness of your favorite fried calamari, even when it’s not freshly made.


Homemade air fryer calamari is the perfect way to enjoy a crispy and flavorful appetizer without the guilt. Using an air fryer allows you to achieve the same delicious results as deep frying, but with less oil and mess. Whether you’re entertaining guests or craving a quick snack, this easy air fryer calamari recipe is a must-try.

By experimenting with different seasonings and spices, you can customize the flavor to suit your taste. Add a spicy kick with chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, or keep it classic with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. No matter how you season it, the result will be tender and flavorful squid rings that are sure to impress.

With minimal preparation and a short cooking time, air fryer calamari is a convenient option for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or enjoying a quiet evening at home, this crispy calamari recipe will satisfy your cravings in just minutes. So grab your air fryer and get ready to indulge in this irresistible appetizer!


What are the benefits of using an air fryer to make calamari?

Air frying eliminates the mess of deep frying and requires less oil, making it a healthier option. It also cooks the calamari faster and is more cost-effective.

How do I prepare the calamari before cooking?

Start by cutting the calamari into rings and soaking them in a buttermilk mixture to tenderize and flavor the meat. Then, coat the rings in flour, beaten egg and milk, and a breadcrumb mixture.

How do I cook the calamari in an air fryer?

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F, lightly grease the air fryer basket, and place the breaded calamari rings in a single layer. Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy and golden.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of panko breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.

Are there any variations I can try with this recipe?

Yes, you can customize the seasoning by adding chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.

How do I reheat and store leftover calamari?

Let the cooked calamari cool, then store it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, use an air fryer or oven until heated through.

Why should I try making air fryer calamari?

Air fryer calamari is a simple and delicious way to enjoy this popular appetizer at home. It results in crispy and flavorful calamari with less oil and mess.