One of my favourite things to order when I'm out at a restaurant is definitely fried calamari. But let's be honest, deep frying (although delicious) is kinda intimidating when you're doing it at home. Never mind the clean up afterwards. Enter, these air fryer calamari! Crispy, easy, way less oil and absolutely delicious. And now it's easy to enjoy calamari right at home!
This recipe was originally published in 2021 and has since been updated with newer photos.
One of the biggest things I love about making air fryer calamari is the minimal amount of ingredients you need. With just nine ingredients (including salt and pepper) you can enjoy some delicious crispy calamari rings in about 20 minutes. Here's what you'll need to make them:
Fresh calamari is fairly inexpensive and easy to work with. I like buying fresh at my local seafood spot, but you can also find it frozen as well. You'll need about 1 lb. of fresh calamari.
To help tenderize the squid, milk is recommended. I have used regular milk and dairy-free milk to soak the squid so either will work. The other great thing about using milk, is that once it's done tenderizing and ready to fry, it can just go directly in the flour mixture to coat. No need for multiple breading stations or bowls to be set up.
All Purpose Flour
I use all purpose flour for this air fryer calamari. I tested this with two other gluten-free flours (almond and rice) and both weren't as good as all-purpose. However, a gluten-free all purpose flour would work just as well, so feel free to use that.
I'd recommend this one from Bob's Red Mill.
To help get the squid nice and crispy in your air fryer, you'll want to use some arrowroot flour (or cornstarch).
Adding a little hint of smoked paprika brings some flavour to this crispy calamari.
Garlic powder is a great addition to this air fryer calamari.
One of the tricks to getting this calamari crispy in your air fryer is to use some avocado oil spray. You'll need a spritz on the air fryer bottom and then once you put the squid in, a spray on top of those rings as well.
Making this air fryer calamari really couldn't be easier. So if you enjoy calamari, don't be intimidated to make it yourself at home. Here's how you can make it!
First, you'll want to soak the calamari rings in some milk. This helps to tenderize the rings, as the lactic acid in the milk tenderizes the muscle fibres of the calamari. You can also use a dairy-free milk. Let that sit for at least one hour (longer if you have time).
Once that's done, it's time to get your breading station ready. In a large bowl, add your flour, arrowroot and spices, salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
Preheat your air fryer to 380ºF for a few minutes so it's nice and hot.
Now, take one calamari ring from the milk and shake off any excess.
Next, coat the calamari in the flour mixture and tap any excess flour from the ring. This is important so that you don't have any flour residue on the calamari rings.
Last, place on a plate. Repeat with all remaining rings until all are coated.
When your air fryer is ready, spray some oil on the bottom. Add the calamari rings and spray oil on the rings. Bake at 380ºF for four to five minutes.
Flip them over, spray again with oil and fry for four to five minutes longer.
Don't be afraid to open and check on them to ensure they aren't burning.
Work in batches so that the rings aren't touching. This will help to make sure they can all get crispy.
Each and every air fryer is different, I've learned! So what works for me in my air fryer may be slightly different for you.
I have found that a lower temperature is needed to ensure that you don't end up with burnt calamari rings. For this reason, I recommend cooking your squid at 380ºF for about 10 minutes total.
The great thing about using an air fryer, is you can easily open the door and see how they're coming along.
I recently purchased a new air fryer, the Cosori based on doing a TON of research online and I absolutely love it. Here’s why.
Check out the Cosori Air Fryer here!
This easy dip is quick to make and tastes delicious with the air fried calamari. The lemon and sumac help to brighten the flavour of the dish, and complement the fried taste from the squid. If you don't have sumac, feel free to omit it, although it is a nice spice to have on hand!
All you need is some mayo, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and sumac!
These air fryer calamari are best served immediately after making them. Once they're baked, they will lose their crispiness the longer they sit out. For this reason, I wouldn't suggest storing them after frying. You can keep them hot in your oven on a low temperature while you fry all batches separately.
To re crisp them again, place them back in the air fryer for one minute.
Absolutely, feel free to use any gluten-free all purpose flour, or white rice flour as well. I tried with almond flour, and the coating didn't stay on as well, so I wouldn't suggest that one.
To make these the best air fryer calamari, follow these tips:
Looking for more air fryer goodness, check these ones out!
Ready to make this? Let's get to it!
If you make this air fryer calamari, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to tag me on Instagram, and/or leave a comment, rating or review below.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.
Craving crispy calamari? This air fryer calamari is crispy and SO easy to make at home.
Don’t be afraid to open and check on them to ensure they aren’t burning. Turn down the heat, or lessen the time if needed.
You don’t want to overcook the calamari as they will turn rubbery. They shouldn’t take longer than 10 to 12 minutes total.
Work in batches so that the rings aren’t touching. This will help to make sure they can all get crispy.