Crispy air fryer calamari is the best appetizer even kids love! Fried squid is easy to make and so flavorful in your hot air machine too. Try it!
I don’t know about you but deep fried squid is our favorite appetizer to munch on at restaurants. NOW you can make air fryer calamari without oil or deep fried BUT still as crispy as ever. Find this and 50+ more easy air fryer recipes on The Typical Mom now. (affiliate links present)
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It’s the body and the tentacles. We didn’t use the latter this time. If you buy it frozen as we did, you may not get both portions.
Typically deep fried, it’s usually served with a marinara sauce and perfectly crunchy.
The term comes from the Italian word for “squid.” In the U.S., it usually refers to a battered and fried appetizer served in restaurants and bars.
Here’s what the rings look like before they’re cooked, and what you’re going to need:
Calamari air fryer ingredients
- Defrosted (previously frozen if that is all you can find) calamari
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
Really there isn’t much to it. Of course you’ll need an air fryer or Ninja Foodi machine to cook it too. That goes without saying. I don’t think non stick cooking spray is necessary as this breading didn’t stick.
To make things easier I like to create an assembly line of sorts. Once you have it down pat it won’t take long and you’ll have a batch ready in no time to enjoy together.
Time needed: 11 minutes.
Calamari in Air Fryer
- Rinse and dry calamari
Once frozen calamari is defrosted, rinse them and lay down on a few paper towels. roll it up to absorb the excess water. This will help the coating stick well and create a nice crispy crunchy exterior.
- Get ingredients ready
In one mixing bowl combine breadcrumbs with desired seasonings, mix. In another bowl pour in your corn starch. In a third bowl whisk eggs, now you”re ready to dip and dredge.
- Coat calamari
First dip each calamari ring in cornstarch and coat, then dip in egg and allow to drip off the excess. Lastly roll each piece in the bread crumbs and then place into a preheated air fryer basket.
- Air fry
Once you have a single layer of coated pieces, close drawer. Preheat and cook in air fryer at 400 degrees F for 9 minutes. Then flip each piece and continue cooking for 2 more minutes until golden brown.
These are best eaten when they are freshly cooked, dip cooked calamari in marinara dipping sauce or spaghetti sauce.
How long should you preheat air fryer?
I always preheat my machine for 5 minutes at the temperature I want to cook my food. This ensures you’ll get a crispy exterior, and food will cook at a consistent temp. the entire time.
What’s the best way to cook squid?
Hands down I love to air fry everything nowadays. Without submerging in oil you can still get a deep fried taste and texture in no time.
Most times I use a sort of flour mixture vs. cornstarch but the latter creates a really really crunchy exterior. Air fryer cooking does require some sort of dry coating, unless you’re going with no breading all together.
What goes good with fried calamari?
- Since it is just mainly an appetizer you can just go with a simple lemon wedge, salad or slaw.
- I say it always needs to pair with marinara sauce though for sure, okay and ranch dressing works too.
Need your next new idea? Try our air fryer empanadas, they’ll blow your mind.
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Air Fryer Calamari
- Defrost, rinse, and pat dry the calamari rings to remove excess water on outside of each piece. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl + the Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Mix until well combined. Taste the breadcrumbs and if desired adjust the seasonings to your taste. Pour the corn starch in a separate bowl.
- Dip one calamari ring into the corn starch and coat entire surface, then dip into the lightly beaten eggs and make sure it’s properly coated. Dredge in the breadcrumbs making sure the entire calamari ring is coated on all sides.
- Place coated pieces in the air fryer basket. Do not stack on top of each other and do allow enough space around each ring to easily flip.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 for 5 minutes. Set air fryer to 9 minutes. Once the 9 minutes are up, carefully flip over the calamari rings and cook for another 2 minutes. Check, if you want them browner on the outside add a few more minutes.
- Once finished cooking the rings will be golden and crispy on the outside. The actual calamari will be cooked but it will be tender and not rubbery – this is what calamari should be like.
- Dip in marinara sauce and enjoy