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Copycat Olive Garden Calamari Recipe

Let’s embark on a journey of YUM to bring you a plate of this copycat Olive Garden calamari right to your kitchen. A sort of fried or air fryer squid rings recipe that recreates one of the restaurant’s beloved appetizers – fried squid! If you are all about trying fried calamari without buttermilk we have a treat for you.

Olive Garden Calamari

Our Copycat Olive Garden Calamari takes the simplicity of squid rings and transforms them into crispy, flavorful bites with a golden-brown crust. And the best part? You can make this in the comfort of your home either using an air fryer or a deep fryer. And in under 20 minutes too!

Copycat Olive Garden Calamari

But before we jump in, it’s important to note that the key to a perfect calamari lies in the balance of a crispy coating and tender squid rings. We’re going to accomplish this by using a simple yet effective three-step breading process – flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

It’s also essential to control our cooking time and temperature as squid can quickly become rubbery if overcooked. Now, with these tips in mind, let’s step into the Olive Garden kitchen and begin our fun culinary adventure. Prepare yourself for some crispy, delicious calamari right at home!

When you are learning how to cook calamari, remember that can be enjoyed as a starter or main course, depending on the serving size. This recipe uses basic ingredients like squid rings, breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt and pepper to recreate this beloved dish.

The ingredients for this recipe include squid rings, all-purpose flour, egg, salt and pepper, and breadcrumbs. The squid rings are the star of the dish, and breadcrumbs provide the crispy exterior, while the flour, egg, salt, and pepper work together to create a delicious coating.

squid rings

Olive Garden Calamari Sauce

What’s calamari without its dipping sauces? To truly mirror the Olive Garden experience, we recommend serving your homemade calamari with marinara and creamy ranch. Both sauces add a different dimension to the calamari. The tanginess of marinara perfectly cuts through the richness of the fried calamari, while the creamy ranch adds a smooth and comforting touch.

Fried Squid Rings

When making the calamari, remember to prepare your sauces ahead of time. This way, as soon as your calamari is fresh out of the fryer or air fryer, you can enjoy it immediately with your dipping sauces of choice.

Can I use frozen squid rings to make calamari?

Yes, you can! Just make sure to thaw it thoroughly and pat it dry before starting with the recipe. Frozen calamari can save you a lot of prep time and is just as delicious.

The beauty of this Copycat Olive Garden Calamari recipe lies in its simplicity and adaptability. You can easily customize it to suit your taste buds, adding extra spices to the flour mix or experimenting with various dipping sauces on the side.

Don’t forget that the secret to getting that perfect, restaurant-quality crispiness is in the process: coat thoroughly, fry until golden, and serve immediately. Enjoy the process, savor the flavors, and let every bite transport you to your favorite corner at Olive Garden. It’s not just about the destination, but also the culinary journey you take to get there.

Fried Squid Rings

Fried Calamari Ingredients

  • 1 c squid rings
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 c all purpose flour
  • Egg
  • 1/3 tsp salt and pepper

Once you have your squid rings and all your ingredients ready, it’s time to get cooking. First, you’ll want to pat dry the squid rings to remove any excess moisture. Then, in a bowl, you’ll mix your flour, salt, and pepper together. You can also add other spices to the flour mixture if you want to give your calamari some extra flavor.

You’ll then dip the squid rings into a beaten egg, ensuring they’re fully coated. This allows the breadcrumbs to stick to the squid rings, creating that deliciously crispy exterior. Finally, you’ll coat the squid rings in breadcrumbs, making sure they’re completely covered.

With a deep fryer, you’ll drop the squid rings into hot oil and cook them just until they’re lightly browned, which should take about 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them as calamari can become rubbery if cooked for too long. Like other air fryer fish recipes, it’s important not to cook them too long!

air fryer squid rings

Creating fried squid rings might sound intimidating, but it’s surprisingly straightforward, and the results are undeniably delicious. The key is to ensure the squid rings are well-coated with the flour mixture and egg before they get a good roll in breadcrumbs.

This process is what gives the calamari its distinct crispy texture that pairs perfectly with the tender, flavorful squid. Another key tip is to make sure your oil is at the right temperature – too cold, and your calamari will absorb the oil and become greasy; too hot, and they could burn. Keep these points in mind, and you’re well on your way to creating perfect fried squid rings. I’ve got this post about how to cook calamari perfectly if you want to know more.

Air Fryer Squid Rings

If you prefer a less oily version or if you don’t have a deep fryer, you can also cook your calamari in an air fryer with a little olive oil. The procedure is similar to frying, but instead of dropping the calamari into hot oil, you’ll place them in the basket of your air fryer. Then, you’ll bake them at 360F for about 6-8 minutes.

Using an air fryer can also be a healthier alternative to deep frying as it requires less oil but still gives you a crispy finish. This method is also great for those who want a quicker cleanup process.

Copycat Olive Garden Calamari

 This Copy cat Olive Garden Calamari recipe is a real treat for all seafood and fast-food lovers out there. It’s the perfect combination of crispy, golden-brown calamari rings with a mouth-watering, delicious taste that rivals any restaurant offering. Serve with some air fryer french fries or air fryer green beans for a great appetizer spread.

With the flexibility to use either a deep fryer or an air fryer, you can easily adapt this recipe to suit your preferences. Whether you’re planning a family gathering, a dinner party, or simply want to indulge your fast-food cravings, this recipe will surely impress.

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Olive Garden Calamari
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Olive Garden Calamari

Copycat Olive Garden calamari recipe in air fryer is here. How to make fried squid rings healthy with hot air without buttermilk or oil.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword calamari, copycat, olive garden, squid
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 107kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Dry the squid rings from excess moisture with paper towels. Mix flour with salt and pepper. You can also add other spices if you like. Coat each squid ring in flour on all sides.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg with a fork or whisk. Dip the squid rings into the egg so that it is completely covered. This will allow the breadcrumbs to adhere evenly over the entire surface of the ring. 
  • Transfer the squid rings to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and coat them until they are completely covered. Move the rings to the air fryer basket. Bake them in a preheated fryer at 360F for 6-8 minutes.
  • In a deep fryer drop in once oil is hot just until lightly browned, about 3 minutes or so. Serve squid rings as an appetizer with sauces and herbs


Nutrition Facts
Olive Garden Calamari
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 107 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 308mg13%
Potassium 53mg2%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 59IU1%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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