Extra-Crunchy Calamari

Want to know the secret to exquisitely tender yet crunchy calamari? Start with a soak in buttermilk. This slightly acidic liquid gently tenderizes the squid, and since the buttermilk is extra thick, it helps the breading adhere to the rings, eliminating the need for beaten egg. For added crunch, you can’t beat cornmeal; its fine, pebbly grains fry up crispy. Serve with your favorite marinara.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 pound cleaned squid, tubes cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings and tentacles left whole (about 2 cups), rinsed

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 ounces)

  • 3/4 cup corn flour (about 3 1/4 ounces)

  • 6 Tbsp. fine yellow cornmeal (about 2 1/4 ounces)

  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Place cleaned squid pieces in a medium bowl. Pour buttermilk over squid, and toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, pour canola oil to a depth of 1 3/4 inches into a Dutch oven; heat over high to 375°F.

  3. Stir together all-purpose flour, corn flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, and 2 teaspoons salt in a shallow dish.

  4. Working in batches, remove squid pieces from buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge squid pieces in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Add to hot oil, and fry until lightly golden and crisp, about 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain. Let oil return to 375°F between batches. Transfer fried calamari to a large bowl, and toss with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a platter, and serve with lemon wedges.

    Extra-Crunchy Calamari
    Greg Dupree
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