how to cook squid

How to Cook Squid: The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to seafood, people often think of common favorites like shrimp or lobster. However, squid is also a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be prepared in various ways. Whether you want to boil, grill, or fry squid, this ultimate guide will provide you with all the information you need to cook squid like a pro.

Understanding Squid and Preparing it for Cooking

Before discussing the different ways to cook squid, it’s essential first to understand what type of squid is commonly used in cooking and how to prepare them properly.

Types of Squid Commonly Used in Cooking

There are many different types of squid available, but the most commonly used ones for cooking are the European squid and the Japanese flying squid. These species have a mild flavor and firm texture that make them perfect for a wide range of dishes.

Techniques for Cleaning and Preparing Squid for Cooking

The key to preparing squid is ensuring that it’s cleaned properly. First, remove the head by holding onto the body and pulling the head downward. Next, cut off the tentacles just above the eyes.

To remove the guts, hold onto the body firmly with one hand while pulling out the transparent quill with another hand. Rinse out any remaining bits under cold running water.

If you’re using a whole squid, you can either stuff it or cut it into pieces before cooking. To do this, use a sharp knife to slice off rings from the body.

Basic Cooking Methods for Squid

Squid can be enjoyed in many ways, but there are three basic methods of cooking: boiling, grilling, and frying. Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s vital to understand them before deciding on which one to use.

Boiling Squid

Boiling is the simplest way to cook squid. All you need to do is add clean squid rings and tentacles into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes until they turn opaque. Be careful not to overcook the squid, or it will become chewy and rubbery. Watch out as the squid will also shrink significantly even after one minute of cooking. As you wait, be sure to skim any foam from the surface of the water.


  • The simplest and quickest way to cook squid
  • Squid won’t stick if you use this method


  • May require additional seasoning or marinade
  • Tends to make the squid less tender than other methods

Grilling Squid

Grilling is another great option for cooking squid. The high heat from the grill adds smokey flavor while retaining teh texture of the squid, making it a popular choice among seafood enthusiasts.

Steps for Grilling Squid:
  1. Clean squid rings and tentacles properly by following the steps mentioned above in “Preparing Squid for Cooking”
  2. Pan pre-heated over medium-high heat
  3. Add oil on top of the grill pan when hot.
  4. Add your seasoned squid rings/ tentacles onto the pan
  5. Cook until both sides are nicely charred and the squid is fully cooked.


  • Adds a smokey flavor that pairs well with seafood
  • Maintains the texture of the squid while still cooking it thoroughly


  • Can be challenging to grill squid without sticking to the grates if not properly prepared and oiled

Frying Squid

Deep-frying squid creates a crispy exterior with a tender, juicy interior. That makes it a great choice for creating classic dishes like calamari rings.

Steps for Frying Squid:
  1. Clean squid rings and tentacles properly by following the steps mentioned above in “Preparing Squid for Cooking”
  2. Add flour to a plate and use it to coat the squid rings (Dip squash into whisked egg yolk before flour)
  3. Preheat oil in a pot over medium heat until hot.
  4. Add coated squid rings into the hot oil one at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot.
  5. Cook until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Place onto a plate lined with paper towels so that excess oil can be drained off.


  • Gives a crispy exterior texture around each squid ring or tentacleIf fried correctly on high-no than smoking, oil will be perfectly cooked inside and out inside.
  • Cons:Burnt outer coatings some time make the squid overcooked which ends up with unpleasant charred flavor but if corrected will taste good

Delicious Squid Recipes to Try

Experimenting with different recipes is a great way to learn more about how to prepare and cook squid. Here are three simple yet delicious recipes to get you started:

Fried Calamari

This recipe yields about two servings.

Preparation of Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of cleaned squid rings and tentacles.
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (or rice flour as a gluten-free option).
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Salt and Pepper According to taste
  • Cooking oil for deep-frying (vegetable oil is recommended)
  1. In a bowl, mix flour together with paprika, garlic powders, salt, and pepper according to your taste bud.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk until blended in a separate dishDip squid rings and tentacles into the egg yolk mixture before coating them in the flour mixture then shake off any excess flower on it.In a pot over medium heat, add oil and heat until hot enough for frying.Add in the coated squid carefully one at a time into the hot oil. Fry each side till golden brown (takes about 2-3 minutes)Stir occasionally until they get crispy enough before Lastly serve with any dipping sauce you prefer, like tartar sauce or garlic aioli

Grilled Calamari Salad

This recipe yields about four servings.

Preparation of Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of cleaned squid rings and tentacles.
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
  • Juice from one small lemon, freshly squeezed.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • A handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped.
  • A handful of arugula or mixed greens
  • Steps:
    1. Rinse the squid under cold running water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels better to marinate in advance for min 10min up to an hour depending on your preference.To make the marinade, combine minced garlic, olive oil, salt, chopped parsley, and lemon juice into a small container.
    2. Add all of the marinade into a bowl with the squid. Toss the squid to coat it completely.
    3. Cover the bowl with cling wrap then let it marinade overnight in the fridge for maximum flavors. Otherwise u can just marinate for a minimum of 10min up to an hour depending on flavor preference.
    4. Assemble salad by placing arugula or mesclun on a serving plate and top it off with nicely grilled calamari over vegetables drizzle with extra virgin olive oil

    Squid Stuffed with Herb and Cheese

    This recipe yields about six servings.

    Preparation of Ingredients:
    • 1 pound of cleaned squid rings and tentacles.
    • 1 cup of breadcrumbs or panko.
    • 1/4 cup finely grated cheese (parmesan or cheddar).
    • A handful of chopped herbs (basil or thyme is recommended)

    • Juice from one small lemon, freshly squeezed.

    • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
    • Salt and pepper according to taste
    Stuffing Procedure:
    1. Rinse the squid under cold running water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.Mix breadcrumbs, chopped herbs, grated cheese, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl to form a crumbly mixture.Gently stuff each clean squid tube with the stuffing but do not overdo stuffing as it will overflow unless secured properly.Poke two toothpicks through both sides of the opening to hold everything together.
    Baking Process:
    1. Preheat oven at 200C / Gas Mark 6
    2. In an oven-safe dish, coat the bottom layer with some amount according to preference then place stuffed squid tubes into the dish
    3. Add lemon juice and rest of olive oil on top and add salt whatever u like add on top mindfully on each tube so the flavors intensify during the cooking process.

    4. Cover the dish with foil then bake in preheated oven for about twenty minutes until nicely browned.

    Tips and Techniques for Perfectly Cooked Squid

    Even without a considerable amount of cooking experience, cooking squid is pretty easy as long as a few tips and techniques are kept in mind.

    Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them when Cooking Squid

    Avoid these common mistakes when cooking squid to achieve the perfect texture and taste:

    • Overcooking Squids. It will end up being rubbery, chewy, just right timing is necessary to get tender squid rings or tentacles.
    • Crowding the pot or pan during frying or boiling squid may hinder even cooking as it may lower the oil temperature resulting in an undercooked inside.
    • Squid cleaned poorly before cooking can cause some unwanted debris, gut, ink explosion into your dish that otherwise spoils not only the taste but also looks unappealing.

    Tips on Seasoning Squid Dishes Better:

    • Avoid combining salt with acidic flavors like lemon juice as this may result in a sour and bitter taste
    • When making calamari, coat it with tapioca starch before being slowly cooked in low-temperature oil for about three to five minutes until crispy.
    • To add extra flavor when boiling squid before frying, use vegetable stock rather than water this way the stock sticks to calamari hence producing a flavorful batter.


    Squid is versatile seafood that can be boiled, grilled, or fried. Preparation involves cleaning the body properly, followed by one of these three basic methods depending on your preference. Experimenting with different recipes is fun and simple to learn from, and some x-factor secrets like proper seasoning and avoiding common mistakes when cooking squids will make it work right for everyone. So prepare squid with attention to detail using the methods and recipes in this guide and enjoy the perfect dish every time.

    1. Can squid be cooked in different ways?

    Absolutely! Squid can be boiled, grilled, fried, or even roasted. Each method brings out a unique texture and flavor. Boiling is ideal for soups and stews while grilling and frying is perfect for a crisp and golden exterior.

    2. How do I clean squid properly?

    Start by removing the head, tentacles, and ink sac. Peel off the skin and pull out the spine. Rinse the squid under cold water to clean off any remaining dirt or ink. Cut the meat into rings or strips for cooking.

    3. How do I prevent squid from becoming rubbery?

    Overcooking is the main reason why squid turns rubbery. To avoid this, cook the squid quickly over high heat (like grilling or frying) or boil it only for 30-60 seconds. Overcooking will cause it to lose its moisture content, resulting in a tough and chewy texture.

    4. Is it safe to eat raw squid?

    Raw squid can be safe to eat as long as it’s been handled properly and comes from a trusted source. However, it’s important to note that some species of squid may have toxins that can cause illness if not cooked thoroughly. If you’re unsure about the safety of raw squid, it’s best to cook it before consuming it.

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