Go to any American bar or restaurant and 9 times out of 10, you will see calamari on the appetizer menu. Fried battered calamari is an easy to prepare snack that will please almost anyone. This version is a little different, marinating the calamari in buttermilk and frying them in seasoned flour. Instead of marinara sauce or tartar sauce, this buttermilk fried calamari is served with lemon aioli, a tart and creamy sauce for this appetizer. Planning a girl’s night, bbq, or just a casual dinner at home? Whip these up in no time and they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

buttermilk fried calamari

buttermilk fried calamari

buttermilk fried calamari


Serves 4


Buttermilk fried calamari with lemon aioli

40 minTotal Time

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    Lemon aioli
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • dash of tabasco
  • salt and pepper
  • Calamari
  • 1 lb calamari, bodies sliced into 1/2 inch rings, tentacles left whole
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • oil for frying
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • lemon wedges to serve


  1. Prepare lemon aioli by whisking together mayo - tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Soak calamari in buttermilk for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat frying oil to 375 degrees F.
  4. Combine flour with seasonings from paprika - red chili flakes.
  5. Dredge calamari in seasoned flour, tossing evenly to coat. Carefully drop a handful of the calamari into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining calamari.
  6. Sprinkle parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges and lemon aioli.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

You really can’t go wrong with this simple recipe for buttermilk fried calamari. Simply marinate, coat in seasoned flour and fry!

For the marinade, simply coat the calamari in buttermilk. Why use the buttermilk? The acidity in the buttermilk helps keep the calamari tender and helps create a lighter, crispier batter. No need for an egg, or breadcrumbs, just a little seasoned flour and you’re ready to fry.

fried calamari

There are a couple of tips for achieving perfectly crispy calamari. First, make sure the oil is hot. If the frying oil is not at the right temperature, the batter will be soggy. Second, make sure to fry only a handful at a time. Overcrowding the fryer will result in clumpy, greasy calamari – no one wants that! And third, let the frying oil come back up to temperature after each batch to ensure that it is at the right temperature.

Finish the dish with fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a side of lemon aioli.  Easy, delicious, and a crowd-pleaser – what else can you ask for?

buttermilk fried calamari


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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