Get ready for a flavor-packed adventure with air fryer calamari. Crispy and delicious, it’s the perfect way to enjoy this seafood favorite in a whole new light.
Air fried calamari is a treat that effortlessly combines tenderness and crunchiness. Whether you’re looking to impress guests or just love seafood, calamari in the air fryer promises an easy yet delicious homemade appetizer.
Imagine perfectly golden brown calamari rings coated in a crispy texture, without the guilt. They’re not fried traditionally, meaning they don’t have all the extra oil. The air frying technique elevates fresh or frozen calamari to a whole new level, showcasing juicy, tender squid in every bite.
You can serve breaded calamari with any dipping sauce of your choice – whether it’s tangy marinara sauce, zesty cocktail sauce, or a creamy garlic aioli. So, for anyone looking to try something new, fried calamari is a must-try appetizer that’s sure to win hearts at any occasion.
How to Cook Calamari in the Air Fryer
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Let the raw calamari rings marinate in zesty lemon juice for 30 minutes, then give them a good drain in a colander.
STEP TWO: In one bowl, blend flour and garlic powder; in another, whisk egg whites and milk. In a third bowl, combine panko, salt, and pepper.
STEP THREE: Dunk the calamari rings in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the bread crumbs.
Pro tip — using a fork makes it easier and less messy.
STEP FOUR: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
STEP FIVE: Lay out those perfectly coated calamari rings in the air fryer basket in a single layer, and make sure they don’t overlap! A quick spritz of nonstick spray on top keeps them golden and crisp.
STEP SIX: Air fry calamari for 4 minutes, then give them a flip and another spray of oil. Cook the calamari in the air fryer for another 3 minutes, making sure the squid is opaque inside and fully cooked.
Tips for the Best Air Fried Calamari
- Keep a close eye on cooking time. Overcooked calamari can turn rubbery, while undercooked may lack the desired texture.
- Allow the air fry calamari to rest for a minute or two before serving. This gives the coating a chance to set.
- Panko breadcrumbs are your secret weapon for that satisfying crunch. Make sure the calamari rings are fully coated — the fork method helps a lot!
- Set up your three bowls for coating the calamari beforehand. Putting them in order makes the process a lot smoother too.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Calamari
- Cast Iron Chicken Breast
- Steak Fajitas
- Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings
- Air Fryer Shrimp
Variations to Breaded Calamari
- Drizzle sweet chili sauce over the cooked calamari for a sweet and tangy twist.
- Try dipping in a mixture of Old Bay seasoning and panko breadcrumbs for umami goodness.
- Tartar sauce is a popular pairing for breaded calamari or any seafood!
- Add cayenne pepper to the coating mix and replace the black pepper with red pepper flakes for a fiery kick.
- Sadly, panko breadcrumbs aren’t gluten-free, but if you are – try almond flour or gluten-free bread crumbs.
More Air Fryer Seafood Recipes
- Air Fryer Mahi Mahi
- Air Fryer Tilapia
- The Best Air Fryer Fish Recipes
- Air Fryer Crab Cakes
- Crispy Air Fryer Frozen Popcorn Shrimp
- Air Fryer Haddock
How Long to Cook Calamari in the Air Fryer
For the best air fryer calamari, it’s important not to overcook or undercook. The method that works best for me is to set the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
Then, you’ll want to flip the rings, spray lightly, and continue frying for an additional 3 minutes until the calamari turns opaque and reaches that perfect, crispy texture.
Reheating Calamari in the Air Fryer
Place those delicious calamari bites in the air fryer after preheating to 400 degrees F – make sure they don’t overlap in the air fryer basket.
This time, they just need 5 minutes in total to reheat, and you can flip them halfway through.
To store your leftover calamari, place it in the fridge in a shallow airtight container for up to four days!
Even More Seafood Favorites You’ll Love:
- Air Fryer Catfish
- Air Fryer Cod
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fryer Tuna Melt
- Air Fryer Flounder
- Air Fryer Fish Sticks
- Air Fryer Swordfish
- Air Fryer Catfish
- 1 pound calamari rings, patted dry
- 1 lemon, juiced (3 tablespoons lemon juice)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- Sweet chili sauce
- Lemon wedges
- Place the squid rings in a bowl with lemon juice and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.
- Place flour and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Whisk egg whites and milk together in a separate bowl. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in a third bowl.
- Coat the calamari rings first in flour, then in egg mixture, and finally in the panko breadcrumb mixture.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- Place rings in the basket of the air fryer so that none are overlapping. Work in batches if needed. Spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook for 4 minutes. Flip rings, spray with a little oil, and cook for an additional 3 minutes (7 minutes total) longer until opaque inside and fully cooked.
How to Reheat Calamari in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
2. Place calamari rings in the basket and cook for 5 minutes, until warmed thoroughly.
How to Make Frozen Calamari in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
2. Place the frozen calamari rings in the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes, flipping them about halfway through cooking, until warmed completely.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 591Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1104mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 26g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.