Air Fryer Calamari – Crispy Squid Rings Recipe
This air fryer calamari was dipped in a buttermilk batter and air fried to crispy perfection. Consider this better-for-you version when you crave fried seafood!
For the calamari:
- 12 ounces small frozen calamari rings, thawed, drained well (Weigh after draining to ensure you use the right amount.)
- ¼ cup spelt flour
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ½ tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- cooking oil spray
- 1 lemon, for serving
- seafood dipping sauce (optional)
For the garlic-dill fries:
- 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ½-¾" fries (about 24 ounces, do not peel)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the broccoli:
- 12 ounces broccoli, chopped (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (toasted)
To make the garlic-dill fries:
Note: You can bake them in the air fryer or the oven. Keep in mind they are best cooked in a separate batch from the calamari if you use the air fryer.
To bake them in the oven: Stir all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the fries out in a single layer on a dark baking tray that was lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes in the top third of the oven. Flip them halfway through baking time.
To cook them in the air fryer: Soak the cut potatoes for 20-30 minutes in cool water and pat dry (this helps them to crisp up better). Stir all garlic-dill fries ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Spread the fries out in a single layer on your oil-misted air fryer rack(s). Bake for 25 minutes at 390°F, flipping the fries and switching the position of the trays in the fryer halfway through cooking time. You may need to air fry them in two batches.
To make the calamari:
Thaw your calamari and drain well in a colander. Pat the squid rings dry (gently!) with a clean paper towel.
Mix the buttermilk, spelt flour, and Old Bay together to form a batter. Add the thawed and drained calamari rings to the bowl and stir well to coat.
Mist your air fryer racks with oil and put them on top of waxed paper or paper towels to catch drips. Spread the calamari mixture in a single layer on the racks. The mixture is liquidy at this point (and not distinct calamari pieces).
Make sure the drip tray is in place in your air fryer oven. Put the racks in the oven and bake at 390°F for 10 minutes.
Flip the calamari and switch the position of the trays in the oven. Bake an additional 8 minutes.
Flip the calamari again and break any rings that are sticking together into individual pieces. Bake for 3 more minutes to finish crisping them up. (You don't have to switch the position of the trays in the oven this time.)
We served them with a squeeze of lemon but you could also add your favorite seafood dipping sauce if desired.
To make the broccoli:
Cook the broccoli on the stove top or in the microwave until heated (if previously frozen) or tender-crisp (if using fresh broccoli). Drizzle the broccoli with the toasted sesame oil.
Plate the calamari, fries, and broccoli and serve.
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Typically, I bump recipes containing flour to level 3. However, the squid are a low-calorie and filling lean protein, and there’s only a little flour here. Additionally, air frying has removed the need for the added oils used for typical fried calamari.
I think this is a great choice if you have a fried calamari craving but want a lighter dish. Cocktail sauce is far lower in calories than tartar sauce if you are choosing to add the optional dip.
(Note: either of these condiments may contain added sugar. Making your own is best if you want sugar-free.
Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe (including the side dishes) without optional dipping sauce.
Calories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 48.9gProtein: 28.4gFat: 16.1gSaturated Fat: 2.1gSodium: 453.6mgPotassium: 1335.2mgFiber: 10.2gVitamin A: 36.5% DVVitamin C: 154.9% DVCalcium: 64.7% DVIron: 43.6% DV