Calamari with Lemon-Basil Sauce

Oh Calamari how I love thee. Tender, crispy and crunchy you make my heart melt. When I first heard of Calamari I was working at a seafood restaurant and all of the other servers would eat it pretty often, but I would always shy away. Finally one day, on a dare, I tried some and thank god I did.  Now when ever Ryan and I dine out I usually have to order calamari as an appetizer, it is the perfect way to start a meal. For those of you that don’t know, it is squid and while that may not sound appetizing, when it is battered and fried it is delicious.  I recently bought calamari rings so I could give this a shot at home and it was surprisingly easy. For this recipe, I toss some calamari rings with seasoned flour and fry them until they are golden. While they are tasty on their own, I also served them with a Lemon-Basil dipping sauce.

Calamari with Lemon-Basil Sauce Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 1/2 pound calamari rings, thawed if frozen (If you buy it frozen it will usually be cut into rings for you, which is what I prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (you can also use fresh basil, it would be about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic.



Pat the calamari rings dry with a paper towel.


In a bowl whisk together egg and milk to make an egg wash.


In a large plastic resealable bag combine flour, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cornstarch and shake to combine.


Dip the calamari rings into the egg and then put them in the bag with the flour. Shake bag to lightly coat calamari.


In a large sauce pan add oil until you have about 2 inches. Heat over medium heat until oil is hot. (Note: I don't have a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil so when I think its hot I just sprinkle in a little flour and if it sizzles I start frying.) Once the oil is hot, remove the calamari from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Cook calamari in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. It is very important not to overcook calamari or it will become rubbery. Remove from the oil, lay on a paper bag and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Serve hot.


To make the sauce combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, basil and garlic and mix well.


A Note: When I first tried to make calamari at home, mine did not get as golden brown as I would like because I was afraid of over cooking it so I cooked it only about 2 minutes at medium-high. I have found that if I cook it at a lower heat for a little longer, 3 minutes or so, it gets golden brown and is still tender on the inside. So there it is, calamari, perhaps my favorite appetizer ever. Give it a try if you haven't and I'm sure you'll like it. Hey it's fried, everything is good fried right? :) Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    December 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Love calamari about to try your recipe more let you know how it turns out

  • Reply
    May 5, 2009 at 8:12 am

    These look really Yummy!!! I love calamari.

    Will have to try these :-)

    • Reply
      May 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks ThatsSoYummy! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I loooove calamari! Yum!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      I am right there with you! Thanks gaga! :)

  • Reply
    March 3, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    OK, thanks!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    instead of frying, could you bake them?

    • Reply
      March 3, 2009 at 8:55 am

      I have not tried to bake them before, but after I read your comment I did some research and it looks like you can bake them at a low oven temperature around 180 degrees for about 15 minutes.
      I might have to give this a try. I have had baked calamari once but I think the chef cooked it too long because it was pretty rubbery. Let me know if you try it this way, I’d like to know how it turns out. :)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Chuck: You know, I haven’t tried the dip with any other fish, but think that you’re right, it would probably be good with lots of fish. Thanks!

    Sam: Thanks! Hope you enjoy it! :)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    This looks pretty fantastic! I too love Calamari! We might make this tonight :)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I bet that lemon Basil dip is perfect for this dish or any fish dish. Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Thanks Val! You’re welcome! :-)

  • Reply
    February 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    What a great recipe! I love calamari fried like this & your recipe sounds terrific. Thank you for sharing. ;o}