This easy calamari recipe ditches the usual heavy batter and deep frying in favor of a light and flavorful Mediterranean twist. Calamari rings are quickly sauteed with garlic and finished with a zesty sauce of fresh lime juice and white wine. A sprinkle of fresh dill herbs seals the deal. Comes together in less than 15  minutes! 

Calamari recipe with garlic, lime and white wine, topped with fresh dill

Most people's experience with calamari is limited to heavy-battered fried calamari rings that are served at many American restaurants (nothing wrong with those, I love them too.) But, in Mediterranean cooking, you'll find so many more ways to cook and enjoy calamari.

The Spanish add calamari to paella and other rice dishes. In Italy, you'll find it incorporated in pasta dinners. Calamari is delightful in a beautiful Provençal salad. And in Greece and parts of the Easten Mediterranean like Egypt, where I grew up, you'll find many simple applications like today's saucy calamari.

This calamari recipe is easy, and I personally love how it takes advantage of a few bright ingredients like garlic, lime juice, and fresh dill.

Not everyone is familiar with what calamari is; how to cook calamari; or where to buy it. So let's walk through some of this detail here.

What is Calamari? 

Calamari is the fancier Italian word for squid, a cousin to Octopus. There are more than 300 species of squid in the world's waters, but fewer than a dozen are utilized in culinary use.  Squid can range in length anywhere from 1 inch up to 80 feet, but most used squid measure less than 12 inches.

Calamari (or squid) is firm and white with a mild, slightly sweeter taste that lends itself to so many flavors--obviously, today I went for lime and garlic.

Calamari with garlic lime sauce served on platter as an appetizer

Calamari Recipe, Mediterranean-Style

In this easy calamari recipe, we ditch heavy batters and the deep frying for a tasty, lighter dish that will transport you to the shore of the Mediterranean.

Here, calamari rings are briefly sauteed with lots of garlic, then we add citrus in the form of lime juice and white wine. The final finishing touch is a sprinkle of fresh dill. If you don't love dill, or if you can't find it, you can finish this dish with another fresh herb like mint, parsley or cilantro.

It's so darn easy, I have just a couple of step photos to show you how to make this calamari recipe...

Calamari platter

Step-by-step for this calamari recipe

1. Start by sauteing lots of garlic in extra virgin olive oil very briefly until fragrant (be sure not to burn the garlic. This should only take seconds.) Pat calamari dry and add to the pan. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes; calamari will release some liquid.Calamari and garlic cooking in cast iron skillet

2. Add white wine and lime juice. Cook briefly to warm through (do not overcook.) Season with salt and pepper. If you like a little spice, add a pinch of cayenne. Finally, stir in fresh dill and remove calamari from heat and serve immediately.

Lime juice, spices and dill are added to calamari skillet

Leftovers? But if you do end up with leftovers, you can refrigerate in a tight-lid container for a couple of days. I don't recommend reheating calamari because it has the tendency to get rubbery.

Where to Buy Calamari? Important Tips

Because calamari is not usually top of the shopping list, many people don't know where to find it or what to look for.

Calamari rings are conveniently available in the freezer section of most well-stocked grocery stores. Before use, make sure to properly thaw in the fridge overnight.

Sometimes, you'll find fresh squid tubes, cleaned and ready for use. Important tip: fresh squid should smell like...nothing! If it has any fishy smell, do not take it home. When you take it home, do wash and pat dry, then cut into rings for this calamari recipe.

To serve calamari

This is the perfect warm appetizer with sliced French baguette or crostini. For a super simple dinner, serve this saucy calamari on top of your favorite grain, plain small pasta like orzo, or this Lebanese rice. Add some grilled vegetables or a fattoush salad to complete the meal. Or add this calamari as part of a big seafood feast next to other dishes like roasted red snapper; mackerel; Sicilian fish stew; or baked salmon.

More Recipes to Try:

Crispy Fried Calamari 

One-Pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut and Vegetables

Mediterranean Chickpea Farro Salad with Shrimp

Greek Baked Meatballs: Soutzoukakia

15- Minute Garden Flatbread Pizza

 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Calamari recipe from The Mediterranean Dish

Easy Calamari Recipe with Garlic Lime Sauce


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 32 reviews

  • Author: Suzy Karadsheh
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 to 6 1x

Description

Easy skillet calamari recipe, cooked in a light garlic lime sauce finished fresh dill. Great for dinner or as a warm appetizer, see serving suggestions.


Ingredients

Scale
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Private Reserve Greek olive oil)
  • Unsalted butter
  • 10 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 lb calamari, sliced into rings
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon white wine
  • Juice of 1 ½ limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat ¼ cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Turn heat to medium-high and add the garlic, saute briefly, tossing regularly, until fragrant (this should take seconds, garlic should only gain a little color, do not burn it.)
  2. Pat calamari dry and add to the pan, cook for 1 to 2 minutes over medium-high heat (calamari will release some liquid.) Add white wine and lime juice. Cook briefly to warm though (do not overcook or calamari will turn rubbery. You are just looking for the sauce to warm through)  Season with salt and pepper. If you like a little spice, add a pinch of cayenne.
  3. Finally, stir in the fresh dill. Remove from heat and serve (see serving suggestions in notes)

Notes

  • Serve as Appetizer: To serve as a warm appetizer, transfer calamari to a serving platter, and serve with slices for fresh French baguette or crostini (it will serve 6 to 8).
  • Serve as Dinner: Serve this calamari for dinner as part of a big seafood feast next to other dishes like roasted red snapper; roasted mackerel; Sicilian fish stew; or baked salmon. For a simple dinner, just serve this saucy calamari over your favorite grain, pasta, or Lebanese rice. Add a large fattoush salad to complete the meal.
  • Cook's Tip for Leftover Calamari: This recipe is best enjoyed immediately. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2 nights or so, but I don't recommend reheating calamari; overcooked calamari can be rubbery.
  • Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives!)
  • Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015. It has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    Delicious! Tried it last night. Used pre-crushed garlic due to time constraints. Plus a few dashes of chenin blanc really enhanced the flavour. Poured some of the mixture over the rice after cooking the calamari.






  2. Cathy says:

    This recipe is the bomb!!!! This literally the best I've ever had and I am big fan of calamari. I recently have been put on a diet where I can't have breading and was looking for some other ideas. I hate when people change up the recipe but I didn't use the wine and I didn't use as much garlic, I used six cloves, that's all I had. At the end when I put in the lime juice I also added some of the garlic/chili Asian sauce, two to three minutes and BAM, it was done. It was the most tender flavorful calamari of all time!!!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I just went shopping today and bought more calamari!!!!






    1. TMD Team says:

      Yay! Thanks so much, Cathy!

  3. Emy says:

    Had s bitter taste. 10 cloves of garlic might have been too much. Lime and dill don't go well together.






  4. Laurie in Virginia says:

    I will try a different calamari recipe next time. I served this over small Acini de Pepe pasta and didn't like it as much as expected. My first time preparing squid, and the simplicity of the recipe inspired me to try. I'd have liked this better with crusty bread rather than pasta. The next time I make squid, I may try it with tomato, possibly with fennel? Glad I tried this, but my family members are not fans.






  5. shelley stephenson says:

    So great to see the dishes.






  6. film izle says:

    Really enjoyed this blog post.Thanks Again. Really Great. Lucius Sabal

    1. Suzy says:

      Awesome! Thanks! 🙂

  7. en çok kazandıran canlı casino siteleri says:

    “Great, thanks for sharing this blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.” Santiago Sondelski

    1. Suzy says:

      My pleasure, Santiago! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  8. Desiree says:

    I made this served it with pasta for my husband and served it over a salad with a little oil and balsamic for myself. Both were delicious! The calamari was perfect. The ingredients were as well. We both loved it. This will be a meal in my home that will be served for years to come. Yum! Thank u

    1. Suzy says:

      So excited you tried it, Desiree. Thanks for sharing

  9. maria bradley says:

    I made this tonight and put in a bag of smart noodles / shiritaki noodles along with the squid. Cooked it for a bit longer than suggested, about 10 minutes. Sprinkled some parm on it with some cilantro . It was delicious. The noodles are 35 calories a bag and it was a most delicious filling lovely low calorie meal. I will absolutely make it again ! Thank you !

    1. Suzy says:

      thanks for sharing, Maria! Sounds great!

  10. Andie says:

    I really enjoyed this dish, but I did have to tweak a few things - I had about half as much squid as the recipe called for so I only used 2 garlic cloves and that was plenty garlicky for me. I used lemon juice rather than lime and cooked off of the wine ahead of time because I was afraid it would still have a strong alcohol taste if I only added it at the end of cooking. 🙂






    1. Suzy says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Andie!

  11. Naomi Hartov says:

    I'm wondering if it would work well to use lemon juice in place of lime juice in your Mediterranean calamari recipe.

    1. Suzy says:

      Yes, lemon juice will work! Enjoy

  12. Madalene says:

    This is the recipe that brought me to your site about 5 years ago! I've made many of your recipes since.

    Do you have any recommendations for substitutes for dill? I love dill but it's next to impossible to find where I live. I've stopped making some of my favorite recipes because I can't imagine them without dill.

    Thank you!






    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Madalene! Tarragon would be you best bet if you wanted something similar to dill.

  13. Ana says:

    This was a quick and delicious meal, Thank you! we totally clean the plate!






    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Oh that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Heliodoro Manuel Valle says:

    You have a recipe for calamari cooked in their own ink

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      I do not at this point in time. Thanks for checking!

  15. Sam says:

    I love how easy it is to make this!






    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Same! Thank you!

  16. Toni says:

    This was really a huge hit! I loved the garlic lime sauce! So delish!






    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      So glad you liked it!