If your Air Fryer has taken a backseat to grilling lately, we encourage you to pull that handy appliance out of hiding! Because today we are making irresistible Air Fryer calamari with a creamy chipotle sauce for dipping. We always order the calamari appetizer at restaurants so we thought we would try it at home. Calamari is made from the body and tentacles of squid—which is in the mollusk family of seafood (like mussels and clams). It’s super easy to prepare using fresh frozen squid (package may say calamari rings) or from your local fish counter.
Guiltless golden-brown, crispy air-fried calamari is healthy and flavorful. Taking only 10 minutes to cook and less than 25 minutes to prep, this dish makes a perfect snack or appetizer. You can also prep ahead and freeze to save time. The trick to this recipe is to double coat the calamari and cook it in batches so the air circulates in the fryer.
So, put that Air Fryer to use. Trust us – you’ll be hooked on this Air Fryer Calamari with Creamy Chipotle Sauce.
Air Fryer Calamari with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes 4 appetizer-sized servings
Suggested cooking tools: air fryer, cooking spray or oil, 3 medium mixing bowls + 1 bowl for dipping sauce, knife, cutting board
- 1 lb. frozen calamari, *thawed, cleaned and thinly sliced into rings ¼ inch wide, with the tentacles separately sliced into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (or a gluten-free alternative)
- 1 tsp. paprika or Old Bay seasoning
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Prepared creamy chipotle sauce, for dipping
- Pat dry the thawed calamari rings and tentacles with a paper towel. Place all the calamari into medium mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice, until well coated.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray; return basket to air fryer and preheat air fryer to 400 F.
- In another medium mixing bowl, combine flour; paprika or Old Bay; salt and pepper; mix well.
- In a third mixing bowl, whisk milk and egg until well combined.
- Dredge calamari (individual rings and tentacles) first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the flour mixture again, until well coated.
- Place one layer of coated calamari in air fryer basket. (Do not overlap calamari. If extra pieces remain, cook calamari in batches.) Coat calamari with cooking spray.
- Cook at 400 F for 8 minutes, or until calamari is cooked through. Serve immediately with bowl of chipotle sauce, for dipping.
*Pro-tip: Thaw calamari overnight in refrigerator. Or for a quick thaw, put frozen calamari in a large baggie, seal baggie well and place it under cool running water for about 20-30 minutes.