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Air Fryer Salt & Pepper Calamari Recipe

  • Author: Catherine
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Air fryer Salt & Pepper Calamari is a Chinese takeout classic! This air fried calamari is crispy, crunchy, and spicy. A healthy & easy copycat recipe to make at home! Delicious squid coated in seasoned flour, air fried till golden brown & topped with stir fried garlic, chili, and green onions.




  • Fresh whole calamari/squid – 4 x small squid tubes cleaned no tentacles / 230 – 250 g (do not use frozen squid, *check recipe notes below)
  • Fish Sauce – 2 x tablespoons
  • Shaoxing wine – 1 x tablespoon
  • Egg whites – 2 x eggs whisked

Seasoned flour 

  • Rice flour – 1 x Cup
  • White pepper – 1 x teaspoon
  • Ground black pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – 1 x tablespoon
  • Chinese 5 spice – 1 x teaspoon
  • Salt 1 x teaspoon

Salt & Pepper Stir Fry Vegetables 

  • Fresh garlic minced – 1 x tablespoon
  • Spring onions / green onions – 2 x stalks finely sliced  
  • Small Red & Green chillies – 1-3 finely sliced
  • Sesame seed oil – 1 x tablespoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon


  • Lime wedges, sweet chilli sauce and fresh herbs (coriander)


  1. Preparing calamari: Clean, prep and cut squid tubes (if purchased whole) into your desired shape, either a diamond pattern or squid rings. *Check the recipe notes for tips
  2. Marinating calamari: Place the calamari into a shallow bowl, add Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, and stir.
  3. Dredging: In another bowl mix together all the seasoned flour mixture ingredients. Add a handful of the marinated calamari pieces into the bowl, using your hands to coat each piece. Then dip the floured calamari into a bowl of whisked egg whites and finally dredge again in the seasoned flour mixture. The double coating will help to fully cover the calamari. Place them on a greased wire rack as you will need to do this process in batches
  4. Salt & Pepper Stir fry Vegetables: Place a small frying pan onto the stove at a medium heat. Pour in some sesame oil and stir fry the 2 minutes, adding the green onions last.
  5. Combine: Mix together the crispy calamari with the stir fried vegetables and serve with lime or lemon slices, sweet chilli dipping sauce with a coriander garnish.
  6. Air frying calamari: Add to the calamari into the air fryer basket in a single layer, use a nonstick cooking spray or brush with oil to generously cover the floured calamari. Air fry for 5 minutes at 375 °F /190°C  flip over and then air fryer for a further 2 minutes.


*How to cut calamari rings: Place a freshly cleaned, whole calamari tube onto a chopping board, press down on the calamari with one hand so it lays completely flat and then slice vertically into thin strips.

*How to cut calamari so it curls: To make calamari that curls simply slice a freshly cleaned whole calamari tube down one side, on a chopping board. The calamari should now be lying flat. Using a very sharp knife to gently score the calamari diagonally across from each side, leaving a 1cm gap approximately between each scored line. Ensure not to pierce through the calamari fully. Repeat the process again on the same side but in the opposite direction, this will create little diamond pattens on the flesh. Once completed cut into a diamond shaped calamari pieces or strips. The diagonal criss-cross pattern will help the squid curl whilst deep frying, air frying, cooked in an oven, grilled, or sautéed

*Check blog post for tips on how to clean squid/calamari

*Fresh squid will provide the best tender results, raw frozen whole squid or pre cut frozen squid rings tend to be more tougher. Though you can use this if you are unable to source fresh squid  

  • Prep Time: 18
  • Cook Time: 7
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: Air Frying
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: Air fryer chinese salt and pepper calamari squid