This Air Fryer Frozen Calamari recipe uses store-bought frozen calamari, cooked in the air fryer for just a few minutes and served with a creamy chipotle dipping sauce.
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Whether you choose a battered or no-batter frozen calamari, you can cook it very easily in the air fryer and get a nice crispy, delicious snack.
I’ve tried many different brands of calamari and they all cook at about the same time/temperature, so you don’t have to worry about getting a specific brand. You can also cook breaded or non-breaded. It’s down to your preference.
The one I use most often is Northern Chef Sea Salt & Pepper Calamari. It’s not breaded. You can find it at Vons and Safeway. For breaded, I like Salt & Pepper Calamari from Phillips Seafood the best. You can get it at Target or Aldi. Read more about the best calamari brands.
Ingredients You Need
- Frozen calamari – See above for my recommended brands. You can buy breaded or non-breaded. You can even make your own.
- Chipotle pepper – I use chipotle powder because I always have it on hand. You could also blend chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, if you prefer.
- Mayonnaise – Mayo is the base of the sauce. If you don’t like mayo, you could use sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic or powdered will add a nice bite to the sauce.
- Lemon – Lemon juice adds a nice fresh acidity to the sauce.
- Salt – to taste
- Air fryer: I use this 4-quart basket-style air fryer. It’s large enough to fit a meal for 4-6. But some things need more space in the air fryer basket, so they cook evenly.
- Kitchen tongs: It’s very easy to remove food from your air fryer with kitchen tongs. I use these kitchen tongs that are silicon coated so they don’t scratch the interior.
- Small dip bowls – I like to use small 1 oz ramekins for the dipping sauce, but any small bowl will work.
How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Calamari
Pour the whole bag of calamari or just one serving – however much you need – into the air fryer. There’s no need to spray with cooking oil because they already contain some oil. However, do note that if you are breading your own calamari from scratch, you will need to spray them with cooking oil to get them crispy.
Cook on 400° F for 8 minutes, shaking the basket once during cooking, or until crispy and golden. Every air fryer varies a little bit, so you may need to adjust your cooking time according to your own air fryer.
As the calamari is cooking, grab a bowl and mix together the
Add the chipotle pepper, mayonnaise, lemon, garlic and pinch of salt and stir it together until well combined. If you have time, cover and refrigerate the sauce for 15 minutes before serving to further meld the flavors. If you’re serving the calamari right away, there’s no need to refrigerate the sauce.
Serve your calamari hot with the chipotle dipping sauce or try this spicy chipotle mayo.
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- I use a Ninja MaxXL air fryer (pictured left). If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Here’s a printable Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet to get you started.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
How Do You Air Fry Battered Calamari
No matter whether your calamari are battered or not, they will cook at about the same time from frozen. It takes about 8 minutes. The only difference you will find is if you batter your own calamari, because it will need to be sprayed with oil before cooking in order to get them crispy.
Because your homemade calamari are not frozen, they may take less than 8 minutes to cook. Keep any eye on them as they cook, to ensure you don’t overdo it.
Is Calamari Good For You?
As with anything breaded and fried, you are adding calories and fat that might not be beneficial to all diets. However, calamari itself is a very healthy food. It’s low in calories, high in protein, and contains a good amount of Vitamin B12, plus vitamin C, iron and calcium, and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you want to find a calamari brand that has the best ingredients and nutrition, you should always read the nutrition information on the box before you buy.
What Other Dipping Sauces Go With Calamari?
There are many different sauces you can dip your calamari in. We really like the chipotle mayo we make with this recipe. However, there are many other options. Try one of these:
- Sweet chili sauce (the Mae Ploy brand is really good)
- High-quality pesto sauce
- BBQ sauce
- Sriracha mayo
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Air Fryer Frozen Calamari
- 1 bag frozen calamari
- 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.2 g) chipotle pepper powder
- 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Pinch of salt
- Pour the bag of calamari into the air fryer. No need to spray with cooking oil.
- Cook on 400° F for 8 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
- Add the chipotle powder, mayonnaise, lemon, garlic and pinch of salt to a bowl and blend until combined. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for 15 minutes before serving, if you have time.
- Serve calamari with chipotle dipping sauce.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
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Laura is a passionate foodie and owner of Air Fry Anytime She is dedicated to sharing delicious recipes and helpful tips for using air fryers at home. With years of experience in the kitchen and a love for healthy, flavorful cooking, Laura has become an expert at using air fryers to create amazing meals that are both nutritious and delicious.