Air Fryer Cook

Best Air Fried Calamari Rings Recipe (Easy and Crispy)

If you love calamari rings but are looking for an alternative to deep frying, then air-fried calamari rings are the way to go.

I know my air fryer won’t let me down when it comes to getting that irresistible crunch. The best part is that no oil is required, making it a lighter and healthier option.

This recipe uses fresh calamari and panko breadcrumbs for a Japanese twist. It’s effortless to make with an air fryer, and in just a few steps, you’ll have delicious, crispy calamari rings that are perfect for any occasion.

Serve your air-fried calamari rings with lemon wedges, a sprinkle of shallots, or your favorite dipping sauce for a mouthwatering appetizer that’s sure to impress. Let’s dive into this easy and healthier way to enjoy calamari!

air fried calamari rings

Air Fried Calamari Rings Key Takeaways

  • Air-fried calamari rings are a healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried calamari.
  • This recipe uses fresh calamari, which is easy to make in an air fryer. This air fryer recipe used a Ninja Foodi Air Fryer.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, shallots, or dipping sauce for a delicious appetizer.

Air Fried Calamari Rings Key Ingredients

This dish’s stars are fresh calamari and panko breadcrumbs. The best part? There’s no need for a flour mixture or egg mixture, so prep time is quick and hassle-free.

Fresh Calamari

I chose to use fresh calamari in this recipe because it is more tender and succulent than frozen. So I bought some fresh calamari tubes from my fish market.

The main things to look out for when selecting fresh calamari tubes are:

  • Firm and Glossy Flesh: Look for glossy flesh and, if possible, give it a gentle press to feel whether it is firm.
  • Mild-Ocean Smell: Take note of the smell. If there is a strong fishy smell, then do not buy them!

Frozen Calamari

If fresh calamari isn’t available, frozen calamari works as well. However, I have noticed that the sweetness of the calamari’s natural flavor is missing, and it is less tender.

When using frozen calamari, make sure to thaw it thoroughly before you start marinating it.

fresh calamari

Panko Breadcrumbs

The key to that irresistible crunch lies in the coating; panko breadcrumbs are your best friend. These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs, giving your calamari rings a delightful crunch that pairs perfectly with the tender calamari inside.

How to make Miso air fried calamari rings

This delicious air fryer calamari recipe can be made in 6 easy steps (just a quick note that I used my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer) :

1. Clean and cut the calamari tube

Try to get cleaned calamari tubes from the fish market, as this will save you some time. Otherwise, if you have some time to spare, get a whole squid and clean it. Cut the tube into widths of 1-centimeter strips.

2. Mix the Miso marinade

In a large bowl, mix the red miso paste, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of sweet chilli sauce to make a blended marinade. Then, place the calamari rings inside the marinade for 30 minutes.

3. Prepare the Panko breadcrumbs mixture

Grab a shallow bowl or plate and pour the Panko breadcrumbs and garlic powder into it

4. Coat the calamari rings

Pick up one calamari ring at a time and place it into the Panko mixture. Then, coat the calamari ring by pressing it into the Panko breadcrumbs and ensuring the crumbs cover the whole ring.

5. Preheat your air fryer and arrange the calamari rings

A preheated air fryer helps keep the calamari tender and juicy by ensuring it is not overdone while it heats up. Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C). Then, arrange the coated calamari rings in a single layer inside the air fryer basket.

6. Air fry calamari

Pop the calamari rings into the air fryer for 9 minutes.

Prepping the calamari

Cleaning the fresh calamari

If you’re using fresh calamari, here are the easy steps to clean a whole calamari:

  1. Pull the head and tentacles away from the body, and the innards should come out with them.
  2. Remove the quill (a long, transparent piece of cartilage) from inside the body.
  3. Rinse the body tube under cold water, and peel off the outer skin if desired.
  4. Cut the cleaned body into 1-centimeter rings and set aside the tentacles (these can also be air-fried).

Cleaning frozen calamari

For those using frozen calamari rings, thaw frozen calamari by placing it in the refrigerator overnight or submerging it in cold water for about an hour.
Ensure the calamari is fully thawed, and pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Do I need to tenderize calamari?

The good news is that calamari does not need to be tenderized before being prepared for the air fryer.

Unlike traditional deep-frying methods, which sometimes result in tough and chewy rings, the air fryer cooks calamari quickly and evenly, preserving its natural tenderness.

Fresh or properly thawed frozen calamari rings will cook to a perfect texture without the extra step of tenderizing. So, you can skip the tenderizing and go straight to coating and cooking your calamari rings in the air fryer.

Mix the Miso Marinade

To create a flavorful miso marinade for your calamari, combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, red miso paste, fresh lemon juice, and sweet chilli sauce in a separate bowl. Whisk these ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and well-blended.

Combining soy sauce and balsamic vinegar gives the calamari a salty, sweet, and sour taste. Meanwhile, the red miso paste provides a rich umami flavor. Fresh lemon juice gives it some zest, and sweet chilli sauce balances it all with a hint of chili sweetness.

This miso marinade will infuse your calamari with a deliciously complex taste, tenderizing it with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

Crispy Calamari coating

Combine panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with garlic powder. My boys are not fans of spicy food, but I love it.

So, sometimes, I would separate the panko mixture into two bowls and add spice to the coating. My favorite seasonings are a pinch of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or freshly ground pepper. This allows me to have my spicy calamari rings as well.

air fryer calamari

Cooking Crispy Air Fryer Calamari Rings

How to Cook Crispy Calamari in an Air Fryer

  • Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C).
  • Place breaded calamari in a single layer and spritz with olive or avocado oil.
  • Air fry for 9 minutes.
  • Check for doneness and adjust cooking time as needed.

Tips for Crispy Air Fryer Calamari

Ever since I used the air fryer to cook my calamari rings, I’ve discovered several key tips to ensure that they are perfectly crispy every time:

1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Always preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C) before adding the calamari rings. Preheating prevents the calamari from being overcooked and chewy as it’s cooked at the right temperature from the start.

 2. Use Parchment Paper or Lightly Oil the Basket: I usually use parchment paper for calamari rings to prevent sticking to the basket. However, lightly spraying the air fryer basket with olive or avocado oil does the same job.

 3. Use a Light Coating of Oil: Lightly spray the coated calamari rings with olive or avocado oil before placing them in the air fryer. This layer of oil helps the panko breadcrumbs crisp up beautifully.

 4. Don’t Overcrowd the Basket: It’s true! I’ve learned that cooking the calamari rings in a single layer without overlapping is critical. Overcrowding leads to uneven cooking and soggy spots. If you have a lot of calamari, cook in batches—it’s worth the extra time.

 5. Don’t Shake or Flip: This is one thing I do not shake or flip in my air fryer! The panko breadcrumbs are delicate, and shaking or flipping them would make the rumbs fall off. That’s why I love my air fryer. I do not need to flip the rings to cook them evenly!

 6. Monitor Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the calamari during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent overcooking. Air fryers can vary, and overcooked calamari can become chewy. Adjust the cooking time as needed based on the size and thickness of the rings. I often check a minute or two earlier than the air fryer recipe suggests.

 7. Serve Immediately: After having many batches of air fried calamari rings, I’ve noticed that it’s key to serve them immediately after cooking. When they are hot, the meat is juicy and crispy. Have your dipping sauces and garnishes ready so you can enjoy them at their best.

Best served with Air-Fried Calamari Rings

What to Serve with Crispy Calamari Rings

  • To elevate your presentation, serve the calamari over a bed of mixed greens with a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a light and refreshing option.
  • Pair it with tzatziki sauce and a side of Greek salad for a Mediterranean twist.

Sauces to Serve with Air Fried Calamari Rings

  • The Original: Sprinkle with shallots, then serve with Japanese Mayonnaise and lemon wedges on the side.
  • Classic Touch: Dip in Aioli Sauce with lemon wedges.
  • Twist of Spice: Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce, Sriracha mayo, or a Tangy Remoulade

Storage and Reheating air fried calamari rings

As the panko breadcrumbs fall off easily from the calamari rings, I generally do not store them as leftovers.

But, if you have leftovers because (maybe) there was just too much food at your party, then here are a few steps on how to store and reheat them:

  • Place the cooled calamari rings in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 1 day.
  • When you’re ready to reheat, preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange the calamari rings in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they don’t overlap.
  • Reheat for 3 minutes.

Air-frying is your best bet to restore some of the original crispiness. Avoid microwaving, which can make the calamari rubbery and the panko crumbs soggy.

calamari air fryer

Air Fryer Calamari Recipe

Claire Baker
If you're looking for a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional fried calamari, this air-fried calamari rings recipe with a Japanese twist is for you.
Combining the rich flavors of a miso marinade with the satisfying crunch of panko breadcrumbs, these calamari rings are a delightful treat perfect for any occasion.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Cleaning calamari and marinating time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 4 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 people


  • 1 Air Fryer (Air Fryer used is Ninja Foodi Air Fryer)


For Miso Marinade

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

For Panko Caoting

  • 1 cup panko braedcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes,freshly ground pepper (to taste)

For the Calamari

  • 500 grams fresh calamari cleaned and cut into rings (or thawed frozencalamari rings)
  • olive oil spray


Prepare the Miso Marinade

  • In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, red miso paste, fresh lemon juice, and sweet chili sauce.
  • Whisk until smooth and well-blended.

Marinate the Calamari

  • Place the calamari rings in a large bowl with the miso marinade.
  • Toss to coat evenly and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the Panko Coating

  • In a shallow bowl, mix panko breadcrumbs with garlic powder.
  • Mix in a pinch of cayenne pepper, red pepperflakes, or freshly ground pepper for added flavor.

Coat the Calamari Rings

  • Remove the calamari rings from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off.
  • Press each ring into the panko mixture, ensuring an even coating on all sides.

Preheat the Air Fryer

  • Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C) forabout 3 minutes

Arrange and Air Fry the Calamari

  • Line the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper or lightly spray it with cooking oil.
  • Place the coated calamari rings in a single layer in the basket, ensuring they don't touch or overlap.
  • Lightly spray the tops of the calamari ringswith olive oil spray.
  • Air fry at 356°F (180°C) for 9 minutes.

Check for Golden Brown Crisp

  • The calamari rings should be golden brown and crispy. If they need a little more time, continue cooking in 1-2 minute increments, checking frequently to avoid overcooking.

Serve Immediately

  • Once done, transfer the crispy calamari rings toa serving platter.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauces, such as Japanese mayo, garlic aioli, or sriracha mayo. Garnish with lemon wedges for an extra burst of freshness.
Keyword air fried calamari, air fried calamari rings, air fryer calamari, crispy calamari

Try grilled squid air fryer recipe

These panko-air-fried calamari rings are a crunchy delight, but have you tried grilling squid in the air fryer without crumbs?

For squid and calamari lovers, try air-frying your squid and calamari with our Grilled Squid Tubes Air Fryer Recipe with Italian flavors. Or, if Japanese flavors are your thing, try our Miso Grilled Squid Air Fryer Recipe.

Lastly, if you have bought a whole calamari, refer to our Air-Fried Squid Tentacles on how to prepare the squid tentacles.

Scroll to Top