Air Fryer Cook

Easy Miso Grilled Squid Air Fryer: Best Tender Squid

Hey there, fellow grilled squid lovers! We all love tender, juicy grilled squid served at our favorite restaurants. But the moment we try to grill it at home, well, it comes out chewy and dry. I’ve been struggling to get that just-right texture. But guess what?

This Grilled Squid Air Fryer Recipe will show you how to get that just-right texture. I’m a huge fan of this life-saver appliance, and I’ve been using it to cook up squid that’s so succulent that my kids will eat it willingly.

Let me show you how an air fryer can transform your squid into tender, golden-brown delights. Trust me, get ready to say bye-bye to chewy squid!

grilled squid air fryer

Key Takeaway: Miso grilled squid air fryer recipe

  • This grilled squid air fryer recipe will cook tender and juicy squid in 10 minutes.
  • All that’s needed is a whole squid, some sauces, and an air fryer. I used the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer for this recipe.

Miso grilled squid air fryer key ingredients

Combining the sweet flavor of squid with the rich, salty soybean taste of red miso brings a sweet and salty combination that lingers in your mouth. So, let’s dig deeper into what we need to know regarding these two key ingredients.

Is it squid or calamari?

The word calamari is an Italian word that has been adopted globally. It is usually used to describe a cut of a squid tube. For example, I typically see calamari rings on the menu. Meanwhile, squid generally represent the whole animal.

So, I often see grilled squid on restaurant menus, which refers to grilled whole squid (squid tubes and tentacles).

I have air-fried the whole squid (tube and tentacles) in this recipe, but you can use just the squid tube or calamari rings. Air-fried calamari rings are best with breaded crumbs to give them a crispy texture.

So, the next question is, do we use fresh or frozen squid/calamari? Well, let’s have a look.

Fresh squid for air frying

Fresh is always better for any recipe. For squid, the freshness affects the taste and the texture. So, what should you look for when selecting fresh squid? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Squid eyes: Look for bright, clear eyes. If the eyes are cloudy, then the squid is not fresh.
  • Squid tentacles: Give the tentacles a gentle squeeze, and they should be firm.
  • Squid smell: Bring your nose close to the squid and notice whether you get an ocean scent.

Can I use frozen calamari?

This grilled squid air fryer recipe can also make air fryer calamari rings. I usually do this on busy nights when frozen calamari rings are in your fridge, and I don’t have time to get fresh squid.

However, frozen calamari rings have less sweet squid taste and can be a little chewy. I would experiment with the cooking settings to get the right texture balance.

But it’s a fast way to get grilled calamari, as the frozen calamari are already cleaned, so all I need to do is thaw them before marinating them.

This brings me to our next key ingredient, red miso paste.

Red miso paste

Red miso paste is my secret paste that transforms grilled squid into a flavor-packed delight. Its salty-sweet taste with hints of bitter tones infused with the squid gives a bold flavor.

Compared to its milder cousins, white and yellow miso, red miso brings a richer taste that can elevate the simple squid to gourmet status.

White miso offers a gentler, slightly sweet profile, ideal for those who prefer a subtler touch, while yellow miso strikes a middle ground with a balanced, somewhat nutty flavor.

When selecting a miso paste for your grilled squid, consider how the paste’s flavor intensity complements the squid’s natural taste.

Steps to follow for grilled squid air fryer recipe

You’re only 5 steps away from getting that yummy succulent squid. Here is a quick summary of the steps involved in my Miso grilled squid air fryer recipe:

1. Clean the Squid

This step takes longer than the cooking time of the squid, so be prepared to allow some extra time. Start by removing the head, innards, and ink sac. Then, move on to removing the squid beak and the cartilage in the tail tube. Finally, remove the outer skin.

2. Prepare marinade mixture

Grab a medium bowl large enough to fit your squid, and mix the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, and a spoon of red miso paste until harmoniously combined. Sprinkle some garlic powder to enhance the flavors further.

3. Let it marinade

Coat the squid evenly in the marinade, then cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator. A good 30 minutes should do the trick, but if you’re patient, a few hours would be even better for those flavors to soak in.

4. Air fry the squid

Preheat the air fryer and arrange the squid in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Set the cooking time for 10 minutes.

5. Serve the squid

If you are happy with the golden brown color, take the squid out of the air fryer basket. Where the ideal golden brown color has not yet reached, air fry for an extra 2 minutes. Sprinkle some chopped shallots as a condiment and serve. Add a few lemon wedges to add zest.

Prepping the squid for the air fryer

Cleaning the Squid

Some parts of the squid should not be eaten. Therefore, cleaning a whole squid is a required step before cooking. Here are the steps to follow for a straightforward clean:

1. Clean the Squid

Gently pull the head away from the body to remove the innards. When pulled out, the innards and ink sac are attached to the tentacles. Use a knife to cut them off just under the squid eyes.

2. Remove the beak

A beak in the base of the tentacles should be removed. Use the tips of the knife and cut around it.

3. Clean the squid tube

Use your fingers to find the thin piece of cartilage inside the squid tube and pull it out. The squid tube has a spotty skin layer that can be eaten, so whether you want to pull it off is optional.

4. Remove teeth from the suction cups

In larger squids, a ring of small teeth is inside the suction cups. Use your fingertips to squeeze the suction cups and see whether a tiny ring of teeth falls out. Repeat a couple of times until all the rings of teeth have been removed.

air fryer grilled squid

Making the Miso marinade

To prepare the marinade for the squid, simply combine soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in a separate bowl.

Mix in red miso paste to add depth and fermented notes, then sweeten the blend with honey to counter the savory elements. Stir all of the sauces together until they create a smooth liquid mixture. Then, sprinkle some garlic powder to enhance the flavor.

Pour the marinade over the squid and let it rest for 30 minutes. This miso marinade will tenderize the squid because of the acidity of the balsamic vinegar.

Air Fryer Tips

Grilled squid air fryer cooking settings

After making this recipe many times, I have found that the perfect temperature is 356°F (180°C) and a cooking time of 10 minutes. This cooking setting will give the squid a charred look, and the meat will be tender and juicy.

These settings are perfect when using my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer. I know air fryer models differ, so it is recommended that you check your squid and adjust the temperature and time for the next batch.

I have found that preheating my air fryer for a few minutes helps to keep the squid tender and juicy as the meat is being cooked at the right temperature the moment it enters the air fryer.

Arranging the grilled squid in the air fryer basket

Start lining the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper to prevent sticking. If you don’t have air fryer parchment paper, spray your basket with olive oil or avocado oil spray.

Then, lay the squid pieces in a single, even layer—this ensures that the hot air circulates around each one, giving you that desirable char and crispness.

Avoid overcrowding the basket; if you have more squid than can fit in one layer, it’s better to cook in multiple batches. Each piece will cook uniformly, and you’ll end up with beautifully grilled squid cooked to perfection with a tasty charred flavor.

How to serve Miso grilled squid

Complimentary dishes with grilled squid

This miso-grilled squid air-fried dish has a strong aromatic flavor, so I usually pair it with neutral sides to avoid conflicting flavors. My favorite sides to pair it with are air-fried broccolini and egg noodles.

Other complimenting sides I like are:

Dipping sauce for grilled squid

As the miso grilled squid has a rich, sweet-salty flavor, I usually choose light sauces to dip it in. My favorite is Japanese mayonnaise, which has a light-sweet flavor that complements the miso squid taste.

Storing and reheating leftover grilled squid

To store, let the squid cool to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to three days.

When reheating, you want to keep the squid’s texture. The best way to do this is to use the air fryer. Set the air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for 3 minutes and check whether it has warmed through. This method helps maintain the squid’s tenderness while reviving its crisp exterior.

Alternatively, use a skillet over medium heat for a quick warm-up for a minute or two, but be cautious not to overcook it. Avoid using a microwave as it can make the squid rubbery.

Grilled Squid

Miso Grilled Squid Air Fryer Recipe

Claire Baker
This dish combines the rich, umami-packed flavors of miso paste with the tender, succulent texture of squid, all with the convenience of air frying. Whether you're an air fryer fan or a newbie, this Miso grilled air fryer recipe is easy to follow to make tender grilled squid.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2


  • 1 Air Fryer ( I used my Ninja Foodi Air Fryer)


  • 400 g Cleaned whole squid (can be cut into calamari rings)
  • 1 tablespoon Red miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • Chopped shllots for garnish


  • Marinate the Squid: In a medium bowl, whisk together the red miso paste, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, and sesame oil until well combined. Add the squid to the bowl and toss gently to coat evenly with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the squid marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C) for about 3 minutes. This ensures the squid will grill quickly and evenly.
  • Prepare the Air Fryer Basket: Spray the basket with olive or avocado cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • Arrange the Squid: Place the marinated squid in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring space between each piece for optimal air circulation.
  • Air Fry the Squid: Cook for 10 minutes at 356°F (180°C). Reduce the cooking time if your squid is small and has thinner flesh. Halfway through the cooking time, open the air fryer and flip the squid to ensure even grilling.
  • Check for Doneness: The squid is done when it is golden-brown in color and slightly charred on the edge. Be careful not to overcook it, as it can become rubbery if cooked too long.
  • Serve: Transfer the grilled squid to a serving platter. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped shallots for an extra touch of flavor and presentation.
Keyword grilled calamari, grilled calamari air fryer, grilled squid, grilled squid air fryer

Try another grilled squid air fryer recipe

The Miso Grilled Squid Air Fryer recipe offers a delightful Japanese twist to your squid with the convenience of air frying. The result is a delicious meal that’s both easy to prepare and tantalizing to the palate.

 If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, why not try our Grilled Squid Tubes Air Fryer Recipe using Italian flavors? It will be just as easy to prepare, and the Italian herbs make the squid so aromatic.

Or, if you like crispy squid, try our Air-Fried Calamari Rings or Air-Fried Squid Tentacles recipes.

Scroll to Top