Whether you’re at the pub, an Italian bistro or at the beach, calamari fritti (fried squid) is a favourite savoury choice to enjoy, especially in the summer. There is no secret behind making crispy calamari, except an important consideration is to not overcook the calamari otherwise you’ll be chewing elastic-like calamari!

My gluten-free recipe has an interesting ingredient to give it extra crunchiness and flavour – gluten-free rice puffs! I love the results from this addition so much that I now use it in any prawn or chicken fried batter for the same crunchy experience. Rice puffs can be found in health stores or alternatively, gluten-free Rice Krispies cereal sold by Kellogg’s can be used.

Additionally, I also use buttermilk which softens the calamari and acts as a glue for the dry ingredients to stick to.

Frying a small batch at a time is a good tip to avoid the frying pan from over-crowding which in turn, reduces the oil temperature, resulting in soggy calamari.

Once the calamari fritti are fried, serve them with a few lemon wedges and a bowl of aioli (garlic) mayonnaise, sit back and enjoy the sunshine!

  • 10 fresh or frozen calamari hoods, gutted, cleaned and sliced in rings
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 15g rice puffs
  • 70g cornflour
  • 70g glutinous rice flour/ sweet rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp black pepper


  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, to squeeze over fried calamari
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper, to season
Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. Cut the calamari hoods in 1 ½ cm rings. Pat dry.

2. Mix the buttermilk with cayenne pepper, onion powder and white pepper.

  1. Soak the calamari rings in the buttermilk mixture for 15 minutes at room temperature. If you have time to spare, place them in the fridge and soak them for up to four hours.

  1. In a food processor slightly crush the rice puffs.

  1. Add the crushed rice puff into a medium bowl together with the flours, salt and black pepper, mixing well. Set aside.
  1. Heat the oil up until it reaches 170°C/325°F or until a piece of bread browns within 30 seconds.
  1. Drain the buttermilk mixture from the calamari rings by lifting it over the bowl and shaking any excess off.

  1. Dunk the rings in the flour mixture, shaking the bowl well to cover the rings thoroughly.

  1. Add the calamari in small batches to the hot oil. Fry for 1.5 to 2 minutes until golden.

  1. Drain on paper towels and transfer to the serving plate.
  1. Serve with lemon wedges and aioli (garlic) mayonnaise as a snack or with a garden salad as a main.
  • Makes 2 large servings
  • Best eaten on the day of frying
  • Not suitable to freeze

For an instant aioli mayonnaise, add one minced garlic clove and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to 5 tablespoons of store-bought mayonnaise.