Citrus and Spicy Grilled Calamari Rings

Do you enjoy calamari at your favorite restaurant? You should try this grilled calamari ring recipe. You may also like to try our copycat Axles Bonfire Bull Bites too. I started searching for a healthy alternatives to deep fried and breaded calamari. After scouring the internet for ideas and after a few failed attempts, I finally came up with this winner. Even family and friends who do not like calamari have been asking me to cook it again. Try using this manly recipe tailgating too.

grilled calamari rings

Citrus and Spicy Grilled Calamari Rings

I  understand why calamari is deep fried. It is very difficult to cook if you don’t know that it reduces itself down when heated; making it very hard to saute, bake, or broil. I found that unless the calamari was in a base like rice (in a paella perhaps) that it ended up sitting in its own juices and just wasn’t that appetizing.

The answer turned out to be grilling. You can use whole calamari if you like, but I prefer to use the frozen and prepared (cut into rings) calamari because I can skip the whole process of cutting up the squid. I found that unless you really have fresh product, it really didn’t affect the end result and this just seemed easier.

LemonLime-2 Zest-4 LemonJuice-5


  • 1 pound frozen calamari (cut into “rings”)
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit or other citrus (optional – will add sweetness to taste)
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro chopped
  • 2 tsp dried Parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pepper to taste

For a spicy version: (Dan calls the hellfire and brimstone version)

  • 3 tsp Cayanne
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes

For a mild version:

  • 1 tsp Cayanne
  • 2 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Paprika

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  • Thaw the calamari.
  • Zest the lemon, lime, and any other citrus fruit you have. Add the cilantro and parsley.
  • Juice all of your citrus fruits and divide the juice into two parts. Marinade the calamari for at least one hour in the first half, reserving the rest.
  • In a bowl, mix the dried ingredients to make a rub. I like to make this HOT out of personal preference. If you don’t like spice, feel free to reduce the quantity of spices in the dry rub but I recommend keeping some of each spice because it round out the flavor and gives a much richer taste in the end.
  • Remove the calamari from the marinade and stir into the dry rub making sure that every piece is covered by the rub.
  • Heat a grill to high and use a grill pan.
  • Brush olive oil onto the grill pan and place calamari in the pan to begin cooking.
  • As you grill the calamari, I like to spritz it with the second part of the marinade and to sprinkle any excess dry rub on top. I simply mix the calamari around on the grill pan the same way I would if I were sauteing it. Calamari is done when it turns white. Make sure it is cooked thoroughly.
  • Garnish it with wedges of lemon and other fresh herbs if desired.


“What about the kids!?” you ask.

Here’s the kid version: Don’t think the kids will like your grilled calamari rings? Make them some “calamari” that they will like! Take a hot dog, and carve eyes and a mouth into it toward one end. Then about half way down, cut the hotdog into squid legs by cutting down the center along the length of the hotdog. Cut each leg in half, and in half again to get eight legs. Serve in a side of sea-weed (Broccoli or other green fruit). And if it turns out you don’t like the real calamari, maybe your kids will share.


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About Chris 759 Articles
Chris Ashbach is one of the founders of Dan330. Chris is a pilot and avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring. He loves taking kids (especially his own) on trips to share his passion of the outdoors. Chris is also a gardener, volunteers at Let's Go Fishing, and teaches Sunday school. Chris holds a MA in Organizational Leadership and is faculty at a local university in Minnesota; teaching undergraduate business classes.