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How To Keep & Reheat Calamari [I Try 4 Methods]

If you’ve recently made (or ordered) a little too much calamari, you may be wondering how to reheat it.

Calamari is a delicate dish, and even more so after it’s been cooked. You have to find the right balance to ensure you don’t end up with a soggy, tough piece of battered squid. (Ergh).

I have personally experimented with several different calamari reheating methods, with the aim of finding the method that delivers the best crunch and the least tough bite.

These reheating methods include:

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

What’s the best way to reheat calamari? The best way to reheat calamari is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C) and spread the calamari out on a wire rack. Spray the calamari with a light coating of oil and heat them for around 10 minutes, or until they’re hot to the touch.

A note on my experiment

I ordered some calamari from my local Italian restaurant and left it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I tested four different ways of reheating the calamari so I could take the guesswork out of it for you.

These tests included reheating in the oven, microwave, air fryer, and deep fryer.

For each method, I’ve taken into consideration how easy it is, how crispy the calamari is after reheating, and most importantly how fresh (i.e. not tough) the calamari feels to eat.

Reheating calamari

Calamari is always best eaten fresh. Reheated calamari will still be delicious (if you reheat it correctly), but it won’t compare to the decadence of fresh calamari.

Squid is a delicate ingredient and very easy to overcook. 

Reheating increases the chances that you’ll overcook the squid and it’ll become chewy. But as long as you’re careful and don’t heat the calamari for too long, you shouldn’t notice too much of a texture change.

Reheating calamari in the oven

Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C) and spread your calamari out on a wire rack. Spray the calamari with a light coating of oil and heat them for around 10 minutes, or until they’re hot to the touch.

The dry heat of the oven is perfect for reheating calamari rings. It keeps the outside crispy while being gentle enough not to overcook the squid.

To reheat calamari in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C) or 450°F (230°C) for frozen calamari
  2. Spread your calamari rings out on a wire rack*.
  3. Spray the calamari rings with a light coating of oil (optional).
  4. Put the calamari in the oven and heat for 10 minutes or until they’re piping hot.
  5. Serve immediately.

* If you don’t have a wire rack, you can use a baking tray. But you’ll have to turn the calamari halfway through cooking to ensure the batter crisps up on both sides.

The oil spray isn’t a necessity, but I include it because I think it adds an extra crunch to the rings. I use an oil spritzer to ensure a light coating. Pouring the oil isn’t a good idea because you’ll add too much and create soggy patches.

I prefer to reheat my calamari on a relatively high heat because it minimizes the calamari’s time in the oven. If you use a lower heat, the calamari will need longer in the oven, increasing the chance of the squid overcooking.

Verdict

The calamari came out nice and crispy, and the squid wasn’t too chewy. I would definitely use this method again, especially for bigger portions where the air fryer is too small.

Reheating calamari in the air fryer

To reheat calamari in the air fryer, first preheat it to 350°F (180°C). Add the calamari to the air fryer basket and optionally spray them with a light coating of oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the air fry basket to prevent soggy calamari. Heat the calamari for 3-4 minutes and serve immediately.

The air fryer is my favorite way to reheat calamari because it’s the quickest method. But I realize not everyone has an air fryer (seriously, you NEED one), so I put it after the oven method.

To reheat calamari in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (180°C) or 400°F (200°C) for frozen calamari.
  2. Place the calamari in the air fryer basket.
  3. Spray the calamari with a light coating of oil (optional).
  4. Heat the calamari for 3-4 minutes (or 6-8 minutes for frozen calamari).
  5. Serve immediately.

Make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer with your calamari because this can lead to the batter becoming soggy. If you have a lot of calamari to reheat, it’s best to do them in several batches.

The oil is totally optional. The batter should have enough residual oil in it to crisp up the calamari, but an extra spritz or two won’t hurt!

Verdict

The air fryer produced the crispiest results (although the oven wasn’t far behind) and took the least amount of time. However, for bigger batches of calamari, the air fryer is less efficient.

Reheating calamari in the microwave

Fried foods and the microwave don’t mix.

Microwave heat can’t crisp foods up, so anything fried, including calamari, will turn tough and soggy after reheating. 

But I still tried it because I know how convenient the microwave is.

The results were as expected. The rings were floppy instead of crunchy.

The outside batter was very limp for the first few seconds, and the rings were floppy instead of crunchy.

Then, as the calamari cooled, the batter turned hard and chewy.

I didn’t even want to taste the calamari after it came out of the microwave. It looked that unappetizing. But for the sake of this experiment, I sucked it up and took a bite. It tasted exactly how it looked, limp, soggy, and old.

Reheating calamari by re-frying

Re-frying is often suggested as a method because it will give you a very crispy exterior.

The problem with re-frying is that it’s a very harsh reheating method and squid is a delicate fish.

Frying your calamari twice will almost certainly result in overcooked, rubbery squid rings. And this is precisely what I got.

The fried calamari had a nice crispy outside, but the squid inside was noticeably tougher than the other reheating methods. And I only fried the calamari for 5 seconds!

When you’re reheating calamari, you want to use a gentle method that heats the rings rather than re-cooks them. Anything that re-cooks the calamari will ruin them.

Other ways to use up leftover calamari

Bored of eating plain calamari?

Here are a few ideas for leftover calamari:

  • Add the calamari to a salad
  • De-batter the calamari and add it to pasta or soup
  • Chop the calamari up and add it to fried rice

My favorite idea is adding the de-battered squid to a seafood pasta alongside prawns and clams. You could leave the batter on if you wanted, but I find it gets all soggy and creates an unpleasant texture in the dish.

How to store calamari

To store leftover calamari, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Arrange the calamari in a single layer so it’s not touching. Separate any subsequent layers with a paper towel. The paper towel will soak up any excess moisture. The calamari will keep for up to three days.

You could also lay the calamari out on a cookie sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. It’s best to keep the calamari separate (not touching), otherwise the batter can become overly soggy.

Wait until the calamari is completely cool to put it in the airtight container. If it’s still hot, it’ll create condensation on the container’s lid, which can drip down and make the calamari moist.

Throw away any calamari that’s been sitting at room temperature for over an hour. Fish and shellfish can very quickly accumulate bacteria at room temperature, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Can you freeze calamari?

Flash freeze calamari by laying out on a parchment-lined baking tray

To freeze calamari, lay it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and flash-freeze it for one hour. After an hour, transfer the calamari to a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. You can keep the calamari frozen for up to 3 months. 

After three months, the quality of the batter will start to deteriorate.

Flash freezing the calamari means it won’t stick together in the freezer bag, so you won’t have to use the whole bag in one go.

The main problem with freezing calamari is freezer burn. The best way to avoid freezer burn is to minimize the amount of air in contact with your calamari. This is why I suggest a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out as the best container.

I use a straw to suck as much of the air out as I can. I find it works much better than just squeezing!

If you have a vacuum sealer, using this will be even better. Then you can be 100% sure your calamari won’t be affected by freezer burn. 

Flash freeze the calamari before vacuum sealing it so the rings don’t collapse from the pressure.

To reheat the calamari from frozen, set the oven to 400°F (200°C), spread the calamari out on a wire rack or baking tray, and heat them for 10 minutes. If you’re using a baking tray, flip the calamari halfway through cooking to crisp up both sides.

The BEST Way To Reheat Calamari

If you’ve recently made (or ordered) a little too much calamari, you may be wondering how to reheat it.
Calamari is a delicate dish, and even more so after it’s been cooked. You have to find the right balance to ensure you don’t end up with a soggy, tough piece of battered squid. (Ergh).
I have personally experimented with several different calamari reheating methods, with the aim of finding the method that delivers the best crunch and the least tough bite.
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Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 1 person
Calories 175 kcal

Equipment

Wire rack

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion calamari
  • 1 spray olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 370°F (190°C) or 450°F (230°C) for frozen calamari.
  • Spread your calamari out on a wire rack*.
  • Spray the calamari rings with a light coating of oil (optional).
  • Put the calamari in the oven and heat for 10 minutes or until they’re piping hot.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

* If you don’t have a wire rack, you can use a baking tray. But you’ll have to turn the calamari halfway through cooking to ensure the batter crisps up on both sides.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 175kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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