Fried Octopus

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Chewy on the inside and with a crispy breading on the outside, this fried octopus recipe is too good to pass up! It’s the perfect appetizer or light entree that takes minutes to make.

crispy fried octopus.

When those fried seafood cravings strike, my family LOVES crispy fried octopus! Like coconut shrimp and fried calamari, fried octopus is surprisingly simple to whip up without needing a deep fryer.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe highlights
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make fried octopus
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions 
  7. More addictively crispy seafood recipes
  8. Fried Octopus (Recipe Card)

Recipe highlights

  • Quick and easy. Making fried octopus is straightforward and can be done quickly in a skillet on the stove. No deep fryer or splattering oil required!
  • No fishy flavor. I get that not everyone is a fan of seafood because of their claim that things taste ‘fishy’, but trust me, this one won’t leave you thinking that.
  • Restaurant-quality results. The easy-to-follow instructions give you restaurant-worthy fried octopus in no time.

Ingredients needed

The star of this recipe, octopus, gets its out-of-this-world flavors from a handful of pantry staple ingredients. This is what you need:

  • Octopus. I recommend picking up a medium-sized octopus with a clean, briny, ocean-like scent, firm white-pink flesh, and intact tentacles. It shouldn’t smell fishy at all.
  • Whole spices. I like boiling octopus with whole spices and aromatics, like crushed garlic, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and whole cloves. Building these flavors BEFORE frying the octopus makes the meat more complex and aromatic. 
  • Lemon juice. The acidity helps tenderize the meat, and also adds a hint of bright, citrusy flavor that pairs perfectly with seafood. Lime juice will also work.
  • Garlic powder. To season the octopus before coating it in flour. 
  • Salt and black pepper. To taste. 
  • Flour. This is my secret to extra crispy octopus. The tentacles are tossed in flour before frying, which creates a crispy, golden brown crust. Yum!
  • Olive oil. Or any cooking oil with a high smoke point, like avocado, canola, or vegetable oil. 

How to make fried octopus

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 – Tenderize the octopus. Submerge the octopus in a pot of water, then add the whole spices. Simmer the water until the meat shrinks slightly and the water turns purple.

octopus in pot with spices.

Step 2 – Season and coat the octopus: Clean and trim the boiled octopus. Next, season the tentacles with salt, pepper, and garlic powder before tossing them in the flour. 

seasoned and floured octopus.

Step 3 – Fry the tentacles. Fry the tentacles in a skillet with oil until they’re golden brown and crispy. 

seasoned tentacles in a skillet.

Step 4 – Serve. Garnish the fried octopus with olive oil and lemon slices, then enjoy!

fried octopus.

Alternative cooking methods

While I prefer to fry the octopus in a skillet, I’ve also tested this recipe in both the air fryer and the oven, for those of you who’d rather skip the excess oil.

Air fryer instructions: Lightly spray the battered pieces with cooking spray, lay them in the air fryer basket, and cook at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy, shaking the basket halfway through.

Oven instructions: Grease a large baking sheet and place the battered octopus on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for 12 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Recipe tips and variations

  • How to clean and trim octopus for cooking. Start by removing and discarding the head (just above the eyes), then slice off the tentacles from the body. Discard the base so you’re only left with the tentacles.
  • Don’t overcrowd the frying pan! You may need to fry the octopus in batches to help each piece get crispy and tender.
  • Garnish ideas. I like to season the crispy octopus with a pinch of sea salt, fresh parsley, or green onions immediately after it comes out of the hot oil.
  • Serve with dipping sauce. My kids love dipping crispy octopus tentacles in garlic aioli, garlic yogurt sauce, tartar sauce, and spicy mayo

Storage instructions

To store: Fried octopus is best enjoyed immediately while it’s still hot and crispy, but you can store the cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To freeze: Technically, you can freeze cooked octopus for 1 to 2 months, but it may lose its crispiness and become chewy when thawed. 

To reheat: Reheat the leftovers on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven or air fryer until they’re heated through and crispy.

octopus fried.

Frequently asked questions 

Where do you buy fresh octopus?

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding fresh octopus at your local seafood market, fishmonger, or the seafood section of well-stocked grocery stores.

Can I use frozen octopus?

I prefer to use fresh octopus, but high-quality frozen octopus does work as a substitute and is almost as tasty as the fresh stuff. You’ll just have to thaw it in the fridge before cooking.

More addictively crispy seafood recipes

fried octopus recipe.

Fried Octopus

5 from 1 vote
Chewy on the inside and with a crispy breading on the outside, this fried octopus recipe is too good to pass up! It's the perfect appetizer or light entree.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 21 ounces octopus 1 medium octopus
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 black peppers
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions 

  • Place the octopus in the pot and cover it with boiling water until it is fully submerged. 
  • Add the garlic, bay leaves, black peppers, cloves, and lemon juice, and cook over medium-high heat for several minutes, or until the octopus shrinks a little and turns purple.
    octopus in pot with spices.
  • Discard the water and spices. Cut the head of the octopus and discard it.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the octopus tentacles and discard the base.
  • Dredge the tentacles in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then in the flour. Shake off any excess.
    seasoned and floured octopus.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry the tentacles until crispy from all sides.
    seasoned tentacles in a skillet.

Notes

TO STORE. Fried octopus is best enjoyed immediately while it’s still hot and crispy, but you can store the cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
TO FREEZE. Technically, you can freeze cooked octopus for 1 to 2 months, but it may lose its crispiness and become chewy when thawed. 
TO REHEAT. Reheat the leftovers on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven or air fryer until they’re heated through and crispy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 24gFat: 12gSodium: 638mgPotassium: 668mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 552IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 9mgNET CARBS: 13g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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