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Finished Sauteed Calamari in plate.

Quick and Easy Spicy Sautéed Calamari with Capers and Olives (Not Fried)

This Sauteed Calamari recipe is such a quick and easy way to enjoy the delicious, versatile seafood! With a serious kick from fresh hot peppers and a delightful brininess from capers and black olives, this Mediterranean-inspired dish that’s topped with a buttery, herby breadcrumb topping may just convert you from “fried” to “sautéed”.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • ½ cup thinly-sliced or chopped hot peppers, such as fresno, jalapeño or long hots (seeds are optional-see NOTES)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, divided (about 6 green onions)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley, divided
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • ¼ cup pitted black, oil-cured olives, rough chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 pounds calamari, tentacles and rings (See NOTES re: cleaning and preparation)
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • To Taste salt and black pepper

Crunchy Herb Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley


  • Prep and gather all ingredients according to specifications above. Then, make the breadcrumb topping: Heat butter in small skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add breadcrumbs and parsley and cook until breadcrumbs are toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and set aside, uncovered, at room temperature. (You can make these breadcrumbs 3 to 4 hours in advance and hold them, uncovered, at room temperature.)
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
    2 Tbsp butter, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Then, add the garlic, hot pepper, ½ cup green onions and ¼ cup parsley and cook until the garlic starts to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp chopped garlic, ½ cup thinly-sliced or chopped hot peppers,
  • Stir in the capers, olives and paprika and cook until dry, about 2 minutes.
    ¼ cup capers,, ¼ cup pitted black, oil-cured olives,, 1 tsp paprika
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the calamari. Toss for about 30 seconds, then add the lemon juice, remaining green onions and parsley and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes only, then remove from heat. (The calamari is done when it just turns firm and opaque in color.) Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
    2 pounds calamari,, 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, To Taste salt and black pepper
  • Serve immediately, topped with the herb breadcrumbs, and with some crusty bread in order to sop up all the wonderful juices! Buon Appetito!


  • This recipe is meant to be spicy with a good amount of heat from the fresh hot peppers. Having said this, you can 100% leave the hot peppers out if you prefer.
  • Any type of hot pepper can be used and the seeds and membranes are optional. (The more seeds and membranes that you include, the hotter the dish.) Also, in a pinch, feel free to use crushed red pepper or chili paste for the heat if you do not have fresh hot peppers.
  • Try to buy already cleaned calamari, if possible. (Most of the frozen calamari out there is already cleaned.) However, if you need to clean it yourself, you will need to remove the beak, eyes, skin and the hard quill, which is the bone-like piece inside the squid. Then, rinse the calamari under cold water.  Click here for a great video on the process.
  • If using frozen calamari, be sure to defrost it prior to cooking.
  • Once the calamari is cleaned and/or defrosted, cut the bodies into approximately ½” thick rings. Use both the rings and tentacles in this recipe. Also, pat dry the calamari with a paper towel to remove excess moisture before cooking.
  • Note: There is no need to tenderize the calamari for this recipe. Tenderizing calamari in a mixture of milk and salt is a common practice for fried calamari.
  • Regular breadcrumbs can be substituted for the panko breadcrumbs, if necessary. Panko breadcrumbs will produce a crunchier topping than regular breadcrumbs.
  • If you prefer to keep this recipe dairy free, you can definitely substitute the butter with olive oil.
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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