Five-Spice Fried Calamari with Sesame and Lime Recipe

Kerry Saretsky

Calamari is like an upmarket version of fish sticks. It's both comforting and slightly elevated. A lot of people get nervous about frying, or about seafood in general, but fried seafood is one of the easiest things you can make, and it cooks in less than two minutes.

Just take some calamari rings, toss them in a Ziploc bag with flour, sesame seeds, and Chinese five spice powder, and quickly fry them up. If you don't own a thermometer to test your oil temperature, don't worry. If it sizzles when you add the calamari, it's hot enough. You know they're done when they look crispy and golden. Then, just squirt with some lime juice and top with fresh herbs, and you've got dinner.

I keep calamari in my freezer and toss it in the fridge to defrost the morning I want to make it for dinner. With ingredients like Chinese five-spice powder, you have all the flavor in one jar. Just add a cold beer, and the night is perfect.

Recipe Details

Five-Spice Fried Calamari with Sesame and Lime Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 10 mins
Serves 2 to 4 servings


  • 1 pound calamari tubes and tentacles

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, black or white, plus more for garnish

  • 1 quart vegetable or peanut oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

  • 1/2 teaspoon zest from 1 lime

  • Lime wedges


  1. Prepare the calamari by slicing the tubes into 1/2-inch strips and cutting the tentacles in half down the center. Rinse and drain.

  2. In a large plastic food storage bag, toss together the flour, Chinese five spice powder, sesame seeds, and 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt. Add the calamari. Seal and shake the bag until the calamari is coated in the flour mixture.

  3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok, Dutch oven, or cast iron chicken fryer to 370°F. Transfer calamari to a colander or strainer and shake over sink to remove excess flour. Using hands, carefully add half of calamari to oil, bringing it as low as possible to oil before dropping in to prevent splashing. Fry, agitating constantly with a wire mesh spider until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt. Repeat with second batch.

  4. Toss fried calamari with green onion, cilantro, extra sesame seeds, and lime zest and serve with lime wedges.

Special Equipment

Wok or Dutch oven for deep frying

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
460 Calories
29g Fat
38g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 460
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 114mg 38%
Sodium 468mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 10mg 49%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 253mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)