The 'suckers' on squid tentacles seem to each have small shell-like (chitinous?) 'rings' inside them that can be removed by pulling or rubbing the tentacles. This takes a lot of time and I am wondering if it is necessary?

Also, how much of the mouth/head is generally good to eat? It seems that the ring where the tentacles connect is quite edible but there are also some much harder/tougher parts of flesh nearby.


No you do not need to remove them, unless you're talking about very large squid.

Good to eat? I prefer the flesh and not the tentacles, but basically anything that isn't what you remove when cleaning (the internal 'bone' and assorted goop attached to it) is fine.

Best method for cooking is very, very fast--squid needs fast nigh heat, usually no more than 40-60 seconds depending on size. Dust with cornstarch and deep fry very fast, or sautee in butter very fast. Too long and you will be chewing rubber.

  • 2
    Yes, very fast or (I've heard) very very slow is the way to go with squid.
    – NBenatar
    Aug 25 '10 at 10:28
  • Never had it slow, but the best (IMHO) is breaded and deep-fried just until the outside crisps. Aug 25 '10 at 15:02
  • 2
    i've had squid braised long and slow in red wine. spectacular, melts in the mouth.
    – daniel
    Aug 25 '10 at 19:03
  • I'm a big fan of the tentacles dusted in cornstarch and deep fried as well. Goes really good with black bean sauce that you can get at an Asian grocery store. Nov 4 '12 at 17:32
  • 1
    From what I remember, Alton Brown said that if you accidentally cook them too long, wait even more and if you cook them long enough, they will become tender again. Jan 28 '13 at 23:46

Whole squid are easy to clean and prepare. Depending on the size the smaller are easier while the larger may take a little more time and preparation. Pull the tentacles and head from the main body (innards should come out with tentacles). You can remove the skin from the smaller squid or calamari (both of the same family) though it is recommended to remove the skin on all squid as it may be extremely chewy and undesirable. For the larger squid it is suggested by some to either soak it in buttermilk, pawpaw or even kiwi fruit. These all have active enzymes that can tenderize proteins and have been found not to impart any consequential flavour.

Remove the centre cartilage which is clear, thin and plastic like (this is inedible). I find the best way is to score it in a crisscross pattern on the inside of the body because as it cooks it curls, tenderises and if done with a little care it is also attractive. It is great sautéed marinated in garlic, ginger or whatever your preferred flavour such as chili etcetera and sautéed in light olive oil. Or slightly dusted with cornflour and flavouring of your choice, deep or shallow fried.

Tentacles take a little bit more time to prepare as the suction cups have a little circular bone like attachments that can be removed by rubbing. Remove the beak and you may also even keep or discard the ink sac. If it is still intact this may be used for making squid ink pasta or risotto. Then after cleaning the tentacles cut into desired length up to 2 inches (5 centimetres) and coat these with cornflour, salt, pepper (to taste) or my favourite is salt, pepper and chili powder quickly flash fried for a nice tasty drinking snack. Or maybe marinated in olive oil garlic and flavourings of your choosing including herbs and this acts as a nice accompaniment on any antipasto or seafood lovers plate.


I think the best way to prepare squid is to soak it in thin seasoned buttermilk /egg mixture to help tenderize it a little then before frying, dredge it in cornflour and quickly fry it until crispy. But be careful not to over cook it.

Serve with a hot chipotle aioli.

  • egg does absolutely nothing to tenderize anything. the acids in buttermilk do.
    – daniel
    Aug 26 '10 at 7:03
  • The eggs are to make it into an egg wash so the flour sticks.
    – user2185
    Aug 26 '10 at 10:32
  • uhh.. one dusts something in flour first, then egg. the other way around won't get you very far.
    – daniel
    Sep 3 '10 at 7:58
  • It is not necessary to do flour egg flour with squid. If so it will be gummy and the coating will be way to thick. It is a delicate process try it sometime
    – user2185
    Sep 4 '10 at 7:06
  • chris... flour egg flour won't work either. the method for breading is flour (sticks to the product, gives the egg something to hang on to), egg, breadcrumbs. alternatively, flour then batter. flour/egg/flour in that order just won't work. please bear in mind that many of us here are professional chefs and sometimes we do know what we're talking about.
    – daniel
    Sep 5 '10 at 17:52

Extract centre cartilage and do take time to scrape off the tentacle suckers.

Larger squid need the skin removing - I don't bother for smaller ones.

For smaller squid, deep fry or stir fry as rings / tentacle pieces for 30 seconds without ANY cornflour or such like. Just a light dusting of pepper, finely chopped chilli, and hint of sea salt.

Large squid I tend to bash to tenderise, cut them into diamonds / squares, and freeze until needed (separating with greaseproof paper or film). Then lightly coat the pieces with egg, and then cover with panko, chilli pepper, chilli, light sea salt and deep fry for 80/90 seconds whilst the squid is still frozen. You can get them golden that way without making them tough. Feel free to also tenderise squid before freezing, but dry them off before the freeze.

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