Calamari and rice (Καλαμάρι με ρύζι)

Calamari with rice

A one skillet meal which is so easy and flavourful that you’ll find yourself making it over and over again.

Calamari and rice

Any meal that can come together in one pot, one pan or one baking tray is a winner in our books.  When that meal happens to be delicious, and also requires little to no culinary skill, you know it’s going to be on the menu pretty often.  This one skillet meal of calamari and rice also happens to be perfect for periods of Orthodox fasting, when dairy, eggs and meat are usually avoided, but seafood like calamari is perfectly appropriate.

Helpful hints
Calamari is basically squid, and it is a pretty available, economical and versatile ingredient.  Although we love to prepare fried calamari rings, sometimes we want a lighter version, and that’s when we turn to this recipe.
Calamari with rice
You may be able to find fresh calamari, but the frozen variety is likely more accessible. You can purchase frozen calamari already cut into rings as we did for this recipe, or whole. Where we live, we can find  frozen calamari body tubes which have already been cleaned, meaning that the head and tentacles, and accompanying innards, are removed.  This makes preparation very easy.   However, if the only way you can find calamari is whole (either fresh or frozen) don’t panic.  Follow these super clear instructions on how to clean and prepare whole squid and you will be on your way.  For instructions, click here.
Cooking with calamari is a wonderful thing, but can be a little intimidating especially if you are not used to it.  The first thing that you need to know is that calamari cooks really quickly; 2 – 5 minutes is really all that it needs.  In this recipe, you’ll know that your calamari is done when it turns a very opaque white in the frying pan.

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Calamari with rice
The one thing which can potentially make your dish less perfect than it should be is over-cooking the rice.  The total cooking time of the rice will be about 15 minutes, but this will really depend upon the type of rice that you use.  For this reason, you’ll see that in the recipe we suggest that you check on your rice every 5 minutes or so, and add more water as you see is required.  The end result should be a little saucy; your rice should not be dry.
If you would like to see more seafood recipes, see these:
Fried calamari
Grilled octopus
Orzo with shrimp
Calamari with rice
Calamari with rice
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Calamari with rice

Calamari with rice

A one skillet meal which is so easy and flavourful that you'll find yourself making it over and over again.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • 400 grams calamari rings fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parley or basil
  • 1 lemon


  • Rinse your rice and place in a bowl and cover with water.  Set aside.  
  • Rinse and drain the calamari well, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet and fry the calamari over medium-high heat until cooked through. This will take approximately 3 minutes.  With a slotted spoon or spatula remove the calamari from the frying pan and set aside in a bowl.  You will notice that there is some liquid in the frying pan which has been released by the calamari.   Pour all of this liquid into a measuring cup and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same frying pan and add the chopped onion, garlic and dry oregano.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Drain your rice and add it to the frying pan.  Cook for a few minutes until opaque.  Meanwhile, take the reserved liquid which you saved after frying the calamari and measure it out.  Then, add enough water to reach 2 cups.  Pour this into the frying pan with the rice and then add the tomato sauce. Stir well.   
  • Cover the frying pan and cook over low heat for approximately 15 - 20 minutes.  Check on your rice every 5 minutes to be sure that there is still enough liquid in the pan. If it appears too dry simply add more water, 1/4 cup at a time.
  • After 15 - 20 minutes check the rice for doneness.  When the rice is cooked, add the calamari and parsley, or basil to the pan; stir well.  Cook, covered, for an additional 3 - 5 minutes so that the calamari is heated through.  
  • Before serving, add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the pan.  Stir to combine.
  • Enjoy!

Thanks for sharing!


  1. lillyevechristie says:

    calamari is my favourite! looks amazing, thank you!

    1. miakouppa says:

      Yeah!! We hope that you love the way we’ve prepared the calamari here. It’s definitely a recipe we love, and a meal we make over and over again.

  2. Nick @ says:

    Calamari is one of those classic seafoods that is extremely popular in Greece. There are many delicious ways to prepare it, and this is one of the best!

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thanks so much Nick! We definitely do love this version 🙂

      1. Hi , I really want to cook your recipe today it looks amazing. can I ask is the tomato sauce pasata?

      2. miakouppa says:

        Good day Nicholas, yes, the tomato sauce is pasata. We hope you enjoy it 🙂

  3. Florence Lytle says:

    June 20, 2020
    I purchase calamari but our Asian store only had the large calamari and I purchased four.
    When I weighted at home after cleaning I had way two much and two of these weighed more than 400 gms. I made the adjustments in the amount of the other ingredients.
    The flavors were delicious and fortunately I had all of the ingredients at home. I made one mistake, I didn’t adjust my cooking time for the larger calamiri and even though I reheated it at the end with the rice, it was still a little
    tough with the exception of the pieces from the fatter calamari. Any suggestions on that will help. There was plenty of juice to flavor the rice.
    Thanks for your blog.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Florence! Thank you so much for your message, and so glad that you loved the flavour of this dish! Calamari is a bit tricky to cook with – it tends to cook quite quickly, and if over cooked it can become chewy (not really tough). I guess that the best thing to do is to be sure that regardless of how large (or small) your calamari are – the pieces that you cut are all relatively the same size. That should help ensure even cooking throughout. Hope that helps!

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