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Lemon Pepper Calamari with a Lemon and Thyme Aioli

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x


Tender pieces of lemon pepper calamari fried to golden perfection and served with the most addictive lemon and thyme aioli dipping sauce. #calamari #appetizer #seafood #fried #crispy


Units Scale


  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour (plus 12 tablespoons more for dusting)
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • the juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tbsp)
  • 300 ml (10 oz) of beer
  • oil for frying (I use sunflower for this recipe)
  • 12 large squids

Lemon and Thyme Dipping Sauce

  • 1 egg (always make sure you are using good quality fresh eggs)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 23 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of olive oil (regular olive oil is best as it doesn’t carry with it such a heavy taste like extra virgin olive oil does)


Lemon Pepper Calamari

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper together.  Mix until evenly combined.
  2. Slowly whisk in beer and lemon juice.  You want it to be thick but still mobile, so try for the consistency of a runny paste.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, while the batter is chilling, wash and cut up the squid.  Leave the tentacles as long strips and cut the mantle into rings.  After prep, keep cold.  Seafood has a tendency to spoil quickly in the heat so refrigerate until ready to fry.
  5. In a deep pot or fryer, heat up the oil on high heat for 5-10 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s ready to fry when you drop a bit of batter into the water and it bubbles vigorously.
  6. When the oil is hot, dust squid pieces in flour and dip in beer batter.  Make sure it is evenly coated in batter.
  7. CAREFULLY add to hot oil.  Make sure it is evenly distributed in the oil to avoid pieces sticking together.
  8. Fry until golden brown and crispy then remove from oil and drain on paper towels to soak up all that extra grease.
  9. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Lemon and Thyme Aioli

  1. In a blender, add egg, garlic, thyme leaves, Dijon mustard, salt and lemon juice together.
  2. Blitz together on high speed until fully pureed.
  3. With the blender still mixing at high speed, start slowly adding olive oil in a thin strip to the running blender and egg mixture.  Keep a watchful eye on it and stop adding olive oil when you see the consistency thicken to a smoother creamier texture.  When you see it turn to the consistency that you want, stop adding oil and turn off the blender.
  4. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat.  This can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.


When it comes to seafood, fresh is best  You can use frozen squid in a pinch if you want but you may run the risk of it being chewy and rubbery.

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Western

Keywords: calamari, squid, lemon pepper, crispy, fried, aioli, thyme, garlic

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