Calamari is one of those dishes that’s universally loved.
Whether it’s fried, grilled, or served raw in a salad, calamari can be enjoyed by everyone.
But what really takes this dish to the next level is its dipping sauce.
From tartar sauce to garlic mayonnaise and beyond, there are so many delicious options out there.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to make your own dipping sauces for calamari, then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, I will share with you 9 of my favorite recipes for making homemade dipping sauces that will take your calamari game up a notch.
What is Calamari?
Calamari (kah-luh-MAH-ree) is a type of seafood that is popular in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.
It is made from squid, which are small cephalopods with eight arms and two tentacles.
Calamari can be prepared in a variety of ways, including fried, grilled, steamed, or boiled.
The most common preparation method for calamari is to fry it in oil until it becomes golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Calamari has a mild flavor that pairs well with other ingredients such as garlic, lemon juice, parsley, capers, tomatoes, olives and herbs like oregano or basil.
It also absorbs flavors easily when cooked with sauces or marinades.
Calamari can be served as an appetizer or main dish; it can also be used as an ingredient in salads or pasta dishes.
The 9 Best Dipping Sauces for Calamari
Calamari is a delicious seafood dish, but its flavor can be enhanced with the perfect dipping sauce.
Here are nine of the best sauces to pair with your fried (or grilled) calamari:
1. Tartar Sauce
Tartar sauce is a condiment made from mayonnaise, dill pickles, dijon mustard, capers, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.
It is usually served with seafood dishes such as fried fish or calamari.
- How to Make It: To make tartar sauce at home, you will need the following ingredients: 1/2 cup of mayonnaise; 2 tablespoons of finely chopped dill pickles; 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard; 1 tablespoon of capers (drained); 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce; and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Common Uses: Tartar sauce is most commonly used as an accompaniment to fried seafood dishes such as fish and chips or calamari rings. It can also be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers, or spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or mustard.
2. Garlic Mayo
Garlic mayo is a condiment made from mayonnaise and garlic.
It is a popular accompaniment to seafood dishes, such as calamari, and can also be used as a dip for vegetables or chips.
- How To Make It: Making garlic mayo is easy and only requires two ingredients – mayonnaise and garlic. Start by finely mincing the garlic cloves, then mix it into the mayonnaise until fully combined. You can adjust the amount of garlic to your taste preference.
- Common Uses: Garlic mayo is most commonly served with fried calamari, but it can also be used as a dip for vegetables or chips. It’s also great on sandwiches or burgers, in salads, or even mixed into pasta dishes for an extra kick of flavor!
Creamy Chipotle Sauce is a creamy, spicy sauce made with chipotle peppers, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, and lime juice.
It has a smoky flavor from the chipotles and a slight tanginess from the lime juice.
The sauce can be used as a dip for fried calamari or other seafood dishes.
- How To Make It: To make Creamy Chipotle Sauce, combine 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1/4 cup of sour cream in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the mixture and stir until combined. Then add 1 clove of minced garlic and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice to the mixture and stir until everything is well blended. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.
- Common Uses: Creamy Chipotle Sauce is commonly served as an accompaniment to fried calamari or other seafood dishes such as fish tacos or shrimp skewers. It can also be used as a condiment on sandwiches or burgers, or even as a dip for chips or vegetables.
Lemon-basil sauce is a creamy, tangy condiment made with fresh basil leaves, lemon juice, and mayonnaise.
It has a bright flavor that pairs well with seafood dishes like calamari.
- How to Make It: To make the sauce, combine 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves and stir until all ingredients are combined. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Common Uses: Lemon-basil sauce is most commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried or grilled seafood dishes such as calamari or shrimp. It can also be used as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, or as an accompaniment to salads and other vegetable dishes.
5. Spicy Mayo
Spicy mayo is a condiment made from mayonnaise and chili peppers or hot sauce.
It is commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried foods such as calamari, french fries, and chicken tenders.
- How to Make It: To make spicy mayo, simply combine equal parts of your favorite hot sauce (such as Sriracha) with mayonnaise in a bowl and mix until fully combined. You can adjust the amount of heat by adding more or less hot sauce depending on your preference.
- Common Uses: Spicy mayo is most commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried foods such as calamari, french fries, and chicken tenders. It can also be used to add flavor to sandwiches, burgers, tacos, salads, and other dishes.
Spicy marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce that has been spiced up with chili peppers.
It is usually made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and herbs such as oregano and basil.
The addition of chili peppers gives the sauce its spicy kick.
- How To Make It: To make spicy marinara sauce, start by sautéing garlic and onion in olive oil until they are softened. Then add canned or fresh tomatoes to the pan along with some dried oregano and basil. Simmer for about 10 minutes before adding chopped chili peppers to taste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes before blending the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Common Uses: Spicy marinara sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried calamari or other seafood dishes such as shrimp scampi or fish tacos. It can also be used as a topping on pizza or pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara or lasagna bolognese.
Garlic-lemon mayonnaise is a condiment made from garlic, lemon juice, and mayonnaise.
It is creamy and tangy with a hint of garlic flavor.
- How to Make It: To make garlic-lemon mayonnaise, start by combining 1/4 cup of mayonnaise with 2 cloves of minced garlic in a small bowl. Then add the juice of one lemon and mix until everything is well combined. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Common Uses: Garlic-lemon mayonnaise can be used as a dip for fried calamari or other seafood dishes such as fish tacos or shrimp cocktail. It can also be used as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, or even as an accompaniment to grilled meats like steak or chicken.
8. Sweet Soy Sauce
Sweet soy sauce, also known as kecap manis, is a thick, sweetened version of traditional Indonesian soy sauce.
It is made from fermented soybeans and wheat flour that has been boiled down to a syrup-like consistency.
The flavor is sweet and salty with hints of molasses and garlic.
- How To Make It: Making sweet soy sauce at home requires only four ingredients: water, sugar, salt, and dark soy sauce. Begin by combining the water and sugar in a pot over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Then add the salt and stir until it’s dissolved as well. Finally, add the dark soy sauce and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness.
- Common Uses: Sweet Soy Sauce can be used in many dishes such as marinades for meats or vegetables; glazes for grilled foods; dipping sauces for fried foods like tempura; dressings for salads; soups; stir-fries; noodle dishes like pad thai; sushi rolls; curries; stews; rice dishes like nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice); desserts like ice cream or puddings; cocktails like margaritas or mojitos; and more!
9. Orange Sauce
Orange sauce is a sweet and savory condiment made from orange juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, and rice vinegar.
It has a unique flavor that combines the sweetness of oranges with the saltiness of soy sauce and the tanginess of rice vinegar.
- How to Make It: To make orange sauce, combine 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or more to taste), and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Common Uses: Orange sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried calamari or other seafood dishes such as shrimp tempura or crab cakes. It can also be used as an ingredient in marinades for grilled meats or vegetables. Additionally, it makes an excellent glaze for roasted pork tenderloin or chicken breasts.
In conclusion, calamari is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
For a truly delicious experience, it is important to pair it with the right dipping sauce.
The best dipping sauces for calamari are tartar sauce, garlic mayo, creamy chipotle sauce, lemon-basil sauce, spicy mayo, spicy marinara sauce, garlic-lemon mayonnaise, sweet soy sauce, and orange sauce.
Each of these sauces offers a unique flavor to complement the delicious taste of calamari.
Using the right dipping sauce is key to enjoying the full flavor of calamari.
With these nine sauces, you can rest assured that your calamari will be bursting with flavor every time.
The 9 Best Dipping Sauces for Calamari
- Tartar Sauce
- Garlic Mayo
- Creamy Chipotle Sauce
- Lemon-Basil Sauce
- Spicy Mayo
- Spicy Marinara Sauce
- Garlic-Lemon Mayonnaise
- Sweet Soy Sauce
- Orange Sauce
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a sauce recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.