Instant Pot Calamari Stew is a bright and vibrant Mediterranean dish that’s ready to eat in just 35 minutes! Every bite of this cozy and comforting stew is overflowing with aromatic, spicy, and citrusy flavors.

Calamari squid in a bowl with fresh herbs and lemon slices

This super simple Instant Pot Calamari Stew is a one-pot, 35-minute dinner that’s rich and filling. Made with perfectly seasoned calamari, tomatoes, and pepperoncini peppers, every bite is deliciously sweet and tangy. Plus, it’s naturally dairy, egg, and gluten free and perfect for any occasion!

Feeling a bit intimidated by the idea of cooking calamari? Don’t be! This calamari stew recipe is the perfect place to start as there’s very little preparation involved and all of the ingredients are thrown together in the Instant Pot. In the end, your squid is cooked to flavorful and tender perfection.

Looking for more hearty stews to warm you up on colder days? Check out my Instant Pot Chickpea Stew and Beef Stew With Creamy Polenta!

Ingredients for a calamari stew on the table; squid, tomato sauce, peppers, fresh herbs and lemon slices

How do I buy and prepare calamari?

I recommend buying your calamari fresh or frozen rather than canned, dried, pickled, fried, etc. Storebought calamari will come already cleaned and cooks best when it’s sliced into ½-inch thick rings. Although calamari tentacles are edible, I don’t recommend adding them to this dish; stick to the body of the squid instead.

What do you need to make calamari stew?

  • Calamari – You should be able to find fresh or frozen calamari in the seafood section or frozen section of your local grocery store.
  • Tomato sauce – Any canned or jarred tomato sauce will do.
  • Whole pepperoncini peppers – These tangy pickled Italian peppers aren’t very spicy. Instead, they give the stew a slight sweetness and authentic Italian flavors.
  • Hot sauce – I like Sriracha but use any hot sauce you like!
  • Tomato paste – Thick, concentrated tomato paste adds a ton of flavor, tang, and sweetness.
  • Spices and seasonings – The fresh garlic cloves, lemon, red pepper flakes, and parsley help each bite of stew explode with flavor.
Ingredients for a calamari stew on the table; squid, tomato sauce, peppers, fresh herbs and lemon slices

How to make Instant Pot calamari stew

This Mediterranean calamari stew recipe is a delicious set-it-and-forget-it dinner. Made completely in the Instant Pot, this savory and spicy stew can be thrown together in just a couple of minutes: 

Step 1: Rinse, dry, and season the sliced calamari with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and fresh lemon juice. Set aside.

Step 2: Using the Saute function on your Instant Pot, saute the garlic cloves in oil until they’re soft and fragrant. Next, add the tomato paste, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and water and stir to combine.

Step 3: Add your seasoned calamari and pepperoncini’s and stir again.

Step 4: Cancel Saute mode and lock the lid in place. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural release. 

Step 5: Ladle your finished calamari stew into bowls, garnish with fresh parsley and lemon juice, serve, and enjoy! 

Calamari stew in the instant pot
calamari stew in a bowl serviced with fresh herbs and lemon slices

Serving suggestions

Calamari stew is a filling dish that can be served on its own or with as many sides as you like. A piece of crusty artisan bread is always a must with each bowl! Otherwise, feel free to make it a meal with veggies and creamy polenta and roasted vegetable pasta on the side.

Frequently asked questions

Should I use squid or calamari?

There’s no difference! Calamari is simply the Italian word for squid. There are only about a dozen types of squid that have been deemed suitable for cooking and eating, and all of them are called “calamari”.

How do you cook calamari so it isn’t tough?

Calamari is a meat best suited for hot and fast cooking methods, hence why it becomes so tender in the pressure cooker. Squid will only turn tough when it’s overcooked.

How long should I cook calamari?

It only takes about 15 minutes for the calamari to completely cook through in the Instant Pot. Any longer and your squid will turn out tough and rubbery. 

What else can you add to calamari stew?

Red wine, green olives, capers, onion, thyme, bay leaves, and other varieties of fresh or pickled peppers are all traditional and delicious additions to this seafood stew.

calamari stew served in a bowl with fresh herbs and lemon slices

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calamari with tomato sauce
5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Calamari Stew

by Silvia Dunnirvine
This super simple Instant Pot Calamari Stew is a one-pot, 35-minute dinner made with calamari, tomatoes, and pepperoncini peppers.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Natural Pressure Release: 10 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 lb calamari/ squid, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce/ sriracha
  • 1 cup pepperoncini, whole*
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • fresh lemon, sliced
  • fresh parsley, minced


  • Wash and dry calamari thoroughly. Slice calamari thinly. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Squeeze some fresh lemon and set aside.
    calamari stew
  • Turn instant pot on sauté mode. Add oil and garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tomato paste and hot sauce, then stir in tomato sauce and water.
  • Add calamari and pepperoncini. Give it a good stir.
    instant pot calamari
  • Cover the instant pot and lock lid. Turn off sauté mode and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then allow for 10 minutes of NPR (natural pressure release).
  • Transfer calamari stew to a bowl, garnish with fresh parsley and fresh lemon juice.
    instant pot calamari stew


*or any preserved or fresh peppers of your liking


Calories: 1186kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 101g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1176mg | Sodium: 3951mg | Potassium: 2459mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1476IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 229mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: Calamari, Instant Pot, Seafood, Stew
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Like this? Leave a comment below!
calamari stew served in a bowl with fresh herbs and lemon slices

Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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