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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Looking for more comforting seafood dishes?
- Easy 20-Minute Fish Stew
- Creamy Keto Tuscan Salmon Skillet
- Easy Shrimp Stew
- Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Sheet-Pan Mediterranean Shrimp
Instant Pot Calamari Stew
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.