The Differences in Squid & Calamari

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Fried calamaris and squid are not necessarily the same thing.
Fried calamaris and squid are not necessarily the same thing.

The words "squid" and "calamari" are often used interchangeably. Some people assume calamari refers to a food item derived from squid, implying a relationship between the words like that of "bacon" and "pig." "Calamari" is the Italian word for squid, but it Italian it also refers to a specific species of squid, while the term squid usually designates a larger, differently shaped variety of this type of mollusk.

  1. Size and Shape

    • Squids tend to be larger than calamaris. The narrower end of a squid's body has a pointed flap resembling an arrow while a calamari has long triangle-shaped flaps, reminiscent of wings, on each side.


    • Squids have short fins on the sides of their bodies. Calamaris, on the other hand, possess long fins that run the entire length of their bodies.

    Use in Cooking

    • The tender flesh of a calamari cooks more quickly, which is suitable for fried, grilled or stir-fry dishes. Chefs are more likely to stuff squids or use them in stews.


    • While there are color variations within both categories, calamaris tend to have some element of pink to their skin when fresh and uncooked, whether pink-purple or brownish pink. Squid flesh, on other hand, more often has a brownish cast, ranging from purpley-brown to a dark brownish green.

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  • Photo Credit Deep fried calamari rings with rice and lettuce image by Elzbieta Sekowska from


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