The Differences in Squid & Calamari

The Differences in Squid & Calamari thumbnail
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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