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Dec 16, 2022

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and Pepper Squid is an amazing deep-fried Asian-style dish that, once you try it, you'll want to make it over and over again. 

Salt and Pepper Squid with dipping sauces on a platter.

This salt and pepper squid is crispy and spicy. It gets its spiciness from the salt and Sichuan Peppercorn blend used in the coating before deep frying. 

If you love salt and pepper shrimp, you'll love this salt and pepper squid. 

In fact, the "pepper" is not really from the pepper family (neither black pepper nor chili pepper). It's from the prickly ash tree, and it produces a slightly tingly sensation on your tongue. It's often used in Chinese Five Spice powder, along with cinnamon, star anise, fennel, and clove. 

Two of my favorite dishes where I've used the peppercorns include Kung Pao Shrimp and Stir-Fried Crispy Orange Beef

Sichuan peppercorns in a bowl.

If you can't find the Sichuan peppercorns, you can substitute white peppercorns to make your salt and pepper mixture... or... you can combine some salt with a Chinese Five Spice mixture. 

Note for the Recipe:

Just roast a tablespoon of the peppercorns (Sichuan or white) in a skillet over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until totally fragrant. Put it in a spice grinder and grind it down to a powder (or use a mortar and pestle). 

After that, roast three tablespoons of sea or kosher salt over medium heat until it begins to turn a little yellowish and combine it with the pepper. Now you have your own homemade salt and pepper mixture!

Additional Ingredient Notes:

For the squid, if you can find cleaned squid, you will save a lot of time. My first choice is a local fish market that is attached to a restaurant nearby. They usually sell me fully prepped and cut squid, which makes it so much easier. 

If they don't have it, my next choice is a fabulous Asian market that offers to clean the squid when you buy it. 

Another option is frozen squid. Just defrost it and make sure to dry it fully before proceeding. 

I usually buy the smaller squids, which are the same size that restaurants use for calamari. 

Salt and pepper squid bite dipped in a sweet sauce.

To coat the shrimp, you will need cornstarch, flour, and a tiny bit of baking soda. 

For frying, you will need a high-heat cooking oil. You can use a deep fryer, a sauté pan, or a wok. I prefer to use a wok. Because of the way that it the wok is shaped, you won't need quite as much oil. However, when I'm nervous, I'll go with my self-regulating mini deep fryer or straight-sided pan so that I can monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer

For the Dipping Sauces:

There are so many options or dipping sauces. 

First, you can make or buy Sriracha Mayo. Just combine some mayonnaise with a bit of Sriracha and a pinch of sugar.... or pick some up at the store. 

For this round, I served the squid with a peach sweet chili sauce and a sweet chili garlic sauce. The common ingredient for both was Thai-Style Sweet Chili Sauce. 

Sweet chili and garlic chili sauce in a small bowl.

The sweet chili garlic sauce is the spicier option. Just combine half Thai-Style Sweet Chili Sauce and half Chili Garlic Sauce. 

If you want to dress it up, you can add some minced green onions. 

The peach sweet chili sauce is so good and would be perfect for your "non-spicy" friends. The "peach" part consists of peach jam. You can also substitute apricot or another jam you have on hand. 

Sweet dipping sauce in a small bowl.

I bet you could do something cool with chili crisp as well. 

More Cephalopod Recipes from The Fish Friday Foodies:

Salt and Pepper Squid on a platter.

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and Pepper Squid
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 15 Min
Salt and Pepper Squid is an amazing deep-fried Asian-style dish that, once you try this fried squid, you'll want to make it over and over again.


  • 1 pound squid, cut into rings and tentacles
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan Peppercorn salt (1 part peppercorns:3 parts salt, see post for the instructions for preparing) plus more for sprinkling.
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
  • Dipping sauces of your choice
  • Chopped cilantro


  1. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, peppercorn salt, and parsley in a bowl.
  2. Add the squid to the mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Fill a wok or high sided skillet with 1 1/2 to three inches of high-heat oil and heat to 375 degrees F. Set up a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. To keep warm, you can heat your oven to 200 degrees F and place the baking sheet in the oven.
  4. When the oil is ready, using a spider or slotted spoon, drop enough of the squid so that the squid isn't crowded into the oil and deep fry for 60 to 90 seconds, until golden brown. Using the spider, place the squid on the paper towels to drain.
  5. Sprinkle with the Sichuan peppercorn salt while still hot.
  6. Continue with the rest of the squid.
  7. Serve with the dipping sauces and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

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