Calamares encebollados is a traditional Spanish dish that combines tender squid with a flavorful onion sauce. This mouthwatering recipe has been passed down through generations and is a staple in many Spanish households. In this article, we will explore the history of calamares encebollados, the ingredients needed to make this dish, and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare it. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets behind this delectable Spanish delicacy!

The History of Calamares Encebollados

Calamares encebollados has its roots in the coastal regions of Spain, where fresh seafood is abundant. The dish is believed to have originated in the Basque Country, a region known for its rich culinary traditions. Over time, it spread throughout Spain and became a popular choice in many Spanish restaurants.

The combination of squid and onions may seem simple, but it is the careful balance of flavors and the cooking technique that make calamares encebollados truly special. The dish showcases the freshness of the squid and the sweetness of the onions, creating a harmonious blend of tastes.

Ingredients for Calamares Encebollados

To prepare calamares encebollados, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 cup of fish or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions on how to prepare calamares encebollados:

Step 1: Prepare the Squid

Start by cleaning the squid thoroughly. Remove the head, tentacles, and innards. Rinse the squid under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut the squid into rings, about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.

Step 2: Sauté the Onions and Garlic

In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant. This should take about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Bell Peppers

Next, add the thinly sliced red and green bell peppers to the skillet. Sauté them with the onions and garlic for an additional 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.

Step 4: Incorporate the Squid

Once the bell peppers have softened, add the squid rings to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Cook the squid for about 2 minutes, or until it turns opaque.

Step 5: Season and Add the Liquids

Now it’s time to season the dish. Add the tomato paste, sweet paprika, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir everything together to ensure that the squid and vegetables are coated with the flavors. Pour in the white wine and fish or vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Step 6: Simmer and Serve

Reduce the heat to low and let the calamares encebollados simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squid becomes tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once the squid is cooked to perfection, remove the skillet from the heat.

Garnish the dish with fresh parsley and serve it hot with crusty bread or rice. The combination of tender squid, flavorful onion sauce, and aromatic spices will surely delight your taste buds!


1. Can I use frozen squid instead of fresh squid?

Yes, you can use frozen squid if fresh squid is not available. Just make sure to thaw it properly before cooking.

2. Can I substitute the white wine with another type of alcohol?

While white wine adds a unique flavor to calamares encebollados, you can substitute it with dry sherry or even chicken broth if you prefer an alcohol-free version.

3. Can I add other vegetables to the dish?

Absolutely! Calamares encebollados is a versatile dish, and you can experiment with different vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, or mushrooms to add more variety and flavors.

4. How long can I store leftovers?

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the dish gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

5. Can I freeze calamares encebollados?

Yes, you can freeze calamares encebollados for up to 3 months. Make sure to cool the dish completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Thaw and reheat it thoroughly before enjoying.


Calamares encebollados is a delightful Spanish dish that combines tender squid with a flavorful onion sauce. Its origins in the coastal regions of Spain and the careful balance of flavors make it a beloved recipe in Spanish cuisine. By following the step-by-step instructions and using the right ingredients, you can recreate this traditional dish in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to explore new flavors, calamares encebollados is a must-try recipe that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Spain.


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