Spicy Grilled Squid

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This Vietnamese-style grilled squid with sate sauce is spicy and aromatic. You can make it with a stovetop grill pan or with an outdoor grill.

a plate of Vietnamese spicy grilled squid with sate sauce

We call this dish mực nướng sa tế in Vietnamese. It is a quick and easy dish to add to your family dinner as well as your BBQ party.

I have a different grilled squid recipe, in which the squid is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, then tossed with herbs and dressing to make a refreshing salad. In this recipe, we use sate sauce to marinate the squid before grilling. As a result, it is flavorful right out of the grill and can be eaten on its own.

Sate sauce is a Vietnamese red sauce made from chili peppers and aromatics such as lemongrass, garlic and shallots. Here’s my homemade sate sauce recipe. It is flavorful and slightly spicy, and can go well with all kinds of proteins. Give this grilled king oyster mushrooms with sate sauce a try if you prefer a plant-based option.

plate and bowl containing squids and sate sauce
Raw squid and sate sauce

Prepare Squid for Grilling

For the best results, use squids that are very fresh. They shouldn’t have any unpleasant fishy smell. Frozen squids are fine as long as they are frozen right after being caught to preserve the freshness.

I prefer to cut the squid along the tube and then score it in a crisscross pattern for this dish. It will allow the squid to soak up flavors better and look prettier in the final dish.

scoring squid on a cutting board

You can watch my video in the steamed squid recipe to see how to clean whole squid and score it. It is totally fine if you don’t want to score the squid. I sometimes skip this step when I’m short on time.

Once the squid has been prepared, toss with the sate sauce and give it some time to marinate.

tossing squid with sate sauce

Grilling Tips

It doesn’t take much time to grill squid. First, heat your grill pan or outdoor grill until it is very hot and oil the grates. I use my Staub grill pan which is great for indoor grilling (some examples are grilled pork chops or pork skewers). Once the grill is hot, place the marinated squid on the grill.

grilling squid on a grill pan

The squid will tend to curl, so try to use a pair of tongs to keep them flat as much as you can. Grill each side for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness, basting once before the squid is almost ready.

basting squid

Once the squid is fully cooked, remove from the grill and cut into bite-sized pieces. Be careful not to overcook or it may become rubbery.

How to Serve

Traditionally, we serve Vietnamese grilled calamari with a mixture of salt and pepper dissolved in lime juice on the side as a dipping sauce. You can enjoy the dish on its own with a cold drink, or some veggie sticks, or with rice as part of a main meal.

a plate of spicy grilled squid with sate sauce

If you are going to enjoy it with a cold beverage, consider making these snacks/small plates too:

⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

spicy grilled squid on a plate

Spicy Grilled Squid with Sate Sauce

This Vietnamese-style grilled squid with sate sauce is spicy and aromatic. You can make it with a stovetop grill pan or with an outdoor grill.
Author: Sophie
No ratings yet
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 2 people


  • 10 oz cleaned squids (about 14-16oz/400g of whole squids that haven't been cleaned)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sate sauce (click the link for my homemade sate sauce recipe)
  • cooking oil

For the Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • a lime wedge


  • If the squids haven't been cleaned, cut each squid along the body tube, then grasp the head and pull away from the body. Remove the cartilage in the body and peel the skin membrane away. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. Discard the innards, head and beak, reserve the tentacles.
  • Make sure to pat the squid dry. Lay the squid body flat on a cutting board with the inside surface facing you. Use a sharp knife to score diagonal cuts in a crisscross pattern, about ½-¾ inch apart, on the inside surface. Be careful not to cut all the way through. It is fine if you don't want to score the squids.
  • Place the squids and tentacles in a mixing bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the sate sauce for basting later. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce to the mixing bowl and toss with the squids. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes (or longer if you have time).
  • Heat you grill pan (or you outdoor grill) over medium to medium-high heat until it is very hot. Oil the grates, then place the squids inside surface up on the grill and cook for a minute. Increase the heat if needed. The squid will tend to curl, so try to use a pair of tongs to keep them flat as much as you can.
  • Flip and grill the other side for a minute. Baste the squids with the remaining sauce, then flip and grill for up to a minute, or until they are fully cooked.
  • To serve: cut the squids into bite-sized pieces. Add salt and pepper to a small dipping bowl and squeeze lime juice into the bowl. Serve right away.


If you choose not to make the dipping sauce, add some salt to the marinade. When serving the dish, sprinkle black pepper and squeeze lime juice directly over the grilled squid.


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 330mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizers and Side dishes, Main Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: grilled calamari, muc nuong sa te, spicy grilled squid, Vietnamese grilled squid
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