how to cook octopusI’ve had octopus at a few restaurants and have always liked it so it was finally time to take a shot at cooking it at home myself. I was surprised at how much my family , especially my daughter, liked octopus. All of my kids are adventurous eaters (the youngest two are in their teens, the oldest is in his early twenties) and have been since they were small. We always enjoy trying new foods together as a family, kind of a bonding experience I guess. They detested the “kids’ menu” at most restaurants, they would beg not to order from it. My husband and I would share our entrees with them or order several plates for the table for everyone to taste, that helped them develop a sophisticated palate at an early age. Its a blessing and a curse, I think. My kids never got hooked on fast food chicken nuggets but it can get pretty expensive to feed kids with such demanding appetites… It’s a good problem to have.

I purchased two frozen, cleaned octopuses from Super H Mart. If they aren’t pre cleaned you have to remove the beak, ink sack and such. Many chefs recommend freezing the octopus to tenderize before cooking so buying it frozen is perfectly fine. Let the octopus thaw in the refrigerator and rinse before cooking. Honestly I’m so glad they come pre-cleaned, it saves a lot of mess and time in the kitchen

Octopus is one of those things that you have to cook for a really short time or a really long time. Anything else results in chewy rubber bands. I opted for the long cook method, really it’s a twice cooked method.

I filled a large stock pot with 8 cups of water to boil with salt, red wine a bay leaf and brought it to a boil. I placed the two octopuses in the water, reduced the temperature and let them simmer for 2 hours until they were tender. I let them cool overnight ( at this point I could have easily rubbed the octopus skin off but I don’t think that’s necessary) and the next day seared them in a cast iron skillet.

how to cook octopus

It’s classic to serve octopus with chorizo and potato but I served mine with a braised pork and tomato stew with red wine vinegar.

how to cook octopus

How to cook an Octopus

Demetra Overton
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 -6 seervings


  • 2 octopuses 2 pounds each
  • 8 cups of water
  • half a bottle of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 fresh lemon


  • Thaw the octopus if frozen in the refrigerator and rinse thoroughly
  • Bring the water and red wine to a boil with bay leaves and salt
  • Add the octopus to the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for two hours or until tender.
  • Remove the octopus from the liquid.
  • Chill the octopus in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Separate the tentacles from the body
  • In a hot skillet sear the octopus in olive oil for 3-5 minutes.
  • Toss in chopped garlic in the last 30 seconds of cooking.
  • Re-season with salt and pepper and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over.



3 Comments on How to cook an Octopus

  1. David Miller
    April 30, 2015 at 3:48 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks like a fantastic. I’ll definitely be trying this for brunch soon!

  2. Barbara
    April 22, 2015 at 11:35 am (9 years ago)

    So glad I discovered your blog! Maybe we can do a guest blog exchange

    • Demetra Overton
      April 23, 2015 at 12:12 am (9 years ago)

      Thank you Barbara. That would be lovely


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