What Does Octopus Taste Like? FAQs and Easy Recipes to Introduce this Healthy Seafood to Your Diet

You’re probably familiar with the octopus as a squiggly, eight-armed sea creature, but in many countries, it is much more than that. Octopuses are used in cuisine all over the world, and if you’ve never tasted octopus, you may have some questions before you try to include this healthy seafood in our diet. If you’re curious, read on to learn what you need to know about octopus as a healthy food, and enjoy some of our favorite easy recipes to try out this tasty treat.

What does octopus taste like?

Octopuses, also known as squid, have a very mild, meaty flavor that most people would say is more similar to chicken than it is most other seafood. The usual fishy flavor associated with seafood is not very abundant in octopus. Instead, the octopod has a very bland flavor that is often seasoned when prepared.

What is the texture like?

Octopus is notoriously chewy and tough in texture, especially when eaten raw. However, the meat can be cooked (often boiled) to tenderize it. When octopus is prepared properly, it can be as tender and juicy as lobster. Despite what you may think, octopus is not really slimy at all.

Can you eat octopus raw?

Absolutely! Octopus is often eaten both raw and cooked, though both options provide different flavors and textures. In some parts of the world (mostly Asia), some species of octopus is actually consumed while still alive! However, if that’s not your cup of tea, octopus can be sliced thin and served up raw as sashimi, a style of sushi.

Is octopus nutritious?

Octopus is certainly a nutritious dietary option. It is both a low calorie and high-protein food, with plenty of other vitamins and minerals to consider as well. A 3-ounce portion of octopus only has around 150 calories and has well over 20 grams of protein. This amount of octopus has less than 2 grams of fat, with only about a half gram of that being saturated fat. One small serving of octopus may also provide your daily value of iron (for men, women need a bit more), vitamin B12, and selenium.

What are some popular ways octopus is eaten?

As we said earlier, octopus is eaten raw, cooked, and alive. However, the way it is consumed varies greatly all over the world. In Japan, octopus is often consumed as sushi, called Tako. It can also be eaten as a snack, called Takoyaki, which is a small bread ball filled with octopus, green onion, and pickled ginger.

In Korea, raw octopus is a novelty food, but it is often used to make nakji bokkeum, or an octopus stir-fry. In Portugal, it may be cooked into a stew with rice or breaded and fried. In the Mediterranean, it may be served grilled, and hot or cold in a salad-type dish. In the United States, octopus is eaten less frequently (except in Hawaii) and is usually consumed in foreign cuisine, meaning it is not a popular ingredient in “American” food.

Is it safe to eat?

Like other types of seafood, there is always a chance of raw octopus being riddled with parasites and, with most meats, octopus can spoil over time. Cooked octopus poses less of a health risk but, in most cases, if prepared properly, octopus is totally safe to consume.

Easy Recipes to Try it Out

It doesn’t take a professional chef to cook up this unordinary meat. These recipes are simple, tasty ways to try out octopus:

Grilled Octopus Ceviche

This spin on a South American classic will have your mouth watering the entire time. It’s super simple to make and full of great flavor, protein, and healthy fats and spices.


  • 1 pound of raw octopus
  • ½ small red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add octopus and boil for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. Rinse octopus in cool water for 4–5 minutes and place in a clean bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic, 1 tsp. of salt, and one tsp. of black pepper. Toss octopus in mixture until evenly coated. Allow octopus to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. While octopus is resting, add avocado, red onion, chili powder, cilantro, and the rest of the salt and pepper. Toss the mixture well and set aside.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  5. After octopus has rested for the correct amount of time, remove from bowl, slice down each tentacle, and place on the grill.
  6. Grill the octopus for 3–4 minutes on each side. Remove octopus from the grill and cut it into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl with avocado mixture.
  7. Add lime juice and toss again.
  8. Top with green onions and serve with chips or bread.

Red Wine Braised Octopus Over Rice

  • 2 pounds of raw octopus, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ginger powder
  • 1 cup white rice
  1. Heat large pot to medium-high heat and add octopus. Allow octopus to cook for 15 minutes or until most of its water content has been cooked away. The time may vary, but it will noticeably seem drier. The octopus cannot take on the flavors of the wine until its water content is removed.
  2. Now, add oil, vinegar, and white wine to the pan. Allow this mixture to cook for another ten minutes.
  3. Slowly stir ginger powder into the pan. Allow this mixture to simmer for 1–2 hours with a vented lid.
  4. While octopus is cooking, boil rice following the package’s directions.
  5. The wine mixture should reduce to a thickened sauce. Then, remove from heat and serve over rice. Feel free to season with salt and black pepper to taste.

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