Easy Grilled Octopus Recipe with Lemon (Greek Style)

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Easy Grilled Octopus Recipe with Lemon (Greek Style)– Master the art of preparing grilled octopus with this straightforward Greek-style recipe. Explore key techniques for achieving flavorful and tender octopus, complemented by a zesty lemon dressing.

You’ll also love my Italian Octopus and Potatoes and Greek Chicken Soup.

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Best Grilled Octopus

This grilled octopus recipe is perfect for a summer evening, paired with a crisp white wine. This grilled octopus recipe is fantastic for several reasons, making it a standout choice, especially for those who appreciate simple yet flavorful dishes:

  • Simplicity of Preparation: Despite octopus having a reputation for being tricky to cook, this recipe breaks down the process into easy steps, from boiling to grilling, ensuring tender and delicious results without needing any complicated techniques or equipment.
  • Authentic Greek Flavors: The combination of lemon, olive oil, garlic, and oregano is quintessentially Greek, promising an authentic taste experience that transports you to the Mediterranean with each bite.
  • Versatility in Serving: This dish can be served as an appetizer, side dish, main course, or as part of a larger feast. It pairs beautifully with a variety of sides, from simple salads to more elaborate Mediterranean dishes, making it adaptable to many occasions.
plated easy grilled octopus recipe perfectly grilled on a plate with grilled lemons and dressing. The octopus is slightly charred.

Simple Ingredients

The simplicity of the ingredients allows the flavors to shine through, making it a perfect dish to showcase your cooking skills with minimal effort. Enjoy your meal, or as the Greeks would say, “Kali orexi!”

ingredients for grilled octopus recipe. Greek Style.
  • Octopus: The main ingredient, providing a meaty texture and rich seafood flavor. You like to buy fresh octopus tentacles as they are easy to handle, but you can buy a whole octopus.
  • Onion: Adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the octopus when boiled together.
  • Lemon: Used both in the boiling process and in the dressing, adding a bright, acidic note.
  • Bay leaves: Infuse the octopus with a slightly floral and herbal aroma during the cooking process.
  • Salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the octopus and other ingredients.
  • Olive oil: Used for grilling the octopus, it helps to crisp the exterior and adds richness.
  • Garlic: Part of the dressing, it provides a sharp, pungent flavor that complements the seafood.
  • Dried oregano: Adds earthiness and a hint of peppery spice to the dressing, evoking classic Greek flavors.
  • Pepper: Rounds out the seasoning by adding a slight heat and complexity to the dressing.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Boil Octopus

Here’s a step-by-step photo guide to making a delicious grilled octopus, just like you’d find in a seaside Greek taverna. This is the best way to make grilled octopus, and if this is your first time- I’ve got you covered! See the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

ingredient photo for recipe.

The initial boiling with aromatics like onion and bay leaves infuses the octopus with layers of flavor.

How to Grill Octopus

grill the easy grilled octopus recipe on the grill add lemons to the grill for extra flavor.

The quick grilling adds a smoky char that complements the tender, subtly sweet meat.

grill the easy grilled octopus recipe on the grill add lemons to the grill for extra flavor.

Add the sauce to the grilled octopus for so much flavor.

Cooking octopus might sound daunting, but it’s simple with some prep and patience. The key is to cook it so it becomes tender and not rubbery, and the Greek-style lemon dressing adds the perfect zesty finish.

Variations

  • Spanish-Style Grilled Octopus: Paprika and Potatoes. Add smoked paprika to the dressing and red wine vinegar, and serve the grilled octopus over a bed of boiled or roasted potatoes. Finish with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle the octopus with balsamic reduction and garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley after grilling. Serve alongside a tomato and mozzarella salad for an Italian-inspired meal.
plated easy grilled octopus recipe perfectly grilled on a plate with grilled lemons and dressing. The octopus is slightly charred. Served with pureed white beans.

Storage

Cooked octopus should be eaten within 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tips

  • Boil Before Grilling: Always simmer the octopus in a pot with some aromatics (like onion, lemon, and bay leaves) until it’s tender. This can take about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the octopus. Tenderizing it before grilling is crucial to avoid a rubbery texture.
  • Pre-Grill Seasoning: Marinate or Oil: Lightly coat the octopus with olive oil and season it with salt before grilling. This helps get a good char and enhances the flavor.
  • Use a Hot Grill: Make sure the grill is very hot before you add the octopus. A high temperature is essential for a nice sear that locks in flavors and creates a pleasing texture.
  • Avoid Overcooking on the Grill: Grill each side for just a few minutes. Octopus needs only a short time on high heat to crisp up without becoming tough.
  • Lemon Juice Is Key: Always finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a vinaigrette. The acidity will balance the octopus’s richness and elevate the overall flavor profile.
  • Let it Rest: Allow the grilled octopus to rest for a few minutes after grilling. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring the meat is moist and flavorful.
plated easy grilled octopus recipe perfectly grilled on a plate with grilled lemons and dressing. The octopus is slightly charred.

FAQs

Is octopus healthy?

Octopus is low in fat and high in protein, making it a healthy choice for those looking to enjoy a nutritious meal. The additional ingredients like lemon and olive oil are heart-healthy and full of antioxidants.

Can I grill octopus without boiling it first?

It is not recommended to grill octopus without boiling it first, as it will likely become very tough and rubbery. Boiling before grilling helps to tenderize the octopus, ensuring it becomes nicely charred and crispy on the outside while remaining tender on the inside when grilled.

How can I prevent the octopus from becoming tough?

The key to preventing toughness is proper tenderization and cooking time. Ensure you simmer the octopus gently before grilling and avoid overcooking it on the grill. Quick high-heat grilling will give it a nice char without making it chewy.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What are the Best Sides to Serve with Grilled Octopus

Grilled octopus pairs well with a variety of sides. Consider serving it with a fresh salad, like a Greek salad, roasted vegetables, or a simple side of boiled or roasted potatoes tossed with olive oil, herbs, and lemon zest. For a starchier option, a pilaf or some crusty bread can complement the dish nicely.

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Easy Grilled Octopus Recipe with Lemon (Greek Style)

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5 from 1 review

Master the art of preparing grilled octopus with this straightforward Greek-style recipe. Explore key techniques for achieving tender and flavorful octopus, complemented by a zesty lemon dressing.

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Octopus: 

  • 23 pounds fresh octopus, cleaned (you can use just the tentacles or use a whole octopus)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt, to taste

For Grilling:

  • Olive oil
  • Optional: thick lemon slices for grilling and serving

For the Lemon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: Chopped fresh parsley for serving 

Optional toppings (not traditional): feta cheese and kalamata olives 

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Octopus: (if frozen- thaw in the fridge overnight). Place octopus in a large pot with the lemon halves, onion, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Cover it with enough water to cover it and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 45-60 minutes, or until the octopus is tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time might vary depending on the size of the octopus.
  2. Clean Octopus: Remove the octopus from the pot and let it cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can remove the skin if you prefer, though it’s edible and adds flavor.
  3. Prepare the Grill: Preheat your grill to a high heat. You want nice, hot grates to ensure the octopus gets a good sear.
  4. Grill the Octopus: Toss the cooled octopus with a little olive oil and season with salt. Place the octopus on the grill, cooking each side for about 2-3 minutes until charred and crispy. Transfer the grilled octopus to a serving platter. 
  5. Make the Lemon Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve: Drizzle the lemon dressing over the grilled octopus while it’s still warm.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with extra lemon wedges and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or oregano.

Notes

Tips

  • Boil Before Grilling: Always simmer the octopus in a pot with some aromatics (like onion, lemon, and bay leaves) until it’s tender. This can take about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the octopus. Tenderizing it before grilling is crucial to avoid a rubbery texture.
  • Pre-Grill Seasoning: Marinate or Oil: Lightly coat the octopus with olive oil and season it with salt before grilling. This helps get a good char and enhances the flavor.
  • Use a Hot Grill: Make sure the grill is very hot before you add the octopus. A high temperature is essential for a nice sear that locks in flavors and creates a pleasing texture.
  • Avoid Overcooking on the Grill: Grill each side for just a few minutes. Octopus needs only a short time on high heat to crisp up without becoming tough.
  • Lemon Juice Is Key: Always finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a vinaigrette. The acidity will balance the octopus’s richness and elevate the overall flavor profile.
  • Let it Rest: Allow the grilled octopus to rest for a few minutes after grilling. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring the meat is moist and flavorful.

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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