Spanish Octopus


Above and beyond the ingredients in this octopus recipe, the cooking method, or should I say methods, couldn't be easier. As long as you braise it gently on low heat, until just tender, and then give it a nice sear before serving, you should be in great shape. This smoky braised octopus is great served with crusty roasted potatoes.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins


  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • ½ cup white wine


  • 1 (1 pound) piece Spanish octopus

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • cup braising liquid

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Place onion, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil into a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add white wine to create the braising liquid. Bring to a simmer.

  2. Transfer octopus into braising liquid, turning to coat with the liquid. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes and turn octopus over. Continue cooking until octopus is tender, another 40 to 45 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat; transfer octopus to a large bowl. Pour braising liquid over octopus. Place bowl above a bowl of ice water to cool to room temperature.

  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap when octopus and liquid are cool. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

  5. Transfer octopus to a work surface and mop off braising juices with paper towels; remove as much of the purple skin as you want. Cut octopus into 3 or 4 serving-size pieces. Brush with olive oil.

  6. Transfer braising liquid to saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Strain out solids; transfer liquid to a mixing bowl; let cool about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and cayenne pepper to make the serving sauce.

  7. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high heat. Transfer octopus pieces to grill. Cook until flesh is seared, almost charred, 3 or 4 minutes. Turn and cook other side until dark brown, caramelized, and heated through, another 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

  8. Slice octopus into fairly thick diagonal slices. Place on a serving dish. Spoon braising liquid mixture over the top. Dust with a bit of cayenne pepper, if desired.

    close up view of Spanish Octopus in a bowl with sauce, vegetables and fresh herbs
    Chef John

Chef's Note:

Freshly chopped Italian parsley is nice to add to the serving sauce to taste. I love to serve braised octopus with crusty roasted potatoes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

513 Calories
30g Fat
15g Carbs
35g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 513
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 2046mg 89%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 22mg 108%
Calcium 152mg 12%
Iron 13mg 72%
Potassium 989mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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