Portuguese Octopus Rice

Its been a while since I’ve shared one of my own recipes. The last ones were my recipes for Microwave Halloween Fudge and Coconut Chicken Curry. My new recipe is definitely different and a bit out there for most people as its a recipe for Portuguese Octopus Rice!

Portuguese Octopus Rice

I know cooking octopus is probably a big leap for a lot of you and it was for me until recently. Before I moved to Switzerland, the wildest foods I had ever eaten by American standards were caviar and calamari (squid). However, my husband and I love to try new foods when we travel and we’ve now had octopus several times, mainly in Spain and Portugal. The octopus we had in Spain was pretty similar to calamari in that it was cut into chunks and deep fried (suckers still on). The octopus from Portugal stands out in my mind much more. The skin was removed and it was sautéed with some olive oil, garlic, and herbs. It was wonderfully delicate and melt-in-your-mouth good!

This recipe for octopus rice is quite similar to what we had in Portugal because it is based on a recipe in a very authentic Portuguese cookbook I have called Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found by Tessa Kiros. I have adapted the recipe somewhat to account for using just pieces of octopus rather than the whole thing (i.e. somebody who works at the fish counter at the grocery store took off the skin and suckers and cut the octopus into nice even chunks). I think this recipe would also work quite well with calamari (squid) if you can’t find octopus, just be sure to adjust for a much shorter cooking time!

Portuguese Octopus Rice

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Portuguese Octopus Rice


  • 1 lb octopus, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry parsley
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 clove
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (dry) rice, cooked


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat (my stove was set to 5 the entire time). In the mean time, prepare your octopus, onion, garlic, and rice.
  2. Cook the onion until it starts to brown.
  3. Add the garlic, parsley, oregano, and thyme to the onion. Note: you may need to add a bit more oil to moisten the dried herbs. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the octopus to the pan and mix well. Cook for about 15 minutes. After a while, the octopus will start to look syrupy, this is what you want. The octopus should no longer be see-through when you cut into it and it should chew easily and have started to brown on the outside at this point.
  5. Add the cloves and the cooked rice to the pan with the octopus and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring to mix everything together.
  6. Remove from the pan and serve.


Adapted from Azores Octopus recipe by Tessa Kiros in Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found.


This post has been featured on Carolyn’s Homework.

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7 Replies to “Portuguese Octopus Rice”

    • Thanks for visiting from the link party. I’ve never had octopus as nigiri, though I love sushi. I hope you like it cooked, if you do it right, it just melts in your mouth!

  1. I have never tried octopus. Thanks for the recipe. Thanks for linking up at Tell Me About It Tuesday. We hope you hop over and share with us again next week.

    • Octopus definitely isn’t very common in the US and I had never tried it either until traveling to Spain and Portugal. But, if cooked properly, its very delicious! I hope you get the chance to try it sometime and thanks for stopping by.

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