Greek-style Octopus recipe (Xtapodi)

Greek-style Octopus recipe (Xtapodi)

Posted in Appetizer & Meze, Beginner, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Stews, Traditional Greek Easter Lent recipes, Traditional Greek Taverna Recipes, Vegetarian Originally published on Last updated on By

Fresh octopus might not be a common sighting outside Greece but nonetheless its one of those dishes that is worthwhile going out of your way to find (i.e. your local fishmonger…)! For many years I have been wary of cooking this little delight at home, even though I was a huge fan when visiting a local tavern especially during my summer island hopping! That is until one day I just decided to get over my fears and give it a try.

So I went to my local taverna and asked them for their recipe. And in typical Greek fashion, I was given a mini-master class in Octopus cooking by the head chef himself! I was surprised to discover that there is really not that much into it. Boil it till done but still “crunchy”, fry it for that extra crispiness and deglaze with some fresh Mediterranean spices and ouzo! And oh my what a delight it turned out to be! So if you miss your summer holidays, this extra special Greek style octopus recipe will transport you straight to your favorite island! Enjoy!


  • 1100g octopus, cleaned (35 ounces)
  • 2-3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 100-120 ml dry white wine (1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 tbsps honey
  • 3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • some chopped parsley


  1. Into a large pan, add the tentacles of the octopus, along with the red wine vinegar, the wine and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Boil with the lid on, on medium low heat, for 40-60 minutes. Do not add any water, because the octopus, will shrink and emit enough water. Be careful not to add any salt, as the octopus is salty enough and not to over-boil it, because it will get mushy. When cooked nicely, the octopus should be crunchy.
  2. When done, remove the octopus from the pan and keep the juices into a bowl.
  3. Into a very hot pan, add the octopus, without the juices, and color nicely for 1 minute. This will allow the octopus to get crispy on the outside.
  4. Add the sliced onions and chopped tomatoes into the pan, along with 1-2 tbsps of olive oil and the garlic and stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the onions caramelize.
  5. Deglaze with the balsamic vinegar and wait for it to evaporate. Pour in the juices from boiling the octopus, that you kept aside, and 2 tbsps of honey. Season well with freshly ground pepper, sprinkle with some chopped pasley and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Serve with some crusted bread and ouzo or tsipouro.

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  1. Also great cooked in a little Ouzo

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