Learn how to boil octopus on the stove! Cooking octopus is easier than you think. There are many ways to incorporate boiled octopus meat into your dishes, such as salads, pasta, stews. You can even make a pickled octopus. If you want to learn how to cook octopus so that it stays tender and how to boil octopus for grilling, keep reading the article. If you have always wanted to try making a perfect octopus dish at home, do not hesitate anymore, as you will have a detailed guide on how to boil fresh octopus at home.

How long do you cook octopus in boiling water?

As always, boiling time depends on many factors, such as the size of the octopus you have decided to boil; and whether you are going to boil it whole or cut it into pieces, frozen or fresh. Let’s see how long boiling octopus takes depending on the specified conditions:

  • How long to boil octopus? If you are boiling a large octopus (around 3 kilos), it can take you up to 60-70 minutes to make it tender; a medium-sized octopus, as a rule, boils in 30-35 minutes.
  • How long do you boil only octopus tentacles? You need to boil tentacles for 7 to 10 minutes after water reboils.
  • How long to boil baby octopuses? You should cook baby octopuses for about 5-10 minutes until tender.
  • How long do you boil octopus before grilling? You should boil octopus for grilling until it becomes tender from 30 to 70 minutes, depending on the size.
  • How long do you boil baby octopuses before grilling? You put baby octopuses in boiling water and let them sit for 1-2 minutes.
  • How long do you boil a frozen octopus? You should boil only small-sized frozen octopuses. If you have a medium or large-sized, your priority is to defrost it and then boil it as the fresh one.

Here you have a quick guide to how long time it will take you to cook octopus. If you want to learn how to do it, keep reading the article.

How to boil octopus in a pot on the stove


The key to successfully boiling octopus is consistently following our recipe.  Let’s see how you can cook fresh or defrosted octopus in a pot on the stove.

Boiled Octopus Recipe

Learn how to boil octopus on the stove - easy to follow recipe for a delicious tender octopus dish!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Seafood recipe
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baby octopus recipe, boiling octopus, how long to boil baby octopus, how long to boil octopus, how to cook frozen octopus, how to cook octopus, how to cook octopus in a pan, how to tenderize octopus, octopus recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 164kcal


  • 1 fresh medium octopus
  • water for boiling
  • salt to taste


  • If you have a frozen octopus, the first thing to do is to defrost it. Use only a refrigerator for thawing (be prepared, it can take you up to 24 hours to defrost a large octopus).
  • Now you need to prepare defrosted/fresh octopus for boiling. Halve the head of the octopus, remove the ink sac and innards, cut out the beak, and throw them away, then rinse it thoroughly under running water.
  • Choose a pot according to the size of octopus you have. Fill it with water and put it on high heat to boil. There should be enough water to cover the octopus for 1-2 cm when it is in.
  • Put carefully prepared octopus into boiling water and wait when water reboils. Lower the heat to medium, cover with the lead and cook until octopus is tender. It can take you from 25 to 70 minutes to cook your octopus until tender (depending on the size of the octopus). You can always taste the meat of octopus for tenderness with a fork or a knife.
  • Add salt 5 minutes before you end cooking. If you want to make octopus meat juicier leave it to cool down in the water it was boiling in but first, take the hot pot from the stove.

It is always easier to cook octopuses smaller in size, as they come out tender, and they are quicker to cook. If you got a large octopus, here is a tip for you: use a meat tenderizer to make the meat of the octopus tender before boiling.

How to boil frozen baby octopuses?


Have you ever tried pasta with boiled baby octopuses or grilled baby octopuses in teriyaki sauce? Well, if you want to make them, then you need to learn how you can cook baby octopuses first. The great thing is that boiling baby octopus is simple and easy. Moreover, you do not need a lot of time to boil them in the pot on a stove:

  • Take a pot with cold water and put it on the stove to boil on high heat; add salt when water boils.
  • Carefully transfer frozen baby octopuses into boiling water (you do not need to thaw them beforehand). Wait when water boils again, lower the heat down, and cover the pot. Wait for 5-10 minutes for octopuses to get tender.
  • You can leave them in the pot to cool down for 15-20 minutes and then use them in your recipes or take them out from boiling water, put them into a bowl with cold water, and let them cool down in such a way.

Here is a great recipe how you can cook crayfish at home.

If you have any advice on how you can boil octopus easily and quickly, feel free to leave your comments in the section below. If you liked our article, please share it with your friends!

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