Spicy Sesame Octopus

The other day, while perusing the seafood section of my local grocery store, I stumbled upon a pack of frozen small octopus. Curiosity immediately kicked in, and before I knew it, I was unpacking octopus at home from my grocery bag. In the next few days, I researched the mollusk’s culinary properties, and it became pretty clear that I was playing with a fickle beast. Cook at too hot a temperature for just a tad too long, and you end up with a chewy bit of unpleasantness. It seemed like the primary ways people cook octopus is through simmering for a few hours or roasting with low heat for a long period of time. However, since I had errands to run, and I didn’t want to be stuck in place for the duration of the cook time using those methods, I decided to try the crockpot. Luckily, this was successful, as the low heat and long cook time delivered a nice texture to the octopus. I was able to cut them with a fork, and the “devour” step didn’t give me a jaw workout!

We served these over white rice with a side of Avocado Fries. However, they would also pair very well with Edamame Kimchi Dumplings, Sesame Noodles, or Spicy Sesame Broccoli.

Time: 3 Hours


  • Small Octopus (We used 3 from a frozen pack, so they were already cleaned)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Spicy Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce


  • Defrost your octopui (or clean your fresh ones…Consult Youtube for the method for that)
  • Rinse and pat your octopi dry with a paper towel.
  • Toss your octopi in a bowl with a little rice vinegar, spicy sesame oil, and soy sauce. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Lay your octopi in your crockpot/slow cooker, and then pour the rest of your marinade overtop.
  • Cover, and cook on low for about 2.5 hours.
  • When they have shrunken greatly and become a rich deep purple colour, you’re ready to eat!
  • Plate, Devour, and Enjoy!


  1. Glad to hear your octopi were tender! There is/there are easier methods to arrive at the same conclusion. You can poach the animal (after having removed its insides and chewing device), but it doesn’t take 3 hours. 45-60 minutes will do, simmering, you can always test a tentacle 🙂 . As an alternative, the tentacles can be fried (not for long!) and then served.
    Many stories abound about whacking the octopus against a wall in Greece, but no Greek I ever knew had ever heard of that. Treat the mollusk gently (like veal – don’t cook too long, don’t fry too hot), and make an octopus salad Italian style with tomatoes, celery cut into 1/8 in pieces, and canellini beans. Use a vinaigrette made from oil, vegetable broth and avinegar of your choice ( I like white wine vinegar). What goes well with this salad is chervil, should you not be able to get that, very thinly sliced fennel (the bulb) would also be good. If you’re adding that you may consider adding a tablespoon of Pernod, or Ricard, if you can get it. The salad should be served lukewarm. I’ve made this a few times and always had rave reviews.

    1. Thank you for the suggestions and recipes! I’m excited to try cooking with it again, especially in light of this. And I wouldn’t have ever thought about banging it against a wall…I feel like I’d be kicked out of the house if I were to even think about doing that. I think I’ll stick with gentle treatment as you suggest.

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