What is the difference between octopus, squid and cuttlefish ?

Aug 1, 2019Cuttlefish, Octopus, Squid

Difference between octopus squid and cuttlefish

Many people find out the difference between octopus squid and cuttlefish. In this article, we will clarify everything for you to make sure you know exactly what is what. And then, when you want to cook or buy any of those, you will be sure to get what you want.

Contents :

Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus are all cephalopods

The octopus

The squid

The cuttlefish

Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus are all cephalopods?

Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus all belong to the same animal class called Cephalopoda, molluscs with a bilateral body symmetry, a big head, and tentacles. All of them are able to spread ink.
Along with belonging to the same class, they also belong to the same subclasses coleoidea and nautiloidea which include nautilus and allonautilus.

It is easy to mix them up because they are very close scientifically speaking, and are all used to make great dishes, especially in Europe and Asia.

When we take a closer look we can easily see that they are in fact quite different in size, color, and tentacle length.
If you would like to learn about the cephalophus class in more detail, feel free to look at this page.

The octopus

The main distinction octopus has from squid and cuttlefish is that, as their name implies, they have eight tentacles, whereas cuttlefish and squid have ten. Also, octopuses are a lot bigger than squid and cuttlefish, and they have longer and larger tentacles.

The second difference among octopus, squid and cuttlefish is that the octopus is the only one who doesn’t have a shell. Squid and cuttlefish have an internal “structure” to protect them. This makes the octopus more flexible.

Another big difference between those three is that octopus is able to change its skin color and use it as a camouflage.

On the cooking side, the flavor and texture of the octopus is very different than squid and cuttlefish due to their diet, flexibility, and where they live..
You can eat octopus in many ways: boiled, grilled, fried, or braised. Check this page for more octopus recipes.
If you which to know more about octopus, feel free to check our article about day boat octopus.

The squid

Compared to octopus, squid have eight arms and two tentacles that they use to catch their prey. Squid often live in pairs while octopus mostly live alone.

quid is smaller and usually tougher than octopus or cuttlefish due to its internal shell and the way it eats, using only two tentacles.

It is squid that is used to make the famous “calamari rings.” In fact, calamari is “squid” in Italian.
There are many kinds of squid. Check this link for the best types for preparing calamari rings or delicious grilled squid.

Squid is a bit tougher than octopus, which also means that the meat from squid is smoother in texture. When it is cooked, it becomes tender and firm, which is perfect for calamari rings.
The meat of the squid soaks up butter and sauces well, which allows for cooking it in many ways: boiled, braised, grilled, or seared.

If you would like to see great recipe with squid, take a look at this page.

The cuttlefish

The main difference between cuttlefish and the two others is their shape and looks. The fact that cuttlefish have an internal shell called “cuttlebone” make them the slowest and least flexible of the three.
If you look at them, octopus and squid are fast predators, whereas cuttlefish are slower. They move using wings on the sides of their bodies.

Another way to tell the difference is by looking at their eyes. Octopus and squid have rounded eyes, but cuttlefish have eyes in the shape of a W.

Finally, looking at the cuttlefish body, they are fatter and rounder whereas squid has a more elongated body also called a “tube.” Cuttlefish also is more meaty with a thicker body.

On the cooking and food side, cuttlefish is in the middle of squid and octopus. The taste is more flavored than squid but not as rich as the octopus.
You can cook it the same way as you would cook a squid, but the taste of it will give a surprising difference. Cuttlefish can be cooked for longer, so it works great for stews, paellas, and risottos.
Take a look at this page to see some recipe for cuttlefish.


If you don’t know what to look for, octopus, squid and cuttlefish can look the same. But they are actually three very different animals. The way they look, where they live, and obviously how they taste, differentiate them from each other.
If you are a big seafood lover, we suggest you to try each of them because the texture, the taste, and the resulting dishes can be very different.

For all of them what makes a big difference in taste is the place they each live. We obviously would advise you to take a look at the ones from the Mediterranean area. It is the most famous place to eat and try those three. Squid, cuttlefish, and octopus from the Mediterranean are known to be the best in the world.
If you are not able to travel so far, we are proud to be able to import them straight from there for your cooking pleasure.

If you have any more questions about octopus, cuttlefish, or squid, we would be happy to help you.

Bon appetit!