The length of time it takes to cook octopus depends on its size and the method of cooking. It takes approximately 30 minutes of boiling for every 2 pounds. To pan fry a small octopus, it takes as little as two or three minutes per side.
A 4-pound octopus can take as long as two hours to become tender. If four or six octopuses share the same pot, the cooking time is faster than for just one octopus. Check the meat with the sharp point of a thin-bladed knife. When it meets little resistance, the octopus is done. Cooking an octopus further risks drying out and toughening the final product.