You can make restaurant-quality Seared Scallops–perfectly cooked with a golden crust– right from home, with this easy recipe tutorial! Top with a simple garlic butter sauce to spoon over them, and you’ve got a dish to impress!

Seared scallops, served on a plate.

If you’re looking for an easy Scallops recipe that will impress your dinner party and leave your mouth watering for more, this is it! Good quality scallops are not cheap, so I want to make sure your confidant with exactly how to cook them perfectly! It’s super EASYm especially with my simple tips, and they cook quickly!

Tips for buying scallops:

Wet vs. Dry: When Buying scallops, always look for “Dry” scallops, rather than “Wet” scallops that have been brined in water and chemicals, which keeps them from searing as well, and may have a slightly more rubbery texture when cooked.

Dry scallops don’t have as much moisture or any additives, so they will cook beautifully and taste best. To tell if your scallops are “dry” scallops, check the label, or ask the fishmonger at the store.

Can’t find dry scallops? America’s Test Kitchen suggests soaking the wet scallops for 30 minutes in a mixture of cold water, lemon juice and salt.

Sea Scallops vs Bay Scallops: Sea scallops are the most common type you’ll find in US grocery stores and when ordering at restaurants. Bay scallops are found mostly on the East coast and are sweeter and much smaller.

How to Cook Scallops:

Pat scallops thoroughly dry all over with paper towels.

Fresh sea scallops being pat dry with a paper towel.

If necessary, remove the small side muscle from the scallops.

Side muscle being removed from a scallop.

Season them with salt and pepper.

Sea scallops being seasoned with salt.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil and butter. Once hot, add the scallops, spacing them apart so they’re not touching. The oil in the pan should be hot enough that the scallops gently sizzle when added.

A saute pan scallops searing in hot butter and oil.

Cook for 2 minutes (without touching them), until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Reduce heat to medium high. Gently flip to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden on bottom and translucent/opaque on the sides.

Scallops searing in a pan, flipped once to show golden crust.

Scallops cook very quickly, usually in less than 5 minutes, so use the touch test to check for doneness; if they’re done; they should feel firm, with a little bit of bounce.  Err on the side of undercooking them, as you can always add them back the pan to cook longer, if needed. Keep in mind they will continue to cook a little as they rest.

Garlic Butter Sauce: Remove cooked scallops from the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Butter added to a pan with dripping from seared scallops.

Add 3-4 cloves garlic, juice from half a lemon, and ¼ cup white wine, chicken or vegetable broth. Cook for 2 minutes.

Fresh lemon juice squeezed over a skillet to make sauce for sealed scallops.

Serve sauce over scallops. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

A plate of seared scallops in garlic butter sauce.

Pro Tips:

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan, so the scallops can get a nice golden crust. You may need to cook them in batches, if your pan is not big enough.
  • Make sure the fat/oil in the pan is hot (but not burned) when adding the scallops. They should sizzle when added.

Serve Scallops with:

  • Seafood Alfredo.
  • Mashed Potatoes and garlic butter sauce (included in recipe notes).
  • Over pasta or spiralized zucchini noodles.
  • With risotto and steamed vegetables.
  • Hibachi style with vegetables.

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Recipe

Seared scallops in garlic butter sauce, served on a plate.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 15 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ lbs Sea Scallops*
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Garlic butter for serving (optional—recipe in notes)

Instructions
 

  • Pat scallops thoroughly dry all over with paper towels. (If necessary, remove the small side muscle from the scallops.) Season them with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil and butter. Once hot, add the scallops, spacing them apart so they’re not touching. The oil in the pan should be hot enough that the scallops gently sizzle when added.
  • Cook for 2 minutes (without touching them), until a golden crust forms on the bottom.
  • Reduce heat to medium high. Gently flip to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden on bottom and translucent/opaque on the sides.
  • Scallops cook very quickly, usually in less than 5 minutes, so use the touch test to check for doneness; if they’re done; they should feel firm, with a little bit of bounce.  Err on the side of undercooking them, as you can always add them back the pan to cook longer, if needed. Keep in mind they will continue to cook a little as they rest.
  • Garlic Butter Sauce: Remove cooked scallops from the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add 3-4 cloves garlic, juice from half a lemon, and ¼ cup white wine, chicken or vegetable broth. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Serve sauce over scallops. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Notes

Store leftover scallops in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Pro Tips:
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan, so the scallops can get a nice golden crust. You may need to cook them in batches, if your pan is not big enough.
  • Make sure the fat/oil in the pan is hot (but not burned) when adding the scallops. They should sizzle when added.
Frozen Scallops: thaw quickly by placing them (in their closed package) in a bowl of ice water, or thaw overnight in the fridge, before using.
Scallops: buy fresh scallops from the seafood counter, or frozen scallops but allow them to thaw completely before using. Try to buy “dry” scallops, if possible. Wet scallops have been brined in water and chemicals and may not sear as well as dry scallops will. Also, smell them to check for freshness–they won’t have a strong “fishy” odor, if they’re fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 16gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 553mgPotassium: 280mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 74IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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