Learn how to make Seared Scallops with a perfectly golden brown crust, just like at the restaurants! They’re incredibly simple to make at home and much cheaper than dining out.
Scallops are on most nice restaurant menus these days, and for good reason. As far as seafood goes, I would take scallops over anything.
While I love shrimp, crab, fish, and lobster, seared scallops are the king of my seafood universe!
Their mildly sweet flavor and that caramelized crust they get when seared in a super hot pan…oh, swoon. Not to mention, they’re really low-maintenance compared to lobster and crab.
What’s funny to me about scallops is a lot of people only order them at restaurants because they’re too intimidated to make them at home.
This is silly!
Scallops are one of the easiest things you can make at home.
I actually cooked scallops quite a bit during my surgery recovery because they take 10 minutes to make, they’re super filling (it’s like a big ball of protein), and most importantly, they’re mighty delicious.
I also love that you just pick them up from the store and don’t have to do any prep with them, aside from seasoning with salt and pepper.
So before we get cooking, let’s talk about buying scallops.
Where to buy scallops:
You want to buy scallops wherever they sell them “dry.”
I’ve noticed more and more grocery stores labeling their scallops as either wet or dry, which I really appreciate because I used to have to ask.
- A wet scallop has been soaked in a preservative phosphate solution. This makes the scallop absorb more water, and when you cook them, they kind of shrivel a bit and don’t brown as well because of that extra liquid. The phosphate solution also gives the scallop an off flavor, and they’re usually not as fresh.
- A dry scallop has not been treated with any chemicals additives or solutions. Compared to the wet scallops, they are darker (more of a beige color, whereas the wet scallops are whiter), and they have a more pure flavor.
If possible, you always want to buy dry scallops.
The first thing you want to do when you’re searing anything is to pat the outside dry with a paper towel. I do this when I make Pan Seared Steaks too.
Next, sprinkle the scallops with sea salt and black pepper:
Next grab a skillet, preferably cast-iron. Cast iron pans are my favorite for searing because they retain heat so well and preheat nicely.
Heat up the skillet until it’s really hot, and add some high smoke point oil:
Drop in your scallops, and make sure to give them enough space in the pan so they’re not steaming each other.
This is when I season the other side with salt and pepper:
Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on the first side, then add a small pat of butter to the pan while the other side finishes cooking, to flavor the scallops:
Once the the scallops are done cooking, serve immediately, and make sure to transfer them to another dish for serving. The cast iron retains heat and will continue cooking the scallops unless you take them out.
What goes with seared scallops?
I like serving them with something light, like a salad.
Here is the Salad category of my recipe index for ideas, but the Mexican Corn Salad goes really well in particular, as well as this Arugula Zucchini Salad.
I also have a recipe for Seared Scallops with Bacon Jam and Basil, which is a flavorful compliment to the scallops!
How long will scallops keep in the fridge? Two days max. When they’re fresh, they have a sweet ocean smell, and when they start to spoil they will take on a stinky fish smell.
Can scallops be reheated? Yes, but you have to be careful not to cook them further. Heat until they’re just warm enough to eat. I do this in the microwave at half heat.
For the Scallops:
- 1/2 lb dry sea scallops
- 1 tbsp high smoke point oil like ghee, avocado oil, etc.
- 2 tbsp butter
Ideas for What to Serve with Scallops (optional):
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- In the meantime, pat the scallops very dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the sea scallops with salt and pepper, to season.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil, then drop in your scallops, giving them enough room in between so they don’t steam each other. The scallops should make a sizzling noise when you put them in the pan.
- Cook the scallops for 2 minutes, making sure not to move them or touch them at all.
- Flip the scallops over with a pair of tongs, and add the butter to the pan. Let the scallops cook for 1 more minute, basting the scallops with the butter.
- Remove the scallops from the pan and serve!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
149 Comments on “Seared Scallops”
Would it be ok to the recipe to add a little garlic and onion to the skillet? I really enjoyed the scallops from this recipe, but the …upmf wasn’t there.
Do I wash scallops after getting them from market
Amazing ! I’ve made this recipe a few times now.
I follow everything exactly ~ cast iron skillet , avocado oil , sea salt & fresh pepper , butter
However ~ I use frozen scallops and defrost them
They always turn out tasty & amazing !
They are more affordable & I always have them on hand & ready to go !
(I buy the Olivia Brand Scallops from Costco ~ they are Huge !)
Great recipe thanks!! However just the idea of Scallops entering a nuke-oven is so CRINGE lol (yes microwaves destroy nutrients & lace food with radiation/free radicals) …
Also i’d opt out the butter for Coconut Oil (basically vegan butter lol) as it infuses a nice tropical flavor to the Seafood!! (Yes Coco oil can handle medium high heat 👌💚)
They came out perfectly. My wife was beyond thrilled with the scallops.
What about cutting the small bit of muscle off the side of the scallop before you do anything else?
Feel free to do that, but personally we just eat it.
Thank you for scallop recipe, my daughter sent some from Alaska along with a selection of fish. I’ve been hesitant cooking scallops, also do not have cast iron pan, hopefully electric skillet will work. Margaret
Wow, amazingly simple, i like simple, thanks.
Best scallops I’ve ever made. As good or better than restaurants. Great recipe! Thank you!
Fabulous! Wonderful every single time! So delish with some citrus of some sort on top immediately after cooking. Thank you for this weeknight saver and special occasion dish all in one!
Loving the recipes
This was so, so good and so simple. Will make again, many times
I love to make these, so good, so easy. I pulled out great new things from this post.