Pan Seared Scallops are quite simple once you learn the trick to cooking them perfectly. They only take 5 minutes to cook!
This Sea Scallops Recipe makes perfect Pan Seared Scallops every time
Scallops are one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I always felt like they were such a delicacy and would be challenging to make at home.
I was wrong. They aren’t the least bit challenging to make! But they sure are special and will impress anyone you have over when you tell them you’re making scallops for dinner!
Perfectly Cooked and Seared Scallops Recipe
You are going to be blown away by how easy it is to cook scallops! You don’t even need to season them before cooking, you can add some salt and pepper if you like but they don’t need much.
If you want to season them, you can try making a garlic butter sauce to pour over them once they’re finished cooking, like I did with these Garlic Butter Shrimp.
In this post I’m sharing all my tips and tricks for making the best scallops. From how to buy scallops to how to cook them better than a restaurant.
What Are Scallops?
Scallops are a type of mollusk, meaning the interior muscle is surrounded by two shells—just like clams, oysters, and mussels.
There are two types: bay scallops and sea scallops. I prefer sea scallops because they are larger, more tender, and very sweet.
Are Scallops Shellfish?
Yes, if you or someone you are dining with has a shellfish allergy, you might want to avoid cooking scallops!
What Does A Scallop Look Like?
A scallop comes in a large shell with a fanned out shape. The part we eat, is round and plump, and usually has a white coloring.
What Do Scallops Taste Like?
Scallops are sweet, tender, and less firm than clams, oysters, and mussels. They have a slightly briny flavor and are best paired with something savory like bacon or steak.
Are Scallops Healthy?
Scallops are more than 80% protein! There’s 20 grams of protein in just three ounces of scallops. They’re also a great source of magnesium and potassium.
How To Buy Scallops
Before you can think about cooking them, you’ll need to get your hands on some quality scallops. The fresher they are, the better they’ll taste.
I usually look for the largest dry packed sea scallops I can find because they are the sweetest. When you see scallops in the store sitting in a murky liquid, you can expect them to shrink while they cook.
If you didn’t get dry packed scallops, before you start cooking lay them all flat on a paper towel and let them sit for about 10 minutes to pat them dry.
If you can’t find dry packed, frozen scallops will work too. The best way to thaw scallops is by placing them in the refrigerator overnight the day before you plan to cook them.
How to make Scallops
1. Melt butter and olive oil. Heat a large non-stick pan with olive oil and half the butter on high heat. When the pan is HOT, arrange the scallops in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes undisturbed.
2. Sear the scallops. When the scallops are mostly opaque, flip them and add the rest of the butter, and cook for 1 minute undisturbed until they are completely opaque.
3. Make the butter sauce. Reduce the heat to low and melt 3 tbsps of butter with 1.5 tbsps of chopped parsley. Spoon the parsley butter over the scallops and serve hot.
Garlic Butter Sauce is also delicious with scallops!
Note: keep an eye on how much liquid is in the pan, if there is a good amount of oil in there, you might not need the full tablespoon of butter after you flip the scallops.
What is the best cooking method for scallops?
- Pan searing is my favorite way to cook scallops because it creates a beautiful caramelized crust that adds a rich, savory, and slightly nutty flavor.
- Searing the scallops in a pan helps them maintain their delicate texture while also cooking them quickly. It’s a versatile, visually appealing, and relatively easy way to prepare scallops.
Tips for the best Pan Seared Scallops
1. It’s important not to keep too much liquid in the pan, because then the scallops will just steam up and you won’t get a nice sear on them.
2. If you see there is too much liquid in the pan, just stick the corner of a paper towel in the pan to soak it up.
How long should you Pan Sear Scallops?
3. As the scallops are cooking, you’ll notice they begin to turn opaque. This means they are just about finished! You want to let the scallops cook about 90% on the first side (usually 3-4 minutes), so once all but the top of the scallop is opaque, flip and finish cooking on the other side only about 1 minute.
4. If you weren’t able to find dry packed scallops, before you start cooking lay them all flat on a paper towel, lay a paper towel over them, and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
5. This is the pan I have been cooking my scallops in for years, I swear by it!
What to serve with Scallops
- Scallops can be served over creamy pumpkin pasta, goat cheese orzo, or linguine with clam sauce.
- You can also serve your seared scallops with roasted garlic potatoes, baked spaghetti squash, or a little gem salad.
How to store Seared Scallops
Scallops taste best when made fresh, but if you have leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste, you can place them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Leftover scallops can be refrigerated for 1-2 days.
Reheating this Seared Scallops Recipe
To reheat scallops, heat a pan over low to medium heat, add a small amount of butter or oil, and warm the scallops for a few minutes on each side until they’re heated through.
More Seafood & Favorites to Recipes To Try
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Seared Scallops Recipe
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large non-stick pan with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter on high heat. When the pan is hot, add the scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes undisturbed. When the scallops are mostly opaque, flip them and add the remaining 1 tbsp of butter, and cook for 1 minute undisturbed until they are completely opaque. Remove the scallops from the pan and transfer to a large plate tented with foil to keep them warm.
- Reduce the heat to low and melt 3 tbsps of butter with 1.5 tbsps of chopped parsley. Spoon the parsley butter over the scallops and serve hot.