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Published May 21, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
If you love seafood, then you will absolutely love this pan-seared sea scallops recipe that cooks in under 5 minutes.
I love seafood and I try to eat it just as much as I possibly can. It has loads of health benefits and the flavors are amazing. If you’re like me and want to check out a few new recipes then definitely try my crabcakes, shrimp scampi, or blackened salmon.
Scallops are bivalve mollusk that is a muscle that is encapsulated into two shells. It’s in the same family as a mussel, clam, or oyster. Scallops are most commonly sold shucked with the foot attached. The foot is what attaches the scallop to the shell, and I advise removing it because it can be chewy once cooked.
There are a few different types of scallops and all of them would work fantastically in this recipe, with adjusted cooking times dependent upon size. Here are the two different types of scallops:
- Bay – these are small, sweet scallops caught in shallow waters that usually take 100 to weigh 1 pound.
- Sea – the most common type of scallop that usually comes in a myriad of sizes. I used U12’s in this recipe.
Maybe you’ve also heard of diver or dayboat scallops which refer to the way it is harvested:
- Diver – instead of nets or cages, these are hand-picked scallops by divers, but it’s incredibly time-intensive, however more sustainably responsible.
How to Pan Sear Scallops
Follow these step-by-step instructions to make these pan-seared sea scallops:
Start by removing the foot of each scallop.
Place the scallops onto a folded paper towel and gently press them with paper towels to remove as much outside moisture as possible.
Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat some oil in a large frying pan until it is smoking.
Quickly add the scallops along with butter and cook for 90 seconds.
Flip the scallops over and cook for a further 30 to 45 seconds.
Remove the scallops and make the butter sauce.
What Kind of Pan Should I Use?
You can honestly use any pan you want and are comfortable using. Remember it’s about the technique and not always the tool. Here are some pans, but aren’t limited to, that you can use:
- Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
- Carbon Steel
What is the Best Oil to Use?
The most important aspect of which oil to use when pan-searing scallops are the smoke point. Scallops cook incredibly quickly and because of that, you want them to brown up without burning or overcooking. Here is what I would recommend using:
- Grape Seed
- Clarified Butter
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: Scallops are meant to be eaten as soon as they are finished cooking.
How to Reheat: Re-sear the scallops in the exact same method but cut the cooking times in half as to not overcook. You can also reheat in the microwave.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. These will not freeze well, and I would recommend freezing un-cooked.
chef notes + tips
- Scallops are meant to be eaten at a more medium-internal temperature.
- They will overcook very quickly and become very chewy.
- If you have the option always buy dry-packed scallops.
- Also, try serving the scallops with a simple beurre blanc.
- There will be plenty of herb compound butter leftover that is perfect for freezing.
More Seafood Recipes
- Sea Scallops Florentine with Fettuccine Recipe
- Homemade Smoked Salmon Dip
- Homemade Gravlax Recipe
- Oysters Rockefeller Recipe
Be sure to follow me on Facebook, YouTube Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!
Pan Seared Sea Scallops Recipe
- 8 ounces softened unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons
- ½ peeled and finely minced shallot
- 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 pound U12 sea scallops, foot removed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup white wine
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment whip the together the 2 sticks of butter for 4-6 minutes on medium to high speed until it is light and fluffy.
- Next, add in the lemon juice and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- Add in the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, chives, and salt and pepper until completely combined. Chill.
- Remove the foot of the scallops, pat dry with paper towels, and season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over high heat until it begins to lightly smoke. Add in the scallops quickly and turn the heat down to medium-high.
- Immediately add in the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to help brown and season the scallops
- Turn the scallops over after 1:30 to 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.
- Cook the scallops for a further 30 to 45 seconds or until the desired internal temperature is achieved.
- Remove the scallops and deglaze with the white wine and cook until it is almost gone over medium heat, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the burner and add in 1/4 cup of the herb butter and whisk until melted. Reserve the remaining in the freezer for a later date!
Easy and awesome. The herb butter will be used on any delicate protein – fish, chicken and maybe pork. Great stuff. But it’s just incredible on the scallops!
So easy and has so much flavor! My favorite way to cook scallops!
This recipe was quick, easy and tasted outstanding. My husband thought he had gone out to a restaurant when he sat down to dinner. 🙂
Your cooking talent is next to none top shelf
My first time preparing scallops and this recipe is delicious. I could drink the sauce alone. Thank you for great videos and really outstanding recipes. My first BP recipe was for Baria Tacos and they too were decadent and dynamite!
I have had scallops once in my life.. I absolutely loved them… I hope I can make them half as good …one of my favorite “new” foods…. I’m half afraid to make em… but … I’m gonna do it. Haha
Is there a way to minimize the grittiness? In restaurants it’s hit or miss if they are gritty/sandy and it ruins the meal for me.
sounds like they just needed to be rinsed with water first.
Made these tonite, served over wilted spinach. To die for, just like every other recipe I’ve tried of yours since finding you two months ago. Thank you, thank you. My husband says it’s better than a restaurant, every time I try a new one!! One more thank you 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
My husband is allergic to scallops — come of this be used for shrimp or any other kind of fish?
How do you keep scallops warm while sauce is cooking?
The sauce doesn’t take but a few minutes. Simply add them to the pan at the very end to give them a little reheat if needed.
Or just heat the dinner plates!Excellent recipe!
This looks amazing. I was casting around for something to do with scallops and some garlic scape compound butter I made a couple of weeks ago and have in the freezer and I think this is it.
Um, yes please. Scallops are my spirit animal. If that is a thing. And I love the nutritional content pointing out that I really don’t care how much cholesterol is in this, it can be 1,112% of my daily intake. Because it’s awesome.
Haha totally agree my man!
I made the scallops for my husband’s birthday dinner and all my guests commented that it was so good. By the end of the meal the scallops were all gone. I love scallops and always wondered how to get the nice brown crust on them – now I know and I will definitely make this again.
Oh so awesome to hear Lori, so glad they worked out so well for you!!!
Tried this recipe. It came out amazing! Thank you!!
Thank you so much for trying it!!
That dear is amazing! Putting scallops on my dinner menu soon – yum!