Des

Hey! I'm Des!

Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

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Pan Seared Sea Scallops

You can make restaurant quality scallops right at home! This simple recipe for Pan Seared Sea Scallops only needs a few ingredients and is a show stopper. 

For the longest time Seared Scallops was a dish that I reserved for whenever we’d dine out. I never thought to make them at home. Maybe I was intimidated but guys, I don’t know why because they are BEYOND easy to make yourself.

Overhead photo of seared sea scallops on white plate.

We’re talking like 10 minutes tops and you’ve got a restaurant quality dish on your dinner table. Let me show you just how easy it is so you can do it too!

What are scallops?

Scallops, if you aren’t familiar with them, are bivalves.  That just means that they have to shells. They are tender. Slightly sweet and buttery. Think of them as a cross between clams and crab or lobster. They are also considered one of the healthiest seafoods with 80% protein and a low fat content.

Close up side shot of seared scallop

What ingredients do you need?

Overhead photo of ingredients to make seared scallops.

JUMBO SEA SCALLOPS: If you can find them fresh that’s great. Keep in mind when picking them out fresh scallops shouldn’t smell fishy. They should have a fresh, slightly sweet smell. If you are using frozen, you need to make sure that they are thawed completely before cooking.

OLIVE OIL: Just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet.

SALT AND PEPPER:

BUTTER:  Added at the end of cooking for a little more richness.

How to sear scallops:

It’s super easy! Let me show you how.

First, in order to get that gorgeous brown crust, make sure that you pat the scallops dry. Do this gently with a paper towel.

Patting scallops dry with a paper towel.

Next, sometimes scallops will have a tough rectangular tag of tissue on the side  (sometimes this is removed before you buy them) It is not necessary but I like to remove it because it can be tough. To remove the side muscle of scallops simply pinch it between your thumb and first finger and pull it off.

Removing side muscle from scallops.

Simply season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.

Overhead photo of scallops seasoned with salt and pepper.

Finally, heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. A cast iron skillet works the best! Add scallops to the hot pan. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding will steam them rather than sear. Sear the scallops 2 minutes on the first side. Flip and sear on the other side. Add the butter at this time. As it melts spoon it over the top of the scallops.

Close up photo of scallop searing in a cast iron skillet.

Remove to a serving platter and serve immediately.

See! Look at how gorgeous these are! Whether you are looking for a meal to make for a special occasion, date night at home or just a night when you want to indulge in delicious seafood, this pan seared sea scallops recipe is the recipe you need!  They are truly a restaurant quality dish that you can easily make at home.

Looking for easy side dishes to serve alongside these pan seared scallops?

Baked Red Potatoes 

Garlic Rice

Sautéed Broccoli with Garlic

Want more seafood recipes? Here are some of my most popular:

Fried Cod Recipes

Salmon with Capers

Coconut Prawns

Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2009. It was updated in 2021 with new photos and nutrition information.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Ingredients:

  • 20 jumbo sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan you are using)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Instructions

1

Place scallops between two paper towels and gently pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

2

In a skillet large enough to fit all of the scallops without over crowding them, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, lay the scallops in gently. Cook 2 minutes per side.

3

Add the butter to the skillet. As it melts spoon it over the scallops. Remove the scallops to a platter and serve.

Notes

Enjoy!

Nutrition information

Calories: 218 , Total Fat: 11g , Saturated Fat: 2.9g , Cholesterol: 57mg , Sodium: 553mg , Carbohydrates: 3.7g , Fiber: 0.1g , Sugar: 0g , Protein: 25.2g

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    ancient mariner
    December 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    When buying scallops know the following. “Diver” (Harvested by Divers, not scallop draggers)fresh scallops are only available from Dec to March and they are an “overfished” fishery only available from the State of Maine. “Dry” scallops when placed in a Collander will not drip any liquid and will be translucent. Scallops with water added will have a preservative to help retain the water in the scallop. If your waiter/chef is claiming to have fresh diver scallops from April-November, they are in line for a career in politics. Fresh Sea Scallops from New Bedford or anyother Port are just as good as so called “Diver” Scallops. It’s like the difference between a chevy and a buick, there aint any!

  • Reply
    Wags
    March 10, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    If the scallops are sticking to the pan when you try to flip them give them more time. They will release from the pan when properly seared.

    • Reply
      Deseree
      March 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks for the tip Wags! :)

  • Reply
    finsmom
    February 12, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    These look heavenly! I love scallops, but have yet to talk my hubby into trying them. Your recipe makes me inspired to do so!

    • Reply
      Deseree
      February 15, 2009 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks for the comment finsmom! Ryan was very unsure about scallops too, but he devoured these, the simplicity of the recipe really allows you to taste the wonderful scallop flavor. Hopefully you can talk your hubby into trying them! :)

    Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Have new recipes emailed to you.