An easy recipe for baked scallops with a wonderful sauce of butter, lemon, and Parmesan.
It's ready in about 30 minutes, truly easy to make, and it's just perfect when served over cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower!
There are good reasons to enjoy scallops - they're a great way to consume more seafood. But I simply love them for their amazing flavor. And this particular recipe is especially good. It's rich, buttery, and very flavorful.
I like to make this recipe for guests because it's foolproof and liked by everyone (my family has declared it "restaurant-level good!"). But I also make it often for my family, because it's truly easy to make - easier than sauteing, for sure.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this baked scallops recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Large sea scallops: Please don't use bay scallops in this recipe. They are too small and will become overcooked.
Unsalted butter: I'm partial to European butter, but any butter will work in this recipe.
Dry white wine: The wine adds a nice layer of flavor, and I like to drink it with the finished dish. But it's OK to skip it.
Fresh lemon juice: It's best to use fresh-squeezed juice and not the juice that comes in a bottle.
Grated Parmesan cheese: Use finely grated cheese, not coarsely shredded.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could turn out too salty.
Spices: I use garlic powder, dried parsley, cayenne pepper, and sweet paprika. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Chopped fresh parsley: I use it mostly for garnish, but it also adds flavor.
How to bake scallops? It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by topping the scallops with a mixture of butter, wine, lemon juice, parmesan, and spices.
Next, you cover and bake them in a broiler-safe dish until cooked through, about 25 minutes at 350°F. At this point, they should be fully cooked, but the dish still doesn't look all that appetizing...
The final step is to sprinkle the dish with more cheese and with paprika and broil until the tops are browned and crispy. Now it looks amazing! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
It's important to use large sea scallops in this recipe - the biggest you can find. Jumbo scallops (12 per pound) are perfect for this recipe. Small scallops, and especially tiny bay scallops, will become overcooked.
Frequently asked questions
I am partial to baking. I do love my recipe for seared scallops and make it often. The beautiful crust that forms when you sear them is amazing. And these broiled scallops are phenomenal. They are cheesy and delicious.
But baking is by far the easiest way to cook sea scallops. And when baked in a tasty sauce, they come out so flavorful and succulent.
It really depends on the recipe. When sauteing them, you only need to sear them for about 3 minutes per side.
But in this recipe, we're taking a different approach and baking them covered, so we're cooking them for about 20 minutes.
When cooked through, they become opaque. You can always make a small slit in one of them to check.
But the best way to ensure they're done is to use an instant-read thermometer inserted through their side. It should read 115 degrees F.
A few tasty variations on this recipe include adding hot sauce for an extra kick, topping the dish with crumbled bacon, and adding chopped scallions.
One more thing you can do is to increase the quantities. As you can see in the video below, I used 3 lb. of jumbo scallops (12 per pound), so I had a total of 36 really big ones, and I baked them in a 9 X 13 -inch pan.
This worked beautifully, and the remaining ingredients remained the same - there was no need to increase their quantity.
Recommended side dishes
This dish comes out of the oven quite saucy and the sauce is exquisite, so make the most of it. You can obviously serve it on a bed of rice or pasta, but I usually serve this dish on top of cauliflower rice. Mashed cauliflower also works well to soak up the tasty sauce.
Another option is to use a bed of raw spinach leaves. The hot buttery sauce wilts the leaves just enough to gently cook them. This is actually one of my favorite way to serve this dish.
You can keep the leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge, in a sealed container. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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Baked Scallops with Butter and Parmesan
- 2 lb. large sea scallops (15 per pound)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon sea salt)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Rinse the scallops and pat them dry. Place them in a lightly greased oven-and-broiler-safe casserole dish.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the butter, wine, lemon juice, ½ cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, and cayenne. Set aside for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Spoon a little of the mixture on top of each scallop.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake until the scallops are cooked through and opaque, and their internal temperature is 115 degrees F. This should take about 25 minutes if your scallops are extra-large, less if they’re smaller. So start checking after 20 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven. Switch the oven to broil and set a rack 6 inches beneath the heating element (not directly below).
- Uncover the scallops, sprinkle them with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan and with the paprika (mostly added for color), and broil until their tops are browned and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Check on them constantly to make sure they don't burn! Sprinkle them with chopped parsley and serve.