Simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic, then cooked in butter and olive oil, these seared scallops are a delicacy.
They're ready in just minutes; you can serve them as an appetizer or the main course.
Seared scallops are incredibly delicious and surprisingly easy to make. I almost always have a bag of frozen scallops in my freezer.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Sea scallops: Make sure you use large sea scallops and not small bay scallops.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Fats for cooking: Unsalted butter and olive oil. Adding oil helps prevent the milk solids in the butter from browning too much.
- An excellent way to vary this recipe is to use a different fat for cooking the scallops. You could use ghee, for example, or bacon grease. I tried bacon grease (leftover from this oven bacon recipe) and loved the flavor it added to the scallops.
- You can also add seasonings. Not too much, because you want the flavor of the scallops to shine through. But I like adding ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme and just a pinch of cayenne.
Seared Scallops Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the scallops with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Combine the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Heat them over medium-high heat. A cast-iron skillet works well.
Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer. You want them to develop a nice crust, so ensure they don't touch each other.
Cook the scallops until fully cooked and a beautiful brown crust forms on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
The scallops are done when browned on the outside and opaque on the inside, like this:
If not using a nonstick skillet, you might find that after the initial three minutes, the bottoms of the scallops slightly stick to the skillet. This happens to me when I use a cast-iron skillet. I simply slide a thin spatula (or even a cake server or a cheese slicer, as shown in the video) gently underneath each scallop to release it.
Sea scallops are bigger and meatier than bay scallops. I prefer to use them in this recipe because while they still require a short cooking time, you can cook them long enough to form a beautiful, flavorful crust. Bay scallops are tiny and are more suitable for stir-fries, salads, and ceviche.
If the scallops have a small, crescent-shaped muscle attached to their side, as shown in the photo below, use your fingers to peel it off and remove it. It gets tough when cooked.
There's no best way! Seared scallops are wonderful because pan-frying them forms a lovely crust on their outside.
But baked scallops are lovely, too. The butter-parmesan sauce is phenomenal. And broiled scallops are amazing, especially with the parmesan coating. I love all of these recipes equally and make them often.
Whatever method you use to cook them, make sure the scallops are fully cooked. Their inside should be white and moist.
Sweet, succulent, and meaty, I find that scallops need minimal added flavor.
Simply sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder, sear them in butter and olive oil to form a crust, and serve. They don't need a sauce to taste good.
Soaking scallops in milk is a way to tenderize them and remove their slightly fishy odor. I think this is unnecessary.
As long as they're not overcooked, scallops are wonderfully tender, and cooking them in butter and olive oil removes any fishiness.
Sometimes, I serve these scallops as an appetizer. But I usually serve them as an entree. They are so "meaty" and satisfying!
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to three days. Gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave.
More Scallop Recipes
- Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them with kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large (14-inch), heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.
- Add the scallops in a single layer, ensuring they don't touch each other.
- Sear the scallops for about 3 minutes on each side. You want a nice brown crust on both sides.
- When fully cooked, the inside should be white and moist. Serve immediately.
- Sea scallops are bigger and meatier than bay scallops. I prefer to use them in this recipe because while they still require a short cooking time, you can cook them long enough to form a flavorful crust.
- If not using a nonstick skillet, you might find that after the initial three minutes, the bottoms of the scallops slightly stick to the skillet. This happens to me when I use a cast-iron skillet. I simply slide a thin spatula (or even a cake server or a cheese slicer, as shown in the video) gently underneath each scallop to release it.
- According to the USDA, scallops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to three days. Gently reheat them, covered, in the microwave.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
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