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Seared Scallops: the easy recipe for an elegant seafood dinner

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 2 people
By Cookist
dry sea scallops
1/2 pound
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp
2 tbsp

If you're looking for a fast, easy seafood recipe that's sure to impress, try making seared scallops. This simple recipe is the best way to get restaurant-style seared scallops at home. With a slightly sweet, caramelized flavor, rich golden-brown crust, and incredibly tender texture, seared scallops taste as good as they look.

You only need some fresh scallops, some oil, butter, salt, and pepper to make seared scallops at home. Enjoy them on their own as an appetizer or make them into a meal by serving your scallops over risotto, pasta, or with a side of roasted vegetables. Whatever you choose, we guarantee these seared scallops will be a hit!


How to Choose Scallops

When buying scallops look for “dry” ones. Dry scallops aren't treated with chemicals or preservatives and will have a superior flavor. Wet scallops have been soaked in preservatives. They'll shrivel up and not sear as well due to wet scallops' higher water content. Wet scallops usually aren't as fresh, so it's always good practice to ask what type of scallops are being sold before purchasing. Scallops should always have a clean, slightly sweet smell. If they have a strong fish odor, don't buy them.

How to Clean Scallops

If you're buying whole scallops, you'll need to shuck them before cooking them. Use an oyster knife to open the shell and remove the scallop. Discard the frill and the black stomach sack, then rinse the scallop well.

How to Make Seared Scallops

Making scallops is absurdly easy. Even novice cooks can make this restaurant-worthy dish at home. First, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then season them well with freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add in the oil.

Arrange the scallops in the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes without disturbing them, then flip them. Add the butter, and cook for 1 more minute. Remove and serve with a side of pasta, risotto, potatoes – whatever you prefer!


Tips for the Best Seared Scallops

Make sure to pat the scallops dry before frying them.

Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil to cook your scallops. You can also substitute avocado oil.

To make your scallops ultra-tender and get rid of the fish odor, you can soak them in milk for 1 hour prior to cooking.

Don't crowd the scallops when you're searing them.

What to Serve with Seared Scallops

There are loads of wonderful sides you can pair with your seared scallops. Serve them with roasted asparagus, potatoes au gratin, a pomegranate and fennel salad, a side of pasta tossed with lemon and capers, quinoa salad, roasted squash, or risotto.

For a keto-friendly option, try healthy cauliflower rice or noodles. Because scallops are so versatile, the options are endless! If you'd like to serve wine with your seared scallops, opt for a dry, full-bodied white wine such as a lightly oaked Chardonnay, a dry Chenin Blanc.

How to Store Seared Scallops

Cooked scallops will last 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat them in the pan until they're heated through.


Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Heat the oil. Place the scallops in the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes without disturbing them.

Flip the scallops, add the butter, and cook for 1 more minute. Remove and serve immediately.


Use an oil with a high smoke point like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil.

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