Seared Scallops with Garlic Butter (quick meal)

Seared scallops are a simple, elegant recipe that never fails to impress.

They are often seen on menus and served with risotto, long-grain brown rice, or even on a bed of sautéed spinach. This one-pan wonder comes together in mere minutes, and with just a few ingredients, too.

(Simple) Seared Scallops in the pot with lemons

An Easy Entree

We love this recipe because even a home chef can cook a gourmet meal. They aren’t hard to make, you just want to be sure that you don’t overcook them!

While bacon wrapped scallops are great for an appetizer, these elegant scallops are the perfect main dish.

Scallops are lovely on their own with a mild buttery flavor so this recipe keeps the sauce very simple.

I most often use frozen scallops because that’s what is easily available. You can find them in the seafood section or the frozen foods section at almost any grocery. I find that wholesale clubs (Sams/Costco) have the best prices for large frozen scallops.

ingredients to make (Simple) Seared Scallops

ingredients to make (Simple) Seared Scallops

Ingredients and Variations

SCALLOPS Fresh sea scallops are the stars of this recipe (don’t use bay scallops, they’re more suited to pasta sauces or chowders)! Use fresh or frozen, whatever you have on hand.

If your scallops are frozen, be sure to thaw them in the fridge and drain them well. If they’re too wet, they won’t get a good sear.

SAUCE A bit of butter, garlic, and white wine to make a light sauce that complements the scallops. Adding a little cream will make a thicker richer sauce.

How to Sear Scallops

Scallops might seem like a complicated dish to prepare, but there’s really nothing to it!

  1. Pat scallops dry. Season scallops with salt & pepper (per recipe below).
  2. Heat oil in a skillet and once very hot, add scallops. Do not move or stir them.
  3. Let scallops cook 2 minutes until browned, flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

Once the scallops are seared, remove them from the pan right away so they stop cooking (don’t overcook). Cook the sauce in the pan while the scallops rest.

adding butter mixture to make (Simple) Seared Scallops

adding butter mixture to make (Simple) Seared Scallops

Tips & Tricks

  • Bay scallops are the very small scallops that are mostly served in seafood chowders or on cold salads. Select sea scallops which are about the size of a walnut.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator, drain liquid once thawed. Dab the scallops dry before cooking.
  • Sear at a high temperature to get a nice crust without overcooking.
  • Use oil for searing, butter will burn. The butter is added after for the sauce.
  • Once added to the pan do not move the scallops. Let them sit to get a nice sear.

What to Serve with Seared Scallops

So many favorite sides go perfectly with seared scallops.

Did you love these Seared Scallops? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below! 

Seared Scallops with Garlic Butter

These scallops are seared until golden brown and then covered in a garlic butter wine sauce!

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest

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  • Thaw scallops in the fridge if frozen. Dab dry with a paper towel and season with salt & pepper.

  • Heat oil over high heat in a nonstick skillet. Once the oil is smoking, add scallops and cook 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Flip scallops over and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or just until firm and browned. Do not overcook.

  • Remove from heat and place on a plate to rest.

  • Reduce heat to medium and wipe-out skillet with a paper towel.

  • Add butter and garlic to the pan and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • Add white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add scallops back to the pan and spoon sauce over top.

  • Garnish with lemon wedges & parsley, serve immediately.

Ensure oil is hot and scallops are dry before going into the pan.
Do not move or stir them until they have a golden-brown crust.
Sea scallops will need anywhere from 3-6 minutes to cook. If they’re on the smaller side, they’ll need closer to 3 minutes. If they’re larger, they might need closer to 6 minutes.
To tell if scallops are cooked they should be just opaque. The texture should be slightly firm but still tender. 

Calories: 202, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 811mg, Potassium: 247mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 262IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg

(Simple) Seared Scallops in a pan with lemon and writing
(Simple) Seared Scallops in a pan cooking with a title
close up of (Simple) Seared Scallops with a title
(Simple) Seared Scallops before and after cooking with a title