Seared Scallops Recipe

Scallops are a type of shellfish that may find favor even with those people who claim to hate seafood. They're just about the least fishy-tasting thing in the sea, as they have a flavor that is very mild with a slight hint of sweetness. Scallops come in two varieties: the smaller, sweeter bay ones, and the larger sea ones. All scallops are tender and delicious, so no matter which type you cook with, they're bound to be winners.

Recipe developer Christina Musgrave has come up with a simple five-ingredient recipe for seared scallops that really couldn't get any easier. As she describes the dish, "This recipe is delicious and super easy to make," adding that "the scallops are cooked to perfection and have an amazing lemon flavor." She tells us that you can use either bay scallops or sea scallops in this recipe, although she does advise that "If you're buying very large sea scallops, you may have to cook [them] for an additional minute per side."

Assemble the ingredients for seared scallops

To make this dish, you'll start with scallops, of course. You'll also need salt and pepper as well as some olive oil, though Musgrave does say that you could cook the scallops in butter, as well.

Once the scallops are cooked, you'll be finishing them off with some fresh lemon juice, although you could also add a splash of white wine to the pan while you're deglazing it. If you'd like, you can garnish the cooked scallops with fresh basil, or you could use a different kind of herb instead. As Musgrave tells us, "Parsley, cilantro, oregano, or thyme would all be great with this."

Prepare the scallops

Musgrave says to make sure that the scallops you use have the side muscle removed, but this probably won't factor into your prep work if you're not going to be taking them out of the shells yourself as most commercially available scallops come ready to cook.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides.

Sear the scallops

Heat the oil in a large skillet with the burner set on medium. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the scallops to the pan. Cook them for 3 minutes, flip them, then cook them for 3 minutes more. At this point the scallops should be cooked through and have a nice sear on each side, so take them out of the pan.

Drizzle some lemon juice onto the scallops

Pour the lemon juice into the pan, then deglaze it by scraping up all the browned bits. Pour this tasty pan juice over the cooked scallops. Garnish the scallops with chopped basil or other herbs if you like, and pass the lemon wedges if you'd like some extra tang.

Musgrave says this dish can be served as either an appetizer or a main course. "If serving as an appetizer," she tells us, "I'd serve [the scallops] with some crostini or toasted bread." For a main course, however, she notes that she'd serve the scallops "with a white sauce pasta and a salad."

Seared Scallops Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
Cooking delicious scallops has never been easier thanks to this simple seared scallops recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
scallops in pan with lemon
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 1 pound scallops
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional Ingredients
  • fresh basil, as garnish
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.
  2. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the scallops to the pan once the oil is shimmering, then cook them for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the scallops from the pan and pour in the lemon juice.
  5. Deglaze the pan by scraping up any remaining bits.
  6. Pour the pan juice over the scallops.
  7. Garnish the scallops with fresh basil, if desired, and serve with lemon wedges.
Calories per Serving 283
Total Fat 14.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 54.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 0.4 g
Sodium 889.8 mg
Protein 27.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe