Ready to eat in 6 minutes, this sensational recipe for Scallops in Garlic Butter is a fantastic quick dinner you can whip together in a pinch. It’s easy enough for a delicious weeknight meal and fancy enough for special occasions. Plus, you can create this healthy seared scallops recipe with only seven simple ingredients.
If you’re looking for a delicious and straightforward seafood recipe, you are bound to fall in love with this one.
Many find scallops to be a somewhat intimidating protein since they are known to go from perfect to overcooked pretty fast. But, with my help, you will never have to worry about that. In this article, you will learn how to create restaurant-quality juicy, pan-seared scallops in savory garlic sauce at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a restaurant. With just a few simple ingredients, including fresh scallops, garlic, butter, and a handful of flavorful seasonings, you’ll be well on your way to creating a restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.
And if you love this sea scallop recipe, you’ll love a few of my other favorite dishes, such as Dijon Mustard Salmon, Simple Garlic Butter Salmon, Pan-Seared Salmon, Blackened Salmon, and Maple-Mustard Salmon.
This has to be among my favorite garlic butter scallop recipes, and it’s so easy to make, meaning you can enjoy this fabulous dinner much sooner.
There’s no need to worry about running late. With how fast this seared scallop recipe cook from start to finish, you won’t have to spend hours cooking in the kitchen. The next day, I was already considering making gluten-free peanut butter pancakes for breakfast the next morning because this dish came together so fast!
I absolutely love searing meat in my cast iron skillet, such as pan=seared salmon, pan-seared scallops, and pan-seared steak with mushrooms. I can’t recommend using a cast iron skillet enough for the best sears.
What Do Scallops Taste Like?
Scallops have a delicate and sweet flavor that almost tastes like a mix of crab and lobster meat. They also have a very soft and creamy texture that adopts favors incredibly well, meaning weed a lot of time and effort to create that delightful butter-garlic flavor.
How Do You Pick the Best Scallops?
Finding scallops at your local grocery store is pretty easy as they are widely available in most markets, fresh and frozen. For our recipe, you want to get large fresh scallops, not smaller bay scallops, as they have different cooking times. If you cannot find fresh, you can also use frozen. Also, you’ll want to purchase dry and not wet scallops.
The difference is that wet scallops are soaked in a prostrates bath to preserve their freshness better, while the dry variety is not. Plus, the dry scallops obtain a better sear, the texture isn’t water-logged, and they taste a lot sweeter than the wet variety.
How to Create this Sensational Garlic Butter Scallops Recipe
- Large fresh scallops – be sure to remove all side muscle.
- Ground black pepper and coarse sea salt to taste.
- Unsalted butter (unsalted butter is essential since you are already seasoning with salt and pepper).
- Olive oil
- Fresh parsley (chopped) – You can also use other fresh herbs like basil and thyme.
- Lemon juice – This will help brighten up your garlic butter scallop’s flavor, so don’t skip on it. For the best results, make fresh lemon juice. You can also substitute white wine for lemon juice.
- Garlic cloves (Minced)
Prepare your scallops
- Remove your scallops from the refrigerator between 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
- Put your scallops on a cutting board lined with paper towels, then pat them dry using paper towels.
- Season your scallops well on all sides using coarse salt before setting them aside.
Prepare your Cast Iron Skillet
- Heat up your olive oil using a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Allow two minutes for it to heat up. Once the oil begins to smoke in a bit, the skillet is sufficiently heated.
Sear Those Scallops
Add in your scallops, making sure not to overcrowd your skillet. You want to add only a single layer, working in batches if necessary.
Cook scallops for about 2-3 minutes on both sides. The pan seared scallops should become golden and thoroughly cooked through. Removed the seared scallops, placing them aside for now. Since we want tender, juicy scallops, it’s important not to overcook them.
Create Your Garlic Butter Sauce
- Add your garlic, butter, lemon juice, and freshly cut parsley to the pan. Sauté all ingredients for around 1-2 minutes before adding your seared scallops back into the skillet, then heat through on low heat for another 1-2 minutes, and now you’re ready to serve!
Pro Tips For Creating the Very Best Seared Garlic Butter Scallops
- Ensure you pat your scallops dry before adding them to your pan. When scallops are wet, they cause the pan to steam, interfering with achieving that gold pan sear.
- Once again, I highly recommend searing scallops and all types of meat in a cast iron skillet.
Recipe Remixes for This Garlic Butter Scallops Recipe
If you want to make this recipe Paleo and Whole30-friendly, incorporate Ghee instead of real butter. This will deliver the same buttery flavor to your seared scallops.
You can also switch up your seasoning, such as swapping in cajun seasoning, paprika, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and more for a new dish every time.
And if you don’t have or want to use scallops, you can substitute shrimp for creating delicious Garlic Butter Shrimp.
Can I Create This Recipe for Garlic Butter Scallops Ahead of Time?
It’s best to serve and eat your scallops right away. While they can last in your fridge for 1-2 days inside an airtight container, since they are such a fragile protein, reheating them can cause them to get tough and ruin their creamy texture.
How Can I Tell When Your Pan-Seared Scallops Are Cooked Through Enough?
Your Garlic Butter Scallops will be thoroughly cooked in about 6 minutes. The way to tell if they are done is to look for them to become firm and develop an opaque color. If you are concerned about overcooking, you can always cook your seared scallops for a minute, then allow them to rest for about 1-2 minutes prior to serving.
How Can I Use Frozen Scallops?
Yes, but first, you must ensure they are completely thawed.
How Do I Thaw Frozen Scallops?
The best way to thaw frozen scallops before using them in this Pan Seared Scallops recipe is to put them in your fridge overnight. Or you can also quickly thaw them in your sink, inside a bowl of cold water, for around 10-20 minutes.
What Side Dishes Can I Serve with Scallops?
Your main dish of Seared Garlic Butter Scallops can be served with tons of side dish options like risotto, rice, pasta, and more. Here are a few delicious side dish ideas you can serve with your scallops.
- Roasted Parmesan Green Beans
- Garlic Butter Green Beans
- Pan-fried Parmesan Lemon Asparagus
- Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Sweet Potato
- Easy Roasted Veggies
Sensational Garlic Butter Scallops
- 1 pound of large fresh scallops remove all side muscle
- Ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste
- 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter or Ghee for paleo and Whole30
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 Minced garlic cloves
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
- Take your scallops out of the fridge around 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
- Put them on a cutting board lined with paper towels, then pat them dry using your paper towels.
- Season your scallops well on all sides using coarse salt before setting them aside.
- Heat up your olive oil using a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Allow your skillet to heat up for around 2 minutes. Once your skillet starts smoking a bit, it's hot enough to cook.
- Add your scallops in small batches or one layer at a time. Ensure you don't overcrowd your skillet.
- Sear your scallops for 2-3 minutes per side. Your seared sea scallops will become golden when cooked through, remove them from the pan and set them aside for now.
- Finally, add your garlic, butter, lemon juice, and fresh parsley to the skillet. Sauté all ingredients for bout 1-2 minutes, reduce to low heat and add your scallops back in. Serve right away.
Ensure your scallops are completely dry before you sear them. They won't develop that delicious crust due to excess moisture if you don't.
I've gotten the best searing result using a cast iron skillet, and I highly recommend using one for stovetop recipes.
For storage: Scallops are best when served immediately after cooking, but you can store your scallops in the fridge for up to 48 hours in an airtight container.
Reheating: You can gently reheat your scallops on the stovetop. However, you can also use an air fryer at 400 degrees for about 2-3 minutes. If unsure, try heating one minute at a time until cooked through.