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 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

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! 

(Simple) Seared Scallops in the pot with lemons
5 from 31 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Seared Scallops with Garlic Butter

These scallops are seared until golden brown and then covered in a garlic butter wine sauce!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • cup white wine
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • parsley for garnish


  • 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. 
5 from 31 votes

Nutrition Information

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

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
(Simple) Seared Scallops in a pan with lemon and writing
(Simple) Seared Scallops in a pan cooking with a title
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(Simple) Seared Scallops before and after cooking with a title


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. My grandfather was a chef, and this was exactly the way he used to cook sea scallops, and there is no better way to do it. There is only one problem with the recipe, and that is it only asks for ONE pound of scallops, lending the question ‘What is everyone else going to eat?’ Because if I am the one cooking these, no one else is getting any!!! LOLOL :)5 stars

  2. You should change your initial comment so it doesn’t read ‘bay scallops’. I almost didn’t click on it to check how you cooked them. “What could be better than bay scallops with melted butter and garlic in delicate white wine sauce?”

  3. this is a great website. I tried the cream spinach it was excellent. I also tried the seared scallops they did not turn out well I could not get them to crisp I used oil patted them dry well seasoned let pan get very hot no luck had to throw them away. can you give me a tip to what went wrong.

    1. Oh no, how disappointing, I’m sorry these didn’t work out for you. Were the scallops fully thawed (if there were still slightly frozen in the middle they can release liquid). A few things that can cause them not to sear are if they have moisture on them, if the pan is not hot enough when they go in or if they are moved/flipped too soon. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the hot pan. I hope that helps.

  4. I absolutely LOVE scallops, but they hardly fit with the idea of this site, Spend with PENNIES, unless you have an awful lot of pennies saved up. Scallops are one of the most expensive seafoods that you will find if you want anything with size and substance enough for them to be a main course of your meal.

    1. They’re definitely a more expensive ingredient. That being said, the cost to prepare scallops at home is substantially less than enjoying in a restaurant. I find that wholesale clubs (Sams/Costco) often have the best prices for large frozen scallops. Hope that helps!