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Seared Scallops

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These seared scallops are perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper, seared to perfection in butter, and topped with fresh lemon and herbs.

Seared Scallops on a plate with lemon and thyme.

Sometimes, what appears as just a simple dish, can be the most mouthwatering and delicious meal.

These succulent seared scallops are pan-seared to perfection in butter, creating a crispy exterior and a tender, juicy inside.

The earthy and fragrant rosemary, thyme, and garlic, perfectly complement the sweet and buttery scallops. 

This dish is simple yet elegant, making it perfect for a romantic dinner for two, or for any special occasion.

And don’t worry if you’ve never tried making scallops at home before, it’s easy! 

Trust me, these seared scallops are the perfect meal to impress your loved ones.

Ingredients to make seared scallops.
Seasoned scallops.

Ingredients for seared scallops

  • Large sea scallops – Either fresh or frozen work well in this recipe but be sure to thaw the frozen ones thoroughly.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper – Kosher salt and black pepper are essential for proper seasoning.
  • Olive oil and butter – Our fats of choice for searing and cooking our scallops. Butter has a low smoke point, but a delicious flavor, so the olive oil helps ensure it won’t burn.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best! Garlic is a traditional ingredient that will add earthiness to the dish.
  • Herbs – Fresh rosemary and thyme will create a delicious herbaceous blend to compliment the scallops.
  • Lemon – Lemon will give a burst of freshness.
Seared Scallops in a cast iron skillet.
Scallops in a pan with lemon juice.

How to buy scallops

If you’re new to buying fish, your local fishmonger is your friend! Don’t be afraid to ask them questions at the fish counter.

Make sure you’re buying the large sea scallops for this recipe, and not tiny bay scallops. 

You can purchase them frozen, just be sure to thaw them thoroughly in the refrigerator before starting this recipe, and pat them dry with a paper towel.

If you’re buying them fresh from the counter, be sure to buy scallops that are uniform in size (so they cook at the same time,) and do not smell pungent or fishy. 

Seared Scallops on a white plate with fresh citrus.

What to serve with scallops

These seared scallops are definitely the star of the show, and here are some excellent side dishes to go along with them:

Seared Scallops topped with fresh herbs.

Storage and leftovers

This dish is best served immediately, but if you do have any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Lastly, to reheat, place scallops in a nonstick skillet over low heat and heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Be careful not to overcook the scallops when reheating.

However, I do think scallops are best served on the same day.

Seared Scallops on a plate with lemon.

More fish recipes

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops

Yield: 2 servings

These seared scallops are perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper, seared to perfection in butter, and topped with fresh lemon and herbs.


  • 1 pound large sea scallops, about 15
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 sprig (about 4”) fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ lemon, juiced


Spread the scallops out on a paper towel and pat them dry on both sides. If the scallops still have the adductor muscle attached to the side (the little rectangular piece), gently pull it off with your fingers. 

Sprinkle the kosher salt and black pepper over the scallops. 

Heat a large heavy-bottomed (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil.

When the oil is hot and fragrant, add the scallops. They should begin to sizzle immediately– if the first scallop doesn’t sizzle, remove it from the pan and wait for the pan to heat up more. Make sure to place the scallops on one of the flat sides for an even sear. 

Cook the scallops for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, the scallops should easily release from the pan so you can flip them and they should be a deep golden brown color. If the scallops do not release easily, let them sear for an additional minute. You shouldn’t have to pull the scallops off of the pan! 

When you flip the scallops, reduce the heat to low and add the butter, rosemary, thyme, and lemon juice.

Cook the scallops for an additional 2 minutes while spooning the butter over the scallops. 

Remove the scallops from the heat and serve them immediately with your favorite sides. 

I don’t recommend saving and reheating scallops as they will become gummy. These are best enjoyed immediately. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 2235mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 47g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Seared Scallops pin for Pinterest.

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