Perfect Pan Seared Scallops

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Perfect pan seared scallops are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. These delicious scallops can be paired with pasta or atop salad.

browned pan seared scallops, wine, bowl of noodles, mushrooms, tomatoes, and arugula, thyme
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I absolutely love scallops. If I had to pick a favorite meal, scallops would consistently be towards the top of my absolute must-have picks. There is something magical about scallops- they are slightly sweet, buttery, soft and springy- and they melt fabulously on your tongue if cooked just right. I won’t lie though- scallops aren’t always done well. I’ve had some flat out gummy, gross scallops at seafood dives and even fine restaurants- which is incredibly disappointing because scallops are so easy to make! Today I am sharing my Perfect Pan Seared Scallop recipe with you so you can get incredible, melt-in-your-mouth scallops at home in just about as much time as it takes to pour a delicious bottle of wine!

pasta, arugula, tomatoes, mushrooms

Best of all – this recipe calls for just three ingredients. And it takes under 10 minutes- seriously! These make a great date night dinner recipe, or perfect for a fancy dinner party where you’d like to wow guests without slaving away in the kitchen for hours. Have someone pour a nicely chilled La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay while you quickly sear these in a pan, and you’ll have guest oohing and aahing over their dinner- especially when you pair this with an incredibly delicious arugula and mushroom rustic pasta I am sharing on the La Crema blog.

browned scallops, wine, bowl of noodles, mushrooms, tomatoes, and arugula, thyme

How to make Perfect Pan Seared Scallops

There are two very critical parts to this recipe that absolutely set the stage for success. First off, you need to use extremely dry scallops. I let mine sit on a bed of paper towels for 20 minutes before I cook them- and pat them gently to be sure all liquid is gone. Scallops hold a lot of liquid, and to get a good sear you have to get as much of it as you can out.

Secondly, you need a very hot pan. This will keep your scallops from sticking or getting gummy- we want to just cook them through and sear the outsides. Overcooking scallops is criminal- it will give them a tough, gummy texture and an overly fishy taste. Done properly, scallops don’t have even a hint of fishy flavor- they are buttery and slightly sweet. Overcooking is the easiest way to completely ruin a scallop- so get you pan HOT!

four perfectly seared scallops

I should also note that it’s pretty critical to serve these and eat them immediately. The springy texture scallops have is decadent when hot, but becomes a bit weird when cold. I took a while to photograph these and still gobbled them down quickly- but the hot ones were definitely my favorites. Blogger problems…. but it is important to take that into account if you’d like to make these at a dinner party. They need to be cooked right as you’re ready to eat them- do not reheat them or let them sit too long before serving. They cook in under 7 minutes (10 including a generous three minutes to season and pat dry one last time, as well as heat your pan)- so they won’t leave you stranded in the kitchen.

pasta, arugula, tomatoes, mushrooms with four scallops in the background

And be sure to see my recipe for a rustic arugula and mushroom pasta with Chardonnay sauce over on the La Crema blog!

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Perfect Pan Seared Scallops Recipe

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Perfect pan seared scallops on a marble countertop.

Perfect Pan Seared Scallops

Quick and easy perfect pan seared scallops are a delicious, decadent dinner perfect for a romantic date night! Buttery, sweet and not overly heavy- perfect for a romantic meal and done in under 8 minutes.
Course Seafood
Cuisine Italian
Keyword protein, quick scallops, scallops, seafood, simple seafood
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 8 scallops
Calories 177kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb scallops large, dried well
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a heavy nonstick pan, heat butter until frothy.
  • Make sure pan is very hot.
  • Pat scallops dry and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay down in hot pan, and let sear on one side for 3 minutes.
  • Flip to the other side for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Scallop should be opaque throughout, and the slight pink color should be gone. It will still be springy- not too firm. Do not overcook.
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 876mg

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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