These easy scallop recipes to make impressive meals everyone will enjoy! Scallops are a quick way to a fancy dinner.

Scallop recipes

Looking for an easy and elegant way to dinner? Think scallops! This tender, buttery mollusk has a sweet, mild flavor that pleases just about anyone. They’re perfect for impressing guests at a dinner party, or for a romantic dinner for two. Scallops can be a little tricky to perfect, so you’ve got to have a great recipe. So here are our top scallop recipes! Along with recipes from this website, we’ve included selections from expert recipe writers Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum, Holly Nilsson of Spend with Pennies, and Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats.

And now…12 easy scallop recipes to try!

What type of scallops to buy

What type of scallops to buy for these scallop recipes? There are several options you’ll see at the store: here’s the scoop:

  • Look for sea scallops (not bay scallops)! Sea scallops are the variety used in all of these recipes; they’re large and tender. Avoid bay scallops: they very small and mainly used in stews.
  • Fresh vs frozen scallops: You can use either! Many frozen scallops are wet, but our method has a secret step that allows you to use either.
  • Wet scallops vs dry scallops: Wet scallops are treated with water and sodium tripolyphosphate and then frozen, which can give them a soapy taste and bouncy texture (read more). Buy dry scallops if you see it market on the package (not all scallops are marked). You also can freshen wet scallops using a trick! Go to our Seared Scallops recipe.
  • Wild caught vs farmed: Seafood that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. There are also quality options in well-regulated farms; see Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.
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Pan seared scallops

12 Easy Scallop Recipes: Seared Scallops & More!

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Here are the tricks to how to cook pan seared scallops and get that perfect brown crust! Follow these simple tips for a fast and easy dinner.


  • 1 pound sea scallops, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Thaw the scallops, if frozen (see above).
  2. Brine the scallops: In a shallow dish, mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the scallops in the water and wait for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the scallops and dry thoroughly. Lightly season with a several pinches kosher salt.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. If using a medium skillet, cook the scallops in two batches. Once the oil is hot, add the scallops and cook without turning for 2 to 3 minutes,  until an even brown crust clearly forms on bottom.
  5. Flip scallops with tongs. Cook additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side, until a crust just forms on bottom and the center of the scallop is almost opaque.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the butter. When it melts, spoon the melted butter over the scallops and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Or, go to Lemon Herb Scallop Sauce to make a 2 minute pan sauce.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Seared
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Scallop recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Our approximation of Scallops Provencal at L’Auberge Chez François (Washington DC area).

    Provencal tomato sauce or marinara
    Add lots of garlic and cook until the garlic mellows.
    Use lots of sauce

  2. Nice list. Then I read that you should avoid bay scallops. Nantucket Bay scallops are just about the best scallops ever. You should try them.

    It is true that they are not amenable to these recipes.

    1. I agree Bruce! Sauteed with shallots, white wine, lemon, and butter — there isn’t anything that’s much better.

  3. I made this today and it was fabulous. Especially since my daughter and her husband harvested the scallops themselves! Served with cheddar broccoli bake, and it was like a restaurant meal!