Seared scallops with a golden crust and soft, melt-in-the-mouth interior, nestled in a creamy garlic white wine sauce. We’ve also got a touch of heat and a little tangy hit of capers.
This scallops recipe makes a fantastic date-night dinner!

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Are you a scallop lover? I often order them when we eat out, but I don’t make them nearly enough at home.

They can seem a little intimidating, but so long as you follow a few key rules, you can cook scallops like a pro at home.

📋 Ingredients

See the notes section in my recipe card about buying scallops and fresh v frozen scallops.

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Go for extra large king scallops. They look very large (especially if you buy them frozen), but they shrink upon defrosting, then shrink further when cooking.

✔️Key rules for cooking scallops

  • Take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before cooking – to take the chill off
  • Dry them well – with kitchen paper. The surface must be completely dry to ensure a golden crusted sear.
  • Ensure the pan and oil are VERY hot – don’t worry about burning them. A searingly hot pan is essential.
  • You’ll get a better sear with a cast iron pan or a stainless steel. Non-stick pans can be difficult to get that lovely dark crust.
    • If you find the scallops do stick (usually because the pan wasn’t hot enough) you can use a metal spatula on a cast iron or stainless steel pan (never use metal on a non-stick pan) to get under the scallops. If you leave behind some of that seared coating, that’s fine, it will mean more flavour in the sauce when you come to deglaze the pan with the wine.

🍽️ What to serve with seared scallops


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5 from 2 votes

Creamy Garlic Scallops Recipe

Pan-fried scallops with a golden crust and soft, melt-in-the-mouth interior, nestled in a creamy garlic white wine sauce, with a hint of heat.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Course: Dinner

Ingredients

  • 400 g (14 oz) extra large king scallops this is about 10-12 large scallops (see notes if buying frozen)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes (red pepper flakes)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine (just enough to deglaze the pan)
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers in brine, drained
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

To serve:

  • lemon wedges
  • black pepper
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Instructions 

  • Take the scallops out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to cook them.
    400 g (14 oz) extra large king scallops
  • Line a tray with two layers of kitchen roll. Place the scallops on the lined tray and pat the tops of the scallops with more kitchen roll.
  • Place a fresh layer of kitchen roll on top of the scallops and press down lightly again. Leave for 10 minutes so the kitchen roll can soak up excess moisture from the scallops.
  • Warm a plate up with some hot water, or place in a very low oven.
  • Remove the kitchen roll from the scallops (it should peel off, almost sticking to the scallops – so you know they're nice and dry). Season the scallops on both sides with the salt and pepper.
    1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat.
    1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the scallops to the pan, making sure there's space between each one.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, until dark golden brown, then turn over. The scallops should pull away from the pan when they're ready to turn.
  • Add the butter to the pan and cook for a further 60 – 90 seconds, spooning the butter over the scallops as it melts and bubbles. The scallops should be lightly browned on the second side and cooked through (you can check one by cutting through it – it should be opaque throughout).
    1 tbsp butter
  • Turn the heat down to medium and remove the scallops from the pan. Place on the warm plate.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, constantly stirring, then add the white wine.
    2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine
  • Let the wine bubble for 1-2 minutes, until reduced by half.
  • Stir in the cream, lemon juice, and capers and heat through for a further minute.
    120 ml (1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp capers in brine, drained
  • Stir the parsley into the sauce, then add the scallops back into the pan. Heat for 30 seconds or so, then turn off the heat.
    4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Serve the scallops with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of black pepper.
    lemon wedges, black pepper

Video

Notes

Buying your scallops frozen?
If you’re buying  frozen scallops, it’s worth noting that they’re usually frozen after being treated with a water and preservative solution (known as wet scallops). This preserves the scallops, so they last longer, but it also adds a lot of water weight to them.
This recipes calls for 400g (14oz) fresh/defrosted scallops (which is about 10-12 large scallops).
If buying frozen, I would suggest buy 600g (1.3lbs) to account for the additional water weight that will be drained off once defrosted.
OR
Go by the number of scallops instead – buying 10-12 extra large king scallops to serve 2 people.
With or without the coral?
The coral is that orange and greyish part attached to the round bit of a scallop.
It’s edible, and is quite mild and a little sweet tasting. It’s personal preference if you want to leave it on. Personally I prefer it without.
The coral is often referred to as the ‘roe’, but the roe is actually the orange bit – which are the female reproductive organs of the scallop.
The grey bit of the coral are called the milt sacs, and they’re the male reproductive organs of the scallop (scallops are usually hermaphrodites – having both male and female reproductive organs).
Buying scallops
I don’t advise buying from regular supermarket (at least in the UK anyway). Even the extra large scallops are often tiny!
Buy from a fishmonger if possible, so you can see them.
You’re looking for around 5-6 large scallops per person. 5-6 scallops should be about 200g.
Why do I need to dry the scallops?
Drying them with kitchen paper is key to get that golden crust – especially if you’re buying frozen (wet) scallops.
Even buying ‘dry’ scallops (scallops that aren’t treated with a water and preservative solution), I would still pat them down with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture.
Nutritional information is approximate, per serving, based on this recipe serving two people.

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 1258mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1824IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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Comments

  1. Jade says:

    5 stars
    Followed this recipe to the letter no substitutions. Served with angel hair pasta toasted French bread and sprinkled parm cheese over it! It was absolutely delicious it taste like a meal from a five star restaurant. It’s a shame because this recipe deserves so much more reviews!

  2. Anthony Adams says:

    I made this scallop dish and it was fantastic. Loved it. I purchased the scallops from a wet fish shop in Lowestoft and they were so good. As a lover of seafood I will be making this dish again and again. Thank you very much.

  3. Maya says:

    5 stars
    Omg this was amazing!

  4. Nora says:

    A superb meal! I’ll make it again, and again!

  5. Catherine says:

    What’s a “kitchen roll”? Paper towels?

    1. Chris Corbishley says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Yes it’s what we call paper towels over here in the UK.

      Thanks

      Chris

  6. Toby Platt says:

    If I use frozen scallops, should I thaw them before cooking or may I cook them frozen?

    Also, what are my thawing options. Overnight in the fridge or do you have a recommended method for thawing in a hurry?