Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Recipe

There’s something undeniably exquisite about a perfectly executed dish of pan-seared scallops with lemon butter. The succulent texture of the scallops, combined with the tangy zest of lemon and the richness of butter, creates a symphony of flavors that tantalizes the taste buds. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of preparing this delectable seafood delicacy, step by step.

Selecting the Freshest Scallops

How To Eat Scallops In The Shell -

Before diving into the cooking process, it’s essential to start with the freshest scallops you can find. Opt for dry-packed scallops, as they are free from any additives or preservatives and boast a superior flavor and texture. Look for scallops that are firm, with a slightly translucent appearance and a sweet, briny aroma.

Preparing the Scallops

How To Cook Scallops -

Begin by patting the scallops dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step is crucial for achieving a perfect sear; moisture on the surface of the scallops will prevent them from developing that coveted golden crust. Season the scallops generously with salt and pepper, ensuring even coverage on all sides.

Searing the Scallops to Perfection

Seared Scallops with Garlic Basil Butter

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil or clarified butter. Once the pan is hot, carefully place the scallops in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Allow the scallops to sear undisturbed for 2-3 minutes on each side until they develop a golden brown crust. Resist the temptation to move or flip them too soon, as this will interfere with the searing process.

Creating the Lemon Butter Sauce

Lemon Butter Sauce

While the scallops are searing, prepare the lemon butter sauce. In a separate skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a subtle kick of heat. Stir the sauce gently until the ingredients are well combined and the butter is melted, being careful not to let it brown.

Serving Suggestions

Seared Scallops with Garlic Lemon Butter

Once the scallops are cooked to perfection and the lemon butter sauce is ready, it’s time to plate up this culinary masterpiece. Arrange the scallops on a serving platter and drizzle generously with the lemon butter sauce. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or microgreens for a pop of color and freshness.

Tips for Success

  • Don’t Overcook: Scallops cook quickly, so keep a close eye on them to avoid overcooking, which can result in a rubbery texture.
  • Maintain High Heat: A hot pan is key to achieving that perfect sear, so preheat your skillet thoroughly before adding the scallops.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use the best quality scallops, butter, and fresh lemon juice you can find for the most flavorful results.


Pan-seared scallops with lemon butter is a dish that elevates any dining experience, whether enjoyed as an elegant appetizer or a main course. With the right technique and attention to detail, you can recreate this restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and prepare to impress your guests with this mouthwatering seafood sensation.


1. Can I use frozen scallops for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen scallops, but be sure to thaw them completely and pat them dry before cooking to ensure a proper sear.

2. How do I know when the scallops are done cooking?

Scallops are done when they are opaque and slightly firm to the touch. Avoid overcooking them, as they can become tough and rubbery.

3. Can I substitute the lemon butter sauce with another sauce?

While the lemon butter sauce complements the scallops beautifully, you can experiment with different sauces, such as a garlic herb butter or a citrusy vinaigrette.

4. What side dishes pair well with pan-seared scallops?

Pan-seared scallops pair wonderfully with roasted vegetables, creamy risotto, or a light salad dressed with vinaigrette.

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