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+ servings
seared scallops on a white plate with lemon and parsley
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5 from 10 votes

Pan Seared Scallops

Pan seared scallops are much easier to make than you might expect! With the right technique and a good pan, we will show you how to cook scallops perfectly so you achieve that golden brown sear every single time! And BONUS the cook time for scallops is only 2 minutes!
Prep15 mins
Cook5 mins
Total20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best pan for scallops, how to cook scallops, scallops with browned butter
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 222kcal
Author: Ari Laing


  • Large cast iron, stainless steel skillet, or anodized pan not nonstick


  • 1 lb dry sea scallops about 11-13 scallops, see note below
  • 3 Tbsp grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Flaky sea salt


  • Season the scallops. Season scallops generously on both sides with Kosher salt, then place on a paper towel lined plate and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Pat dry before cooking. Gently pat scallops dry, then season again lightly on one side with Kosher salt.
  • Sear the scallops. Heat skillet over high heat. The pan needs to be large enough so that scallops do not touch in the pan. When hot, add grapeseed or canola oil. Carefully place scallops in pan, leaving at least 1" between them. Cook for 2-3 minutes undisturbed. You'll know they're ready to flip if you test one and it has a dark golden brown crust.
  • Flip to sear other side. Add butter to pan, then flip scallops and cook for 1-2 minutes more, depending on their size. Spoon melted, browned butter on top of scallops as they finish cooking.
  • Serve immediately! Transfer scallops to a plate. Spoon or pour on as much of the remaining pan sauce as you like. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top of each scallop. Garnish with chopped parsley, then serve with lemon wedges.


  • Make sure you buy DRY sea scallops, not wet scallops. Dry scallops are those that are untreated with any chemicals and are the ONLY way to guarantee that beautiful golden brown sear.
  • If using frozen scallops, allow to thaw completely overnight in a refrigerator before proceeding with recipe. Take note, however, that most frozen scallops are WET scallops and have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, which means that even if you follow the instructions above, they may not sear properly.


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 446mg | Potassium: 232mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 257IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
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