Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops make the ultimate appetizer or meal. Golden, pan seared sea scallops drizzled with a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce – on the table in 10 minutes!
Growing up in the Midwest, I didn’t eat much seafood – unless you count fish and chips. But I developed a taste for it as an adult and haven’t looked back.
Scallops are always a restaurant favorite, but they’re expensive so I searched recipes online, cookbooks and magazines, combined what I liked about many of the recipes and came up with this one.
There are a lot of scallop appetizer recipes on Pinterest. This one has flavors I love that don’t overpower the taste of the fresh seafood. Pan seared, tender inside with a crazy-good lemon garlic butter sauce and if you’re having company, a good scallop appetizer is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Tips for buying and cooking scallops:
First start with fresh scallops instead of frozen for the best flavor.
Depending on size figure 4 scallops per person. This works well as an appetizer and as a meal if you’re also serving a heavier side dish, like risotto.
Sometimes you’ll see a small side muscle attached to the scallop. Gently pull it off with your fingers or it’ll be tough when you cook the scallops.
Rinse the scallops and pat them dry really well with paper towels.
Make sure the scallops are dry before cooking. This will make sure you get the golden, crispy crust you see in the photos. Otherwise they’ll steam instead of searing.
What is pan searing?
Pan searing browns and caramelizes the outside of seafood, meat or poultry adding flavor and forming a light crust.
What do I need to make Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops?
- sea scallops (approximately 4 per person)
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- garlic cloves
- white wine
How to make Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops:
Make sure to have all your ingredients prepped and nearby before cooking (called mise en place) because the scallops cook quickly.
Using paper towels, thoroughly pat the scallops dry on all sides then season them with salt and pepper. Drying the scallops is an important step in getting that beautiful, caramelized sear.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the scallops without overcrowding (work in batches if necessary), cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side then transfer to a plate. Set a timer when I cook scallops ~ you’ll be surprised how fast 2 minutes goes!
Once the scallops are cooked and removed from the skillet, reduce the heat to low, add the butter and garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine, scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook 1-2 minutes while the wine reduces.
Squeeze the juice from one wedge of lemon into the sauce. Taste and if you’d like a heavier lemon flavor, add another small squeeze. Drizzle the lemon garlic butter sauce over the top of the scallops and eat right away.
What do I eat with Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops?
My personal favorite ~ and only side I make with scallops is risotto. Creamy, light – it’s the perfect side. I make it before I start the scallops and keep it warm so it’s on standby for when they’re finished. Plain rice, a salad or baked potato would also be really good.
If you tried this Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops recipe or any other on the blog then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating!
Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops
- 1 pound sea scallops
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 lemon cut in 4 wedges
- 1/4 cup white wine chardonnay, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Gather and prep all ingredients before you start cooking because the scallops will cook really quickly.
- Thoroughly dry the scallops using paper towels. This is an important step to getting the beautiful sear shown in the photos.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat.
- When the oil is hot, carefully add the scallops without overcrowding cooking 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side allowing them to sear then remove them from the skillet onto a plate.
- Once all the scallops are cooked, reduce heat to low and add the butter and garlic cooking for 1 minute then pour in the wine and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook 2 minutes letting the wine reduce then add juice from one wedge of lemon.
- Taste and add more lemon juice if preferred then drizzle the lemon garlic butter sauce over the top of the scallops and serve right away.