BEST Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce

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The BEST Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce! This dish is simple and quick for a date night at home or an indulgent weeknight meal. 

If you love seafood, try Spaghetti Frutti di Mare (Seafood Pasta), Orzo Pasta with Shrimp, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Classic Lobster Bisque Recipe, Easy Crab Cakes Recipe (no egg), Crispy Baked Cod, and King Crab Salad Recipe. Wondering what to serve with scallops? Read this: What to Serve with Scallops (40 Best Recipes).

sea scallops in lemon butter
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Best Seared Scallops Recipe

Wow, your guest with this simple and superb scallop recipe. These scallops are butter soft, full, rich, and tangy from the butter and lemon sauce.

Every time I make this recipe for family and friends, I get excellent reviews. I know you will too! Learn how to make seared scallops with a perfectly golden brown crust, just like at restaurants (only better!)

They’re effortless to make at home and more affordable than dining out. 

Also, try Lemon Butter Pasta Sauce (Pasta al Limone).

Simple Ingredients

All it takes is simple ingredients for the best scallops you will ever taste!

ingredient shot for the perfect seared scallops

  • Scallops
  • Sea salt for seasoning
  • Fresh ground pepper (optional for seasoning- I prefer without)
  • Lemon
  • Salted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly parsley for garnish 

BEST seared scallops in lemon butter

Scallops are similar to crab or lobster taste-wise, but they have a firmer texture. The flavor tends to be sweet, buttery, and delicate.

When it comes to fresh seafood, my advice is this: KISS (Keep it Simple Seafood). Highlight the natural fresh flavor of the fish or seafood by keeping the ingredients simple and natural.

Searing the lemon slices in the butter and oil helps add flavor to the scallops when seared in the hot pan. 

However, overcooking the scallops cause it to lose its buttery taste and delicate texture.

Scallops are one of the easiest things you can make at home. See Video at the end of this post for how easy it is to make this scallop recipe.

How to make (step by step)

  • Dry your scallops and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat an oiled and buttered skillet or pan until it is sizzling. Key step right here.
    • I use butter AND oil for maximum flavor and heat. If you only use butter, you risk it will burn if the heat is too high. You want them to sizzle and crisp to a golden color on the outside and the oil helps achieve that high temp.
  • For this recipe, I first sear the lemons which help flavor the cooking butter and oil that will later spice the scallops.  
  • The first scallop should sizzle as soon as it hits the oil. If it doesn’t, wait and let the pan heat before adding more.
  • Cook for a few minutes on each side and that is it! So easy.

See video at the bottom for more. 

When are scallops done cooking? 

Both sides of a scallop should be seared to a perfect golden-brown ‘crust’ with the sides opaque all the way through.

They should be firm to the touch but still slightly soft with a little bounce to them.

Tips for the perfect seared scallops

  • Dry your scallops with a paper towel – this simple step will ensure that the scallops get a nice sear on both sides. If the scallops have too much water on them, they will boil in the pan.
  • Don’t overcrowd your pan – this will also cause your scallops to boil and not brown and cook properly. If you make a big batch cook a handful at a time, depending on your pan size, and let the others rest while covered with foil as you cook the rest. You may need to add a little extra butter every time you make a new batch. 
  • Don’t overcook! – there is a fine point between a nice buttery scallop and a tough, rubbery one. It is better to slightly undercook them and let them fish cooking by letting them rest for 5 minutes (like a good steak). 
  • Do use good quality butter- French- or European-style butter is considered the highest quality; it contains a bit more fat, thus less water than what we Americans call “regular” butter and is often made from cultured cream, which may make it taste divine! It will add richness to any dish.
  • Do use good olive oil. Just like the butter, this will bring out the delicious and natural flavor of the scallops. 

How to thaw scallops

It is best to buy scallops fresh from the fish counter or fishmonger. If you use good-quality frozen scallops, here is how to thaw them properly. 

  • Thaw scallops in a bowl of cold water for about 10-20 minutes until thawed completely or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Make sure to thoroughly pat them dry with a paper towel to absorb all the liquid before searing.

Restaurant-worthy scallops at home

Cheaper than a restaurant and just as good, if not better than, chef-prepared scallops! These crispy, pan-seared and juicy Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce are the ultimate seafood treat!

Serve as a starter or main dish; these tender scallops melt in your mouth most deliciously! 

sea scallops, seared scallops, tasty, seafood, lemon and parsley scallops, fresh seafood,

Are scallops healthy?

Scallops are widely considered one of the healthiest seafood.
Made up of 80% protein and sporting a low-fat content, they can help you feel fuller longer and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
They are also a great source of antioxidants.

Where to buy scallops?

You want to buy scallops wherever they sell them “dry.” You can find them at most fish counters of any grocery store. If unsure, ask the fishmonger for the “dry scallop” variety. 

I’ve noticed more and more grocery stores labeling their scallops as either wet or dry, which I really appreciate because I used to have to ask.

A wet scallop is soaked in a preservative phosphate solution. The phosphate solution gives the scallop a “fishy” flavor and is usually not as fresh.

This solution also makes the scallop absorb more water, and when you cook them, they steam and shrivel. This prevents them from forming a nice crust.

A dry scallop is not treated with any chemical additives or solutions. Compared to the wet scallops, they are darker (more of a beige color, whereas the wet scallops are whiter).

These scallops have a mild and pure flavor. Choose dry scallops for this recipe. You will achieve a nice caramelized crust with excellent flavor. 


I love to use my cast iron skillet or heavy stainless steel pan for this recipe! 

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Serving Suggestions

You will definitely want to serve some delicious homemade bread to soak up the sauce! Try one of these: Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread, No Knead Italian Focaccia Bread, Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread. Another recipe you will love: Crispy Calamari Air Fryer Recipe (Easy and Light)

These dishes complement the scallops very nicely: 

Roasted Fennel Recipe (Italian Style)

Smashed Garlicky Herb Potatoes and Aioli Sauce

Easy Polenta Recipe Authentic Italian Style

Oven Roasted Potatoes (Italian Style)

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto Brown Butter

sea scallops, seared scallops, tasty, seafood, lemon and parsley scallops, fresh seafood,

If you make this recipe please write a comment! I want to connect with all of you through your experience with my recipes.

From my Cucina to your Table, Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!). Made with Amore, Elena. 

More delicious recipes for you…

All you need is 6 ingredients and 15 minutes for the most amazing buttery scallops ever. Yes, it’s just that easy and simple!

How to make Scallops Step by Step (Video) 

Now that you’ve read all about making scallops at home watch this video and make them soon!

Once the scallops are done cooking, serve immediately, and transfer them to a serving dish or platter. The cast iron retains heat and will continue cooking the scallops unless you take them out. Enjoy!

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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sea scallops in lemon butter

Seared Scallops in Lemon Butter

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5 from 3 reviews

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When it comes to fresh seafood my advice is this: KISS (Keep it Simple Seafood). Highlight the natural fresh flavor of the fish or seafood by keeping the ingredients simple and natural. Scallops are similar to crab or lobster taste-wise but they have a firmer texture. The flavor tends to be sweet, buttery, and delicate.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1112 fresh or frozen scallops
  • sea salt for seasoning
  • ground pepper (optional for seasoning- I prefer without)
  • 1 small lemon, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly cut parsley


  1. Prepare scallops by patting them completely dry with a paper towel. Season with sea salt on both sides (optional season with ground pepper as well). Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron pan or other large saucepan on medium high heat. Once the butter is melted add the lemon and cook until brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Remove lemons from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the scallops one at a time to the pan. Make sure to space them evenly so they don’t steam in the pan. If your pan is small cook in two batches.
  4. Add the other 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the pan. Sear the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Only turn and touch one time- no need to move them around in the pan. Flip with tongs to turn at half way cooking point. Do not overcook.
  5. Take skillet off the heat. Add the lemons back to the pan and garnish with parsley. Serve hot! Mangia!
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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  1. LOVE your recipes! I do need some guidance on this recipe. in the step by step, you say to heat an oiled and buttered skillet until it is sizzling. But in the recipe, it says to heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium high heat and cook the lemons.Then later to add the scallops and then add the other 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil to the pan. As you can tell, I need a lot of hand holding!

  2. This postis so much better than my buddy Chriss blog. He really doesnt know what hes writing about.

  3. Of course, what a fantastic website and enlightening posts, I will bookmark your website.Best Regards!

  4. I could not believe how easy this recipe was. So simple but it tasted like you were eating at a fine dining restaurant!