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If you’re searching for how to make Pan Seared Scallops, then you’ve found the right place. This keto scallops recipe takes a hot pan, some butter or ghee, and a few minutes. In this post, I give you a few tips to get a perfect sear on scallops every time. I also give you some side dish recipes like my mushroom keto risotto, which you can use as a variation to my seared scallops and cauliflower rice risotto meal! Enjoy this as a quick dinner that uses one pot and simple ingredients!
Why Make This
- Get the perfect sear: I love seafood but I have often stayed away from making scallops. My time watching Hell’s Kitchen convinced me that they were hard to execute and I didn’t want to end up having to throw them away. After a few not so great attempts, I’m sharing this recipe so that you might avoid some of my mishaps and get the perfect sear every time.
- Quick & easy: pan seared scallops is actually quite easy with just a few ingredients. Plus, it just takes a few minutes.
- Sea Scallops: There are two types of scallops – a small version called bay scallops and a larger version that we call jumbo or sea scallops. In this recipe, I’m using raw sea scallops. If yours are frozen (I tend to get mine flash-frozen), you will need to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
- Butter: I often use salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter if you prefer
- Olive Oil: I use olive oil or avocado oil
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
How to Make Pan Seared Scallops
- Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with sea salt and black pepper.
- Bring a cast-iron pan to medium heat. I preheat my pan for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter and olive oil to the pan and wait for the fat to start to bubble & sizzle
- Add scallops to the pan and cook them for 2 minutes per side
Top Tips & FAQs
- Get ”dry” scallops: this recipe works best with scallops that do not have added salt solutions or phosphates. You can learn more about wet vs. dry scallops below. But, the simplest way to spot dry scallops is to choose scallops that just have one ingredient.
- Flip once: You should only flip the scallops once to get a nice sear.
- This recipe makes four servings: I’m using one pound of seafood. For me, this amount is perfect for four, dinner-sized portions if you pair it with vegetables like cilantro lime cauliflower rice or another low carb side dish recipe.
Detailed Tips on How to Cook Perfect Pan Seared Scallops
Get “Dry” Scallops
One of the things that I didn’t realize was important when I first started making this dish was whether my were ”dry scallops” or ”wet scallops”.
I was having wildly different results, depending on where I got the scallops from and couldn’t figure out why the same recipe wouldn’t work twice.
As outlined in this post about the differences between wet and dry scallops, wet scallops are soaked in chemicals called phosphates.
The chemicals make wet scallops hold more water, which actually prevents them from getting a good sear.
Use a sizzling hot pan
Ensure that your pan is hot. Adding the scallops to your pan too soon will cause them to soak up the cooking fat instead of getting a crispy sear.
Allow Butter (or your other cooking fat) to be your friend
Salted butter, or your other cooking fat, is your best friend.
Besides helping to crisp the scallops, butter can tell you whether your pan is too hot.
Put the butter in the pan and wait for it to sizzle. If your butter turns brown when you place it in the pan, then the pan is too hot.
Set a timer
One of the best things that you can do when making these is to get and set a timer.
Scallops cook like clock-work. So, I recommend setting a timer and removing them from the pan when the timer expires.
In this recipe, I set my stove timer for 2 minutes per side.
The post explains each of these tips in detail, but some key tips to get perfectly seared scallops are use “dry” scallops, preheat your cast iron skillet, and only flip the scallops once.
Much like choosing the best oil for air frying foods, you need to consider the oil’s smoke point. To make pan seared scallops, I use avocado oil or olive oil.
Some people soak their scallops in milk to help tenderize “wet scallops”. I don’t soak my pan seared scallops because the scallops should be dry (or not have an added chemical solution).
Recipes to Serve Pan Seared Scallops With
Scallops are tender, meaty and slightly sweet. They go well with rich and creamy dishes because the slightly sweet flavor cuts through the creaminess!
Some of my favorite side dishes and condiments for seared scallops are:
More Keto Scallops Recipes:
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Pan Seared Scallops Recipe
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- Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle them with sea salt and black pepper. I like to keep the spices to a minimum on this so that the flavor of the scallops is the star.
- Bring a cast iron skillet (or frying pan) to medium heat. I preheat my cast iron skillet for 2-3 minutes.
- Add butter and olive oil and wait for the fat to start to bubble. This is important for getting the browned crust/sear on the outside of the scallops
- Add scallops to the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side. You should only flip the scallops once. Remove the pan from the heat so that the scallops do not continue to cook. Serve immediately.
The nutrition facts come from entering the recipe ingredients into Spoonacular API, a database of food ingredients. They may vary for any recipe based on the exact product used. The keto sweeteners I use have 0g net carbs & are not included because sugar alcohols do not impact most people. This is provided as a courtesy, but you can do your own calculations if you wish!