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Love those perfectly seared scallops at restaurants? This guide will teach you how to cook scallops at home!

Seared Scallops in a pan with melted butter.

Scallops are a total luxury when you order them at a good restaurant. Nothing beats cracking through that golden crust to reveal a sweet and buttery center. The good news is that you can achieve these restaurant-quality scallops at home, and quite easily! There are a few key things to consider before tossing those beauties into your pan. But once you’re familiar with this popular bivalve, you’ll be ready to go.

How To Cook Scallops.

In this guide, I’ll be showing you how to pan-fry dry sea scallops in butter, and how to get that golden crust that scallop lovers lust after.

Cast iron pan on marble surface with salt crock, tongs, butter, olive oil, and roll of paper towels.

What you’ll need:

  • A large heavy-bottomed cast iron pan or a good non-stick pan
  • Paper towels
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Tongs
  • Dry sea scallops (you could also try this method with dry bay scallops, but cooking times will vary)

What you’ll do:

Gently rinse the scallops under cold water. Place them on a paper towel and gently pat them dry with another paper towel. Then, very lightly salt the scallops.

Raw scallops on paper towels with a pinch bowl of salt.

Scallops being salted.

Melt the butter and olive oil together in your pan over medium-high heat.

Add the scallops to the pan and let them cook until you can see the edges forming a brown crisp; this should take about 3-4 minutes. Once nicely crisp, carefully flip the scallops and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until you see that brown crispy edge again.

When you have nice crispy edges and the center of the scallop is milky and semi-opaque, they’re ready to be eaten. Remove them from the pan and serve immediately, whether on their own, over pasta, risotto, etc.

Seared scallop in a pan full of melted butter.

Side shot of seared scallops in a pan with melted butter.


  • Don’t put the scallops into the pan until the butter is fully melted and just starting to brown.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan—cook the scallops in batches if you have to.
  • Once the scallops are in the pan, DO NOT try to reposition them. When the scallops are ready, they will release from the pan without effort. If you try to move the scallops and they don’t want to budge, that means they aren’t ready. Forcing them off the pan will tear them.

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