How to Make the Best Pan Seared Scallops

by | Feb 11, 2019 | All, Main Dishes

Scared to make scallops at home? Don’t be! Follow these easy steps for How to Make the Best Pan Seared Scallops with a Brown Butter Lemon Caper Sauce!

Top down image of Pan seared Scallops with brown butter lemon caper sauce in a white bowl with lemon slices and fresh parsley for garnish.

Scallops are one of my favorite seafood dishes, and I used to save the splurge only for restaurants. But after several failed attempts at making perfect Pan-Seared Scallops at home, I finally mastered it.

And you know what’s crazy? They have to be one of THE easiest things to make as long as you follow a few simple steps. Trust me; you can totally do this. 

How to make the BEST Pan Seared Scallops.

Step One

Start with DRY scallops. I mean, really dry.

Scallops hold a ton of excess water, and if you don’t get it all out, you will end up with a watery mess in your skillet. Pat them dry with paper towels. And when I think they are dry enough, pat them one more time just to be sure.

If you rush this step, you will end up with scallops that won’t caramelize. (I’ve done this more times than I would care to admit.) And when you are shelling out the money for scallops, you want to make it worth your while.

Step Two:

You need a smoking hot skillet. Literally.

After your scallops are dry, heat your olive oil until it is just smoking in a skillet. Keep your nonstick pan on the shelf for this meal; you’ll have the best results using a stainless steel or cast iron pan. (I have this one and LOOOOVE it.)

Step Three

Add your scallops to your smoking hot oil, but don’t let them touch each other as they need room to let moisture escape. Otherwise, you will have steamed scallops. And steamed scallops don’t make anyone happy. 

Let them caramelize for 2 minutes, flip them and sear them for another 2 minutes. The result? Gorgeous caramel color that is essential for restaurant-quality, pan seared scallops.

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon, Capers and Brown Butter in a white pan with fresh lemon slices for garnish.

See how easy it is? Not only is it easy, but it’s super fast, too. Add a veg, a salad and a bottle of wine, and you have the perfect meal without having to leave the house!

Top down image of the best pan seared scallos on a white bowl with capers and lemon slices for garnish.

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Pinterest image of How to make the best pan seared scallops with brown butter lemon caper sauce at home in a white bowl, garnished with fresh lemon slices, capers and parsley.


Yield: 2

How to Make the Best Pan Seared Scallops

Top down image of the best pan seared scallos on a white bowl with capers and lemon slices for garnish.

Restaurant quality scallops are easy when you follow these simple steps to get the Best Pan Seared Scallops.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes


  • Brown Butter Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons Kerrygold® Butter
  • quarter of a small lemon
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Scallops:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 sea scallops
  • Salt and pepper


Brown Butter Sauce:

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and simmer until butter is brown, being careful to not burn it. Swirl the pans a few times as it simmers. Once butter is brown, remove pan from heat and squeeze lemon juice in and stir. Add capers, stir and set aside.

How to Sear Scallops

Pat dry the scallops with paper towels. Make sure they are really dry before you begin heating your skillet. Season the scallops with salt and pepper.

Add the olive oil to a stainless steel skillet or cast iron pan over high heat and heat until smoking. Add scallops to skillet and make sure they don't touch. Sear for 2 minutes and flip over. Sear for additional 2 minutes or until opaque.

Serve immediately with brown butter sauce and fresh lemon slices.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

6 scallops

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 1099mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 17g

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kerrygold. We only share products with you that we personally use and love. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Garnish with Lemon possible. 




We're the creative juices behind Garnish with Lemon. In the past 8 years, millions of people have sipped & snacked on our recipes. Need easy, delicious party food and drinks for your next shindig? You’ve come to the right place.

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About Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa! Looking for the party? It’s probably at my house. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing good food with friends and family. That and a seriously good cocktail.


  1. Avatar

    And now I know what to make for Valentine’s Day! I love all your tips, I definitely needed them as scallops is not something I am accustomed to making.

    • Avatar

      Your family will love them, Tanya!

    • Avatar

      Nothing better than meals that are so easy and still taste great!

  2. Avatar

    I’m all for making Valentine’s Day dinner at home! and these scallops feel like a great addition to the menu! thanks for sharing, Lisa!

    • Avatar

      Definite win on both accounts!

  3. Avatar

    Cannot remember the last time I ate scallops. Thanks for reminding me all the deliciousness that I have been missing out on!

    • Avatar

      Scallops are always a great treat! I forget about how easy they are!

  4. Avatar

    We made these when we were in Florida for Spring Break and they were perfect. Bought some scallops at Costco over the weekend and will see how they turn out tonight. Thanks!


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