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Creamy Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops



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Want a restaurant-quality seafood dish you can make at home, that’s both quick and easy to prepare? These Creamy Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops will rival any upscale restaurant. The succulent, perfectly seared scallops are smothered in a rich, creamy sauce. This seafood recipe is not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a breeze to whip up in your own kitchen.

A white platter of seared scallops topped with a creamy lemon butter garlic sauce and garnished with fresh parsley.
Plate the seared scallops. Spoon on the creamy lemon butter garlic sauce. Garnish with lemon zest and cracked black pepper.

Why You Should Make this Scallop Recipe

  • Restaurant Quality: Easily create a scallop dish that tastes like it’s straight from a high-end restaurant.
  • Quick and Easy: Despite its gourmet appeal, these Lemon Butter Garlic Scallops are quick and easy to prepare.
  • Minimal Ingredients: With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can create a flavorful and elegant dish that will leave everyone asking for more.
  • Versatile: These scallops can be served as a main course, or as an seafood appetizer.
  • Delicious Sauce: The creamy lemon garlic butter sauce adds a burst of flavor to the scallops, elevating them to a whole new level of deliciousness.
  • Impressive Presentation: Garnished with lemon zest and cracked black pepper, these scallops not only taste amazing, but also look stunning on the plate.

What are Scallops?

Scallops are bivalve mollusks (shellfish) with a hinged shell. The part that is most often savored, is called the adductor muscle. This muscle can range in color, and in size. Raw scallops are translucent, and turn opaque when fully-cooked. Furthermore, you will generally see them referred to either sea scallops, bay scallops, diver, and day boat scallops.

Additionally, scallops are a great source of protein, are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in calories.

Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are larger than bay scallops, and more popular, especially in restaurants. Short cooking time is all you need. Avoid overcooking, as this can result in a less tender scallop.

Since sea scallops are caught in cold, deeper waters, they are a bit pricey. Expect to pay upwards of $40 per pound.

Bay Scallops

Bay scallops are caught in cold, shallow waters. They are much smaller than sea scallops. Consequently, not as expensive. Bay scallops are a bit more tender and sweeter. Cook time is very short.

Diver and Day Boat Scallops

Diver, or dayboat scallops are not a different variety of scallop. These terms just reference the harvesting technique. Diver scallops are literally “caught” by divers making them more expensive than sea, or bay scallops. Dayboat scallops are the most expensive, as they were harvested and sold, within 24 hours.

What is the Difference Between Dry-Packed and Wet-Packed Scallops?

Basically, as far as variety., there is no difference. The major difference comes in how the scallops are harvested and preserved.

Dry-packed scallops, once shucked are packed dry, without the use of water and/or chemicals for preservation. They will lose little volume during the cooking process.

Wet-packed scallops are shucked on the boat into containers with water, and quite often some chemical for preservation. The scallops absorb the liquid making them “plump” up.

Regardless of the cooking method, wet-packed scallops will typically lose about half of their volume when fully-cooked. In my opinion, wet-packed scallops should only be used in soups and/or stews.

What do you mean by U10-U12 scallops?

This refers to the size of the scallop. For example, when purchasing U10/U12 dry-packed scallops, you will likely receive between 10 to 12 scallops, per pound.

How to Prep Scallops for Searing

For the most part, scallops are relatively easy to prep. You do not have to rinse dry-packed scallops. However, wet scallops should be rinsed to remove the packing liquid, which may contain chemicals:

  • Remove the tiny muscle (foot) on the side of the scallop. The foot is the muscle attached to the scallop, and when cooked, can become quite tough to chew.
  • After removing the foot, place the scallops on paper towels. Pat dry.
  • Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.

How to Sear Scallops to Perfection

The type of pan you choose to sear scallops is a matter of choice. However, if you are a beginner, I would suggest using a non-stick pan. Keep in mind, searing scallops is all about technique, not necessarily, the equipment:

Once you decide on the pan, follow these simple steps:

  • Choose a high-smoke point oil (canola, grapeseed, avocado).
  • Heat the oil to shimmering. This creates a barrier between the pan and the scallop.
  • Place the scallops in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding can cause the scallops to steam, not sear.
  • Do NOT touch or flip the scallops until they naturally release from the pan. This can take about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat.
  • Once a crust has formed and the scallops have released from the pan, flip and sear on the opposite side for another 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Remove immediately to ensure the scallops do not overcook, and become rubbery.

Ingredients to Make Lemon Butter Garlic Scallops

  • Scallops: If possible, use U10/U12 dry-packed scallops.
  • White wine: Pinot Grigio is a great option, or easily substitute with chicken stock.
  • Heavy whipping cream: You can use half-and-half or whole milk for a lighter sauce.
  • Capers: If you don’t have capers on hand, try substituting with chopped green olives for a similar briny flavor.

How to Prepare Creamy Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops

  1. Prepare the scallops by removing the foot, pat dry, and season with salt.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Sear scallops until golden (2 minutes each side).
  4. Transfer scallops to a serving platter.
  5. Reduce heat, deglaze pan with wine, add butter and garlic.
  6. Pour in cream, simmer until thickened (3-4 minutes).
  7. Turn off heat, add lemon juice, capers, and parsley; stir.
  8. Spoon sauce over scallops, garnish with lemon zest and pepper.

How to Serve and Store

  • Serving Suggestions:
    • Serve the scallops as a main course alongside rice or roasted vegetables, for a complete meal.
    • Alternatively, serve them as an elegant appetizer.
  • Storage and Leftovers:
    • Store any leftover scallops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
    • To reheat, gently warm the scallops in a skillet over low heat, being careful not to overcook them.
    • Transform leftover scallops into a seafood pasta or seafood risotto, for a delicious next-day meal.

More Scallop Recipes to Love

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A white platter of seared scallops topped with a creamy lemon butter garlic sauce and garnished with fresh parsley.

Creamy Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops


These Creamy Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops will rival any upscale restaurant. The succulent, perfectly seared scallops are smothered in a rich, creamy sauce. This seafood recipe is not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a breeze to whip up in your own kitchen.


  • 1215 U10/12 dry-packed scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon zest, for garnish
  • Cracked black pepper, for garnish


  1. Remove the foot from the scallops and pat them dry. Season each scallop with salt.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Place the scallops in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd (sear in batches, if necessary). Allow the scallops to sear without flipping until a golden crust forms, approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the scallops and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just cooked through.
  5. Transfer the scallops to a serving platter.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and deglaze the pan with the wine.
  7. Add the butter and minced garlic to the same pan.
  8. Cook until the garlic is softened, about one minute, being careful not to brown it.
  9. Pour in the heavy whipping cream and turn up the heat to a heavy simmer.
  10. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. 
  11. Turn off the heat. Add in the lemon juice, capers and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  12. Spoon the creamy lemon garlic butter sauce over the seared scallops.
  13. Garnish with lemon zest and cracked black pepper.
  14. Serve and ENJOY!

Creamy Seared Scallops Recipe! These succulent, perfectly seared scallops are smothered in a rich, creamy sauce. You can create this seafood dish at home, easily rivaling any upscale restaurant! This scallop recipe is quick, easy and incredibly delicious! #scallops #seafood #easyrecipe #cookingtiktok #howto #learnontiktok #quickrecipes #dinnerideas

♬ Walking Around – Instrumental Version – Eldar Kedem


  • Dry-packed scallops are best as they will not lose a lot of volume when searing. 
  • Allow the oil to come to a shimmer, not smoking, before placing the scallops.
  • The scallops will naturally release from the pan when ready to flip (about two minutes).
  • Once you flip the scallops, sear the opposite side for just about 30-seconds to a minute.
  • Easily deglaze the pan with chicken stock instead of wine. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer, Dinner
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Seafood

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WELCOME! My name is Melissa Latin aka. Charlotte Fashion Plate. Happy to meet you! I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him!

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