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Lemon Butter Pan Seared Scallops

These Lemon Butter Pan Seared Scallops are the perfect meal for fancy dinner parties or simple weeknight dinners. Finished with a lemon butter sauce, this recipe is surprisingly simple and ready to eat in just 15 minutes!
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Butter Scallops, Pan Seared Scallops, Scallops, Seafood
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Silvia Dunnirvine


  • 1 1/2 lb sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 pinch sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 whole lemons


  • Heat olive oil in cast iron pan until oil is hot. If you do not wait until oil is hot enough its fine but it will take longer for the scallops to get that golden layer
  • Place scallops in cast iron side by side, not on top of each other. If you need to, pan sear them in batches. Cook the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the scallops have developed a golden layer to your preference. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Transfer scallops to a plate. Turn head down to medium low. Add butter and garlic to the pan, cook until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Add cream and juice from one lemon and stir scraping the bottom of the pan.
  • Add scallops back to the pan, quartered lemons and top with fresh cilantro.
  • Remove from heat and serve


Tips and tricks

  • If any tiny muscle is still attached to the scallops, simply pinch and pull it away from the “body” to remove it. 
  • The oil in your skillet should be hot before searing. Expect a little sizzle when you place the scallops in the pan. 
  • Never overcrowd scallops in a skillet. They should be in one layer with some space in between.
  • Only flip scallops once. You’ll know they’re ready to flip when the bottom has a crispy, golden brown, and buttery crust.


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 455mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 0.05g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.5mg