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Sea Scallops Recipe with Butter Sauce

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Caper Butter Sauce is easy to make but full of flavor. Whether for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion

Ever crave that restaurant-quality dish but feel intimidated to recreate it at home? You're not alone! Today, we're tackling sea scallops with a delightful butter sauce. This recipe is here to show you that gourmet meals can be surprisingly simple and oh-so-satisfying.

As a registered dietitian, I'm a big advocate for delicious food that nourishes your body. Scallops are a fantastic source of lean protein, keeping you feeling full and energized. Plus, the butter sauce adds a touch of indulgence without being overly heavy. The best part? This dish comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner win.

Ready to ditch the takeout menu and impress your loved ones with restaurant-worthy scallops? Let's get cooking!

Sea Scallops Recipe with Butter Sauce

Sea Scallops Recipe with Butter Sauce

Pan-searing scallops with a rich butter sauce is simpler than it seems, and it’s a great way to elevate any meal. This recipe yields succulent scallops perfectly seared and enveloped in a delectable caper butter sauce. It's versatile enough for both a weeknight dinner and a special occasion. We recommend pairing the scallops with steamed spinach, crusty country bread, or garlic bread. You can also make it a heartier meal by adding rice or pasta. Let's get started!

Preparation time: 10 minutes.    Yield: 2 servings.    Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 1 pound fresh scallops
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small jar of capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preparation: Begin by rinsing the scallops under cold water and thoroughly patting them dry with paper towels. Season them lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Searing the Scallops: In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the scallops in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook each scallop for 1-2 minutes per side until they are golden brown and translucent in the center. Remove the scallops and keep them warm on a plate.
  3. Making the Butter Sauce: Using the same skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in the drained capers and lemon juice, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Cook for another minute, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  4. Serving: Place the scallops back in the skillet briefly to coat them in the butter sauce, then transfer them to a serving plate. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately with additional sauce on the side. These scallops pair wonderfully with steamed spinach, garlic bread, or toasted country bread.

Enjoy this delightful dish, and feel like a culinary expert in your own kitchen!

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops Recipe

Our pan-seared scallops recipe focuses on two essential elements: achieving the perfect sear and creating a flavorful caper butter sauce. First, let's talk about searing. To get that irresistible golden crust while keeping the inside tender, use a hot pan and avoid overcrowding the scallops. Next is the sauce, a delightful blend of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and capers that adds a tangy, rich flavor to the scallops. With simple ingredients, you can achieve big, satisfying flavors!

Storing Leftovers

To store any leftover pan-seared scallops and sauce, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days. When reheating, do so gently in a pan with a few drops of water to loosen the sauce and maintain the dish's delicious texture and taste.

Why We Love the Sea Scallops Recipe with Butter Sauce and Why It's Healthy

Why We Love It:

1. Flavorful and Elegant: The combination of perfectly seared scallops with a rich, tangy caper butter sauce makes this dish both delicious and sophisticated, ideal for any occasion.

2. Simple and Quick: Despite its gourmet appeal, this recipe is straightforward and quick to prepare, making it accessible for cooks of all skill levels.

3. Versatile Pairings: This dish pairs beautifully with various sides like steamed spinach, garlic bread, or pasta, allowing for flexible meal planning.

Why It's Healthy:

1. High in Protein: Scallops are an excellent source of lean protein, essential for muscle maintenance and overall health.

2. Rich in Nutrients: They provide important nutrients such as vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals like selenium and zinc, which support cardiovascular health and immune function.

3. Balanced Fat Content: While the butter sauce adds flavor, using unsalted butter and moderate portions ensures a balance of healthy fats without excessive calories.

4. Low in Calories: Scallops are naturally low in calories, making them a great choice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight without sacrificing flavor.

Incorporating this sea scallops recipe into your diet offers both culinary delight and nutritional benefits, making it a dish that's easy to love and enjoy.

Variations and Tips for the Sea Scallops Recipe with Butter Sauce

Recipe Variations:

  1. Herb-Infused Butter Sauce: Add fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or basil to the butter sauce for an aromatic twist. These herbs complement the scallops' delicate flavor and add a fragrant note to the dish.
  2. Spicy Kick: Incorporate a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce into the butter sauce to give the scallops a spicy edge. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their meals.
  3. Garlic-Lemon Butter Sauce: Increase the garlic to 5 cloves and add zest from one lemon to the sauce for a more pronounced garlic and citrus flavor. This variation enhances the freshness and tanginess of the dish.
  4. Asian-Inspired Twist: Substitute the capers with soy sauce and add a teaspoon of grated ginger to the butter sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds for an Asian-inspired flavor profile.
  5. Creamy Sauce: Add a tablespoon of heavy cream or crème fraîche to the butter sauce for a richer, creamier texture. This variation is particularly indulgent and pairs well with pasta.

Tips for Perfect Pan-Seared Scallops:

1. Pat Dry Thoroughly: Ensure the scallops are thoroughly dried with paper towels before seasoning. This step is crucial for achieving a perfect sear and preventing excess moisture in the pan.

2. Hot Pan, Minimal Crowding: Use a hot cast iron skillet and avoid overcrowding the scallops. This helps in developing a golden crust and ensures even cooking.

3. Don't Overcook: Scallops cook quickly, usually needing just 1-2 minutes per side. Overcooking can make them tough and rubbery, so keep a close eye on them.

4. Resting Time: Let the scallops rest on a warm plate for a minute after searing. This allows the juices to redistribute, keeping the scallops moist and tender.

5. Deglaze the Pan: After cooking the scallops, deglaze the pan with lemon juice or white wine before making the butter sauce. This step lifts the flavorful browned bits from the pan, enhancing the sauce's taste.

6. Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest scallops and high-quality butter for the best results. Fresh ingredients make a significant difference in the dish's overall flavor and quality.

By trying these variations and following these tips, you can enjoy different versions of the sea scallops recipe while ensuring a perfect result every time.

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