Best Seared Scallops

This recipe provides a detailed guide on how to achieve perfectly seared scallops, focusing on the essential techniques for achieving a golden-brown crust without overcooking the delicate seafood. It covers the selection of scallops, the importance of drying them thoroughly, and the ideal cooking oils and temperatures. The result is tender, flavorful scallops with a beautiful sear every time.


  • 1 lb sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large stainless-steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat until just smoking.
  3. Add scallops in a single layer, leaving space between them, and cook without moving until well browned on the first side, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Flip scallops and add unsalted butter, crushed garlic, and fresh thyme sprig to the skillet.
  5. Continue to cook, tilting the skillet to pool butter and spoon it over the scallops, until the second side is browned and scallops are just opaque in the center, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer scallops to a plate and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Check out the inspiration at Serious Eats

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