Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Jessica Gavin
Pan seared scallops with lemon garlic sauce is a gourmet meal. The seafood is brined first for extra flavor and tenderness as is cooks in the hot pan.


  • cup (90 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot water
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1 pound (454 g) scallops U15 size, 14 to 16 per pound
Pan Seared Scallops
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
  • black pepper as needed for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill

Special Equipment

  • Skillet


  • Combine salt and hot water in a medium bowl, stir until the salt is mostly dissolved. Add ice cubes, once the water is cold add scallops.
  • Brine scallops for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with paper towels.
  • Place another sheet of paper towel on top of scallops, gently pressing until each piece is dry. The drier the scallops, the better the sear.
  • Allow scallops to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
  • Right before cooking, lightly season both sides with salt.
Pan Seared Scallops
  • Heat a large 12-inch pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add scallops to the pan in a single layer.
  • Gently press scallops with a spatula so that they make direct contact with the pan.
  • Pan sear until golden brown on the surface, not moving them, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add butter to the pan and allow to melt.
  • Flip scallops over, use a spoon to baste with butter, tilting the pan as needed and cook until firm but tender, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer to a clean plate.
  • Using the same pan to cook the scallops, turn the heat up to medium.
  • Add in garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  • Add in lemon juice and lemon zest, scrape the pan to remove any browned bits and stir into the sauce, cook about 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat and whisk in Dijon mustard. Add in cream and whisk to combine.
  • If needed, add in some water to the sauce if you want a thinner consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Add scallops back to the pan, and warm over low heat, 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped dill and black pepper, serve warm.


If you don’t have the option to purchase dry scallops, just add about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the brine and that will help remove some of the chemicals and mask the soapy taste.


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 232mg | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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