Simple Pan Seared Scallops (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)

4 minute read

The taste of long summer days at the beach is within reach with this delicious pan seared scallop recipe, highlighting the sweet tenderness of the scallop with fresh bright lemon and savory ghee. The key to getting that nice caramelization on the scallop is to get them nice a dry before adding to them pan to get that beautiful golden brown crust we all love!

Every year my husband’s family all heads to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina where we spend longs days in the sun and enjoy lots of fresh seafood. My mother-in-law LOVES scallops and she is part of the reason I wanted to create a simple and delicious recipe to make these at home so we can enjoy the tastes of summer any time of year! I know you will love these decadent, buttery scallops as much as she does!

Why Scallops are So Good For You!

Scallops are a type of shellfish that many people enjoy across the world. They are sweet, tender, succulent and deliciously buttery when prepared well. Loaded with protein and many other nutrients, they are a fabulous option for an appetizer or impressive dinner.

Scallops are a great source of vitamin B12, which is an essential nutrient necessary in the production of DNA and in the formation of red blood cells [1]. The brain and nervous system rely on vitamin B12 as well as metabolic processes in the conversion of proteins and fat to energy.


  • Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body and is essential in heart health, muscle function and support strong bones and teeth.
  • Copper: Essential in the production of red blood cells.
  • Iron: Essential in the production of hemoglobin.
  • Magnesium: Essential mineral in healthy digestion, detoxification and support nervous system function.
  • Phosphorous: Supports metabolism and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • Potassium: Mineral that supports your heartbeat as well as a healthy metabolism [2].
  • Selenium: Essential in thyroid health, detoxification and helps to make DNA [3].
  • Zinc: Cofactor necessary in the production of hydrochloric acid to support optimized chemical digestion of foods, and supports your immune system.

Scallops are a great source of Omega-3s, an essential fatty acid that helps to support the anti-inflammation pathways in the body. A diet rich in Omega-3s supports healthy cholesterol, cardiovascular health [3], and brain and eye health.

So grab some fresh scallops and let’s get cooking!

Simple Pan Seared Scallops Ingredients

Serves 2-4

1 lb Sea Scallops

2 Tbsp Ghee or EVOO

1-1.5 tsp Coarse Sea Salt

1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 Lemon, cut into wedges

How to Make Pan Seared Scallops

1.  If your scallops are frozen, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator.

2.  Spread a few paper towels out and lay the scallops on top. Take another few paper towels and gently dab the tops of the scallops to dry both sides a bit, you want a nice dry scallop to get good caramelization.

3.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (erring on the side of higher heat) heat for a few minutes.  You want to get the pan nice and hot to sear the scallops.

4. Season the first side of the scallops with half of the salt and pepper. 

5.  Add the ghee or EVOO to the skillet and be sure to coat the bottom of pan.   

6.  Place a few of the the scallops, seasoned side down into the hot pan.  Cook these in batches, the fewer scallops at a time, the better so you don’t overcrowd the pan and bring the heat down.

7.  Season the other side of the scallops in the pan.

8. Sear on each side for about 1-2 minutes depending on the size of the scallop.  Do not mess with the scallops to check on them, let them sit and caramelize.

9. Remove the scallops from the pan and serve with fresh lemon wedges!


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Q: Why did my scallops not get a nice crust?

A: They may have been too wet or moist.  You want to dry them really well so they get that nice crisp sear when you add them to the pan.  Or, the pan may have been too crowded with too many scallops bringing the heat down too much.  Batch cook only a few at a time to keep the pan nice and hot!

Q: Why are my scallops rubbery?

A: Sounds like you may have cooked them too long!  It only takes a minute or two per side and they are done.  Keep an eye on the side of the scallop while cooking, you can see the opaqueness of the scallop become more white as it cooks.

Q: My scallops are dry but I still didn’t get a good sear.

A: You may have flipped them too early and not allowed enough time for them to caramelize. Set them and flip them once.

If you like this recipe, check these out!

Fennel Grapefruit Salad: Earthy fennel, sweet tart grapefruit, and peppery arugula are the perfect complement to these buttery and luscious scallops!

Lemon Roasted Potatoes:  Crispy and creamy lemon potatoes are the perfect side dish to tender and succulent scallops.

Perfect Steamed Broccoli: Earthy broccoli steamed to perfection with tender florets and slightly crunchy stems. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. – Amy

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products and kitchen gear I love. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Almond Milk and Cookies!


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Welcome to Almond Milk and Cookies where good food, health and lots of flavor go hand-in-hand!

I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.

Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.

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