Perfectly pan seared scallops are served in a delicious white wine lemon caper sauce! This special occasion recipe is so easy and comes together in less than 20 minutes! Just be sure not to overcook your scallops, only cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds or so per side!
Lemon Caper Pan Seared Scallops
Need a crazy delicious date night recipe?! Or are you looking for an easy yet impressive special occasion recipe that’ll leave everyone wanting more? Or maybe you just really love scallops and are looking to add a new recipe to your repertoire?
I’ve got you covered! Actually, this seriously simply scallop recipe has you covered! It’s full of flavor and so darn easy. And it’s a great alternative recipe to my honey glazed scallops!
So let’s jump into the tips and tricks and get you on your way!
How to Sear Scallops
I have a recipe on how to make perfectly seared scallops, so if you’ve never made them before, I definitely recommend checking it out! But the need to know details are below:
- don’t be afraid to get your pan REALLY hot and even lightly smoking before adding the scallops – this is what’s going to give your that golden sear!
- pat your scallops dry with paper towels – too much moisture is not good! It’ll release when the scallops hit the pan and cause them to come out soggy.
- don’t touch your scallops once they’ve hit the pan for at least 90 seconds, then flip and cook the second side until it’s golden brown, about another 90 seconds.
- and be sure to use a cast iron skillet or heavy duty stainless steel sauté pan!
Make the Lemony Caper Sauce
You’re going to want to do this first, so that when the scallops are done, you can pour the sauce on top and serve right away!
To make the sauce you’ll need butter, garlic, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and capers. Plus, white wine and sugar!
First, brown the butter. Then turn heat to medium and toss in the garlic, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Cook for a minute, until fragrant, then toss in the white wine and sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced. When the wine is reduced, toss in the capers, and then remove from heat and toss in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste and season with salt and more pepper, only if needed!
If you cooked your scallops in batches, return all of the scallops back to pan, then top with sauce and serve! Of course, if you don’t want to serve straight from the pan, feel free to transfer to a plate or serving platter!
What to serve with?
These scallops are delicious with rice, pasta, asparagus, or just a side salad and some good crusty bread! Of course, you know my favorite is the pasta option! I usually just cook linguini or angel hair, and then pour the scallops and sauce right on top! If it looks too dry, you can double the sauce and/0r drizzle with more olive oil or add a few pats of butter!
More Seafood Recipes:
- Pan-Seared Cod in White Wine Tomato Basil Sauce
- Lemon Garlic and Thyme Baked Salmon
- 20-Minute Lemon Garlic and Herb Baked Cod
- One-Pan Seared Swordfish with Spicy Olive Oil Poached Tomatoes
- Baked Lemon and Herb Salmon with Greek Salad Salsa
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus
Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce
For the Lemon Caper Sauce:
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup (74 grams) white wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tablespoons(28 grams) lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Seared Scallops:
- 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Lemon Caper Sauce:
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Continue cooking, over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter becomes a deep golden brown color.
- Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in the white wine and sugar and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, then toss in the capers and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste and add more salt/pepper/or sugar, to taste. Set aside until needed.
For the Seared Scallops:
- Remove the tiny side muscle from the scallops (if they have the). Rinse scallops with cold water and pat dry with a few sheets of paper towels. You want to make sure you get as much moisture out of them as possible. Set aside on a paper towel.
- Add the butter and oil to a large sauté pan over high heat.
- While the pan heats up, generously salt and pepper the scallops.
- Once the pan begins to lightly smoke, gently add the scallops into the pan, making sure they are not touching.
- Sear scallops for 1 and 1/2 minutes then gently flip and cook for another 1 and 1/2 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown. Don't touch them at all while they're searing.
- Top with sauce and serve at once!
Made this for dinner last night and it was soooo good! Served it with roasted mashed cauliflower. I haven’t cooked scallops before but the directions were perfect and they turned out great. The garlic lemon butter sauce was amazing. Will definitely be making this again.
Thank you so much for letting me know, Lisa!
So what kind of wine would you use for this? Sounds so delicious. Can’t wait to try.
I love a dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc!
Lisa D says
Oh my! This was SO good! Loved how the capers, red pepper flakes, lemon, garlic and butter melded together. I’ve yet to have a fail with any of your recipes! Thank you!
Lisa Headley says
Amazing recipe for scallops, Ashley! They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and their healthy fats can balance your cholesterol levels while reducing the risk for heart diseases. Also, the high magnesium content can contribute to your overall heart health.
Sara Handley says
Laurie Bourque says
w hat do you serve searde scallops with
Can we ommit the white wine and replace with something else?
Cooking time depends on size of scallops. Ours were as large as I have ever seen them, and consequently we extended the time a bit, making sure not to over cook.