Air Fryer Sea Scallops are ready in MINUTES and are my favorite way to eat scallops. It’s a delicious and quick dinner that I made just a little better by adding butter, garlic, capers and lemon juice. It’s also low carb!
What You Will ❤️ About Air Fryer Sea Scallops
- No oil! We do add a little garlic butter to finish – but the hot air is doing all the cooking for you!
- Quick!!! Dinner is on the table in about 10 minutes!! I’m serious! Side dishes will take you longer.
- Fancy (ish)! Scallops just feel fancy – and when it’s easy AND fancy – that’s a winning dinner to me!
What’s the difference between sea and bay scallops?
Sea scallops are the big ones! They are usually 1 1/2-2″ across and much thicker. They are caught year-round up to in deep, cold sea waters. There are about 20-30 sea scallops per pound.
Bay scallops are the little guys! They’re about 1/2″ in diameter and are caught in cold, shallow waters and bays (thus the name). There are about 50 to 100 bay scallops per pound.
Air Fryer Sea Scallops Recipe Ingredients
You really only need 1 ingredient: Scallops! Beyond that – I wanted to make a quick and easy butter sauce. You’ll need:
- Sea scallops – they’re about 1 oz each and are readily available in the freezer section
- Herb seasoning – Old Bay Lemon Herb is a favorite but cajun seasoning is also good
- Butter – salted butter is my preference for more flavor
- Lemon juice – use fresh lemon juice if you can
- Capers – if you’re not familiar these are little tiny little flower buds that are pickled.
- Garlic – Minced garlic – fresh is best but the jarred kind is so easy!
How do you make air fryer scallops?
Cooking scallops is a bit delicate and doesn’t take long. But if you overcook – they get rubbery quick. I have a bunch of Tips & Tricks (scroll down) – but here’s the quick version:
- Pat dry your thawed/fresh scallops with paper towels to remove excess moisture (using frozen? see tips section for how to thaw)
- Season scallops with lemon herb seasoning
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and mix with garlic, lemon and capers
- Place seasoned scallops in air fryer – keep about 1/2 inch between them
- To prevent sticking, you can either set them on parchment paper or spray the pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Lightly brush scallops with garlic butter
- Air Fry at 400º for 6 minutes
- Using an instant read meat thermometer, be sure internal temperature of scallops has reached 130º
- You may need to reheat the butter sauce so it’s melted.
- Remove scallops from air fryer, drizzle melted lemon butter sauce over scallops and serve! You can also add a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
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Tips, Tricks & FAQs
I would use them within 1-2 days of purchase.
They should be firm and smell fresh. You can also use frozen scallops.
I wouldn’t recommend it. You can quick thaw scallops by placing them in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. They should be fairly thawed out by then. Or thaw in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.
It depends on how big your air fryer is. Just make sure you’ve got 1/2 inch of space between your scallops.
Use your meat thermometer – they should be between 120-130 degrees in the center. They won’t really brown like they do in a skillet – just fyi.
Yes – but they don’t take long and don’t microwave them. Put them back in the air fryer just to heat them up for 2-3 minutes at 400.
They’re sweet like crab or shrimp but more but the texture is more tender than shrimp.
Yes – on the sea scallops, there’s a little side muscle – you can barely see it in this pic – but when you have it in your hand – you’ll see it. It just pops right off. Take them off as they’re tough and chewy.
Best Air Fryer Accessories
Here’s my ultimate list of best air fryer accessories – whether you have a basket- or oven-style! I’ve also included a price guide as well as my favorite recipes for those accessories.
What to serve with Scallops?
- Air Fryer Asparagus – perfect side dish and you can cook it at the same time!
- Cheesy Mexican Rice
- Panera Greek Salad
More Air Fryer Recipes for Fish & Seafood
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- Air Fryer Crab Cakes
- Frozen Salmon in an Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Lobster Tails
Air Fried Scallops
- Rinse scallops and pat dry15-20 Sea Scallops
- Season scallops on both sides with Old Bay Lemon Herb Seasoning (or your preferred seasoning – or even salt & pepper)1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- Place butter in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 40 seconds1/2 stick butter
- With a fork, whisk in lemon juice, garlic and capers2 tsp capers, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp minced garlic
- Preheat air fryer oven to 400 (if you have a basket style – you may not need to preheat)
- Place scallops in air fryer basket and brush lightly with melted butter
- Air fry at 400 for 6 minutes – temp check scallops should be 120 degrees
- If needed, reheat butter for 15 seconds in the microwave
- Drizzle lemon garlic butter over scallops and serve with rice and veggies