Air Fried 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.
As with any seafood – it only takes a few minutes to cook them. Most of the time, in a restaurant sea scallops are seared. The air fryer won’t “sear” them but they’re just as delicious, make much less mess and use NO OIL! I did serve them with a butter sauce but no mess there!
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. There’s also a little muscle on these that you can pull off.
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.
What ingredients are in Air Fryer Scallops?
You really only need 1 ingredient: Scallops! Beyond that – I wanted to make a quick and easy butter sauce. For that you’ll need:
- Herb seasoning – I like Old Bay Lemon Herb
- Lemon juice
How do you make scallops in the air fryer?
For the scallops – I have a bunch of Tips & Tricks (scroll down) – but here’s the quick version:
- Pat dry your thawed/fresh scallops (using frozen? see tips for thawing)
- Season with lemon herb seasoning
- Melt butter and mix with garlic, lemon and capers
- Place seasoned scallops in air fryer – keep about 1/2 inch between them
- Lightly brush scallops with butter
- Air Fry at 400 for 6 minutes (see tips below)
- Temp check to 120-130 degrees
- Drizzle melted garlic butter over scallops and serve!
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 cool water for about 30 minutes. They should be fairly thawed out by then.
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 softer 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.
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
Other Air Fryer Seafood Dishes
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