Foodie, Recipes

Baked Sea Scallops

By Garden in the Kitchen

Baked Sea Scallops are a sophisticated seafood and surprisingly easy to make at home! The process is low effort and foolproof while simple seasonings and aromatics provide each scallop with plenty of zing.

These Baked Sea Scallops are a simple yet elegant meal with a fantastic flavor. Before going into the oven, the scallops are drizzled with garlic chili oil, then baked until they’re tender and buttery.

Ingredients and substitutions

Cooked scallops are buttery, subtly sweet, and tender all on their own. All they need are simple flavorings to give them a boost, such as:

  • Jumbo sea scallops – If you’re in the USA, look for sea scallops from Massachusetts, New Jersey, or Virginia. They should be a cream color, appear dry and firm, and smell salty and sweet, like the sea!
  • Olive oil – Or use melted butter to coat the scallops and help create a gorgeous golden crust on the surface.
  • Garlic – No negotiations here. Freshly minced garlic is key to those delectable savory flavors. 
  • Red pepper flakes – For a slightly spicy kick. Feel free to adjust the amount you use to ensure the heat level is to your liking.
  • Lemon – Freshly squeezed lemon enhances every bite without overpowering the naturally soft, buttery scallops.  
  • Garnish – Finish each scallop with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Dill pairs perfectly with sweet, salty seafood. Parsley and tarragon are also lovely here. 

How to make baked sea scallops

I use these baking sea shells when baking scallops for guests, but they can also be baked directly on a baking sheet. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: To prepare the chili oil, whisk the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Line the scallops on a baking sheet and spoon the mixture over each one.

Step 2: Bake the scallops in the oven until they’re fully cooked.

Step 3: Place the scallops under the hot broiler for 1 or 2 minutes to create a rich, golden crust. 

Step 4: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the baked scallops while they’re still sizzling. Garnish with fresh dill, then serve!

Tips and tricks

  • If any of the tiny muscle is still attached to the scallops, pinch and pull it away from the “body” to remove it.
  • Let the scallops bake undisturbed so the surfaces develop a crispy, golden brown, buttery crust.
  • Keep an eye on the oven. Overcooked scallops aren’t forgiving and become tough and chewy.

Serving suggestions

The ease and convenience of oven baked scallops will leave you with more time to focus on serving and side dishes. They pair wonderfully with crusty bread with various small plates and snacks.

If your goal is to make your dinner guests “ooo” and “ahhh”, then serve the scallops as an entree with pasta, spiralized zucchini, or creamy polenta. They also go well with filet mignon and New York strip steak, or as part of a surf and turf feast.

Frequently asked questions

How long do scallops need to be baked?

The baking time will vary based on the size of your scallops. Jumbo sea scallops should only take about 20 minutes when cooked in a 400ºF oven.

How do you know when scallops are done?When scallops are perfectly cooked, they’re tender, white in color, and no longer translucent. Keep a close on the oven as even slightly cooking past this point can ruin their texture.  

Can I bake frozen scallops?

Yes, you can bake frozen scallops, but only once they’re thawed. Place the frozen scallops in the fridge overnight to defrost and pat dry before cooking.

How long do oven baked scallops last in the fridge?

As with most seafood, scallops are best enjoyed as soon as possible. Keep any extras in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.